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Zoom admits cutting off activists' accounts in obedience to China
Zoom has admitted it suspended the accounts of human rights activists at the behest of the Chinese government and suggested it will block any further meetings that Beijing complains are illegal.
On Thursday the video conferencing platform was accused of disrupting or shutting down the accounts of three activists who held online events relating to the Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary or discussing the crisis in Hong Kong. None were given an explanation by Zoom.
Following media reports, late on Thursday Zoom said it had been contacted by the Chinese government in May and early June about four Zoom meetings to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre that were being publicised on social media...
The statement raises questions about Zoom bowing to Chinese pressure. Unlike many Western social media platforms, it is not blocked in China. The company did not explain under what law the meetings – which were hosted outside mainland China – were deemed to be illegal...
It is unclear why the company would shut down the accounts of Zoom users based in the US and in Hong Kong. The account of Zhou Fengsuo, a Chinese activist based in the US, was shut down days after he hosted a memorial for the Tiananmen crackdown.
Lee Cheuk-Yan, a pro-democracy campaigner in Hong Kong who organises a yearly Tiananmen vigil, saw his account shut down just before hosting an event on a controversial extradition law that caused mass anti-government protests in the city for the last year.
Lee said Zoom’s response was “shameful” and accused it of “political censorship”. “They have restored my account but Zoom continues to kneel before the Communist party,” he said...
Wang Dan, another activist whose Zoom event on 3 June to commemorate the anniversary of the 4 June Tiananmen crackdown was shut down twice, said: “The Chinese communist party is actively attacking democracy around the world. They have already started to intervene in the social system and way of life in the US. The whole world should be on alert.”
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