USA: Zoom admits suspending human rights activists' accounts at China's behest

Author: The Guardian (UK), Published on: 13 June 2020

“Zoom admits cutting off activists' accounts in obedience to China”, 12 June 2020

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.

… 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… 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 Chinese government informed us that this activity is illegal in China and demanded that Zoom terminate the meetings and host accounts,” it said. “We did not provide any user information or meeting content to the Chinese government. We do not have a backdoor that allows someone to enter a meeting without being visible.”

The statement raises questions about Zoom bowing to Chinese pressure… 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…

Wang Dan, another activist whose Zoom event on 3 June to commemorate the anniversary of the 4 June Tiananmen crackdown was shut down twice…

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Related companies: Zoom