Video conferencing app Zoom suspended the account of a U.S.-based Chinese activist group after the group hosted a Zoom event commemorating the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, stating that it did so “to comply with local law.” Following media coverage and outrage from the public, Zoom reenabled the group’s account on the platform.
Axios reports that the video-conferencing company Zoom recently closed the account of a group of prominent U.S.-based Chinese activists. The ban came shortly after the group held a Zoom event commemorating the 31st anniversary of the June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Zoom released a statement explaining why the group was banned, which reads:
Just like any global company, we must comply with applicable laws in the jurisdictions where we operate. When a meeting is held across different countries, the participants within those countries are required to comply with their respective local laws. We aim to limit the actions we take to those necessary to comply with local law and continuously review and improve our process on these matters. We have reactivated the US-based account.
The event was organized by Zhou Fengsuo, the founder of the U.S. nonprofit group Humanitarian China. Fengsuo is a former student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen protests and organized the May 31 event which was held via a paid Zoom account associated with the nonprofit.
Around 250 people reportedly attended the event with speakers including mothers of students killed during the Tiananmen Square massacre, organizers of Hong Kong’s Tiananmen candlelight vigil, and many others. On June 7, the Zoom account displayed a message stating that it ha been shut down.
Pretty shocking update: Zoom told me that they closed the account to "comply with local law."
“Just like any global company, we must comply with applicable laws in the jurisdictions where we operate."
— B. Allen-Ebrahimian (@BethanyAllenEbr) June 10, 2020
The account of pro-democracy activist Lee Cheuk Yan, a former politician in Hong Kong, was also closed in late May.
Zhou and other organizers discussed the ban, telling Axios in a statement: “We are outraged by this act from Zoom, a U.S company. As the most commercially popular meeting software worldwide, Zoom is essential as an unbanned outreach to Chinese audiences remembering and commemorating the Tiananmen Massacre during the coronavirus pandemic.”
In June, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced that the company had chosen not to end-to-end encrypt free calls in order to cooperate with law enforcement. In April, Zoom admitted that some of its calls were routed through China as many questioned the security and privacy of Zoom calls.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org