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Zoom Admits To Following Democracy Activists In The Us At The Request Of China

Zoom Admits To Following Democracy Activists In The Us At The Request Of China

Zoom Video Communications Inc. said it had disabled the accounts of US based Chinese democracy activists at the request of China, raising concerns that Beijing is expanding censorship globally.

Chinese officials approached Zoom in May and early June about four videoconferencing calls made public on social media to commemorate the protests at Tiananmen Square, public the company, which is based in San Jose, California, said Thursday 11/6 in a blog post.

Zoom said that Beijing has asked the company to end the meetings and close related accounts because the activity is considered illegal.

Zoom says that at least three of the four meetings have participants from mainland China and that they have decided to end the three meetings and terminate related accounts, two in the United States and one belonging to an activist in Hong Kong.

However, the company said: 
"Looking ahead, Zoom will not allow requests from the Chinese government to affect anyone outside of mainland China."
Zoom announced on Wednesday 10/6 that it had reinstated closed US accounts and said it was working on a technology that could prevent participants from specific countries from joining considered calls.

The company will also outline a new policy to address these types on demand on June 30.

Beijing uses some of the strictest internet controls in the world, removing content and blocking websites it deems a threat to regime stability.

Beijing has increased the level of censorship in recent years since President Xi Jinping came to power, expanded control on social media, required a real account registration, criminalized the spread of rumors and punish influential commentators with millions of followers.

While China's "Great Firewall" blocked access to sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter, more than 1.4 billion of its citizens are turning to domestic alternatives like WeChat and Weibo to show off their expression of grievances.

Control measures have become more stringent this year, after the coronavirus epidemic opened a rare wave of criticism to the Chinese government.

Internet control is also often reinforced before major political events or other days deemed sensitive, such as the June 4 anniversary of the deadly protests in 1989.

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