Zoom said that it had temporarily closed a US account of activists who met to mark the anniversary of China's crackdown in Tiananmen Square, raising alarm over free speech on the fast-growing video-meeting service.
US-based rights campaigners turned to Zoom, which has become a way of life for many people during the coronavirus lockdown, to connect more than 250 people to remember Beijing's crushing of the pro-democracy uprising on June 4, 1989.
The group Humanitarian China said it had brought in numerous participants from inside China, and that its paid Zoom account was shut down without explanation one week later.
Zhou Fengsuo, a co-founder of the group who was number one on Beijing's most-wanted list after the Tiananmen crackdown, said that the Zoom account was reactivated on Wednesday.
Zoom acknowledged that it had shut down and restored the account after the attention.
"Just like any global company, we must comply with applicable laws in the jurisdictions where we operate," a Zoom spokesperson said.
"When a meeting is held across different countries, the participants within those countries are required to comply with their respective local laws.
The activists voiced outrage, charging that the company may have been under direct pressure from China's communist leaders.
"If so, Zoom is complicit in erasing the memories of the Tiananmen Massacre in collaboration with an authoritarian government," Humanitarian China said in a statement.
It called Zoom an "essential" resource in reaching audiences inside China, which rigorously enforces censorship.
Pen America, the literary group that defends free speech, denounced Zoom's move.
"We wouldn't tolerate it if a phone company cut off service for someone expressing their views in a conference call; we shouldn't tolerate it in the digital space either," said the group's CEO, Suzanne Nossel. (AFP)
Zoom slammed for suspending account over Tiananmen
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