June 11, 2020 | 8:28am | Updated June 11, 2020 | 1:05pm
Zoom suspended a US-based nonprofit account after it held an online event commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Humanitarian China, based in Hayward, Calif., said it discovered Zoom had shut down its account on Sunday, about a week after its May 31 event marking the 31st anniversary of China’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
The conference had more than 250 participants — including some in China — and featured several speakers including the Tiananmen Mothers, an activist group of relatives of people killed in the 1989 massacre, Humanitarian China said.
“It seems possible Zoom acted on pressure from the CCP to shut down our account,” the group said in a statement, referring to the Chinese Communist Party. “If so, Zoom is complicit in erasing the memories of the Tiananmen Massacre in collaboration with an authoritarian government.”
The Tiananmen crackdown remains a sensitive and taboo subject in China, and online information about the action is heavily censored there.
Zoom confirmed that it suspended Humanitarian China’s account but said it has been reactivated. The videoconferencing giant cited concerns about following laws in the countries where it operates.
“We regret that a few recent meetings with participants both inside and outside of China were negatively impacted and important conversations were disrupted,” a Zoom spokesperson said in a statement. “It is not in Zoom’s power to change the laws of governments opposed to free speech. However, Zoom is committed to modifying its processes to further protect its users from those who wish to stifle their communications.”
Zoom did not explain why it chose to deactivate the account of the US-based organization, which was not violating US laws, instead of accounts based in China.
Humanitarian China founder Zhou Fengsuo said Zoom has not responded to the group’s inquiries about the ordeal. “We still want to know why our account was closed,” he said on Twitter.
Zoom has been working to address security problems on its platform amid a boom in business driven by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced people around the world to hold work and social gatherings online.
The US Department of Homeland Security has reportedly warned that Zoom’s security flaws could make it vulnerable to spies in China and other countries. But Zoom strongly disputed the feds’ analysis, calling it “heavily misinformed” and inaccurate.
With Post wires