Zoom suspends U.S.-based activist’s account after Tiananmen Square commemoration event

Zoom suspends U.S.-based activist’s account after Tiananmen Square commemoration event

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Zoom CEO Eric Yuan speaks before the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony in New York on April 18, 2019.

Kena Betancur | Getty Images

Zoom shut down the account of an activist who was holding an event on the video conferencing platform to commemorate China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The move has prompted accusations that Zoom, a U.S. company, has bowed to pressure from Beijing. 

U.S.-based rights group Humanitarian China held an event on Zoom on May 31 to commemorate those who lost their lives in the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. The topic is taboo in China and references to it online are heavily censored. 

The account that hosted the event was shut down on June 7, according to Zhou Fengsuo, who founded Humanitarian China and took part in the 1989 protests as a student. The account has since been reinstated.

Zoom confirmed it had suspended the account. 

“When a meeting is held across different countries, the participants within those countries are required to comply with their respective local laws,” Zoom said in a statement to various media outlets.

“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.”

The company has yet to respond to a request for comment when contacted by CNBC.

More than 250 people participated in the meeting while over 4,000 people streamed it online, according to Zhou, who accused Zoom of being complicit in Beijing’s censorship.

“It seems possible ZOOM acted on pressure from the CCP (Communist Party of China) to shut down our account. If so, ZOOM is complicit in erasing the memories of the Tiananmen Massacre in collaboration with an authoritarian government,” Zhou said in a statement. 

Zoom’s share price has risen over 220% this year because of a surge in users video conferencing while working from home amid lockdowns around the world. But the company has faced its share of controversies and it is not the first time its relationship with China has been called into question.

The company admitted earlier this year that it had mistakenly routed some meetings through servers in China. 

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