Zoom confesses: China told me to shut down webinars on Tiananmen

In a statement, the video communications company admits that it obeyed Beijing’s request to shut down four events and block host and participant accounts. To block users following from China, Zoom shut down online seminars from Hong Kong and the United States. China's rules applied to the rest of the world. Wang Dan: We will go through legal channels.

San José (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Zoom.us, the video communications company, confessed to having shut down some people's accounts and to have stopped some webinars related to the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. In a statement made public yesterday, it admitted that it acted at the request of the Chinese government.

Zoom explains that the Chinese government was annoyed at four major commemorations of Tiananmen, advertised on social media and asked for their host accounts to be canceled and suspended.

In response to Beijing's demands, Zoom shut down the three events, one run from Hong Kong and two run from the United States. A fourth was run by dissident Zhou Fengsuo, in exile in the United States. This was not canceled, but in return, Zhou's account was shut down.

Zoom explained that the top three were shut down because people from popular China were enrolled in it. In the name of the country's censorship law, which prohibits any recollection of Tiananmen, they were to be excluded. But in this way, all the other participants in Hong Kong and the USA were also excluded. Which means that Chinese law has become the criterion for the rest of the world.

The fourth event did not have any participants from China and was therefore saved from censorship. Only Zhou Fengsuo's complaint about the paid and canceled account allowed the dissident to be readmitted among the users of the video service.

In an apology Zoom said it is studying a technology that can delete or block specific users based on geography, without blocking an event with users from all over the world.

Zoom is very popular in China, but to remain in the country, it must be subject to the censorship of political power. Other social networks that - at least for now - do not submit to Chinese rules, are banned. These include Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Skype.

Wang Dan, one of the leaders of the Tiananmen movement (see photo) and now in exile in the US, is one of those who hosted a meeting on the anniversary of the massacre on June 3. In the middle of the presentation, the video conference was blacked out and his account was suspended.

Wang Dan said he would seek every legal route and motivate public opinion for Zoom to take all responsibility for what happened, so it cannot "get away with just a statement.”