06/11/2020, 12.36
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Zoom censors exiled dissident and conference about Tiananmen

Zoom disabled the account to the videoconferencing service of Zhou Fengsuo, a former student movement leader. Participants and witnesses from China took part in the event. “Local laws" in China influence the US-based company.

San José (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Zoom.us, the California-based video conference giant, censored a Chinese dissident exiled in the United States, by disabling his paid account after he organised a web conference about the Tiananmen Square crackdown that was held on 31 May.

Zhou Fengsuo, a former leader of the 1989 student movement, now lives in the US where he heads Humanitarian China, a human rights association.

The conference saw the participation from China of Zhang Xianling, a member of the Tiananmen Mothers whose son was killed in the 4 June massacre, as well as other members of the 1989 movement, who spent many years in prison.

However, the most important fact was that people from China were able to connect to the conference. In fact, Zoom is accessible from China without a subscription to foreign servers (VPN).

A few days after the conference, Zhou Fengsuo’s account was closed down. When asked for an explanation, the company responded saying that participants to the conference from China had violated “local laws” without specifying which ones. Nor did it say if the account was cancelled upon request of Chinese authorities.

As a result of criticism by the dissident and the media hype generated by the case, Zoom reactivated Zhou's account yesterday.

Nevertheless, many users of the service are left wondering if Zoom can guarantee the security of their data and how someone living in the US can be penalised on the basis of a "local law" in China.

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