Zoom Blocks Activist in U.S. After China Objects to Tiananmen Vigil

The New York Times

Zoom, the video-chat app that leapt to fame during the coronavirus outbreak, briefly blocked the account of a Chinese human-rights leader who used the platform to organize a commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown between activists in the United States and China.

The nine-year-old San Jose, Calif., company restored the activist’s account on Wednesday. But the suspension put Zoom in a difficult place between the principles of free speech and the power of China’s huge censorship machine, which has increasingly sought ways to squelch discourse beyond the country’s borders.

In a statement on Wednesday, Zoom said it had been following local laws when it suspended the account of Zhou Fengsuo, a former leader of the students who participated in pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing 31 years ago. Mr. Zhou now lives in the United States.

Suspensions similar to Mr. Zhou’s appeared to affect the accounts of a Hong Kong politician, Lee Cheuk Yan, and Wang Dan, a student leader during the Tiananmen protests.

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