U.S. charges China-based Zoom executive with disrupting Tiananmen crackdown commemorations

By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. prosecutors on Friday charged a China-based executive at Zoom Video Communications Inc with disrupting video meetings commemorating the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown at the request of the Chinese government.

Reuters December 19, 2020 01:10:41 IST
U.S. charges China-based Zoom executive with disrupting Tiananmen crackdown commemorations

US charges Chinabased Zoom executive with disrupting Tiananmen crackdown commemorations

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. prosecutors on Friday charged a China-based executive at Zoom Video Communications Inc with disrupting video meetings commemorating the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown at the request of the Chinese government.

Xinjiang Jin, 39, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of conspiring since January 2019 to use his company's systems to censor speech, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Zoom was not named in court papers, but its identity was confirmed by a person close to the matter. Papers filed in federal court in Brooklyn said Jin's employer is based in San Jose, California, where Zoom is headquartered.

Prosecutors said Jin, a software engineer and his employer's main liaison with Chinese law enforcement and intelligence, helped terminate at least four video meetings in May and June, including some involving dissidents who survived the June 4, 1989, student protests.

Jin allegedly fabricated violations of Zoom's terms of service to justify his actions to his superiors.

Prosecutors also said his accomplices created fake email accounts and Zoom accounts, including in dissidents' names, to suggest meeting hosts and participants supported terrorism, violence and child pornography.

The complaint cited many communications by Jin, including whether an account hosting a meeting with a dissident he called "a lead of such illegal political activities" could be suspended for 24 hours "to prevent subsequent huge influence on us?"

A spokesman for Zoom said it is reviewing the complaint. Jin is not in U.S. custody. A lawyer for Jin could not be located.

"Jin willingly committed crimes, and sought to mislead others at the company, to help (Chinese) authorities censor and punish U.S. users' core political speech merely for exercising their rights to free expression," Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme in Brooklyn said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Jonathan Oatis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.