Trio of GOP lawmakers asks Zoom to clarify China ties after it suspends accounts

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A trio of GOP congressional lawmakers on Thursday wrote to Zoom, asking the web communications company to clarify its relationship with the Chinese government after the company suspended a U.S.-based activist group for organizing an event to commemorate the anniversary of the Chinese government’s crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

Earlier in the week, the California-based company confirmed that it had suspended the account of the activist group Humanitarian China on June 7, a week after it had held the event on May 31. 

“Like any global company, Zoom must comply with laws in the countries where we operate. We strive to limit actions taken to those necessary to comply with local law,” a spokesperson for Zoom told CNBC.

While it is believed that thousands were killed in the events at Tiananmen Square 31 years ago, Beijing heavily censors any information regarding the event, including the government’s deadly reaction to the peaceful protests.

Oregon Reps. Greg Walden (R) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R), both of whom are on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote to Zoom’s founder and CEO Eric Yuan.

“Zoom acknowledged that it closed the account and defended this action by stating such decision was made to ‘comply with local law,'” the pair wrote. “This suggests Zoom, a U.S. company, closed the account at the direction of the Chinese government, which forbids free discussion of the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy movement.”

They added, “Zoom’s recent actions and acquiescence to China raise serious concerns about your data practices, including how you protect information you collect on Americans and, importantly, who you grant access to such information.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) also wrote to Yuan on Thursday, delivering an ultimatum to Zoom’s chief executive.

“I reiterate today that it is time for you to pick a side: American principles and free-speech, or short-term global profits and censorship,” the freshman senator wrote.

In their letter, Walden and McMorris Rodgers gave Yuan nearly a dozen questions to answer, requesting to he do so no later than June 26. 

Tags Cathy McMorris Rodgers Censorship in China China Congress Greg Walden Josh Hawley Tiananmen Square protests Zoom

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