US charges against Zoom Executive for disrupting the Tiananmen memorial service

The US prosecutor on Friday accused a former China-based executive of Zoom Video Communications Inc., at the request of the Chinese government, of suspending video meetings marking the 31st anniversary of Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Xinjiang Jin, 39, faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment if convicted of conspiracy since January 2019 for using his company’s language censorship systems, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn, prosecutors said the software engineer, Zoom’s primary liaison with Chinese law enforcement and intelligence agencies, helped end at least four video meetings in May and June, including some with dissidents that the students dated Protests survived June 4, 1989.

Jin allegedly fabricated Zoom’s Terms of Service violations to justify his actions to his superiors.

Prosecutors also said his accomplices created fake email and Zoom accounts, including on behalf of dissidents, to suggest that hosts and attendees support terrorism, violence and child pornography.

In one blog entryZoom said it fired Jin for violating the policies of the San Jose, Calif.-Based company and put other employees on leave. There was also no indication that company data was disclosed to the Chinese government.

Zoom said it is cooperating with subpoenas from federal attorneys in Brooklyn and Northern California regarding its business with the Chinese government and a separate subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Jin is not in US custody and an attorney for him could not be found.

The complaint cited many communications from Jin, including whether an account showing a meeting with a dissident whom he described as “a leader of such illegal political activity” could be suspended for 24 hours “for a subsequent major impact on us to prevent “.

Jin’s actions helped Chinese authorities “censor and punish the core political speech made by US users for exercising their right to freedom of expression,” US attorney Seth DuCharme said in a statement in Brooklyn.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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