TikTok Blocks Teen Who Posted About China’s Detention Camps

SHANGHAI — The teenage lady, pink eyelash roller in hand, begins her video innocently: “Hi, guys. I’m going to teach you guys how to get long lashes.”

After just a few seconds, she asks viewers to place down their curlers. “Use your phone that you’re using right now to search up what’s happening in China, how they’re getting concentration camps, throwing innocent Muslims in there,” she says.

The sly bait-and-switch places a critical subject — the mass detentions of minority Muslims in northwest China — in entrance of an viewers which may not have recognized about it earlier than. The 40-second clip has amassed greater than 498,000 likes on TikTok, a social platform the place the customers skew younger and the movies skew foolish.

The head of TikTok, Alex Zhu, denied those accusations in an interview with The Times this month. Mr. Zhu said that Chinese regulators did not influence TikTok in any way, and that even ByteDance could not control TikTok’s policies for managing video content in the United States.

But episodes such as Ms. Aziz’s show how difficult it might be for TikTok to escape the fog of suspicion that surrounds it and other Chinese tech companies.

China’s government rigidly controls the internet within the nation’s borders. It exerts influence, sometimes subtly, over the activities of private businesses. The concern is that, when companies like ByteDance and the telecom equipment maker Huawei expand overseas, Beijing’s long arm follows them.

China would certainly prefer that the world did not talk about its clampdown on Muslims. Over the past few years, the government has corralled as many as one million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons.

Chinese leaders have presented their efforts as a mild and benevolent campaign to fight Islamic extremism. But internal Communist Party documents reported by The Times this month provided an inside glimpse at the crackdown and confirmed its coercive nature.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington that the documents showed “brutal detention and systematic repression” of Uighurs and called on China to immediately release those who were detained.

Davey Alba contributed reporting from New York and Edward Wong from Austin, Texas.

Source link Technology

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