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TikTok blocks teen's account over viral video on China's treatment of Uighurs


Short video making platform TikTok has blocked the account of a 17-year-old Muslim American girl after she posted a clip in which she slammed China for its treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
In the video that went viral earlier this week, the teen, Feroza Aziz, pink eyelash curler in hand, is seen giving a makeup tutorial. After a few seconds, she switches to the pressing issue of the treatment of Uighurs by the Chinese government.
"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," Aziz said in the video, New York Times reported.
The 40-second clip has garnered more than 498,000 likes on TikTok.
The teenager, a high school student in New Jersey, later revealed that her account was suspended by TikTok after posting the video.
ByteDance spokesperson Josh Gartner said that the teen's account was blocked as a previous post had featured a photograph of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, which is a violation of the company's policy against terror content.
However, Aziz has asserted that her post was aimed at highlighting racial discrimination she experienced while growing up in the US. In a video, she said that she and other Muslims heard one thing regularly -- that they would marry Osama.
"I think that TikTok should not ban content that doesn't harm anyone or shows anyone being harmed," the teenager said.
TikTok is owned by Chinese social media giant ByteDance and this has raised concerns among the US lawmakers whether the company censors video content at Beijing's behest and shares user data with the Chinese authorities.
However, TikTok head Alex Zhu dismissed the allegations, saying 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 US," according to the New York Times.
Recently, leaked classified Chinese Communist Party documents over the high-security prison camps in the far western region of Xinjiang confirmed China's human rights violations against Uighur Muslims.
The China Cables, which were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists - a global network of investigative journalists based in Washington - show how Uighurs are locked up, indoctrinated and punished inside the detention camps.
The investigation has found new evidence which undermines Beijing's claims that the detention camps, which have been built across Xinjiang in the last three years to detain at least a million of Uighur Muslims, provide voluntary re-education purposes to counter extremism to the inmates who are detained without trial.
The Chinese government has consistently claimed that the detention centres in Xinjiang offer voluntary education and training.
Earlier this month, another trove of Chinese government documents leaked to the New York Times revealed details about Beijing's fears about religious extremism and its wholesale crackdown on Uighurs.
As many as one million people, or about seven per cent of Xinjiang's Muslim population, have been incarcerated in a sprawling network of "political re-education" camps, according to US and UN studies.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Nov 28 2019 | 4:44 AM IST

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