FPI / December 25, 2020
A Chinese software engineer employed by a U.S. telecommunications company is facing federal charges in the U.S. after disrupting online protests that were organized to mark the anniversary of the 1989 massacre of pro-democracy protesters in China’s Tiananmen Square, the FBI said.
Xinjiang Jin, also known as Julien Jin faces federal charges of conspiracy to commit interstate harassment and unlawful transfer of means of identification. He is believed to be in China.
The FBI said Jin, 39, works for an unidentified American telecommunications company that hosts video teleconferencing.
The FBI’s description of the company Jin was employed by matches that of San Jose-based Zoom Video Communications, Inc., owner of the widely-used video conferencing software, Bill Gertz reported for The Washington Times on Dec. 18.
Zoom has confirmed that Jin is a former employee.
Jin is suspected of canceling at least four video meetings held for the 31st anniversary of Tiananmen. Most were organized by U.S.-based dissidents.
Chinese authorities used the false information to retaliate against and intimidate China-based meeting participants, temporarily detaining at least one person who planned to speak during the Zoom meeting and threatening relatives of the meeting participants.
The U.S.-based group Humanitarian China, which hosted one of the meetings, said it was “irresponsible for the entire world to rely on a media platform willing to cave in to direct ‘demands’ from an authoritarian regime. Zoom infringed on the human right of free expression of citizens in China and the United States on demand from the [Chinese Communist Party].”
Unlike other Western platforms, Zoom is not blocked in China, an indication that it may be operating under Chinese government controls, Gertz’s report noted.
“No company with significant business interests in China is immune from the coercive power of the Chinese Communist Party,” said John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for national security.
FPI, Free Press International