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TikTok Banned This Teen for Criticizing the Chinese Government

November 30, 20193 min read

What begins as a seemingly normal beauty tutorial becomes a three-part video sequence that reprimands the Chinese government for its poor treatment of Uyghur Muslims in what can be considered as a modern-day Holocaust. 17-year old Feroza Aziz—amongst other teens—have used the insanely popular Chinese owned app, TikTok, as a platform in order to spread awareness of this under-the-radar political event in hope of change.

The dispute between Aziz and ByteDance, the Beijing-based company responsible for TikTok, came about once the Muslim-American teen’s account was temporarily suspended only two-days following the upload of the videos. TikTok issued a statement on Wednesday, stating that Aziz lost access to her account based on an unrelated ban based on community guidelines prohibiting the use of terroristic imagery. The preceding video, which the creators now recognize as satire, included an image of Osama Bin Laden. The company also apologized for temporarily removing the video(s), claiming they were removed based on a human moderation error. Her account and videos have since been restored.

This event occurs in light of US lawmakers questioning the legitimacy of the foreign-owned app. Arkansas senator Tom Cotton has claimed TikTok might be the target of a foreign-influence campaign. There have also been concerns over whether user’s data is collected and shared with the Chinese government perhaps posing a security threat or whether it’s being used as political propaganda, such as with Facebook during the 2016 presidential election. TikTok has, of course, attempted to ease these concerns.

China has continuously denied the narrative around its internment camps, alleging that they’re vocational training centers. However, security breaches within these camps have painted a different picture. As Aziz explains, the camps have been designed to erase and disrespect Uyghur (and other Muslim) culture by transforming them into Chinese-speaking citizens. Families of Xinjiang detainees have often stated their loved ones had jobs and careers before they were taken into the camps, while some of those who have been released are reported to have ended up working in forced labor facilities for minimum wage. These camps have been referred to as human rights violations by several human-rights organizations.

Aziz has since continued to spread awareness about TikTok’s censorship and China’s concentration camps, encouraging others to use her videos to get her message across. The video has racked up 1.6 million views and counting on TikTok, not including the millions of views earned on various other social media platforms. Teens and young adults have been the biggest culprits in bringing light to such issues around the globe. “I will only speak louder about this issue. I will always speak louder,” says Aziz.

Featured Image via Daily Mail

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