Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Zoom founder Eric Yuan rings the Nasdaq opening bell. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

The U.S. video-conferencing company Zoom closed the account of a group of prominent U.S.-based Chinese activists after they held a Zoom event commemorating the 31st anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Square Massacre, Axios has learned.

  • Why it matters: Zoom has faced growing scrutiny over security concerns and its ties to China.

Update: A Zoom spokesperson confirmed to Axios that the account had been closed "to comply with local law" and said it had now been re-activated.

“Just like any global company, we must comply with applicable laws in the jurisdictions where we operate. When a meeting is held across different countries, the participants within those countries are required to comply with their respective local laws. We aim to limit the actions we take to those necessary to comply with local law and continuously review and improve our process on these matters. We have reactivated the US-based account.”
— Zoom statement

Between the lines: This suggests Zoom closed the account due to concerns in China, which forbids free discussion of the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy movement.

Details: Zhou Fengsuo, founder of the U.S. nonprofit Humanitarian China and former student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen protests, organized the May 31 event held through a paid Zoom account associated with Humanitarian China.

  • About 250 people attended the event. Speakers included mothers of students killed during the 1989 crackdown, organizers of Hong Kong's Tiananmen candlelight vigil, and others.
  • On June 7th, the Zoom account displayed a message that it had been shut down, in a screenshot viewed by Axios. Zhou has not been able to access the account since then, and Zoom has not responded to his emails, he told Axios.
  • A second Zoom account belonging to a pro-democracy activist, Lee Cheuk Yan, a former Hong Kong politician and pro-democracy activist, was also closed in late May. Lee has also received no response from Zoom.

What they're saying: "We are outraged by this act from Zoom, a U.S company," Zhou and other organizers told Axios in a statement. "As the most commercially popular meeting software worldwide, Zoom is essential as an unbanned outreach to Chinese audiences remembering and commemorating Tiananmen Massacre during the coronavirus pandemic."

Background: Chinese pro-democracy activists and dissidents face harassment and surveillance even beyond China's borders. U.S. companies with a presence in China have also faced scrutiny for their handling of content deemed sensitive by Chinese authorities.

  • In 2019, LinkedIn blocked Zhou's account from being visible in China, telling him in a message it was because of "specific content on your profile." LinkedIn restored his account after media attention.

Zoom has skyrocketed to global prominence during the coronavirus epidemic, going from 10 million users to over 300 million in a matter of months. Its meteoric rise has brought increased scrutiny to its ties to China.

  • The company has acknowledged that much of its product development has been based in China, and that some Zoom calls were accidentally routed through Chinese servers.
  • The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab said it found serious concerns over Zoom's security protocols, and said the company's large workforce in China could make it "responsive to pressure from Chinese authorities."
  • The government of Taiwan banned official use of Zoom due to security concerns, and schools in New York State, the U.S. Senate, and the German ministry of foreign affairs have discouraged or restricted its use.
  • Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said in early June that the company has chosen not to end-to-end encrypt free calls in order to cooperate with law enforcement.

What to watch: In May, Zoom announced that it would no longer provide free accounts to China-based users, citing "regulatory requirements." The company continues to sell paid accounts in China.

Go deeper: China’s spy agencies are coming to Hong Kong

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a response from Zoom and to clarify that Zoom does encrypt free calls, but not end-to-end.

Go deeper

Chinese hacking group moves on from targeting COVID intelligence

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A Chinese government-associated hacking group that shifted its focus this spring toward collecting intelligence involving coronavirus response has again reoriented its work, this time to target Tibetan dissidents, according to security firm Proofpoint.

Between the lines: China’s intelligence services may now feel that, with the initial COVID-19 crisis in both Europe and China now receding, they can return to older, core priorities.

13 mins ago - World

U.S. expands Afghan refugee program as Taliban violence escalates

The American flag is reflected on the windows of the U.S. embassy building in Kabul on July 30, 2021. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department announced Monday it is expanding grants of eligibility for refugee status in the U.S. for at-risk Afghans, citing an increase in violence by the Taliban ahead of the U.S. military's total withdrawal.

Why it matters: The Biden administration has faced pressure to do more to help Afghans who assisted the U.S. military over the course of the two-decade war. The expansion will allow thousands more Afghans and their family members to apply for permanent refugee resettlement, according to the State Department.

Updated 58 mins ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Simone Biles watching the women's uneven bars final at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

🚨: Simone Biles will compete in her final Olympic event

⚽: U.S. women's soccer team falls to Canada in semifinals, ending chances at gold

🪧: IOC "looking into" American Raven Saunders' Olympic podium protest gesture

🥇High jumpers persuade Olympic officials to let them share gold

📷In photos: Day 10 Olympics highlights

🏳️‍⚧️: Axios at the Olympics: Games grapple with trans athletesTrans athletes see the Tokyo Games as a watershed moment

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!