(New York, NY) – PEN America deplores the reported shuttering of a Chinese activist group’s Zoom account. CEO Suzanne Nossel said the following:

“Zoom must immediately explain why it shut down Humanitarian China’s account, reinstate the account, and reassure its users that it stands against government-imposed censorship. We wouldn’t tolerate it if a phone company cut off service for someone expressing their views in a conference call; we shouldn’t tolerate it in the digital space either. Zoom portends to be the platform of choice for companies, school systems, and a wide range of organizations that need a virtual way to communicate, especially amid global lockdown. But it can’t serve that role and act as the long arm of the Chinese government. You don’t get to have it both ways.”

PEN America announced it will honor imprisoned writer Xu Zhiyong with its annual PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award. Read more about our work on China here.