Why were the videos suspended?
Youtube is now facing a new controversy behind the alleged sudden suspension of videos related to Xinjiang in China. A human rights group recently criticized the platform for taking down their videos, showing China’s alleged abuses against Uyghur Muslims. So far, Youtube has not yet released a direct statement about the issue.
Youtube took down Uyghur Muslims videos
About 12 million Uyghur Muslims currently live in Xinjiang, China. With their number, the government considered them living in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Though the community seemed to be living fine in the Asian country, new reports alleged the Chinese government of abusing the Muslim community by locking them in a facility, made especially for them.
This was a massive issue against China, considering there were indications of genocide behind it. Despite many people knowing their stories, only limited information is available online about them– except the Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights group. This human rights group has its own Youtube account, explaining how the Chinese government abuses the religious tribe.
In their recent videos, they showed other Uyghur Muslims looking for their relatives. Turns out, numerous cases of missing people were already reported in the area, with no official investigation about the issue. To help the investigation, the Youtube account posted a video showing the identification cards of all missing Uyghur Muslims. Youtube saw this as a ‘strike‘ on their community guidelines. Thus, resulting in taking them down.
“They’re just facts,” said Serikzhan Bilash, a Xinjiang-born Kazakh activist who co-founded the channel on Reuters. “The people giving the testimonies are talking about their loved ones.”
Why they were taken down?
Reuters first reported about this issue. The creators behind the account already emailed Youtube for explanation behind the taken down videos. Youtube said via Engadget that they are aware that no ‘sinister’ intent’ were behind the videos. However, it argued that the rights group didn’t have enough “educational, documentary, scientific, and artistic content” to allow an exception to its policies.
“We welcome responsible efforts to document important human rights cases around the world,” the company said. “We recognize that the intention of these videos was not to maliciously reveal PII … and are working with Atajurt Kazakh to explain our policies.”
Despite these explanations, the human rights group said they never trusted Youtube.
“There is another excuse every day. I never trusted YouTube,” Serikzhan Bilash, one of Atajurt’s founders, told Reuters in a phone interview. “But we’re not afraid anymore, because we are backing ourselves up with LBRY. The most important thing is our material’s safety.”
Youtube siding China?
After the surprising Youtube takedown on their videos, the account now guesses the idea that Youtube might be siding with China in deleting evidence against the government. Also, the takedown requests might be from pro-China factions, that are intentionally putting the story to rest.
So far, Youtube has not yet explained its side on this type of angle. At the same time, China, as expected, still denies all the claims about the alleged abuse of Uyghur Muslims.