Xinjiang Jin, 39 (pictured), worked as a security technical leader for Zoom’s office in China’s Zhejiang Province
A Zoom executive based in China has been charged with sabotaging virtual video conferences commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
Xinjiang Jin, 39, – also known as ‘Julien Jin’ – worked for the telecommunications company as a security technical leader in China’s Zhejiang Province, according to a complaint and arrest warrant unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday.
At the direction of Chinese intelligence, Jin allegedly participated in a scheme to disrupt several video meetings, which were organized and hosted by Americans, held in May and June of this year to honor the event.
Federal prosecutors have charged Jin with conspiracy to commit interstate harassment and unlawful conspiracy to transfer a means of identification.
Jin is currently not in U.S. custody.
‘No company with significant business interests in China is immune from the coercive power of the Chinese Communist Party,’ John C Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said in a statement.
‘The Chinese Communist Party will use those within its reach to sap the tree of liberty, stifling free speech in China, the United States and elsewhere about the Party’s repression of the Chinese people.
‘For companies with operations in China, like that here, this reality may mean executives being coopted to further repressive activity at odds with the values that have allowed that company to flourish here.’
Staring in January 2019, Jin was Zoom’s primary liaison with law enforcement and intelligence services in China, according to the complaint
Jin responsible for monitoring Zoom for ‘illegal’ meetings discussing politics and religion on behalf of the Chinese government (file image)
He and co-conspirators shut down at least four meetings in May and June commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Pictured: People hold candles during the 31st Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, June 2020
He would often provide the government with information about users and meetings, names, email addresses and even IP addresses.
In his role, he was responsible for monitoring Zoom for what China’s government considered ‘illegal’ meetings discussing politics and religion.
At the direction government, Jin and other uncharged individuals shut down at least four meetings commemorating the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.
The protests were student-led demonstrations in Tiananmen Square calling for democracy between April and June 1989.
On June 4, Chinese troops and security police stormed Tiananmen Square and fired at protesters, killing as many as 300.
Most of the meetings were organized by Chinese individuals living in the U.S. who had either participated in or survived the protests.
Fake email accounts of the political dissidents and Jin claimed the users were violating terms of service agreements by supporting terrorist organizations, inciting violence or distributing child pornography.
Jin fabricated evidence that were violating terms of service agreements by supporting terrorist organizations or distributing child pornography. Pictured: Pro-democracy protesters raise their hands during a memorial vigil at Victoria Park in Hong Kong commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, June 2020
Jin (left and right) then used this false evidence to convince U.S. Zoom executives to suspend or terminate accounts of users, many political dissidents. He has been charged with conspiracy to commit interstate harassment and unlawful conspiracy to transfer a means of identification
Evidence was fabricated, such as a fake profile picture of a masked person holding a flag resembling that of the Islamic State terrorist group
Jin then used this purported evidence to convince Zoom executives in the U.S. to terminate meetings and suspend or cancel those users’ accounts.
Meanwhile, in China, the government either detained users who were visiting the country or threatened their family members to tell to the users to stop speaking out against the Communist Party.
If convicted of both charges, Jin faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
‘The FBI remains committed to protecting the exercise of free speech for all Americans,’ said FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement.
‘As this complaint alleges, that freedom was directly infringed upon by the pernicious activities of Communist China’s Intelligence Services, in support of a regime that neither reflects nor upholds our democratic values.
‘Americans should understand that the Chinese Government will not hesitate to exploit companies operating in China to further their international agenda, including repression of free speech.’