Google Shuts Down Vocal Satire of China’s Leader, Bans Account

Google Shuts Down Vocal Satire of China's Leader, Bans Account

( – A YouTube channel that satirized Chinese communist leader Xi Jinping has been closed down. Free speech advocates are worried that the platform, which is owned by Google, is carrying out censorship on behalf of the Beijing regime. It wouldn’t be the first time Google has censored content that could upset China.

For years, the YouTube channel RutersXiaoFanQi has been posting satirical videos that mock Chinese President Xi Jinping and his authoritarian rule. That ended on February 20, when the channel was abruptly deleted. The Internet Archive shows that it last posted a video — a satirical song about Xi’s intellect — on February 10.

YouTube has a history of censoring politically inconvenient content. Former CEO Susan Wojcicki introduced tough rules that let moderators delete a wide range of content. For example, any videos that disagree with the World Health Organization — which is heavily influenced by China — can be taken down. Wojcicki announced her resignation on February 16, citing that it’s time for her to “start a new chapter focused on [her] family, health and personal projects.”

However, her replacement Neal Mohan is like to be worse. He’s seemingly obsessed with tracking down and deleting “misinformation.” Google has already clamped down on free speech across its multiple platforms. It alters search results to comply with rules in the European Union, and blocks many websites to suit local laws in Germany, France and other countries.

Radio Free Asia said YouTube videos are an effective way of spreading the truth about China’s dictatorial regime; one (now blocked) YouTuber told them, “A short video… is obviously going to attract more viewers than a long book about the evil done by the party.” YouTube has the potential to be a powerful voice for freedom. Unfortunately, it looks as though the platform decided to go in the opposite direction.

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