Monday, 23 May, 2022
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Milind Soman to ‘Nazma Aapi’, Indians slam TikTok for censorship and call for boycott

Short video platform TikTok is facing the heat for taking down a video of comedian Saloni Gaur poking fun at China.

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New Delhi: Comedian Saloni Gaur has called out short video platform TikTok for removing the video of her sketch on the India-China border standoff in Ladakh.

TikTok’s decision to take down the video comes at a time when India and China are in the middle of a dispute in Ladakh, across the Line of Actual Control or LAC, which is a perceived line that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.

Gaur has criticised the app’s censorship of the video, saying “So @TikTok_IN has removed my last video which had jokes on China, jaisa desh, vaisi app. Kuch bolne ki freedom hi nahi hai. (The app is like the country, there’s no freedom of speech.)”

A TikTok spokesperson spoke to ThePrint and stated that while TikTok “welcomes diversity of its users and viewpoints”, post-Covid it has adopted a more rigorous review process. “The video in question was reinstated after being flagged and a further review. Users have the right to appeal moderation decisions and each appeal is carefully reviewed in line with our community guidelines.”

But this isn’t the first time TikTok, owned by Chinese company Bytedance, has been accused of censorship and surveillance. A 2019 article by The Guardian found that TikTok was “advancing Chinese foreign policy aims abroad through the app” and that it banned criticisms of China’s socialist system.

Also read: China’s muscle-flexing in Ladakh doesn’t mean there’s a war coming, says former NSA

Calls to boycott China

With tensions simmering at the Line of Actual Control, Indians are calling for a boycott of Chinese products, among them TikTok.

Actor and model Milind Soman decided to quit using TikTok after watching a video by Sonam Wangchuk, a native of Ladakh and founder of the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh, who urged Indians to boycott Chinese products given the kind of aggression on display in the region.

Wangchuk, who was, incidentally, the inspiration for Aamir Khan’s character of Rancho in the movie 3 Idiots, tweeted a video of himself and told Indians to “Use your wallet power. #BoycottMadeInChina #SoftwareInAWeekHardwareInAYear to stop Chinese bullying in Ladakh and eventually to liberate the 1.4 billion bonded labourers in China, as also the 10 million Uighur Muslims and 6 million Tibetan Buddhists.”

Currently, there are more than 119 million active TikTok users in India and in 2019, Indians spent more than 5.5 billion hours on the app — higher than the total number of hours in 2018.

Also read: This ‘swadeshi’ TikTok by IIT engineer has got 50 lakh downloads within month of launch


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