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Xinjiang Human Rights Abuse Videos Published By Rights Group Taken Down By YouTube

Xinjiang Human Rights Abuse Videos Published By Rights Group Taken Down By YouTube
Some of the videos posted on Google owned YouTube by a human rights group about testimonials from people who claimed that their families had disappeared in China's Xinjiang region have been pulled down by the social media platform even after they got millions of views. As a result the human rights group is shifting its videos to little known service Odysee, claimed reports quoting sources.  
Since it was formed in 2017, the human rights group have come under pressure from Kazakh authorities even though it has been given accolades and credit by international organizations like Human Rights Watch for attracting world attention to the blatant human rights violations in Xinjiang province in China.
One of the co-founders of the YouTube channel and a Xinjiang-born Kazakh activist Serikzhan Bilash has been arrested a number of times for his activism. He has alleged that the government had directed him five years ago to not use the word "genocide" for describing the situation in Xinjiang. He believes that the order was a consequence of pressure on Kazakhstan by the Chinese government.
"They're just facts," Bilash told Reuters in a phone interview, referring to the content of Atajurt's videos. "The people giving the testimonies are talking about their loved ones."
Since 2017, almost 11,000 videos on the YouTube channel called Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights' channel have been published which has drawn a total of more than 120 million views. Most of these videos are about people speaking on camera about their relatives that they claimed have simply disappeared in the Xinjiang region in China. According to estimates of experts form the United Nations and rights groups, more than a million people of the region have been detained by Chinese authorities in the last few years.
YouTube blocked the channel on June 15 for allegedly violating the platform’s guidelines after other users reported against twelve of its videos for breaching the 'cyberbullying and harassment' policy of the platform.
Between April and June, appeals with YouTube were made the channel's administrators against the blocking of all twelve videos. The social media platform reinstated some of the videos but provided no explanation about why the rest of the videos had been kept out of public view, the administrators told Reuters.
After inquiries with YouTube from the media about the reason behind the removal of the channel, the social media platform restored it on June 18 and explained that multiple so-called 'strikes' were received by it for the videos that featured people holding up ID cards for proving that they were related to the missing persons which had violated one of the polices of the YouTube that prohibits appearance on the channel content of personally identifiable information.  
According to a report by MIT Technology Review on Thursday, YouTube had also been alerted by Human Rights Watch about the blocking of Atajurt.
Atajurt has been asked to blur the IDs on in its videos but it is reluctant to comply, said the administrators of the channel. They argued that the trustworthiness of the videos would be jeopardized if they did so.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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