US teen unblocked after Tik-Tok flip-flop on viral Uighur 'concentration camp' video

US teen unblocked after Tik-Tok flip-flop on viral Uighur 'concentration camp' video
The clip criticising China had millions of views before Feroza Aziz, 17, was blocked from the hugely popular video platform.
2 min read
28 November, 2019
The clip by US teen Feroza Aziz went viral. [TikTok]

TikTok, a Chinese-owned social network, has apologised to a US teenager who was blocked from the platform after posting a viral clip criticising Beijing's treatment of Uighur Muslims.

The clip by US teen Feroza Aziz, who describes herself as "17 Just a Muslim", pretended to give eyelash curling advice while actually condemning China's crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang 

The video had millions of views across several social media platforms before Aziz said she was blocked from the hugely popular video site for a month.

In the clip, Aziz accuses China of "throwing innocent Muslims in concentration camps" as well as kidnapping, murdering and raping them and forcing them to eat pork, renounce their faith and drink alcohol.

The firm said it had now lifted the ban and said it was not related to Chinese politics but her prior behaviour of the app.

It also said that "human moderation error" was to blame for the video being taken down on Thursday for more than an hour.

Aziz posted on Twitter that she did not accept the apology or the firm's explanation.

"Do I believe they took it away because of a unrelated satirical video that was deleted on a previous deleted account of mine? Right after I finished posting a three part video about the Uyghurs? No."

TikTok has surged in popularity over the past two years, with the app downloaded 1.5 billion times, according to intelligence analysts Sensor Tower.

The banning of Aziz is the first high-profile censorship dispute for the app.

Rights groups say more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims are being held in a vast network of camps in Xinjiang aimed at homogenising the population to reflect China's majority Han culture.

Witnesses say that China has sought to force Uighurs to drop core practices of Islam such as fasting during Ramadan and abstaining from alcohol and pork.

Former detainees describe Xinjiang facilities as indoctrination camps that are part of a campaign to eradicate Uighur culture and religion.

China, after initially denying the camps, describes them as vocational schools aimed at dampening the allure of Islamist extremism and violence.

International recognition of the incarceration and human rights abuses has been sparse, especially from the governments of Muslim majority nations.