YouTube has suspended the account of a Chinese national in Odessa who criticized Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine after being reported to the platform for content containing “alleged violence”.
Wang Jixian, whose daily Mandarin vlogs detailing his life in the Ukrainian city caused a stir on the internet, was temporarily suspended last Thursday. In his video just before the suspension, his video showed Chinese translations of a voice recording of Ukrainians talking about atrocities committed by Russian soldiers.
The Beijing native began posting daily vlogs on his YouTube channel shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. “Today is…I’m still in Odessa. I’m still alive,” her videos begin. His daily updates soon attracted more than 100,000 subscribers, but also the wrath of China’s legions of nationalist netizens. His channel suddenly went silent last week.
The programmer told his followers on Twitter that his appeal against the suspension was dismissed last week. YouTube is temporarily suspending accounts flagged for potential violations for one week, which can be extended to 90 days if violations persist. YouTube has been contacted for comment.
Wang told Radio Free Asia that he did not blame YouTube, but the “ulterior motives” of whoever reported him, saying, “Where is the violence? I didn’t put any pictures [of violence] in my video.
Undeterred, Wang created a new YouTube channel to continue her daily updates. His new account, created last Thursday, hosts a six-day video series and already has 34,000 subscribers. Subscribers posted messages of relief on his new channel. “I admire your courage,” wrote one.
Despite his staunch supporters, Wang’s support for Ukraine clashes with the narrative that China imposes on its citizens at home. Chinese state media reported atrocities in the town of Bucha earlier this week as a “show” that the Ukrainian side was putting on in the west and widely portrayed Russia as a victim of the conflict.
The suspension follows weeks of harassment by his family members in China and the deletion of his WeChat account in mid-March. “What are you afraid of? Is my voice really that terrifying?” Wang said in a video discussing WeChat deleting his account.