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‘You Would Want Somebody to Speak up For You’: TikToker Who Posted Viral Video on Uyghurs

Hana Hassan discusses rights abuses facing Uyghurs in Xinjiang in a video that went viral on TikTok, and which she also posted to Instagram, July 18, 2020hana.hassann’s Instagram account

Earlier this month, Hana Hassan, an 18-year-old Muslim-American high school graduate from New Jersey, uploaded a video of herself to the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok, slamming Beijing’s policies of mass incarceration in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to have been detained in a vast network of internment camps in the region since April 2017. The teenager, who uses the handle “goddessofegypt,” currently has more than 884,000 followers on TikTok. Her video went viral and received more than 4.2 million views before it was removed by administrators and she was banned from posting live video streams on the site.

Hassan’s video follows one posted to TikTok in November last year by Feroza Aziz, a 17-year-old Muslim-American high school student, in which she initially provides tips on eyelash curling as a ruse to discuss China’s oppression and maltreatment of the Uyghurs. Aziz’s video was viewed more than 1.6 million times before TikTok blocked it and temporarily suspended her account for violating a policy on terrorism-related material.

In a recent interview with RFA’s Uyghur Service, Hassan discussed the viewer feedback she has received about her video and why she has chosen to speak out about the Uyghurs. She said that regardless of the pushback she receives on platforms like TikTok, she will continue to highlight rights abuses in the XUAR via social media.

RFA: How did you come across the Uyghur issue?

Hassan: The first time I ever heard about it was a few years ago on Instagram, there was a post of an escaped refugee speaking, her story. And at first, I was just really surprised. I was like, wait … is this actually happening again? So, I tried to do some more research into it, but there really was no direct research on it. I went back to try to get the video and the video was taken down. So, I heard about it two years ago, but I really wasn’t sure exactly what it was yet.

RFA: What was your first impression after you learned about the Uyghurs?

Hassan: I was super scared. I remember everything she was saying was just very similar to what the victims of the Holocaust had to go through. She was being forced against her will, being harassed, raped, horrible things. I was scared. I thought history was repeating itself. And I thought that my religion [Islam] was the next target. I really didn’t know how to feel or what was happening.

RFA: Why do you think it took the world so long to properly respond?

Hassan: Ignorance is definitely [a reason]. A lot of people will see that there’s an issue and just choose to scroll past it because they don’t want to believe [it], especially with … China monitoring everything and the U.S. not taking part in this—this generation of America really only relies on our leaders to tell us what’s important. And to tell us what’s not. Other than that, we don’t really … [try to] find out, and people would rather be ignorant [of] the subject rather than have to stress over it.

RFA: So, what should be done differently in your opinion?

Hassan: It really shouldn’t have been something that we let get this far. I believe as the young generation, there’s so little that we can do exactly, but I believe that our country should … see what [it] would [take] in order to help free these Muslims, such as stopping trading or … any type of thing … for China to actually say, okay, let’s actually make a change about this. Because at the end of the day, leaders really only care about power and money. So, if we have to speak their language, I say, we do it in a way that’s actually going to make a difference.

Leveraging social media

RFA: How did you decide to use social media to talk about the Uyghur situation?

Hassan: Well, I know TikTok is a Chinese-owned company. And, even though I do have a very large following based on TikTok, I don’t think the company likes me because they do take down my videos very, very often. So, I decided to test my limits. I said I have the most amount of following on my TikTok account. That’s where I’m going to try to spread the information. I know the video is going to get taken down, but I’m going to post it as many times as it takes for it to stay up … I knew that that’s where the younger generation was. That’s where the most amount of people were. That’s where a change would stem from.

RFA: How many times did TikTok take down this video?

Hassan: I posted it four times. The first three times, it was all shadow banned, meaning it had zero views and TikTok wasn’t going to let it get on the page until they [reviewed] the video. Then, the first one got taken down and the third and fourth one … But the second video I posted, that one started reaching at least like 12 people … And thankfully it got a decent amount of attention.

RFA: Have you had any incident in which TikTok blocked your account or restricted it?

Hassan: Multiple times, but anytime I speak on government or politics, they’ll usually take those videos down. They have permanently banned me from live streaming … And they didn’t really give me a reason besides [saying] violating community guidelines. They’ve suspended my account from posting multiple times and each time I’m suspended it’s for like a week duration. So, lots of my videos have been taken down.

Followers respond

RFA: So, after you successfully posted the video on Uyghur issues, what was the response from your followers?

Hassan: The majority of what I’m seeing is people saying that they didn’t even know about the issue … My [direct messages] and inbox have been flooded, just flooded with kids, children, saying they want to help. They don’t know what they can do to help. And they’re asking me what they can do.

RFA: Why do you think it’s important to speak up for the Uyghurs?

Hassan: Because if it were your family in those camps, you would want somebody to speak up for you. If it was anybody you cared about in those camps … I don’t know anybody personally that are being held in those camps. But after I posted the video, lots of my messages were [from] people saying, “My cousins are in those camps. I haven’t seen my father in years. He was taken to the camps.” And the fact that my video can reach people whose families are victims of being in these camps just hits differently … So, I think it’s very important that as many people as possible stand up to make a change and spread awareness about this issue.

Reported and translated by Shahrezad Ghayrat for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Copyright © 1998-2020, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rfa.org

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India News Brief

18 September 2020

COVID-19 Cases:5,118,2553  Deaths: 83,198

COVID-19 At a Glance 

The new guidelines issued by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 29 August

Metro rail will be allowed to operate with effect from 7thSeptember 2020 in a graded manner, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA)/ Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with MHA. In this regard, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by MOHUA.

Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 101 persons, with effect from 21st September 2020. However, such limited gatherings can be held with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.Open air theatres will be permitted to open with effect from 21stSeptember 2020.

Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to 30 September.
Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged. However, following will be permitted, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, with effect from 21stSeptember 2020 for which, SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW):

Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open air theatre) and similar places remain closed.

According to MHA directive, lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till 30th September, 2020.

COVID-19: Highlights 

Religious Places Visit: No Touching of Deity, No Sparkling of Holy Water No Prasada in Temples Wearing Mask Thermal Screening is a must 

Shopping Malls Visit: Elderly People With 65 Years of Age and Children Below 10 Years Are Advised to Stay at Home.

Restaurant and food courts in malls to operate at 50 per cent seating capacity with a mandatory distance of six feet between tables. No common prayer mats, physical offerings like prasad, or sprinkling of holy water, in places of worship. Age and health-based restrictions on stepping out of home. Masks to be mandatory, and the Aarogya Setu app 'recommended' for all.

Use of masks, thermal screening, social distancing and sanitisation, the guidelines  require people above 65 years of age, specially  people with comorbidities, pregnant woman, and children below the age of 10 years, to stay at home. Masks are mandatory at all times, including inside restaurants

Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Indian Health Ministry 

  • International air travel, Metro rail services not allowed 

Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations will not allowed..

According to MHA guidelines, in Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and Union Territories.

There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission or approval or e-permit will be required for such movement

But  states have the freedom to decide on public movement.

How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they a.re developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

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