When I recently visited China, for the first time since the pandemic, I traveled to Shenzhen in a bid to unlock my 15-year old Tencent social media account.
I have tons of personal stuff—diary entries, chat logs, emails—locked away in Tencent’s instant messaging platform QQ. My account was suddenly suspended in November 2021, months after I used it to report on a story about QQ’s censorship of LGBTQ content, and to connect with sources for other stories. But it wasn’t clear whether that activity resulted in the suspension.
I’d basically given up on ever accessing it again, until I learned about Tencent’s weirdly secretive customer service center in Shenzhen. It’s a last resort for desperate users willing to make the journey to meet with a representative to make their case. Read the full story to find out what it’s like inside.
Zeyi’s story is from China Report, his weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things happening in China. sign up to receive it in your inbox every tuesday.
Podcast: When AI hears a problem
Hidden away in our voices are signals that may hold clues to how we’re doing, what we’re feeling and even what’s going on with our physical health. So what does it mean now the AI systems tasked with analyzing these signals are moving into healthcare? Find out by listening to the latest episode of In Machines We Trust, our award-winning podcast, on Apple Podcastsor wherever you usually listen.