Twitter locks Chinese embassy’s account over post about Uighur women

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Twitter froze the account of China’s US embassy after it posted a tweet about Uighur Muslims that violated the platform’s policy against “dehumanization.”

In the Jan. 7 tweet, the embassy claimed that Uighur women in China’s Xinjiang region had been “emancipated” and were “no longer baby-making machines.”

The post was an apparent attempt to defend China’s treatment of the ethnic minority group amid international criticism of its crackdown on the Uighur people, which the US State Department called a genocide this week.

Twitter said it has temporarily locked the @ChineseEmbinUS account — which hasn’t posted since Jan. 8 — until the offending tweet is deleted. The post is currently hidden from public view, but Twitter requires users to manually remove tweets that violate its policies.

“We’ve taken action on the Tweet you referenced for violating our policy against dehumanization, where it states: We prohibit the dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race, or ethnicity,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an email Thursday.

China’s foreign ministry took issue with Twitter’s move, saying the Communist Party government has a “responsibility and obligation” to combat “disinformation” about its activities in the Xinjiang region.

“We find Twitter’s restriction on the embassy account baffling and hope it will uphold the principle of objectivity and impartiality instead of applying double standard,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press briefing Thursday. “Greater efforts should be made to distinguish between disinformation, rumors and lies from facts and truth.”

Twitter has moved more aggressively to enforce its content policies against government officials in recent weeks.

The San Francisco-based company confirmed its action against the Chinese embassy about two weeks after it permanently banned then-president Donald Trump in the wake of the Capitol riots — a move that raised thorny questions about the power of tech platforms to police official communications.

Twitter is blocked in China, but Beijing’s diplomats and state media use the site to fiercely defend the country’s positions as part of a strategy that’s become known as “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy.

With Post Wires

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