Twitter has temporarily blocked China’s US embassy from posting on its platform over a tweet by the Embassy about Uighur Muslims.
The account @ChineseEmbinUS has not been able to tweet any stuff since Jan. 8, and the offending post is currently hidden from public view. Twitter requires users to manually remove any tweet that violates 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.
Before the ban, the Chinese Embassy in US had tweeted that Uighur women in China’s Xinjiang region had been “emancipated” and were “no longer baby-making machines,” according to the report.
The January 7 tweet was apparently meant 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.
Reacting to the Twitter ban, China’s foreign ministry said in a press briefing on Thursday 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. “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 times.
On January 8, The San Francisco-based company permanently banned the then US president Donald Trump in the wake of the Capitol riots. The ban caused mixed reactions around the world.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence”, Twitter stated January 8.
Twitter is blocked in China but has been embraced by Chinese state media and diplomats, many of whom continue to use the platform to aggressively defend China’s positions in what has come to be known as “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy.