Twitter locks account of Chinese embassy in Washington | News | DW | 21.01.2021
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Twitter locks account of Chinese embassy in Washington

Twitter has locked the account of the Chinese embassy in the US following a tweet it says violated its stand against "dehumanizing" people. The embassy had posted that Uighur women were "no longer baby-making machines."

Twitter logo, Chinese flag

The Chinese embassy tweeted that Uighur women were "emancipated" and "no longer baby-making machines"

The social media giant Twitter has suspended the account of the Chinese embassy in Washington following a tweet that defended China's policy towards Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang province,  the company announced on Thursday.

On January 7, the Chinese embassy account, @ChineseEmbinUS tweeted that "in the process of eradicating extremism," the minds of Uighur women "were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted, making them no longer baby-making machines."

The post was removed by Twitter and replaced by a label stating that it was no longer available.

"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 on Thursday.

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Beijing confused over Twitter suspension

In response to Twitter's decision to remove the post, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing hoped for clarity on the matter.

"There are numerous reports and information relating to Xinjiang that are against China. It’s a responsibility for our embassy in the US to clarify the truth," she told a regular briefing on Thursday. "We hope they won’t apply double standards on this issue. We hope they can discern what is correct and truthful from disinformation on this matter."

Twitter account holders are required to manually delete posts deemed to have violated the social media platform's policies, or risk sanctions from the company. The Chinese embassy's account has not posted any new tweets since January 9.

Twitter locked the Chinese embassy's account a day after Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State under former President Donald Trump, accused China of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang hours before Jo Biden's inauguration.

China has imprisoned more than 1 million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups, in recent years. Beijing denied charges that Uighur Muslims had been  subjected to torture, sterilization and political indoctrination.

Birth rates have long been a sensitive issue in the country of more than 1 billion people with a relatively recent history of famine; for decades families were limited to either one child, or in some cases two children. A blanket two-child limit was introduced in 2015 as Beijing softened its rules though nationwide birth rates have since been falling of their own accord.

mvb/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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