Twitter on Thursday locked the account of the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. after it posted a tweet that the company said violated its policies, prompting China to criticize the social media platform and claim it is a “victim.”
According to the Chinese state-run newspaper China Daily, the tweet read, “In the process of eradicating extremism, the minds of [Uighur] women in Xinjiang were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted.”
A spokesperson from Twitter told Bloomberg News that the content violated the company’s content policy, which bans “the dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race or ethnicity.”
At a press briefing Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chungying said China is a “major victim” in the situation.
“There are many false and ugly [pieces of] information about China on Xinjiang-related issues. Of course, the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. has responsibilities and obligations to clarify the facts and explain the truth,” he said. “We hope Twitter can uphold the principle of objectivity and impartiality, not to show double standards on this issue, but to strengthen screening, and identify what is false information, what are rumors and lies, and what is fact and truth.”
Twitter restricted the account just days after the State Department formally declared that China‘s treatment of the ethnic minority constitutes a “genocide” and amounts to “crimes against humanity.”
China has detained at least 1 million Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region since 2017. Human rights groups and U.S. officials have said China is holding them at facilities that have been described as “concentration camps.”
On his last day as secretary of state, Mike Pompeo said he “determined that the People’s Republic of China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, targeting Uighur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups.”
“These acts are an affront to the Chinese people and to civilized nations everywhere,” he said. “The People’s Republic of China and the CCP must be held to account.”
• Lauren Toms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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