21 January 2021

Twitter account of Chinese embassy in US locked after Uighurs post

21 January 2021

Twitter has locked the account belonging to China’s embassy in the US after a tweet stated that Uighur women in Xinjiang have been emancipated and are no longer “baby making machines”.

One of the final acts of the Trump administration this week was declaring that China’s policies and actions in regard to Muslims and ethnic minorities in the western Xinjiang region constitute “crimes against humanity” and “genocide”.

A main reason for the declaration is widespread forced birth control among the Uighurs, which the Associated Press documented last year.

Another reason cited, Uighur forced labour, has also been linked by AP reporting to various products imported to the US, including clothing and electronic goods such as cameras and computer monitors.

Twitter logo on a phone (PA Archive)

Twitter said the January 7 tweet from the embassy in Washington violated its policy on dehumanisation.

According to that policy, “the dehumanisation of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race, or ethnicity”, is prohibited.

There have been no tweets from the embassy’s account since January 8.

In order to unlock the account, the embassy will have to delete the tweet.

The Chinese embassy in the US did not respond to a request for comment.

But on Wednesday, a day after outgoing US secretary of state Mike Pompeo classified China’s actions as “genocide”, China’s Foreign Ministry described Mr Pompeo as a “doomsday clown” and said the designation was merely “a piece of wastepaper”.

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