Summary List Placement
Twitter locked the account of the Chinese Embassy in the US over a tweet that referred to Uighur women as “baby-making machines.”
On January 7 the account @ChineseEmbinUS posted a tweet claiming that China’s so-called counter-extremism measures meant that “the minds of Uygur women in Xinjiang were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted, making them no longer baby-making machines. They are more confident and independent.” (“Uygur” is an alternative spelling for “Uighur.”)
The tweet also linked to an article by the state-run China Daily newspaper, which claimed that the 2018 decrease in birthrate in Xinjiang was a result of “the eradication of religious extremism.”
Twitter removed the tweet two days later. A spokesperson told Insider the company took action on the tweet 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.”
According to Twitter’s terms of service, tweets that violate its policies are hidden, and the accounts are either locked or have some features temporarily limited until the user themselves manually deletes the violating tweet.
The Chinese embassy has not posted since January 9, when the tweet referring to Uighur women was removed.
A representative for Twitter told Bloomberg on Wednesday that the account is still locked, meaning the embassy still has not deleted the tweet.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday she was “puzzled” over Twitter’s decision to restrict the account, Bloomberg reported.
China is currently waging an oppressive surveillance campaign on the Uighurs, a mostly-Muslim population whose homeland is in the western Chinese region in Xinjiang.
Beijing claims they are a national-security threat, citing their religion, and has in recent years ramped up so-called counter-extremism measures in the region, which include heavy policing and mass detention.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute also said last year that Uighurs in Xinjiang, including some in detention camps, have been moved across China to forcibly work in factories.
On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump’s State Department declared that the Chinese actions towards the Uighurs were tantamount to genocide.
“I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state,” then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Pompeo added that Chinese officials were “engaged in the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group.”
President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said he agrees with Pompeo’s finding, the BBC reported.