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Twitter locks Chinese Embassy to US account after tweet calling Uyghur women ‘baby-making machines’

Uyghur women (Sean Chiu/WikiCommons)
January 21, 2021

Twitter locked the account for the Chinese Embassy to the U.S. after the account published a tweet referring to Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” while promoting China’s efforts to prevent Uyghur women from reproducing. The tweet came as China is accused of forced sterilizations of the Uyghur population.

A spokesman for Twitter confirmed the decision against the official Chinese diplomatic account in a statement to Bloomberg on Wednesday. The Twitter spokesman told Bloomberg “We have taken action on this Tweet for violating our policy against dehumanization.”

The Chinese embassy’s Jan. 7 tweet, which Twitter has since rendered unavailable, said, “Study shows that in the process of eradicating extremism, 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.”

The tweet also linked to an article by the state-run China Daily, that denied claims China has engaged in efforts to sterilize Uyghur women and instead claimed China had eradicated extremist ideologies that “incited people to resist family planning.”

China has faced accusations of numerous human rights violations against the predominantly Muslim minority Uyghur population, in addition to the allegations of forced sterilizations. On Tuesday, outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared China has committed “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” against the Uyghur population and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province.

The Chinese Embassy’s tweet remained visible on Twitter for more than 24 hours before Twitter blocked the tweet. The Chinese account published 14 more tweets between Jan. 7 and Jan. 8, when the account was locked.

After a Twitter account is locked for tweets violating Twitter policy, the account user is must manually delete whichever tweets the social media platform has blocked, before the account can be reinstated. The Chinese diplomatic account remains blocked nearly two weeks after it published its last tweet, meaning the account’s users have refused to act.

Twitter’s move to locked the Chinese account came shortly after Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump’s account that same day, for two tweets it said glorified violence.

Trump first tweeted, “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!.”

In a second Tweet, Trump said, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Twitter said Trump’s tweet about the inauguration “is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate” and “may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration.”