Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, posted the tweets in question on Jan. 14. She claimed the forced labor allegation was "the biggest lie of the century." Hua remarked that the accusations were aimed to "restrict and suppress the relevant Chinese authorities and companies" and "contain China's development." In a subsequent tweet, the diplomat accused the U.S. of "creating lies" and taking "egregious actions" based on these falsehoods.
Hua included a propaganda video with her tweets, which featured cheerful music and smiling workers sharing how "a lot of [their] living habits have been changed and improved."
A Twitter spokesperson told Fox News that Hua's tweets did not violate any company rules. They remarked that the envoy's account had a "China government account" label attached on it.
Investigative reports have shown a radically different picture from what China wanted to portray. According to these reports, the Chinese regime has ramped up its suppression of the Muslim Uighur minorities in the western autonomous region of Xinjiang. Uighurs were subjected to various human rights abuses such as intrusive monitoring, arbitrary detention, compulsory re-education, highly intrusive surveillance, forced labor, religious suppression and enforced sterilization of women.
One such report by the Associated Press found that CCP officials subjected hundreds of thousands of Uighur women to sterilization measures. It mentioned that Uighur women were subjected to "intrauterine devices, sterilization and … abortion." The measures to curb the Uighur population were exacerbated by mass detention – families with three or more children are broken up with parents being sent to detention facilities unless they pay huge fines.
The CCP has rejected the allegations of human rights abuses. It says that the camps are "vocational training centers" and the associated programs are meant to curb "religious extremism and prevent terrorism."
In relation to these denials, Twitter recently took down a tweet by the Chinese Embassy in Washington. The embassy's post claimed that Uighur women have been de-radicalized, emancipated from extremism and liberated from being baby-making machines. The post also claimed that gender equality and reproductive health were promoted. The censored post is linked to an article by state-run media outlet China Daily.
According to the social media site, the post "violated the Twitter rules" – but did not elaborate why. (Related: The Chinese Communists are running Silicon Valley.)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the embassy's post through his tweet: "Uighur women are not 'emancipated' by forced abortions and sterilizations."
The instance involving Hua's tweets has brought forward Twitter's apparent double standards when it comes to censorship. It follows the social media platform's ban on U.S. President Donald Trump "due to the risk of further incitement of violence." The suspension came following the Jan. 6 riots in Washington, D.C. Rioters managed to breach the Capitol building, which left five people dead.
Twitter explained in a Jan. 8 blog post that two of the president's tweets violated the social media site's policy regarding glorification of violence.
Five days later, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged that the decision to ban Trump had set a dangerous precedent. "Having to take these actions [fragments] the public conversation. They divide us … [and] limit the potential for clarification, redemption and learning," he tweeted. (Related: Twitter opposes censorship only when it affects Twitter.)
Dorsey defended the suspension, saying that it was "based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter." He explained: "I believe this was the right decision for Twitter. We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real."