The Twitter account of China's embassy in the U.S. was blocked by the social media platform for tweeting that Uighur women were no longer "baby-making machines" due to Beijing's intervention in "eradicating extremism." The move came on Tuesday as then-acting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo likened China's actions against Uighurs to "genocide."
The Chinese embassy made the tweet earlier this month citing a study by state-run China Daily newspaper. In the tweet, the embassy claimed that "eradicating extremism" from the western region of Xinjiang — home to ethnic Uighur Muslims — resulted in the emancipation of Uighur women's minds. The tweet also said they were made aware of reproductive health "making them no long baby-making machines."
Twitter locked the embassy's account after it refused to delete the tweet. In a statement, the company said it took action because it violated its policy against "dehumanisation." As per Twitter's policy, it prohibits the "dehumanisation of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race, or ethnicity."
The account was unblocked on Thursday after the offensive tweet was removed. However, a retweet of Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson justifying its policies about Uighurs was still up on the embassy's account. Spokesperson Hua Chunying posted a graph showing that the Uighur population between 2010 and 2018 grew more than 25 percent. An infographic attached with it explained that China's "family planning policy in Xinjiang" was successful in the region.
China Sanctions 28 Trump Administration Officials
Twitter's move to block the Chinese embassy's account came as Pompeo accused Beijing of carrying out genocide against Uighurs. He also slammed China for conducting forced sterilization of Uighur women.
Following this, China imposed sanctions on Pompeo and 27 other officials from ex-President Donald Trump's administration. Beijing made the announcement a few minutes after President Joe Biden assumed office. In a statement announced on Twitter, the Chinese foreign ministry said it decided to sanction those "who have seriously violated China's sovereignty and who have been mainly responsible for such U.S. moves on China-related issues."
"Over the past few years, some anti-China politicians in the United States, out of their selfish political interests and prejudice and hatred against China and showing no regard for the interests of the Chinese and American people, have planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy moves which have gravely interfered in China's internal affairs, undermined China's interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-U.S. relations," the ministry said.
The officials included former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.