Twitter locked the Chinese embassy to the U.S. out of its Twitter account following a post that touted the decreased birth rate and eradication of religious extremism in Xinjiang, where reports have detailed forced labor camps and sterilization, Bloomberg reported.
The embassy shared a study in a Jan. 7 tweet that reported extremism in the region had led to people resisting family planning, and that the eradication of extremism allowed Uighur women “more autonomy when deciding whether to have children.” The study framed such findings as a boon to female empowerment, allowing women to no longer be “baby-making machines.”
A Twitter spokesman confirmed to Bloomberg that the Chinese embassy’s account is still locked as of Thursday. The tweet itself wasn’t removed by Twitter until more than 24 hours later, following numerous complaints from users saying that it violated the platform’s policies and advocated genocide. Twitter prohibits the “dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race, or ethnicity.”
Although Twitter removed the tweet, account owners are also required to manually delete the post that ran afoul of the site’s policy in order to regain access to their account. Since the account is still locked as of Thursday, it means that the Chinese embassy did not delete the post.
“We have taken action on this Tweet for violating our policy against dehumanization,” a Twitter spokesman told Bloomberg.
Multiple reports have claimed that Uighur Muslims, an ethnic minority in China, have been forced to work at factories where they undergo reeducation in order to pledge their allegiance to the Chinese government. Between 900,000 and 1.8 million Muslims have been detained in more than 1,300 concentration camps in Xinjiang as part of China’s effort to sinicize its population.
An Associated Press investigation reported that the Chinese government has sought to drastically lower the birth rates of Uighurs and other minorities through forced abortions, birth control, mass detentions and imprisonment.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was reportedly confused about why the embassy’s account was restricted, and claimed it was the embassy’s responsibility to correct “fake reports and information related to Xinjiang,” according to Bloomberg.
“We hope Twitter can adhere to objective and fair principles and not display double standards on this issue,” she said at a briefing.
The Chinese government denies that it operates forced labor camps, instead claiming that the camps are intended to eradicate terrorism due to separatist violence in Xinjiang. It also claims that the changes in birth rates were not caused by forced sterilization, which is a claim made by “Western scholars and politicians,” according to the report that the embassy shared on Twitter.
A day before President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the Chinese Communist Party is committing “genocide” against the Uighur population, citing forced labor, sterilization, and other forms of torture. (RELATED: US Becomes First Country In The World To Formally Declare China Is Committing ‘Genocide’ Against Uighur Muslims)
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as an act committed with the “intent to destroy, in or or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” according to the United Nations. Acts of genocide include “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group,” and “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”