steps to stamp out a state-backed misinformation campaign aimed at undermining the Hong Kong protests, China has stepped forward to defend the rights of all Chinese to express their views.fter Facebook and Twitter announced on Monday that it had taken
When asked at a regular press conference in Beijing on Tuesday about the actions taken by the two social media sites —which are, of course both blocked in China — Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declared that the attitude of “China’s 1.4 billion people” regarding the protests should be made clear, along with the stance of overseas Chinese and Chinese students abroad, declaring that they all have the right to express their opinions and point of view.
Overseas Chinese students & those living abroad have the right to express their opinion & the stance of 1.4 billion Chinese on #HK affairs is pretty clear, Chinese FM said amid Twitter & Facebook blocking accounts that have been exposing the violence of protesters in #HongKong pic.twitter.com/C7wF6VZdCh
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 20, 2019
According to Twitter, the 936 accounts it has deleted had all actually come from inside China, accessing the network through VPNs or specific unblocked IP addresses, and worked together in a government-coordinated campaign. Meanwhile, Facebook said that the accounts, pages, and groups it shut down were run by “individuals associated with the Chinese government.”
Geng also offered his take on Twitter’s decision to cease accepting advertising from state-run news outlets after those organizations backed by the Chinese government took out sponsored posts which “negatively” described the Hong Kong protests.
I just came home from a completely peaceful march where possibly a million Hong Kong residents came out, with no police in sight, to call for basic democratic rights. What greets me is straight up lies from Xinhua about "bands of thugs", courtesy of Twitter advertising. pic.twitter.com/pUTsnqZ5oN
— Pinboard (@Pinboard) August 18, 2019
“What is happening in Hong Kong and what the truth is, I think people will make their own judgments,” he said. “Why is that the description from official Chinese media must be negative or wrong?”
Geng went on to add that Chinese media uses overseas social media to introduce Chinese policies and tell stories about China to the world. “I don’t know why some companies and some people react so strongly. Is it jabbing at their weak spot?” he said.