China has slammed Twitter's decision to temporarily lock the official account of the Chinese embassy in the U.S. capital over a tweet defending the country's treatment of Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group in the far eastern Xinjiang autonomous region.
Chinese officials said that it was the victim of misinformation and Twitter should "uphold the principle of objectivity and impartiality" in the matter. Twitter's action came after the Chinese embassy published a tweet that expressed China's intention of promoting gender equality and reproductive health. Twitter is a blocked service in China along with Facebook and other U.S. search and social media sites.
"In the process of eradicating extremism, the minds of [Uighur] women in Xinjiang were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted," the tweet read.
On Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that it was the right of the Chinese Embassy to "clarify the facts and explain the truth." The ministry said that Twitter's "restrictive measures" only showed its "double standards" on the issue.
"We hope Twitter can uphold the principle of objectivity and impartiality, not to show double standards on this issue, but to strengthen screening, and identify what is false information, what are rumors and lies, and what is fact and truth," the ministry said.
A Twitter spokesperson said that the account was suspended because one of its tweets had violated the company's content policy. The spokesperson said that the Chinese Embassy's account will remain locked until the tweet is deleted.
The Chinese Embassy has yet to confirm if it would comply with Twitter's requirement of deleting the post to recovery its account. The last tweet published by the account was on Jan. 9. Twitter did the same thing to former President Donald Trump's account and several other prominent accounts in the past.
The issue revolves around allegations that China is forcefully sterilizing the Uighur people. Chinese officials have repeatedly denied the allegations.
On the last full day of the Trump administration Tuesday, now former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the genocide was still "ongoing" in Xinjiang and everyone is witnessing the destruction of the Uighur people.