China’s Double Standard for Diplomatic Speech Online Sparks a Global Backlash

Former Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a briefing in Beijing, Sept. 4, 2017 (AP photo by Andy Wong).
Former Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a briefing in Beijing, Sept. 4, 2017 (AP photo by Andy Wong).
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In early December, amid rising tensions between Australia and China, Prime Minister Scott Morrison posted a statement on the Chinese social media platform WeChat to voice his outrage at an incendiary tweet from a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson. Within a day, WeChat, which routinely polices sensitive content on its platform, had blocked Morrison’s post, ostensibly for violating the company’s policies. It was not the only instance of a foreign official being censored on a Chinese social media platform. The most prominent offenders are WeChat—the largest social media site in China, with over 1 billion active users—and Weibo, a microblogging platform […]

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