HONG KONG – On Wednesday, when a Chinese ambassador’s Twitter account “liked” a video linked to the use of the feet “X”, a furious statement from the Chinese embassy demanded Twitter to launch an investigation.
As it created a storm on social media, with many debating whether it was an accident or if Ambassador Liu Shiaming’s account in Britain was hacked.
Evidence suggests that Mr. Liu may be a techno-non-boomer boomer struggling to build a platform that is banned in his country. The account has a history of odd choices. It has often liked its own tweets. It has also liked criticism of China.
But the episode threatened to become an embarrassing marker in China’s tenure as a leading voice among “wolf warriors” diplomats.
A Twitter representative declined to comment on Thursday seeking a probe into China.
As the controversy escalated, the ambassador’s account quickly cleared all but two of the dozens of likes accumulated over the past year, including the video.
But taboos in Britain – whose diplomatic relations with China have become more strained by Beijing’s national security law imposed on Hong Kong, a former British colony – were immediately seized on a Twitter storm.
The Sun tabloid shouted that the “Firebrand Chinese Ambassador” has “a future in IT.”
One of China’s most high-profile diplomats, Mr. Liu has served as ambassador to Britain since 2009. He often appears on TV attacking China’s critics and criticizing his country’s bitter criticism of democracy advocates in Hong Kong. Uygars flanking the Xinjiang region.
In a BBC program in July, he was shown a drone video, apparently of prisoners being taken on a train in Xinjiang. When asked what was happening, he struggled to answer, then replied, “Xinjiang is considered the most beautiful place.” He later suggested that the video may be fake.
Mr Liu joined Twitter last year when other Chinese diplomats gathered large followers on the site. He quickly adopted the aggressive tone of some of his colleagues, who have been nicknamed “Wolf Warriors” after the popular Chinese film series. In less than a year, their number exceeded 85,000.
They use twitter To attack adrian zenz, A scholar who has researched the Xinjiang Rift. he keeps External forces accused Last year to promote the protest movement in Hong Kong. he keeps Praised China’s response to Coronavirus And Defended Huawei, Embraced the Chinese tech company.
But since he joined the social media platform, such celebrations have proved to be particularly troubling.
Soon after, his account was posted An opening message In October (“Hello everyone! I am Liu Xiaoming …”) his account liked an answer that a Chinese ambassador would usually not accept: “Hail to China’s dictatorial man!” Hail to totalitarianism! “
Loose choices did not become a serious issue until Wednesday, when Mr. Liu’s account went into disrepute.
Luke D. Pulford, a member of the British Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission, wrote in a tweet, drawing attention to Mr. Vivid’s apparent support of the video, “Warning: eat at it, don’t read it.” “It meant little to it,” Mr. de Pulford said. “But then I remembered #Yughur Concentration Camp and #HongKong and ended quickly.”
The Chinese embassy quickly came to the rescue of Mr Liu, blaming “anti-China elements”, saying he “viciously attacked Ambassador Liu Xiaoming’s Twitter account and used vile methods to deceive the public.”
“The embassy has given this information to the Twitter company and later urged a full investigation and handling of the matter seriously,” the statement said. “The embassy is empowered to take further action and hopes that the public will not believe or spread such a rumor.”
Mr. Liu joined a group of executives from around the world who have been implicated by strange or inappropriate tweets.
Anthony D. Wenner, a Democrat from New York, resigned from Congress in 2011 after he tweeted a clear picture of himself and later admitted inappropriate relationships with women online while marrying. Ed Balls, former Member of Parliament in Britain, Tweeted my own name in 2011, Apparently while trying to do a search. (The date he did so, April 28, is now known on Twitter as Ed Balls Day.) And Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s account liked a vulgar tweet in 2017, accusing a staff member Was.
Mr. Liu has not directly addressed the dispute. But, he Tweeted a vague maximum He appeared announcing his innocence: “A good anvil is not afraid of a hammer.”