The US ambassador to China accused Beijing Wednesday of censoring multiple social media posts from the White House and State Department during last week’s NATO summit in Madrid.
“[People’s Republic of China] censors again removed White House and State Department posts on Hong Kong and the #NATOSummit from our WeChat/Weibo accounts last week,” envoy Nicholas Burns tweeted.
“The PRC ought to allow the Chinese people to see what American leaders say, as the American people hear what Chinese leaders say,” added Burns, who shared screenshots of the pulled posts.
The post removed from Weibo was shared by the US Embassy and linked to the White House’s fact sheet on the NATO summit. The two posts deleted on WeChat were from the White House and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and were related to the State Department’s official statement on the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China by Britain.
In the statement by Blinken, the department criticized China for no longer viewing “democratic participation, fundamental freedoms, and an independent media” as part of Hong Kong’s future.
The department also blasted Beijing “for an erosion of autonomy and dismantling of the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents over the last two years,” citing jailings, media raids, removal of access to public art, corrupt lawmakers and election issues.
“We stand in solidarity with people in Hong Kong and reinforce their calls for their promised freedoms to be reinstated,” the statement read.
China has a long history of censoring social media posts, films and TV shows, often at the government’s request.
In May, Beijing took a swipe at the US for altering language on an agency web page focused on Taiwan when verbiage stating that Washington “does not support Taiwan independence” was removed.
Similar language, “we do not support Taiwan independence,” was added back to the page on May 28 after China called the change a “petty act of fictionalizing.”
Currently, the State Department web page emphasizes that the US policy toward Taiwan “has remained consistent across decades and administrations,” saying “we oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side.”