Twitter backs China, says coronavirus disinformation spread by Chinese government official does not violate rules
Earlier this month, we reported a story of Chinese government spokesperson Zhao Lijian after he said the coronavirus’ origin is not necessarily China, calling it “irresponsible” to trace the origin to China. Lijian’s warning came after China’s own reports confirmed that coronavirus may have originated from China’s Wuhan laboratory.
When many Twitter users reported the tweet, Twitter spokesperson said the disinformation about the coronavirus spread by Chinese government, does not violate Twitter’s policies, according to a report from The Hill. Twitter’s spokesperson pointed to the company’s position of giving public figures broad exemptions to many of its policies.
In the tweet, Zhao Lijian, an official spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “Confirmed cases of #COVID19 were first found in China, but its origin is not necessarily in China. We are still tracing the origin.” Zhao insinuate in the tweet that the U.S. military may have spread the coronavirus to Wuhan, China. Twitter spokesperson said the tweet will remain up.
Confirmed cases of #COVID19 were first found in China, but its origin is not necessarily in China. We are still tracing the origin. pic.twitter.com/N9p2Ne2NAt
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 5, 2020
“Presently, direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the Twitter Rules,” the site reads. Twitter’s decision not to take down the tweets implying that the disease, which originated in Wuhan, was brought by the U.S. has already drawn criticism.