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This week America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, reportedly posted a harsh tweet directed at China but then deleted it and replaced it with a seemingly softer one.
Posted Thursday, the original tweet read as follows: “Beijing should let the voices of all Hong Kongers be heard. The PRC’s disqualification of district councilors only weakens Hong Kong’s long-term political and social stability. We stand with the people of Hong Kong & continue to support their human rights & fundamental freedoms.”
He was reportedly addressing a recent decision by the CCP to disqualify seven pro-democracy Hong Kong district councilors by invaliding their oaths of office.
Look at a screenshot of the original tweet below:
By Friday morning, the tweet was gone. Instead, it’d seemingly been replaced by another tweet that some alleged was softer in tone.
“The PRC’s disqualification of seven pro-democracy district councilors undermines the ability of people in Hong Kong to participate in their governance. Governments should serve the people they represent. Decreasing representation goes against the spirit of Hong Kong’s Basic Law,” the new tweet reads.
The PRC’s disqualification of seven pro-democracy district councilors undermines the ability of people in Hong Kong to participate in their governance. Governments should serve the people they represent. Decreasing representation goes against the spirit of Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 16, 2021
The discovery that Blinken had deleted his original tweet and replaced it provoked accusations that he was trying to appease the Chinese Communist Party just like the NBA.
@SecBlinken Do you still stand with the people of Hong Kong? Did President Xi order you to delete this post? Did President Xi order @JoeBiden to order you to delete this post? Who are you working for inside the CCP? We the American people want to know. https://t.co/WGaogGXKlr
— Citizen_C (@HiddenForSafety) September 17, 2021
Why did you delete your original tweet👇? What’s wrong with this tweet? pic.twitter.com/sB09Xd1aqh
— 殉道者 (@xundaozhe6699) September 17, 2021
The “free world” has been infiltrated by China as well. Why do you think @SecBlinken is so cowardly when he speaks about Hong Kong? He doesn’t want to upset his CCP masters. China meddled in our election and no one says a word. They funded the destruction of our cities.
— MyFreedomOutweightsUrSafety (@outweights) September 18, 2021
You are so weak. You deleted the tweet “ US will stand with the people of Hong Kong”. I can’t believe that. Come on. Since when, the US need to knee down to CCP? Last time you are abused by tiger yang for more than one hour? Seriously? The American feels embarrassing.
— g rx ht (@grxht2) September 18, 2021
Who made you delete the first tweet?
— jason Garner (@jegtar75) September 17, 2021
I see you got your orders from your real boss in China to delete your “we stand with the people of Hong Kong” tweet!
PS: you are a freaking joke!
— Just My Two Cents (@just_cents) September 17, 2021
Coward’s, bending to a communist dictatorship.
— David Melendez (@davidme78837635) September 18, 2021
When questioned by Newsweek about why Blinken’s original tweet was replaced, a State Department spokesperson said it was all a big misunderstanding.
“The team that manages the Secretary’s twitter account mistakenly sent the tweet intended to come from the spokesperson. We fixed that error and tweeted from both accounts, speaking out about Hong Kong authorities’ disqualification of pro-democracy district councilors,” the statement reads.
“Suggestions that this administrative change was somehow motivated by political concerns is patently untrue. The tweets affirm—in words and in meaning—that the United States stands with the people of Hong Kong. We urge the PRC to allow the people of Hong Kong to meaningfully participate in their governance,” the statement continues.
The State Department spokesperson is Ned Price, and a glance at his Twitter profile does indeed turn up a tweet containing the exact same words that were seen in Blinken’s first tweet:
Beijing should let the voices of all Hong Kongers be heard. The PRC’s disqualification of district councilors only weakens Hong Kong’s long-term political and social stability. We stand with the people of Hong Kong & continue to support their human rights & fundamental freedoms.
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) September 16, 2021
But this only raised further questions. Why, critics wanted to know, was it necessary for the secretary of state to tweet a “soft” version of the administration’s message and relegate the “harder” one to a spokesperson?
One Twitter user speculated this was done so that Blinken “can blame and fire” Price in case the CCP complain about the “harder” message.
So @SecBlinken is a coward who, after posting something that mattered and would help the people in Hong Kong, chose to delete it and have an employee post it. This way when the Chinese whine about it, Blinken and Biden can blame and fire the employee. #cowards
— Keeva (@Keeva) September 17, 2021
That being said, the CCP has already complained.
“The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Friday strongly disapproved and firmly opposed the irresponsible comments from certain U.S. politicians on the HKSAR government determining the oaths taken by seven district council members invalid in accordance with law,” Chinese state media reported Friday.
“The spokesperson of the office said certain U.S. politicians smeared the Chinese central government and the HKSAR government, stood on the side of anti-China, destabilizing forces in Hong Kong and interfered in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs,” the report continued.
As of Saturday morning, Price still remained employed, but you never know …
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