For all their handwringing about what a ‘threat’ Trump is to Democracy, Silicon Valley sure is — shall we say, ‘accommodating’ — to China whitewashing their human rights abuses.
We’re approaching the anniversary of one of the most iconic photographs of the entire 20th Century — the one where one brave Chinese protester stood in front of a column of tanks, blocking their path.
And, wonder of wonders, the tanks stopped.
The famous photo of the anonymous ‘Tank Man’ is contained in this Reuters tweet:
On Tiananmen anniversary, Taiwan says China continues to cover up the truth about the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square 30 years ago https://t.co/i1jlmxNjB9 via @YimouLee pic.twitter.com/TpkhRhpIcU
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) June 4, 2019
The world has not forgotten the events:
“‘We salute the heroes of the Chinese people who bravely stood up 30 yrs ago in Tiananmen Square…& urge Chinese govt to make a full, public accounting of those killed/missing to give comfort to the victims of this dark chapter of history.” #Tiananmen30 https://t.co/zTqywK5k1D
— Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) June 4, 2019
Nor have those who witnessed it firsthand:
This spectacular night scene of the mass hunger strike in Tiananmen Square 1989 was taken by a friend of mine. He wants it to be shared, but is too afraid to reveal his name. pic.twitter.com/dlemRXY3l4
— 马建 Ma Jian (@majian53) June 4, 2019
China has a lot to answer for:
At least 10,000 people died in Tiananmen Square massacre, secret British cable from the time alleged Secret document suggested death toll was much higher than later reported, while claiming wounded students were bayoneted as they begged for their lives and the burnt remains of victims were ‘hosed down the drains’
…The newly declassified document, written little more than 24 hours after the massacre, gives a much higher death toll than the most commonly used estimates which only go up to about 3,000.
It also provides horrific detail of the massacre, alleging that wounded female students were bayoneted as they begged for their lives, human remains were “hosed down the drains”, and a mother was shot as she tried to go to the aid of her injured three-year-old daughter.
But China is aggressively hiding the horrors of their history from public view. And they’re getting helped by so-called ‘Progressives’ in Silicon Valley.
Censorship comes naturally to both China AND Big Tech.
Just like China censors all sorts of other things they don’t want us to know about — the mass incarceration and ‘reeducation camps’ that Uyghurs have been enduring…
Human Rights Watch says Uighur people in particular are subject to intense surveillance and are made to give DNA and biometric samples. Those with relatives in 26 “sensitive” countries have reportedly been rounded up, and up to a million detained. Rights groups say people in camps are made to learn Mandarin Chinese and criticise or renounce their faith.
… and the systematic persecution of Christian churches …
China’s Communist party is intensifying religious persecution as Christianity’s popularity grows. A new state translation of the Bible will establish a ‘correct understanding’ of the text
… and their own version of Google has forbidden words, including Peace Prize, Human Rights, and Student Protest.
You would think the ‘Woke’ and ‘Progressive’ folks at Silicon Valley would object to abuses of power. That would naively assume that these Tech Giants’ supposed ‘principles’ are not for sale.
Twitter, for example, was busted kissing China’s Totalitarian ass, in helping the tyrants wipe away any reminders of the sins of their past:
Twitter purged tens of thousands of accounts critical of the Chinese government just days ahead of the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4.
…Details of Twitter’s crackdown were brought to light by Chinese human rights activist Yaxue Cao, founder and editor of China Change. He posted that “a large number of Chinese Twitter accounts are being suspended today. They ‘happen’ to be accounts critical of China, both inside and outside China.”
Notice: they said “OUTSIDE China”. Xi’s government has been exerting influence and sway well beyond their own borders.
Among the accounts suspended are some prominent, long-time Chinese-language tweeps: @Sasha_Gong, @wmeng8. Both live in the US. More accts have been suspended than I can keep up. @Twitter @twittersecurity @TwitterForGood pic.twitter.com/QCDa6yRu1K
— #六四不吃饭 (@YaxueCao) June 1, 2019
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was among the first to boost Cao’s highlighting of the bans, and condemned Twitter for acting as a censor for the Chinese government.
“[Twitter] has apparently suspended a large number of accounts that are critical of China including accounts of people outside of China. Twitter has become a Chinese govt censor,” wrote Rubio.
The Senator’s rebuke prompted the social media giant to issue an explanation on its Public Policy Feed, where it defied speculation that the abuse of mass reports by Chinese authorities prompted the bans. Twitter claims that the sweep, which affected tens of thousands of users, was merely the result of “routine action.”
Twitter gave this explanation:
“As part of our work to protect the health of the public conversation, we proactively challenge 8-10 million accounts per week for engaging in various forms of platform manipulation, including spam and other inauthentic behaviors.
As part of these efforts, we suspended a number of accounts this week. A significant proportion for engaging in a mix of spamming, inauthentic behavior, & ban evasion, all of which are violations of the Twitter Rules — regardless of the content being shared or views expressed.
However, some of these were involved in commentary about China. These accounts were not mass reported by the Chinese authorities — this was a routine action on our part.
Sometimes our routine actions catch false positives or we make errors. We apologize. We’re working today to ensure we overturn any errors but that we remain vigilant in enforcing our rules for those who violate them.”
Judging by their patterns of censorship here at home, Twitter imagines themselves as part of a ‘resistance’ movement, quick to censor anyone they deem the ‘bad guy’.
They imagine themselves as taking a ‘heroic’ stand like this guy:
But in practice, they’re more like this guy:
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