The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
U.S. Republican Representatives from Tennessee Diana Harshbarger and Mark Green, along with other members of the China Task Force, have sent a letter to Twitter’s new CEO, Parag Agrawal, warning him of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) malign activity on Twitter.
Harshbarger said, “On Wednesday, I joined my China Task Force colleagues in demanding new Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal take action on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) use of Twitter to spread their propaganda and lies. The CCP uses Twitter to spread its disinformation about the peaceful pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang province, and the disappearance of athletes around the world. Outrageously, they have also used Twitter to spread the lie that COVID originated in the United States. All of this occurs as conservative voices, including President Trump, are silenced. We must hold Twitter, and the rest of Big Tech, accountable.”
The letter to Agrawal says in part, “We look forward to your new leadership in the hopes that it brings about a renewed, healthy discourse between Congress and Twitter. Twitter is an unparalleled platform to share ideas, spread information, and give everyone a voice. However, it can also mislead and amplify our adversaries’ propaganda…We hope you take your new leadership position at Twitter as an opportunity to address these concerns and ensure your platform is not corrupted and abused by the Chinese Communist Party.”
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The China Task Force brings together select members from key committees to help reinforce Congressional efforts to counter current and emerging cross-jurisdictional threats from China. The Task Force was originally designed to be a joint effort with Democrat colleagues, but after delaying for more than a year, the majority never launched the initiative.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy officially announced the formation of the Task Force on May 7th, 2020 to be chaired by Representative Michael McCaul from Texas.
Joining Harshbarger and Green in the letter to Twitter’s new CEO was Chairman Michael McCaul (TX), Reps. Andy Barr (KY), Liz Cheney (WY), Mike Gallagher (WI), Michael Waltz (FL), Darin LaHood (IL), Guy Reschenthaler (PA), Robert J. Wittman (VA), Neal Dunn (FL), Mike Garcia (CA), Austin Scott (GA), and Young Kim (CA).
The full text of the letter can be found HERE or below.
Dear Mr. Parag Agrawal
We write to congratulate you on becoming Twitter’s new CEO. We look forward to your new leadership in the hopes that it brings about a renewed, healthy discourse between Congress and Twitter. Twitter is an unparalleled platform to share ideas, spread information, and give everyone a voice. However, it can also mislead and amplify our adversaries’ propaganda. Today, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using Twitter—a platform that is blocked in the People’s Republic of China—to spread its disinformation on the peaceful pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the origins of covid, the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang, and disappearance of athletes, around the world.
We are particularly concerned about your platform hosting misinformation about the origins of COVID-19. One such example is from Chen Xiaodong—Chinese Ambassador to South Africa— who began tweeting1 in March 2020 attempting to spread disinformation about the origins of COVID having begun in the United States. This is patently false, and in fact has been disproved by a report from the House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans. Unfortunately, at the time Twitter claimed2 that this blatant misinformation did not violate its rules. In fact, it was later reported in May of that same year that the CCP had pushed out 90,000 tweets since the start of April from 200 diplomatic and state media accounts in a COVID-19 information war offensive attempting to obfuscate the true origins of COVID and shift culpability to the U.S. Again, as proven in the Origins of Covid Report, this is not only false, but dangerous.
In addition to the dangerous lies the CCP spreads using your platform about COVID-19 we are also very concerned about the CCP using Twitter to cover up the ongoing genocide of the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. It is imperative that Twitter not allow these lies to live on its platform and they should be deleted immediately. Unfortunately, it took Twitter two days to delete a tweet3 from the Chinese Embassy to the U.S. claiming China’s policy towards Uyghur women actually improves their lives. While we are glad that Twitter eventually deleted this particular tweet, there are many others that are still up on the platform. One such tweet4 that is still up is from Zhao Lijian—Deputy Director of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs—that outright denies any genocide in Xinjiang. We urge Twitter to remove this tweet and others like it immediately.
Finally, as your leadership at Twitter takes root we hope you will stop Twitter from aiding the CCP in censoring critics of the regime, including whistleblowers of sexual abuse by party officials. Indeed, we are very concerned with tweets from multiple PRC state media accounts spreading false assurances5 of tennis star Peng Shuai’s safety who earlier this year accused a senior CCP party official of sexual assault.
We hope you take your new leadership position at Twitter as an opportunity to address these concerns and ensure your platform is not corrupted and abused by the Chinese Communist Party. We must remain constantly vigilant as malign actors such as the CCP work around the clock to remake the international order in their image and to stamp out freedom and democracy around the world.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com