Chinese Netizens Just Realized The Real Xinhua Is On Twitter, And They’re Kind Of Pissed

I have to admit, the first time I encountered @XHNews, calling itself the “Xinhua News Agency” — description, “A multimedia group, Xinhua delivers the most authoritative China news as well as fast and objective global news” — I thought it was a joke. (First tweet, March 1: “Annual sessions of China’s top legislature and political advisory body are scheduled to open in early March.”) It did itself no favors by posting occasionally in all-caps, a la:

Sometimes, it would post screenshots – Twitter pics — of articles that were written in English, and when the article was too long for one screenshot, it would tweet a series of them, like so. And God, who could forget this next gem?

Also, as recently as Friday, Xinhua tweeted about pole dancing:

But no, rest assured, @XHNews is not a spoof account. We’d love to meet the person who operates it (probably someone very senior on the copydesk). Short of that, we’ll just say that the feed is actually very clean, free of typos, sometimes rather informative. Xinhua currently has 6,611 followers while following no one back, which is probably a good thing — we’d hate to see it pull a China Daily.

However, it does seem slightly ironic for a government agency to be using Twitter when none of its people, technically, are allowed to. Twitter has been blocked by the Great Firewall since July 2009, and with recent upgrades to said firewall, several VPN services have been crippled as well. (Note to everyone: use Witopia; it still works.)

And wouldn’t you know it, Chinese Internet users have just found out about Xinhua’s naughty tweeting, and they’re none too happy about it. Via South China Morning Post:

“I am going to report this to the police: Xinhua is obviously breaching our internet laws,” said a netizen on Sina Weibo, China’s micro-blogging service.

“Xinhua has proved itself a traitor who has chosen an evil path,” said another Weibo user in an ironic tone, referring to a speech given by President Hu Jintao.

Hu had said in his speech at the 18th party congress that “we reject both the old and rigid closed-door path and the evil path of shifting banners”. The phrase “evil path” has since become a hot word among China’s internet users.

Those who are tweeting from behind the Great Firewall are trying to be cute about it, but you can sense their simmering anger:

Once again, “rule of law” has been made a mockery of. In China, a law is only a law if you don’t know how to get away with breaking it.

UPDATE, 12:37 am: Maybe we can use the comments section to link to our favorite Xinhua tweets? I’ll get us started:

UPDATE, 12:53 am: Oh this is rich. Check out who Xinhua retweeted back in March:

This NY Times.


    11 Responses to “Chinese Netizens Just Realized The Real Xinhua Is On Twitter, And They’re Kind Of Pissed”

    1. David Fieldman

      A;lthough you say Witopia is working, I haven’t been able to access mine since before Shi ba da. The fixes that Witipia have offered, have, alas, not worked.

      • The Tao

        Have you updated the software? After the download, you’ll have to uninstall, restart (twice, they recommend) and then reinstall, and then Witopia support’s fixes *should* work. (Note: they are continually updating their fixes.) I’ve had to chat them up multiple times, but I have several port options that are connecting without a problem.

    2. King Baeksu

      I see no inconsistency here.

      The state media in China have only one purpose: To print all the news that’s fit to further the interests of the CCP. They are propaganda organs, plain and simple.

      Thus, if Xinhua chooses to send out messages on Twitter, that is an exercise of the full power of their remit, is it not?

      “Once again, ‘rule of law’ has been made a mockery of.”

      You are forgetting that: Chinese law = the CCP. If “rule of law” means “rule of the CCP,” then this particular “controversy” is much ado about nothing.

      The emperor may do whatever he likes; the point is that it is his subjects who may not.

      It’s quite simple, really.


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