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Washington, D.C. – China Task Force Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) along with other members of the China Task Force, Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY), Liz Cheney (R-WY), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Robert J. Wittman (R-VA), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Mark Green (R-TN), Mike Garcia (R-CA), Austin Scott (R-GA), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) and Young Kim (R-CA) sent a letter to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal warning of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) malign activity on Twitter. 

“We look forward to your new leadership in the hopes that it brings about a renewed, healthy discourse between Congress and Twitter. Twitter is in 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,” the lawmakers wrote. “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.”

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 in 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. 

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