Twitter's new China head wants to 'work together' with state media

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Twitter's new China head wants to 'work together' with state media

Beijing (AFP) – The new head of Twitter in China has called for “closer partnership” with Communist Party-backed state media, leading many of the social network’s users to question her appointment. 

IT engineer Kathy Chen, who was appointed managing director for the greater China region last week, worked with the Chinese army and more recently American tech giants including Microsoft and Cisco.

Like Facebook, YouTube and other sites, Twitter is blocked in mainland China but many people and institutions — including state media — access accounts via Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). 

Xinhua, China’s official news agency, used its Twitter account to offer “congratulations” to Chen on her appointment. 

“Thanks and look forward to closer partnership in the future!” she replied. 

“Let’s work together to tell great China story to the world!” she tweeted at state television channel CCTV. 

Premier Xi Jinping reminded both CCTV and Xinhua to “strictly adhere to the orders of the Chinese Communist Party” during a visit to state media headquarters this year.

Twitter users inside China and abroad attacked Chen’s public messages, with one writing in Mandarin: “What are you hoping to achieve by working with Communist Party media? Strengthen the Great Firewall?” 

“It’s not a place for CCP propaganda, go away,” wrote another in English.

The account @kathychen2016, from which the tweets were sent, is not verified, but was the one used by Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey when announcing the appointment.   

A director for the company told Hong Kong media last week that it was hoping to attract more advertising from mainland China.

The new head of Twitter in China has called for “closer partnership” with Communist Party-backed state media, leading many of the social network’s users to question her appointment
Copyright AFP/File Leon Neal

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