The US hit back at China over a social media post that claimed US officials in Guangzhou dismissed allegations of human rights abuses, saying the behavior puts Washington’s envoys at risk.
A spokesman for the US embassy in Beijing said on Tuesday that China should “stop making false statements to US officials or taking other actions that could upset our diplomats.”
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“Such action potentially jeopardizes the name of US officials,” the spokesman said, adding China was obliged to treat US diplomats with respect.
The US and China are embroiled in a growing dispute over human rights, with Washington accusing Beijing of carrying out genocide in its western region of Xinjiang and saying it is “the lie of the century”.
The latest chapter in the controversy began on Sunday, when Buidao, a social media account linked to the Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper, posted that two officials from the US consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou told a reception in 2021 that Washington “understood”. That’s nothing wrong in Xinjiang.
The post quoted two officials by name as saying that “propaganda about forced labour, genocide and human rights” was an effective measure to isolate Xinjiang from the global industrial chain.
“We can use this to bury the Chinese government in a deep quagmire,” the post quoted both of them as saying.
The Buidao Post said the comment was heard by a person, identified only as a “supplier of a well-known international sports brand, who attended the reception.” The post did not clarify what specific remarks each of the two officers reportedly made.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday that the comments were “not a gimmick of the Chinese government.” Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Hua Chunying sent several tweets about the post, which read: “A rare truth from US officials lying with their teeth. Awaiting clarification. ,
A US embassy spokesman said Washington’s position on Xinjiang had not changed.
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