Trump, China, and Twitter – what’s happening?


The AMERICAN President Donald Trump, the Twitter account was briefly disabled last week by a Twitter employee, many people began to wonder if there would be a similar period of silence this week.

After all, Mr. Trump is currently in China, known for its “great firewall,” which blocks access to many foreign websites, including Twitter.

It turns out that the president has maintained his tweet in China, in thanking his hosts for their hospitality, the firing of a warning to North Korea, and even changing her Twitter header image to one of him, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and the two first ladies, surrounded by dozens of Chinese performers.

So what’s going on? There are two sides to that – from a technical point of view and policy.

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Twitter is blocked on China – but not for the privileged or the tech-savvy

Thousands of web sites and social media platforms are blocked in China mainland. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp are blocked, as well as sites on the internet, according to the authorities, sensitive. (The BBC News website has been blocked in the past, as the New York Times and the Economist).

A lot of people bypass China’s firewall by using virtual private networks (Vpn), although the government is in the process of cracking down on VPN providers.

But the Chinese authorities are not beyond making exceptions to the rules.

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The officials briefly considered relaxation of its censorship laws in the Shanghai Free trade Zone back in 2013. And the official Xinhua news agency, uses Twitter to promote its articles to the dismay of many Chinese social media users who accused the government of double standards.

The advance of Mr. Trump to the arrival of China’s Vice-Minister of Foreign affairs, Zheng Zeguang assured reporters that he would be able to tweet as much as he wants, saying: “We take all into account on the reception of foreign heads of state, so you should not have any reservations about the President of the ability to stay in contact with the outside world.”

It is an approach that has been criticized by rights groups.

Sophie Richardson, the China director of Human Rights Watch, told Bloomberg: “If the President Trump is to be able to tweet from China, it is because he enjoys privileges President Xi systematically denies to the people across the country.”So, how is Mr. Trump access to Twitter?

Journalists travelling with Mr Trump have found that they can access Twitter on their mobile phones, as long as they are using 3G or 4G, networks roaming on a foreign sim card.

In practice, foreign officials visiting China was told to strictly adhere to the safety instructions, and have sometimes been advised not to use their own phones or laptops in the country.

So, Mr. Trump is probably not fair to tweeter out of its usual context of the mobile phone.


For obvious reasons, the united states has not given all the details of their arrangements to ensure that Mr. Trump can go online safely.

But, while en route to Beijing, a White House official did assure reporters that Mr. Trump would keep his tweets from China, saying: “I am sure that we have equipment onboard that plane to get there.”

Mr. Trump first three tweets from China have been sent from a web browser, rather than a phone. However, his fourth tweet, where he celebrates the first anniversary of his election victory, has been sent from an iPhone, the data of Tweetdeck shows.Twitter is a political tool

Don’t forget that tweeter, it is also a political act for Mr. Trump – it’s used to announce policies, lambast political opponents, and criticism of other countries – including China.

If Mr. Trump had decided to stay out of Twitter in China, it could be perceived as him being silenced, albeit virtually, through the censorship of the Chinese people.

This could explain why the White House official stressed to reporters that “the president tweet all he wants [in China]. It is his way of communicating directly with the American people.”

However, observers have also picked up on the contrast in tone between Mr. Trump tweets in Beijing, and some of his previous posts.

Although Mr. Trump’s Wednesday tweets focused on thanking his hosts for the “wonderful welcome”, adding, “Melania and I will never forget it!”, previously, he used Twitter to criticize the China of the devaluation of the currency, and argue that China has not done enough to dissuade North Korea from its nuclear ambitions.

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During this time, the Chinese state media, with enthusiasm, picked up on Mr. Trump of China’s recent tweets, and the fact that it has changed its header image to one of him with Mr. Xi.

“Mr. Trump was full of feeling, after having visited the Forbidden Palace – and even changed his Twitter photo header!” TELEVISION Station iFeng reported on Chinese microblog weibo, with a thumbs up emoji.

Of course, there is no mention of the fact that Twitter is not officially available in China.