China’s diplomatic mission in the US has claimed it was targeted by hackers, after the embassy’s official Twitter account retweeted Donald Trump’s demand that the 2020 election results be overturned.
In what has become a nearly daily occurrence, the US president fired off a tweet on Wednesday in which he questioned the legitimacy of November’s contest.
“If somebody cheated in the Election, which the Democrats did, why wouldn’t the Election be immediately overturned? How can a Country be run like this?” Trump wrote.
At least by 2020 standards, the provocative message is nothing unusual, especially coming from Trump, but one reaction to the tweet caught the attention of journalists.
A Reuters reporter screengrabbed an “interesting” retweet from the Chinese Embassy in the US that perhaps signified that the foreign diplomatic mission agreed with Trump’s incendiary accusations.
Interesting retweet pic.twitter.com/5pdxSdPQyu
— davidshepardson (@davidshepardson) December 9, 2020
The embassy later acknowledged that its social media account had been used to do some unauthorized retweeting, however.
“The Chinese Embassy twitter account was hacked this afternoon and we condemn such an act. For clarification, the Embassy didn’t do any retweeting on Dec. 9,” the diplomatic mission wrote. The scandalous retweet no longer exists.
The Chinese Embassy twitter account was hacked this afternoon and we condemn such an act. For clarification, the Embassy didn’t do any retweeting on Dec.9.
— Chinese Embassy in US (@ChineseEmbinUS) December 10, 2020
The explanation was not particularly well received. Numerous Twitter users expressed doubts about the hacking story, and the thread was soon flooded with ‘Sure, Jan’ memes and other popular GIFs used to relay mocking suspicion.
Veteran political journalist Dan Froomkin theorized that a renegade or poorly trained employee was responsible for the retweet.
“Another social media intern in big trouble,” he joked.
The Twitter drama comes amid skyrocketing tensions between the Trump administration and Beijing. The contested presidential contest has further complicated relations. Presumed president-elect Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, has been accused of shady business dealings with Chinese firms, and is currently the subject of a federal investigation.
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