Twitter restricts account of New Zealand expert who mocked Xi Jinping: Reports

A New Zealand academician on Monday said that her Twitter account was restricted over the weekend following her tweets mocking Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, she later confirmed that the access to her account was restored on Monday, said a report.

University of Canterbury Professor Anne-Marie Brady is an expert on China's attempts to exert political influence around the world and has been an outspoken critic of its ruling Communist Party. According to reports, last week, she sent tweets poking fun at the party's 100th anniversary celebrations.

Prof Brady had tweeted an opinion article which she had written for the Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian news website, suggesting an alternative headline which mocked Xi Jinping. “Alternative headline: "Xi: Its my Party and I'll cry if I want to" #CPC100Years,” she tweeted on July 1 (IST). In a subsequent tweet, she also shared an image of the Chinese leader and said “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

In a statement, Twitter said that when it detects unusual activity from an account, it can sometimes add temporary notices until it gets confirmation from the account owner.

“To set the record straight, the assertion that Twitter is in coordination with any government to suppress speech has no basis in fact whatsoever," Twitter said. “We advocate for a free, global and open internet and remain a staunch defender of freedom of expression.”

Brady said her account has been restored. "Opening my work laptop this morning I was greeted by a “Welcome back” message on my screen from @Twitter, as if I was the one who left them," she wrote.

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