The People’s Republic of China says the Twitter account of an ambassador who ‘liked’ a tweet containing pornographic content was hacked.
The account in question belongs to Liu Xiaoming, the PRC’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. While Twitter is banned in the PRC, Chinese diplomats and their staff who live overseas are permitted to use the social media platform.
On Wednesday, the account appeared to give a digital thumbs up to a tweet in which a sexual act was depicted in a 10-second video.
Other posts ‘liked’ by the ambassador’s account included comments that were critical of the PRC’s Communist party.
The Chinese embassy in London has said that action will be taken unless Twitter instigates an investigation into what the PRC is calling “abominable.”
‘Likes’ appearing to have been digitally distributed by the ambassador remained active on Twitter for around an hour before being reneged. Other Twitter users, surprised by the content’s seemingly meeting with the ambassador’s approval, commented on their appearance.
Typically, Liu shares news stories distributed by the Chinese state media that depict the PRC in a positive light. During an interview with the BBC in July, Liu denied human rights atrocities were being committed in Xinjiang despite being confronted with drone footage of the acts being committed.
Several hours after the alleged cyber-incident, a spokesperson for the London embassy issued a statement condemning the hack and attributing it to anti-Chinese cyber-criminals.
“Recently some anti-China elements viciously attacked Ambassador Liu Xiaoming’s Twitter account and employed despicable methods to deceive the public,” read the statement.
“The Chinese embassy strongly condemns such abominable behavior.”
The embassy said that it had reported the alleged hack to Twitter and urged the company to “make thorough investigations and handle this matter seriously.”
The statement continued: “The embassy reserves the right to take further actions and hope that the public will not believe or spread such rumor.”
Alleged hacking victim Liu republished the embassy’s tweet to his more than 85,000 followers, adding the phrase: “A good anvil does not fear the hammer.”
A hacker or hacking organization is yet to step forward and claim responsibility for the alleged hack.