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Deflecting criticism about the detention of large numbers of Uighurs and other minorities in large camps in China on Sunday, a Chinese diplomat based in Islamabad, Pakistan, posted a series of unusually aggressive tweets about Washington, D.C. and American politics writ-large, at one point calling former National Security Adviser Susan Rice “shockingly ignorant.”
In response to a tweet from the diplomat, Lijian Zhao, about segregation in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, Rice called him “a racist disgrace. And shockingly ignorant too.”
Instead of retreating from the suddenly massive spotlight offered by a social network banned in his home country, Zhao doubled down.
“You are such a disgrace, too,” he responded. “And shockingly ignorant, too.”
Why the blunt tweets from a deputy mission chief in Islamabad? It takes some unpacking, and even then, doesn’t make much sense.
The episode started with a letter to the United Nations’ human rights commissioner, signed by 22 member countries on the U.N Human Rights Council, denouncing “large-scale places of detention, as well as widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly targeting Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.”
Officially called “re-education camps,” the large camps in China’s northwest region of Xinjiang have been a source of global concern for years.
When 37 countries including Saudi Arabia and Russia defended the Chinese in another letter, Zhao celebrated what he called “a big slap on the face of US &its western cohorts.”
The United States, for what it’s worth, didn’t sign the initial letter, having quit the Human Rights Council last June. Still, Zhao accused it of “pull[ing] the strings by using 22 puppets.”
Zhao followed that with a bit of since-deleted whataboutism, focused on segregation in Washington, D.C.
“There’s a saying,” in Washington, Zhao tweeted: “‘Black in & white out,’ which means that as long as a black family enters, white peop
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