BEIJING (Reuters) - The youth wing of China’s ruling Communist Party on Monday said it had complained to social network Twitter about a fake account set up in its name that has tweeted sarcastic comments about the Communist Party.
China blocks Twitter and other Western sites, such as Facebook and Google, but that has not stopped some state media and government departments from setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts in Chinese and English as they seek to expand their global footprint.
In a brief statement on its Weibo account, China’s answer to Twitter, the Youth League labeled the @ComYouthLeague Twitter account “completely fabricated”, saying it had asked for it to be “handled”. The statement did not elaborate.
It displayed a screenshot of the account with the phrase “fake goods” stamped across it in Chinese.
A second picture showed the Youth League’s official social media accounts, including those on Weibo and WeChat. It did not include any foreign social media sites.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The account the Youth League labeled as fake sent its first tweet on Sept. 12, and has sent 10 tweets to date.
One linked to an article on the official Xinhua news agency about a Chinese being detained for selling VPN services that help people skirt internet curbs and asked why people needed to do this, if China had such a “wonderful internet culture”.
It is not clear who set up the account, but it calls itself the Youth League’s official Twitter account and carries a link to the League’s official website.
Adding to the confusion, another Twitter account claiming to be the Youth League‘s, @ccylchina, was also launched last week, though its content conforms to the party’s point of view. Neither account is officially verified by Twitter.
The Youth League did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.
The Youth League has 88 million members aged between 14 and 28, mainly party and government officials who have been groomed for decades as potential future rulers.
With more than 5 million followers on Weibo, it has aggressively courted Chinese social media, extending its reach to platforms previously neglected by mainstream propaganda bodies.
In July, the Youth League made its latest online foray into Netease music, one of China’s largest online music streaming sites, with songs on its playlist ranging from the Internationale to raps by Taiwanese singing sensation Jay Chou.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Pei Li; Additional reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Clarence Fernandez