(CNSNews.com) - A senior administration official told reporters aboard Air Force One on its way to Beijing today that President Donald Trump will tweet from China, if he can, even though Twitter, like Facebook, is banned in China.
The official’s statement came in response to a reporter who asked: “Do you think he should tweet while he's in China? Do you see any problem with that? Is there any reason why the President shouldn't tweet while he's in China?”
“The President will tweet whenever he wants,” the official responded, according to a White House transcript of the exchange. “That's his way of communicating directly with the American people.”
“Including in China?” asked a reporter.
“Yeah, why not. Why not,” said the official. “So long as he can access his Twitter account because Twitter is banned in China. So is Facebook and, of course, most of the other social media.”
“So can he access it? Logistically, can he access it?” a reporter asked.
“I'm sure we've got the gear aboard this airplane to allow that to happen,” said the official. “But it is noteworthy that none of the major Western platforms for social media are even allowed to operate in China.”
Freedom House, which assigns “Freedom on the Net Scores” to nations around the world, ranked the People’s Republic of China as the worst nation in the world for Internet freedom in 2016. On a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is the most free and 100 the least, China scored 88—putting it above Iran (87), Syria (87), Ethiopia (83), Cuba (79), Uzbekistan (79), Vietnam (76), Saudi Arabia (72), Bahrain (71) and Pakistan (69).
“China was the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom in the 2016 Freedom on the Net survey for the second consecutive year,” said Freedom House’s 2016 “Freedom on Net” report on China. “Harsh punishments for expression and a deteriorating legal environment are significantly undermining civil society activism on the internet.”
“Coordinated smear campaigns are used to discredit high-profile government critics,” said the Freedom House report. “The work also extends beyond China’s borders to social media apps that are actually banned for mainland users, such as Twitter.”
“Certain web applications are totally blocked, isolating the Chinese public from a global network of user-generated content,” said the report. “According to GreatFire.org, an organization that monitors blocked content in China, 138 of Alexa’s top 1,000 websites in the world were blocked in 2016. These include YouTube, Google, Facebook, Flickr, SoundCloud, and WordPress. Services operated by Google including Google Maps, Translate, Calendar, and Scholar were blocked in 2014.”