Eight months after Chinese authorities declared a crackdown on critical posts on Chinese social media, the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, has said it is tired of being mocked on Twitter.
“We have noticed that a Twitter account has been misleading people by stealing [the] People’s Daily web address and National emblem of China to make false impression,” the newspaper wrote in a tweet from its verified account.
“People’s Daily publicly condemns such theft and forgery conduct and demands the user of this account to make immediate rectification,” it concluded.
Rectification is a politically-loaded term in China that has been used to refer to party purges and dates back to the early days of the Communist Party.
The paper was referring to Relevant Organs, a well-known spoof account with almost 14,000 followers. The parody account lists the People’s Daily website as its own and describes itself as “China’s soft-power vanguard, rectifying your thought since 2010” on its profile.
Impersonating someone else on Twitter can lead to the suspension of an account, according to the platform’s usage guidelines. A parody account may not use the logo of an original account and has to state in its description that it does not represent the individual or body it is making fun of.
Relevant Organs reacted with parody. “Relevant Organs hail [the People’s Daily’s] “e-rectification” campaign,” it replied. “This is no time to go soft on Twitter’s black elements!”