China’s Communist party-controlled media has criticised “narrow-minded” and “prejudiced” online activists who are questioning Twitter’s decision to appoint as its first regional chief a former member of the People’s Liberation Army who once had ties to the country’s security services.
Kathy Chen, a former Microsoft manager, was named as the social network’s managing director for mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Chen’s appointment has incensed Chinese dissidents and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong who use Twitter, a service that has been blocked in mainland China since 2009.
Chen, whose main task will be boosting Twitter’s advertising business in China, has not responded to the criticism.
However, Twitter’s spokesperson said it was “thrilled” Chen had joined the company and said her “strategic hire shows our increasing commitment to this important region”.
China’s government-controlled media also came to Chen’s defence. “Western countries should rid themselves of prejudice and accept China’s rise as a major internet power,” said Qin An, a cyber-security expert from the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy.