Twitter’s new boss in China is facing criticism over her close links to the Chinese military, and her involvement with the Chinese government’s Great Firewall, which has blocked Twitter across mainland China since 2009. Twitter can still be accessed in neighbouring Hong Kong or by using a VPN (virtual private network).
Kathy Chen was announced as managing director for Twitter’s greater China business last Friday. She used the service to introduce herself to Twitter users.
“Thank you very much for your support,” said Chen, in a video posted on Twitter by the company’s official greater China account.
But not all Chinese-speaking Twitter users are ready to lend their support to Chen, who has previously worked on the Chinese operations of Microsoft and Cisco.
Chinese Twitter users highlighted Chen’s background as an engineer for the Chinese military during the late 1980s and 90s. They also pointed out that she was involved with Computer Associates-Jinchen between 1999 and 2005 — a joint venture between US tech giant Computer Associates International (now known as CA Technologies) and China’s Ministry of Public Security.
Chen told Chinese media in 2004 that Computer Associates-Jinchen had made software used to filter “information of political sensitivity and harmful information,” according to The Financial Times.
Chen’s LinkedIn profile was updated on Wednesday to clarify her previous jobs.