Ted Cruz Mocks Microsoft Over Bing's Censorship of Tiananmen's 'Tank Man'

Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz took his latest swipe at Silicon Valley's business ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China, mocking Microsoft over a reported glitch which caused the infamous 1989 "Tank Man" photograph to disappear from searches.

Cruz tweeted a response early Saturday morning to reports that Microsoft's search engine, Bing, had been eliminating image results for the famous photograph of a pro-democracy protester standing in front of tanks in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Friday marked the 32nd anniversary of the Chinese government's brutal crackdown on the pro-democracy protests, but search queries for the famous image began producing the response, "there are no results for 'tank man,'" Friday afternoon.

Cruz mocked Microsoft, sarcastically inquiring about their "accidental" business in China.

"Was the 'accidental human' who made the error by any chance the head of China Marketing for Microsoft?" the Texas senator wrote on Twitter.

Was the "accidental human" who made the error by any chance the head of China Marketing for Microsoft? https://t.co/LhUmFqmrf6

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2021

Microsoft issued a statement to Vice Motherboard late Friday that succinctly addressed the seemingly glaring case of censorship across Bing, its flagship search engine.

"This is due to an accidental human error and we are actively working to resolve this," Microsoft responded, prompting ridicule from many critics who have long criticized big tech companies in the United States for working with the Chinese Communist Party to conduct business in the world's largest country.

Newsweek reached out to Microsoft and Cruz's office for additional remarks Saturday morning, but did not hear back by time of publishing.

WikiLeaks and several conservative-leaning social media accounts immediately piled on Microsoft for their reported support of censoring the famous image. Vice reported Friday that Bing's search results in France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom also were not producing the "Tank Man" Tiananmen Square image results as late as Friday night.

The man in the photograph has never been officially identified and is often referred to in Western media as the "Unknown Protester." At the time of the crackdown, China said that about 200 people were killed, though a BBC report from 2017 said the death toll may have been high as 10,000.

Meanwhile, Chinese government officials in Beijing are still cracking down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and elsewhere across China 32 years after the massacre.

Last year, Cruz joined several GOP senators in accusing Twitter and other Silicon Valley companies of "censoring" conservatives. He also penned a letter directly to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, accusing the company of propping up communist and authoritarian regimes in places like China and Iran by allowing their political leaders to use the platforms.

tank man beijing tiananmen square
A Beijing demonstrator blocks the path of a tank convoy along the Avenue of Eternal Peace near Tiananmen Square. For weeks, people have been protesting for freedom of speech and of press from the Chinese government. Contributor/Archive Photos/Getty Images