Hong Kong CNN  — 

“Have u ever been to Tibet bro?”

That’s how an official Chinese government Twitter account responded to a mild rebuke from a pro-Tibet tweeter this week, before launching into a series of bizarre responses to seemingly anyone that tweeted at it.

“You’ve got nothing but repeating those hatred words, truth ain’t lie dude, know yourself,” the account tweeted at another pro-Tibet commenter.

The slang-filled outbursts are somewhat out of character for an account that spent most of Tuesday tweeting about President Xi Jinping’s plans for Chinese “mastery” of science and technology, and the history of state-run newspaper China Daily.

They quickly attracted considerable mockery, with censorship watchdog GreatFire.org tweeting “go home State Council Information Office, you’re drunk.”

‘Make China’s voice heard’

While the @ChinaSCIO account is not verified by Twitter, it is linked to from the official website of China’s State Council, the country’s chief administrative body, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

The State Council did not respond to a request to comment on the Twitter account.

In its profile description, the account urges people to visit the scio.gov.cn “for the latest updates coming from China’s State Council Information Office.”

CNN reached out to the @ChinaSCIO account via Twitter direct message to ask if it was associated with the State Council office. The person who responded said “check our profile, we’ve also got Facebook, YouTube and Google+.”

When asked about the seemingly off-brand tweets, the person said, “we want to make China’s voice heard.”

“If we are lucky enough, we also hope to set up more links, and make more friends.”

“Those who don’t like China, we respect them, as long as the conversations and debates are based on mutual respect.”

@ChinaSCIO said the bemused response to its tweets was not a surprise. “We know that there are different voices and we see the skepticism coming, we welcome those conversations in a level playing field,” it said.

“We work for the country and the love (of) this country.”

The Twitter account of China's State Council Information Office.

Turning Twitter red

Twitter is a major platform for Chinese propaganda outlets. State news outlets People’s Daily and Xinhua have millions of followers between them, despite Twitter being blocked for users in mainland China.

Those accounts usually confine themselves to tweeting photos of pandas, not social commentary, said Sandra Fu, an editor at China Digital Times, which tracks propaganda and censorship online.

“You sometimes get humanizing glimpses of the people behind the accounts through unexpected replies, or posts that seem to be playing to stereotype or otherwise tongue in cheek,” says Samuel Wade, deputy editor of CDT.

As for the purpose of the accounts, Fu said it was unclear. “I think accounts like this one are all about presence and figures, which can later be used by their supervisors for even more funding,” she said, pointing to an op-ed by the social media manager of People’s Daily, complaining that its YouTube account had lost thousands of followers.

“The lack of a clear direction and occasional lapses of discipline might suggest that there are vague directives to go forth and establish a presence on foreign social media, but not much in the way of supervision or a clear mandate,” says Wade.

Last month, Twitter itself attracted controversy when the company’s new China director and former member of the People’s Liberation Army, Kathy Chen, tweeted at state media accounts, encouraging them to work with the company “to tell great China story to the world!”

CNN’s Shen Lu contributed reporting from Beijing.