China Seeks To Unify Public In Support For Russia

Russia’s attack, as a historical event, “is not a good one,” but “people think the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is because the United States stirred up trouble,” said Zheng Bowen, a 38-year-old engineer.

The state-run newspaper Capital News exhorted the public to line up with the ruling party: “The nation’s attitude is our attitude.”

“China has always upheld a fair and responsible attitude, calling on all parties to exercise restraint and ease the situation, and return to dialogue and negotiation,” it said.

However, the newspaper appeared to support Putin’s demand that Ukraine become a neutral buffer between Russia and Europe and give up the possibility of NATO membership.

“Ultimately, Ukraine should be a bridge between East and West, rather than a frontier of confrontation between major powers,” the Capital News said.

Comments online have called for China to support Russia by purchasing its exports of oil, gas and other goods.

“Let the Russian Embassy sell their goods on livestream. Let’s show them China’s buying power,” said a comment signed Bao Zou Guang Xiao Pang on Weibo. It received 42,000 likes.

A separate comment advocating that China maintain normal trade with Russia, an implicit rejection of sanctions, received nearly 80,000 likes.

Social media platforms have urged users to act responsibly and say they have removed thousands of postings about the attack on Ukraine.

Douyin, a short-video service operated by the Chinese owner of TikTok, said it deleted more than 3,500 videos and 12,100 comments due to “vulgar, war belittling, sensationalist and unfriendly comments.”

The popular WeChat message service also complained about “vulgar posts” that it said have a “negative impact on cyberspace.”

It said some users “took the opportunity to publish bad information about international current affairs,” including comments belittling the war such as crass jokes about “gaining course credits by going to Ukraine and fighting in the war” and asking “Ukrainian beauties to come to China,” the platform said.

WeChat’s post was later shared by a unit of China’s internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China.

Weibo said it removed more than 4,000 posts that were vulgar and ridiculed war. It said more than 10,000 accounts were closed.

“Peaceful environments do not come easily,” the company said in a social media post. It called on users to “maintain an objective and rational attitude” and take part in discussion “in a reasonable manner.”

___

AP video producer Olivia Zhang in Beijing contributed to this report.



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