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1 billion views (blaming Biden)? Seriously! Chinese


We may live in our bubble, worrying about BLM, wokeness...blah blah. Meanwhile, Chinese social media in the past few days has generated over 1 billion (not a typo) view of a pro Putin narrative.


Heck most of my Spritlzer Report blog posts barely generated 20 million views. Suck it Joe Rogan!


Mockery of West, Warnings to Taiwan Fill Chinese Social Media After Ukraine Invasion

Official state media stays restrained despite voracious interest, a sign of Beijing’s caution in taking a stance


By Sha Hua

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Feb. 25, 2022 9:16 am ET



HONG KONG—Anyone seeking news on the latest Russia-Ukraine developments in the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily would be disappointed: Its front page and international section were devoid of articles on the conflict gripping the planet, reflecting the reluctance of China’s leaders to take a clear stance on it.


However, on China’s more freewheeling social media, internet users and prominent nationalist voices offered sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin, at times casting doubt on the West’s reliability and blaming the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for fueling the conflict.


On the Twitter-like Weibo platform, a page sponsored by state broadcaster China Central Television and populated with posts carrying the hashtag “Ukraine’s President Says the West Abandoned Ukraine” had more than 1.1 billion views by Friday afternoon.


Chinese internet users openly mocked what they saw as a toothless response by Western countries to the Russian assault on Ukraine, while drawing parallels to Taiwan, a separately-governed island off the coast of mainland China that Beijing has vowed to take control of, by force if necessary.


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Others said they were against war and expressed sympathy with the Ukrainian people and its soldiers.


“The lack of comments from the People’s Daily, which primarily reflects consensus within the party leadership, means that discussions are still under way,” said Igor Denisov, a senior research fellow at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He said the prevailing discourse in China was more pro-Russian than in the past and reflected more of Russia’s official talking points.


Public interest in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been immense. A state-media sponsored Weibo topic page for the latest updates from the Russian-Ukraine crisis has received more than 4 billion views since it was set up on Thursday.


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Reaction to Mr. Putin’s offensive in official Chinese media and on social media reflects the difficult position Beijing occupies as images of bombed buildings, downed aircrafts and fleeing civilians emerge from Ukraine.


Chinese leader Xi Jinping has maintained a close relationship with Mr. Putin and the two countries are more aligned than they have been in decades, due largely to a shared suspicion of the U.S. But too clear an endorsement of the Ukraine invasion by Beijing risks antagonizing the U.S. and Western Europe, while also undermining commitments to noninterference and territorial integrity that form the foundation of the Communist Party’s foreign policy.


In a call with Mr. Putin on Friday afternoon, Mr. Xi said China would decide its position based on the merits of the Ukrainian situation, according to an official Chinese readout.


China’s main state-controlled media outlets, such as the Xinhua News Agency and the state broadcaster CCTV, have mostly stuck to straightforward news reporting of the events on their official websites and through their social media accounts.


Other Chinese news outlets, such as the nationalist tabloid Global Times, have fewer constraints. In editorials over recent days, they have repeated an argument made by both Mr. Putin and China’s Foreign Ministry that U.S. pressure forced Mr. Putin to strike out.



Chinese President Xi Jinping, speaking with President Biden in November, has been cautious over Ukraine to avoid antagonizing the U.S.

PHOTO: ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES

Hu Xijin, the former Global Times editor in chief who remains a powerful voice on China’s internet, has written several commentaries in recent days attributing the cause of war to “NATO’s ceaseless eastward expansion” and Ukraine’s desire to join the military alliance.


Like China’s Foreign Ministry and major state-media outlets, Mr. Hu took care to avoid the word “invasion,” choosing instead to describe Russia’s military actions with euphemistic flourish as Mr. Putin “drawing his sword.”


The Weibo hashtag “Russia invades Ukraine” was blocked on Friday, though searches using the phrase still produced results.


In general, censorship on social media appeared relatively light as of Friday evening, with Chinese internet users expressing a range of views, including some criticism of Mr. Putin for starting a war.


Several nationalist social-media accounts promoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying’s response to a journalist’s question on whether China would send arms to Russia. More than 770,000 users liked the post carrying Ms. Hua’s answer: “We won’t. I believe that as a strong country, Russia doesn’t need China or other countries to provide weapons to it.”


As with their coverage of the U.S.’s chaotic pullout from Afghanistan last year, Chinese state media promoted content that portrayed Washington and other Western capitals as abandoning a developing country they had promised to back.


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One clip of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying in the early hours Friday that he had asked 27 European leaders whether Ukraine would join NATO garnered more than 1.6 million likes. “I have asked directly. Everyone is afraid. No one answers,” Mr. Zelensky said.


The most popular comment underneath the post read, “They all pay lip service, but no country has sent any troops.”


In an editorial published Thursday, the Global Times warned that the West’s lackluster response to Ukraine crisis should serve as a warning to Taiwan’s ruling party, which has embraced Washington as it seeks more distance from the Chinese Communist Party.


“The performance of the U.S. in Ukraine should remind ‘Taiwan independence’ advocates: You cannot rely on Washington,” the editorial read.


Many Chinese internet users seized on the theme and called for Taiwan to learn from Ukraine’s predicament. One popular meme showed a pig labeled “Taiwan” watching another pig, marked “Ukraine,” being slaughtered.


“The performance of the U.S. in Ukraine should remind ‘Taiwan independence’ advocates: You cannot rely on Washington.”


— Editorial in Global Times, a nationalist tabloid

On Friday afternoon, a Chinese translation of Mr. Putin’s Thursday speech—delivered as Russian troops began attacking Ukraine—started to go viral, garnering 1.9 million likes within six hours. Many popular comments praised the speech’s eloquence and said they agreed with Mr. Putin’s line of reasoning that having NATO allies so close to his country’s border was unacceptable.


A clip of Ukrainians lining up to donate blood for troops attracted the praise of Chinese internet users but also calls on Ukrainians to surrender to avoid further bloodshed.


In several respects, the invasion has played out on Chinese social media the same way it has elsewhere. As in other parts of the internet, Chinese social media was rife with misinformation, including false videos that purported to show Russian troops overwhelming Ukrainian cities.


Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., state-owned media outlet The Paper and independent fact-checking group “China Fact Check,” rushed to debunk some of the videos, though some social media users continued to believe that Ukraine was close to surrendering.


Posts and articles decrying the devastation wrought by war were also widely shared.


Chinese internet users, like millions of their counterparts in other countries, were moved by a viral audio clip released by Ukrainian news outlet Ukrayinska Pravda on Friday that it said depicted a Ukrainian soldier on Snake island in the Black Sea refusing to surrender to an approaching Russian warship. All 13 border guards died, according to Mr. Zelensky.


Praise for the Ukrainian soldiers’ valor was widespread on Chinese social media, but so was the fear that their deaths may have been in vain.

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