China has responded cautiously to allegations that Russian troops have committed atrocities against civilians in Ukraine as Beijing tries to balance its support for Moscow with the growing fallout from the invasion.
While governments around the world condemned Russia after photos and videos emerged of unarmed people, some of whom were shot dead with their hands tied behind their backs, following the attack in Bucha near Kyiv Withdrawal of Russian troopsthe Chinese government was silent on Monday morning.
Beijing has refused to define Russia’s attack on Ukraine as an invasion. Despite expressing concern about the humanitarian consequences of the war and calling for a peaceful solution, Beijing has not rebuked Moscow and has echoed Russia’s arguments about its alleged security concerns.
The Chinese position is consistent with a partnership that leaders from both countries have described as “borderless.” common opposition to the US and its global influence.
Several state media did not mention the Bucha killings at all, while some only reported Moscow’s denial of the involvement of Russian forces.
Posts featuring the images remained available on Chinese social media Monday morning, with some users expressing horror at the news. But the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo was full of posts from prominent bloggers questioning the veracity of the photos of corpses and blaming the violence on Ukrainian “Nazi” fighters.
A Weibo user named Shiguang liushi de shijie asked why family members of the dead didn’t collect their bodies four days after the Ukrainian troops regained control The area.
“No offense, though [ . . . ] try to stay neutral and think about it,” the user wrote. “If you’re a resident of Bucha and someone in your family goes missing, won’t you come out and look for them? If you find your family’s corpse, will you let it rot in the wild for 4 days?”
Another user named Baorong wanwu heng heshui wrote: “Actually, the massacre of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha doesn’t surprise me at all. When the Kiev authorities distributed automatic weapons to everyone [including criminals released from prison]we should not be surprised at the consequences.”
However, a Weibo user, whose username indicated that he was based in Paris, posted pictures of Bucha, adding: “These videos and photos have already shocked the international community. French journalists who rushed to the scene to report found the location of the bodies.”
Another user with a portrait of Clint Eastwood as an icon wrote: “This must be a turning point in the WAR. . . Outsiders have no way of knowing the truth about the incident, but the maiming of civilians is a fact. . . The Russo-Ukrainian WAR has indeed gone in a direction beyond the control of any particular Emperor. This is not something that can be controlled by force. If the party that started the WAR cannot occupy the moral high ground, it will be difficult to continue the WAR.”
The post used the English word for war and used homophones for some words to avoid being found by censors.
Xinhua, the state news agency, did not provide any reports of civilian killings on Monday.
The Ukraine war was shown on China Central Television banned until the end the hourly newscast, as usual, while the atrocities in Bucha were not mentioned.
Global Times, the nationalist tabloid of party newspaper People’s Daily, cited a CNN report on UN Secretary-General António Guterres, which said an independent investigation into the killings was essential.
Additional reporting by Eleanor Olcott in Taipei
https://www.ft.com/content/b11fc9ce-569f-4fcc-a26d-e3f0efa34829 Beijing is silent on massacre allegations in Russia