China has quietly reacted to accusations that Russian troops have carried out atrocities against Ukrainian civilians as Beijing seeks to balance its support for Moscow with its growing decline since the invasion.
The government around the world condemned Russia after the release of photos and videos of unarmed people, some with their hands tied behind their backs, who were apparently shot dead in Kiev after Russian forces retreated. The Chinese government was silent on Monday morning.
Beijing has refused to define Russia’s attack on Ukraine as an attack. While it has expressed concern about the humanitarian consequences of the war and called for a peaceful solution, Beijing has not condemned Moscow and has slammed Russia’s argument over its alleged security concerns.
China’s position is consistent with a partnership that has been identified by leaders of both countries as “unlimited”, based on their opposition to sharing with the United States and its global influence.
Several state media did not mention Bucha’s assassination, while Moscow only denied that Russian forces were involved.
On Chinese social media, posts with pictures were found Monday morning where some users expressed panic at the news. But prominent bloggers on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo have questioned the veracity of the photo of the corpse and blamed it on violence against Ukrainian “Nazi” fighters.
A Weibo user named Shiguang Liushi de Shiji asked why family members of the dead did not collect their bodies four days after Ukrainian troops regained control of the area.
“It simply came to our notice then [ . . . ] Try to be neutral and think about it, ”wrote the user. “If you are a resident of Booker and one of your family members is missing, wouldn’t you go out and look for him?” If you find your family’s corpse, will you let it rot in the desert for 4 days?
Another user, including Baorong Wanu Heng Hesui Handel, wrote: “I am not surprised by the massacre of Ukrainian citizens in Bucha. Kyiv authorities have handed over automatic weapons to everyone [including criminals released from prison]We should not be surprised at the consequences. “
However, a Weibo user whose handle indicates that he was in Paris posted pictures from Bucha and added: “These videos and photos have already shocked the international community. French journalists who arrived at the scene to cover the incident found the body. “
Another user, with a portrait of Clint Eastwood as their icon, wrote: “This must be a turning point in the war. . . There is no way for outsiders to know the truth, but distorting civilians is a fact. . . The Russo-Ukrainian war has actually gone beyond the control of a particular emperor. It is not something that can be controlled by power. If the party that started the war cannot reach the height of moral command, it will be difficult to continue the war. ”
The post uses English words for war and homophones for some words to avoid being detected by censors.
The state news agency Xinhua did not carry any reports on Monday, citing the killing of civilians.
On China Central Television, the Ukraine war was dropped as usual at the end of the hourly news program, when Bucharest did not mention atrocities.
The Global Times, a nationalist tabloid owned by the party’s newspaper People’s Daily, quoted a CNN report on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as saying an independent investigation into the killings was essential.
Additional report by Taipei Eleanor Olcott