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Observatory Update: Mandarin-language Information Operations Regarding Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine — The first 100 days

As a reference for researchers and the public, in this article Doublethink Lab will continuously update what we consider to be important observations from the Mandarin-language information environment pertaining to the Ukraine-Russia conflict that may involve public opinion manipulation or information operations. The following intelligence will list influential or key incidents and is not intended as a comprehensive analysis of coordinated information manipulation. All listed items have been archived for further analysis.

Update on 22nd June, 01:42 am, Taipei Time | 點此閱讀中文版 Chinese version

- This list included highlighted items from Feb 22 to Jun 4. The daily update is currently closed.- From 9th May forward, instead of daily updates, we will only post unseen or new narratives from time to time.

4th June 2022

  • Weibo influencer HeTienEn (何天恩) posted that a high-level Russian soldier claimed the “big fish” in the Azovstal steel plant included an American general, a British lieutenant colonel and four NATO military instructors. Weibo influencer UnityByForce (武力統一) also shared a clip of the Taiwanese media TVBS show “Ukraine-Russia Situation Room”, which included related content.
  • Guancha Syndicate posted on Weibo, quoting Putin’s statement, saying that Russia will not stop Ukraine’s food export, and that the current global food crisis and the inflation problems all resulted from the European energy policies and the US printing money, and has nothing to do with the war between Ukraine and Russia. Most netizens supported the statement and called Russia justice.
  • Sina Military and Weibo influencer Guyanmuchan (孤煙暮蟬) both quoted Russian media, saying the Belarusian president said there’re serious differences between Zelensky and the Ukrainian army, and that serious conflicts have happened already. The president said the Ukrainian army plans to prevent Zelensky from trading Ukrainian territory with Poland with a “beheading operation”.

3rd June 2022: 100 days of Russia’s war in Ukraine

  • The hashtag topic, “100 days of Russia-Ukraine conflict”, was on Weibo’s Hot Search consecutively on 3 and 4 June. Xinhua News posted a video titled “Is there a solution for the Russia-Ukraine conflict” on Weibo, claiming that so far, the Russian troops have had many successes. However, some netizens raised different opinions, such as criticizing Russia for invading Ukraine — a sovereign country and saying that they’re surprised that Russia is still not able to “take down” Ukraine. Other “unusual” comments included “it’s not a conflict but a war”, “overthrow the Russian imperialism”, “Russia really is Hilter”, and etc. Interestingly, these comments received a huge amount of likes, and were not taken down by the platform.
  • Weibo influencers such as HeTienEn (何天恩), UnityByForce (武力統一), and Guyanmuchan (孤煙暮蟬) continued to spread narratives about the US and Europe requiring Ukraine to cede territory to Russia, as the war has reached 100 days and the West are worried that they will lose everything in the end. On the other hand, some influencers also quoted the Ukrainian side. HeTienEn (何天恩), for example, posted the statement of the Ukrainian First Lady, saying “even if we consider to cede our land, the invaders will not stop here.”

2nd June 2022

  • The hashtag topic, “Ukrainian president’s nine-year-old son offers him advice on military matters”, reached Weibo’s Hot Search. Guancha Syndicate posted the related interview on Weibo. Comments below the post mocked that Ukraine is now ruled by a nine-year-old child. The post received more than 110,000 likes.
  • Another hashtag topic on Weibo’s Hot Search, “Zelensky says Russia controls over one-fifth of Ukrainian territories”, amplified news of the Ukrainian army being defeated. Among them, Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting Zelensky’s speech as saying the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia have exceeded the sum of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Netizens commenting under the post brought up the hashtag topic above, continued to mock that Ukraine is ruled by a child, and said Zelensky should ask his son for advice.

1st June 2022

  • Quoting Russian media, Global Times posted on Weibo saying the Italian PM said in an interview that most EU member states are opposed to Ukraine becoming a candidate for the bloc. Meanwhile, also quoting Russian media, Global Times posted on Weibo saying the Belgian PM believes the EU should first suspend its sanctions on Russia and evaluate the impact of the current sanctions. Both posts aim at highlighting the divided opinions within the European Union.
  • Sina Military shared a video posted by the Russian media Sputnik on Weibo, claiming a former French soldier said in an interview that the Ukrainian army deliberately shelled children’s parks to create news materials for western reporters, attempting to put the blame on the Russian army.
  • Several videos posted on Xigua Video said it appears that Ukraine is going to be defeated. Military commentator BaoMing (包明) pointed out that even the western media are starting to report Russia’s success on the battlefield, while the host of Phoenix TV Anton (安東) said seeing the “current situation” in Ukraine, former Ukrainian President Poroshenko finally managed to flee the country.

31st May 2022: Ukraine-EU relationship

  • Quoting unknown foreign media outlets, military blogger ZhenZhiJian (真知見) posted on Xigua Video, saying Ukraine plans to cut off its oil pipeline to Hungary. The video attempts to create an image that the two sides are having bad relationships and that Ukraine is actively creating its enemy.
  • Military blogger BingJianTang (兵鑒堂) posted on Tiktok, saying the Ukrainian army in Donbas has refused to fight, as they had run out of ammunition and had no backup, and the government does not care about their lives. Similarly, Weibo influencer ShaMuXiongShi_EL (沙姆雄獅_EL) claimed that “suspected Ukrainian neo-Nazis” posted leaflets in Kyiv accusing Zelensky of betraying the Azov Battalion. Both posts attempted to show the dissatisfaction within Ukraine with its government.
  • Guancha Syndicate posted on Weibo, quoting AFP as saying NATO Deputy Secretary-General said due to the “conflict” between Russia and Ukraine, and that Russia has stopped talks with NATO, the alliance is no longer bound by the 1997 NATO-Russia Framework Agreement (which regulates NATO not to permanently deploy significant forces in central and eastern Europe). Comments below the post criticized the eastward expansion of NATO and said it’s the one that has never complied with the agreement.

30th May 2022

  • On some British media reports suggesting Putin has health issues, Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting Russia’s foreign minister refuting the reports, saying he’ll “leave it to the conscience of those who spread the rumors.” Chinese netizens commenting under the post said it was Biden who should pay attention to his own health.
  • Guancha Syndicate posted on Weibo, quoting Austrian media outlets as saying Dominik Nepp, an Austrian politician, asked the Ukrainians who beat a taxi driver in Vienna to “get out of the country” and accused them of deserters.
  • In an exclusive interview, the Lithuanian foreign minister proposed to replace the UN Security Council with the G7. The statement was criticized by Guancha Syndicate on Weibo. The post also said the minister was “flattering” the UK for arming Ukraine, and that comparing Taiwan with Ukraine is “playing with fire” and those who play with fire “would definitely set fire on themselves.”
  • The hashtag topic, “Doxxing the NED — the financial backer behind the anti-China forces”, reached Weibo’s Hot Search. CCP’s Communist Youth League posted on Weibo, again mentioning the fact sheet regarding US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) released by the Chinese foreign ministry on May 7, which said the NED has secretly financed anti-government movements around the world.
  • Phoenix TV released a video claiming that the large number of corpses in eastern Ukraine has caused a plague, even the reporters there are showing symptoms of fever and discomfort.
  • Two posts attempting to provoke Ukraine-Poland relationship observed: Reference News posted on Weibo, quoting the Russian media TASS as saying Poland has stopped free oil supply for Ukraine. On a popular Chinese online video-sharing platform, Xigua Video (西瓜視頻), account XiWangKePu (喜旺科普) claimed as it’s “a lost cause” for Ukraine, Poland wants to control Ukraine’s rebuilding funds.
  • Poland’s Consulate in Hong Kong posted a clarification both on its Twitter and Facebook account, saying on 27 May, the HK-based newspaper Oriental Daily released a fake news about Poland planning on dividing Ukrainian territory, and that it was Russia’s war propaganda.

28th to 29th May 2022

25th, 26th, and 27th May 202

  • The hashtag topics, “Chinese foreign ministry says CNN and US lawmakers slander Chinese delegation” and “CNN admits misreporting”, both reached Weibo’s Hot Search. The Chinese foreign ministry said that CNN has falsely reported that the Chinese delegation did not applaud Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on May 26. Global Times posted on Weibo, accused it of a false report, and said it has received an apology email from the CNN Asia-Pacific PR. However, it emphasized that CNN has not publicly apologized for the report.
  • Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting Russian media as saying Putin has signed a decree to simplify the issuance of Russian citizenship to residents of Ukrainian Zaporizhia and Kherson regions.
  • Quoting Russian media RT, Guancha Syndicate posted on Weibo, saying cemeteries of some French historical figures, as well as the gravestone of the world-renowned composer Chopin in Paris, were plastered with slogans in support of Zelensky.
  • The hashtag topic, “Ukrainian President says satisfied with China’s current policy towards Ukraine and Russia”, reached Weibo’s Hot Search. Though the original words of Zelensky were that it was better than “China has chosen the policy of staying away than helping Russia in any case”, Guancha Syndicate posted on Weibo, listing out previous statements of the Ukrainian government on China and formed a narrative in the end that both the Russian and Ukrainian sides have praised China’s “fair and objective” position towards the war.

24th May 2022

  • Weibo influencer Guyanmuchan (孤煙暮蟬) posted on Weibo, accusing a Ukrainian soldier of wearing a US flag badge and having Nazi tattoos. Later, in another post, the influencer attached photos showing the same soldier attending the anti-extradition protest in Hong Kong, accusing him of inciting troubles back then. On this, a recent report released by the Doublethink Lab elaborated in detail on how Chinese media and Weibo influencers accused the Ukrainian soldier, Serhii Filimonov, as a Nazi backed by the West to incite the protest in Hong Kong. The EU’s project was established to respond to Russia’s disinformation campaigns, EUvsDisinfo, also posted a disproof report on the issue in 2019.
  • In response to CNN’s report that Russia stole wheat in Ukraine, Weibo influencer Guyanmuchan (孤煙暮蟬) quoted previous reports by the Global Times and Guancha Syndicate, accusing the US army of stealing oil and wheat from Syria as well as detaining oil from Iranian tankers and selling them in the end. The aim was to accuse the United States of being the real thief.

23rd May 2022

  • Weibo influencer Attack Bugle Call (衝鋒號角) posted two articles, again calling the Ukrainian army Nazis. In one post, the influencer shared a Russian media press clip showing a Ukrainian soldier having tattoos looking like Nazi or Satan signs. Another post was a video of reporters filming the Azovstal steel plant after the evacuation. The video claimed that many Nazi signs were found inside the plant and that the US has been funding the neo-Nazis.
  • Military blogger First Military Intelligence (第一軍情) posted on Tiktok, claiming that five recent incidents are indicating that Russia will win the war, including the Ukrainian army evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant and that European countries are opening accounts to pay Russian gas bills in roubles. Meanwhile, another military blogger BingJianTang (兵鑒堂) also posted on Tiktok in a similar way: they first point out many countries have said it would take a long time for Ukraine to join NATO, then criticize the western countries and NATO for trying to trick and bully Ukraine.
  • Chinese media ZhangJiangHaoWai (長江號外) posted on Tiktok, commenting on the Ukrainian parliament’s decision to support the country to withdraw from the agreement on the “perpetuation of the memory about the heroism of the peoples of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945”. The video criticized Ukraine for forgetting its history, claiming that it means betrayal. However, apart from Russian and Chinese media outlets, no similar reports have been seen in the media of other countries. Also, no information for the Tiktok account since then.

22nd May 2022

  • Yan Xuetong, the Director of the Institute of International Studies at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, said in an interview that “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” brings “only losses to China and no benefits at all”. The war has accelerated the reverse of globalization, which does not benefit China, Yan said, and that it has quickly reduced Russia’s power, making it almost impossible for Russia to have any global influence in the future. His argument quickly created a heated debate on Weibo and was also picked up by the Taiwanese media CNA. Most of the shares and comments on Weibo did not agree with Yan’s position, saying as the war has strengthened China and Russia’s relationship and weakened the West, China still benefits from it. Patriotic Weibo influencer Guyanmuchan (孤煙暮蟬) responded Yan’s statement with two posts on Weibo. One said Russia’s current strategic aim of the war is to wait until the EU actively compromises with Russia and until the war creates differences between Europe and the US — which is definitely in China’s interests. Another post claimed that while the US and Europe are to blame for the reverse of globalization, it’s impossible for the world to stop globalization. Both posts received huge attention and reactions on Weibo.
  • According to the Taiwanese media outlet CNA, Gong Fangbin, a retired professor of the People’s Liberation Army National Defense University, posted an article on WeChat with the title “Russia has chosen a path of rejuvenation that has long been forsaken by human civilization”. Gong said Russia’s rationale for attacking Ukraine — NATO’s eastward expansion threatens its security — was flawed and Russia is thus struggling to win the war. The article was quickly deleted by the social media platform after it was published.

21st May 2022: Biden visits South Korea and Japan

  • The hashtag topic, “Finland says Russia to cut gas supply”, reached Weibo’s Hot Search. Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting Russian media TASS as saying starting from May 21, Russia will suspend its natural gas supply to Finland, as Finnish state-owned gas wholesaler Gasum failed to pay its bill in April. Comments below said Finland was to blame and supported Russia.
  • On former US President George W Bush’s gaffe of slamming Russia for the “unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq” on May 18, Global Times posted on Weibo and quoted netizens as saying Bush accidentally told the truth. The video said that according to statistics, at least 200,000 civilians died in direct war-related violence during the US invasion of Iraq.
  • Guancha Syndicate and CCTV both posted on Weibo, quoting Russian media as saying famous Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus presented a prank on former US President George W. Bush by having a phone call with him on behalf of the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. During the call, Bush appeared to acknowledge that the US has bio labs in Ukraine. However, it’s hard to determine the authenticity of the video.
  • Little Central Video posted on Weibo, quoting the deputy chairman of Russia’s State Duma as saying the US and NATO have established an electronic biometric monitoring system in Ukraine, and the information collected was sent to the national medical intelligence service of the US ministry of defense. In addition, the post claimed the US conducts research on Ebola and smallpox in Ukraine.
  • Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting the Russian defense minister as saying Russia is facing growing military threats on its western borders, as the US strategic bombers have increased their flight intensity in Europe by 14 times over the past 8 years, and the US and its NATO allies are stepping up operations and combats training near the Russian border. In response to the threat, the minister announced that Russia will establish 12 new military units and divisions in Russia’s western military district by the end of the year.
  • CCTV posted on Weibo, quoting Putin’s address at the Russian federal security meeting, saying cyber attacks from the West on Russia have failed. The meeting also discussed the measures to protect Russia’s information system and communication networks to counter external threats.
  • US President Biden’s visit to South Korea and Japan stirred up hot discussions on Weibo. The hashtag topic, “Biden forgets new Korean president’s name” and “Biden visits Japan”, reached Weibo’s Hot Search on May 21 and 22 respectively. Shares and comments on topics mocked Biden’s gaffe and harshly criticized Biden’s visits to Japan. Furthermore, Weibo’s influencer Attack Bugle Call (衝鋒號角) posted a video on Weibo, showing several South Korean civilian organizations protesting against Biden’s visit to the country, as it may escalate the risk of war.

19th & 20th May 2022

  • Guancha Syndicate posted on Tiktok, aiming to debunk Ukrainian media outlets’ claim that the Russian army has destroyed one of the world’s largest national gene banks of plants in Ukraine, and that even the Nazi Germany tried to protect it during WWII. The video said in the end that as the news does not match the fact, the media coverage was more for the purpose of Ukrainian wartime propaganda.
  • The hashtag topic, “Turkey blocks NATO accession talks with Finland and Sweden”, reached Weibo’s Hot Search. Global Times posted on Weibo, saying both Finland and Sweden do not wish any NATO military bases on their territories. People’s Daily overseas edition posted on Weibo, saying Croatia also plans to stop the two countries from joining the alliance. Furthermore, CCTV Military posted on Weibo saying Russia will respond militarily on this issue. All the posts above emphasized the different stances of EU member states on the topic and the consequences it will face from the Russian side, shaping the narrative that the move will have an influence on the peace in Europe.

14th & 15th May 2022

11th & 12th May 2022

  • PRC’s state media, The Paper, posted a video on Tiktok, quoting Russia’s ministry of defense as saying new evidence of US bio-military activities in Ukraine was discovered, as someone’s spreading fake coins with germs in the Lugansk region. The video also claimed the US has shipped a huge amount of organophosphorus antidote to Ukraine this year. Comments below the video mostly supported Putin’s military actions and asked the UN to investigate the news above.
  • The Taiwanese YouTube Channel “Stop acting News (不演了新聞台)” published a video, saying Russia’s ministry of defense took advantage of Ukrainian military’s attempt to defeat the Russian army before the Victory Day by planning a trap, pretending to retreat from the Snake Island, and in the end succeeded in defeating the Ukrainian military who tried to recapture the island. The commentator said this will lead to conflicts between the Ukrainian military and the US intelligence service, as Ukrainian soldiers at the front line may no longer trust US decisions. In the end, the video said European countries have now started to look at the war based on their own interests, and may want to divide Ukraine’s territory.
  • Phoenix TV posted on Weibo, quoting an article published in the New York Times by a Ukrainian war correspondent, saying the West’s effort to weaken Russia may escalate the situation in Ukraine and in the end, lead to a nuclear war. The correspondent believes that the longer the war is, the more Ukraine will suffer, and that diplomatic means should be the main solution to put an end to the war.
From 9th May forward, instead of daily updates, we will only post unseen or new narratives from time to time. 
  • Global Times and Reference News both posted on Weibo, quoting Russian media Sputnik and RIA Novosti respectively, accusing the US intelligence service of attempting to instigate rebellion against a Russian journalist stationed in the US as well as a Russian diplomat.
  • Hua Chunying retweeted a post regarding the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York and criticized US gun policies and race hatred. The post claimed the shooter used the same “Nazi symbol” as the Azov battalion. Meanwhile, Weibo influencer Attack Bugle Call (衝鋒號角) also posted a video, saying the shooter wore the same badge as the Azov battalion.

9th May 2022: Russia celebrates its Victory Day; theories of foreign mercenaries and weapons “useless” start to emerge

  • The hashtag topic, “Russian military parade”, reached №2 on Weibo’s Hot Search. RTI Military posted a video on Weibo, claiming as western countries have “deliberately downplayed” USSR’s important part in WWII in recent years, the Victory Day parade has become a critical event for Russia to defend its anti-fascism victory. In general, netizens on Weibo congratulated the parade and praised Russia’s military power. Meanwhile, there were also a few opposing voices — a netizen posted before-and-after pictures of Russian tanks, saying the Russian military is “only powerful on the Red Square”, while on battlefields, they are simply a “tofu army”.
  • The hashtag topic, “Putin says Russia faces absolutely unacceptable threat on Ukraine issue” and “Putin addresses on Victory Day”, both reached Weibo’s Hot Search. Phoenix TV posted on Weibo, quoting Putin as saying the NATO countries were “preparing for the invasion of Crimea and starting military development in surrounding areas” and claimed that these were the reasons why Russia and “neo-nazis” could not avoid conflicts.
  • Weibo influencer WuXinJianYing (無心簡影) posted a video from unknown sources, saying for the first time in eights years, veterans from WWII and residents in the Ukrainian city Melitopol were finally able to celebrate Victory Day publicly on the streets “without being attacked and threatened by Ukrainian nazis”.
  • Phoenix TV live-broadcasted the Victory Day parade on Weibo, commenting that it looks like Putin is in good health and that the previous predictions from western countries that Putin will “declare war” on Ukraine and NATO on Victory Day were rumors. On Russia’s sudden cancellation of the flypast by the air force, the commentator analyzed that the Russian air force might be involved in the war in Ukraine, while CCTV Military said it was because the Russian air force was attacked by Ukrainian missiles.
  • Xinhua News also live-streamed the Victory Day parade on Weibo, however, the broadcast went on and off and was suddenly canceled during Putin’s speech. Chinese netizens questioned whether the internet was paralyzed by a cyber attack, and said that China has to work on its cyber security. Meanwhile, the Lithuanian Minister of Defense said on Twitter that Russian television was hacked, and a message appeared: “Blood of thousands of Ukrainians and hundreds of children killed is on your hands. TV and government are lying. No for war”.
  • Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting Russian media TASS as saying Russia’s envoy to Poland was attacked with red paint when he went to lay flowers at the Soviet military cemetery in Warsaw on Victory Day. The topic also reached Weibo’s Hot Search. Global Times then quoted the Russian foreign ministry’s response as saying “admirers of neo-Nazism have again shown their faces”. Comments and shares on this topic mostly criticized Poland, and said “it won’t be a surprise to me if Poland was again attacked by a Blitzkrieg.”
  • Russia widely promoted the USSR’s victory in WWII on Victory Day. Sina News Military quoted Russian media RT’s interview with a USSR intelligence soldier involved in WWII, who said that the Europeans are “forgetting USSR’s effort on rescuing Europe”. Weibo influencer Attack Bugle Call (衝鋒號角) shared a video saying 5000 Russians gathered in front of Russian embassies in 14 European countries on May 8, calling on them to remember the truth of the Patriotic War (the Great Patriotic War). Similarly, Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting Russian news outlet Sputnik, saying the Belarusian president said his country will continue to remind the Europeans who actually ended WWII, implying the USSR’s efforts in WWII.
  • Phoenix TV posted a video on Weibo, saying the Russian Deputy PM visited Mariupol and its commercial port in the company of Donetsk officials. In the video, the Deputy PM ordered to make good use of the port to “restore the city.”
  • CCTV posted on Weibo, quoting Russian media Sputnik, saying a captured Ukrainian soldier confirmed that foreign mercenaries mostly came to Ukraine for “thrill-seeking” and that they “have behaved averagely on battlefields.”

8th May 2022: New conspiracy theory: “Big fish” in Azovstal steel plant

  • The hashtag topic, “All women, the elderly, and children inside Azovstal steel plant have been evacuated”, reached Weibo’s Hot Search. Comments under the topic, however, gave credit to the Russian side for opening humanitarian corridors, and said “now it’s time to start fighting the rest inside”, “this once again proved that the Russian military was not responsible for massacring civilians in Bucha”, and etc. On the other hand, some popular comments quoted the rumors of people inside the plant, saying “Donetsk presidential advisor confirmed that there are ‘big fish’ in the Azovstal steel plant, such as senior generals from the US, UK, and France” and “did any men disguise themselves as women to escape from the plant?”.
  • The hashtag topics, “US First Lady makes a surprise visit to Ukraine” and “Canadian PM Trudeau visits Ukraine”, both reached Weibo’s Hot Search in a short time — the former once reached №2 on the list. Several Weibo influencers, such as Dibaguanwei (帝吧官微), shared the topics, quoting the “big fish” rumors inside the Azovstal steel plant, and said “is Biden’s son really in Ukraine?”, “one has to wonder what’s the real purpose of her visit”. Others commented that Ukraine has now become the hottest “tourist attraction” for western politicians.
  • The anniversary of NATO’s US military bombing the Chinese embassy in the former Yugoslavia on May 7, 1999, continued to be a hot topic today. The hashtag topic, “We will not, we cannot, and we dare not forget the debt of blood NATO owes us”, reached Weibo’s Hot Search in the morning. CCTV posted a video on Weibo, saying “NATO, the executioner, is still creating family separations tragedies”. Netizens commented that “a debt of blood must be paid in blood.”
  • Sina News Military posted on Weibo, quoting Russian media as saying after returning to his country, the Canadian sniper Wali accused the Ukrainian military as “incompetent”, saying he was “disillusioned” and that there were “insufficient weapons and training, heavy casualties, and deserters” in the Ukrainian military. However, the original news report did not mention the incompetence of the Ukrainian military, only that they lack equipment. Also, no related remarks on Wali’s Facebook page.
  • Little Central Video posted on Weibo, quoting a CCTV video, saying a surrendered Ukrainian soldier claimed that some of the weapons provided by the US and the UK were “out of date” and “did not function well in the war”. Weibo influencer Attack Bugle Call (衝鋒號角) also quoted a report by the Russian media RIA Novosti, saying a captured Ukrainian military commander said “Kyiv promised aid but never delivered any” and that the US Javelin missiles were “useless”.

7th May 2022: China positions itself as a neutral party and a victim of the West’s belligerent aggression

  • The Chinese government and its media continued to spread the message that “the US is making a huge profit from the war in Ukraine while letting Europe sacrifice itself.” Zhao Lijian and Hua Chunying posted on Weibo and Twitter respectively, quoting China’s vice foreign minister’s statement yesterday at an online dialogue with think tanks of 20 countries, saying the US “sacrifices Ukraine to control Europe, weaken Russia and to hold on its hegemony — killing many birds with one stone.”
  • CCTV posted on Weibo, also quoting statements by the vice foreign minister, saying it’s “absurd” to hold China accountable for the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as China is “neither the one involved in the conflict, nor the one created it.” Comments below also believe that China holds a “neutral” stance, as it does not sell weapons and join the sanctions, and has nothing to do with the war.
  • China’s foreign ministry widely memorialize the incident of NATO’s US military bombing the Chinese embassy in the former Yugoslavia on May 7, 1999. The hashtag topics, “Zhao Lijian says Chinese people will never forget this day”, “commemorate the three martyrs who died in NATO’s bombing”, and “the 23rd anniversary of China’s embassy in the former Yugoslavia bombed” all reached Weibo’s Hot Search. Hua Chunying also posted similar remarks on Twitter. Most of the comments and shares on these topics said “do not forget national humiliation”, “the blood of the martyrs motivates Chinese people to work hard together to build a stronger country”, and “NATO and the US both owe China a huge debt of blood”, etc.
  • Sina News Military posted a video on Weibo, quoting Russian news outlet TASS as saying some Russians protested against the Japanese government’s decision to expel Russian diplomats in front of the Japanese embassy in Russia. The protestors raised banners saying “Japanese militarism: from Holocaust to surrender” and listed out evidence of atrocities by the Japanese troops during the Nanjing Massacre.

6th May 2022

  • The hashtag topic, “China firmly opposes NATO provoking bloc confrontations worldwide”, reached Weibo’s Hot Search. During a UN Security Council meeting, China’s Ambassador to the UN said NATO continued to expand eastward after the cold war has “sown the seeds of conflict”. He also said it is not “operable” that a self-claimed defensive organization “wantonly launches wars” and “bases one country’s security on the insecurity of other countries”. China called on all countries to commit to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
  • People’s Daily overseas news edition posted on Weibo, reiterating its criticism of the US State Department’s statement saying China amplifies Russia’s propaganda on the war in Ukraine. The post claimed US officials have admitted that the US has no evidence for its China-related news and that what many western people see is only the tip of the iceberg of the US’s work of producing fake news.
  • Guancha Syndicate posted on Weibo, quoting Ukrainian media as saying the previously-planned meeting between Putin and Zelensky was “ruined” by the Bucha incident and UK PM’s “unannounced” visit to Ukraine. The post implied it’s PM Johnson who “messed things up”. Netizens commenting under the post said this means that the Bucha incident “was done by the British.”
  • Guancha Syndicate posted on Weibo, quoting two reports by the Russian media RIA Novosti, criticizing Ukrainian troops “are full of radical ideas”. One post said black magic signs combined with anarchism and fascism were found in a Ukrainian military command center. Another quoted the Russian military as saying Ukrainian troops trapped in the Azovstal steel plant offered them to exchange civilians for food, which “sounded like a demand from Syrian terrorists.”
  • Zhao Lijian retweeted an article by the Global Times, which quoted Xinhua News’s interviews with the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia. The article said both FMs praised China’s “fair and just” stance on the current situation. Zhao also retweeted a video on Tiktok, which said that a US Senator criticized the US as the “biggest promulgator of disinformation in the world”.

5th May 2022

  • The hashtag topic, “Ukrainian official says Russian troops enter Azovstal steel plant”, reached Weibo’s Hot Search. ​​Guancha Syndicate posted on Weibo, while comments below demanded the Russian military to “eliminate Ukrainian Nazis” and asked them not to free any “big fish” from the steel plant. (According to online rumors on Weibo, NATO senior officials, Biden’s son and members of Freemasonry might be inside the plant.)
  • On UK PM Johnson’s virtual address to Ukrainian parliament on May 3, hailing it’s the country’s “finest hour”, CCTV posted its news clips on Weibo, quoting comments from netizens, saying “it is in fact the worst hour of Ukraine”, “Johnson’s taking advantage of the situation in Ukraine is the worst”, “western countries are pushing Ukrainians into an abyss,” and etc.
  • Little Central Video posted two videos on Weibo, criticizing the US military policies. One video shared Russian media RT’s interview with the former deputy foreign minister of New Zealand, and quoted him as saying the US-led NATO is aiming to weaken Russia and that it’s not protecting democracy. Another short video quoted US media Fox News and the Chairman of Russia’s parliament as saying “poor Ukrainians are losing their lives” because of Biden’s policies and that the Ukrainians are regarded as “consumables” by the West.
  • People’s Daily and Global Times both posted on Weibo, quoting Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s statement at a press conference that the US has not stopped “attacking China with disinformation” since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war. “China has been the victim of fake news”, Zhao said, as the US has claimed “China already knew about the war”, “Russia asked China for arms,” etc.
  • Phoenix TV News Video posted on Weibo, quoting Russian news outlet RIA Novosti as saying a Ukrainian torture chamber was discovered in the Kherson region of Ukraine. A legless corpse in a Russian military uniform was found inside the chamber and there were signs of torture on him. Several influencers on Weibo, such as Positive energy in Hubei (鄂有正能量) and Siao Fan Hao She (小凡好攝), also posted related visuals and videos. But no similar reports from other Chinese media.
  • Hua Chunying posted on Twitter, quoting US film director Oliver Stone’s anti-war speech in 2017, saying that wars have cost many lives and resulted in lots of expenses. Hua then criticized military companies as “acting in collusion” with the media.

4th May 2022

  • Guancha Syndicate on Weibo quoted ex-NATO intelligence officer Jacques Baud, saying the trigger cause of the Russia-Ukraine war was because the Ukrainian military “attacked the Donbas region”, and went on criticizing the Ukrainian government for not willing to evacuate the civilians, instead of using them as “shields’’. Baud concluded by pointing out western intelligence services were “useless” due to poor decisions by politicians.
  • CCTV posted its news clips on Weibo, saying Russia’s Investigative Committee (Sledkom) claimed that the United States has invested more than $224 million in biological experiments in Ukraine since 2005, and that it’s proven that the money has been used for financing the research and development of biological weapons for mass casualties.
  • The U.S. State Department issued a statement, quoting several media as well as research institutions, saying China has amplified Russia’s political propaganda on the Russia-Ukraine war. Global Times and Xinhua News posted on Weibo, quoting the Chinese Embassy in the U.S., refuting the statement and said the U.S. is the one “spreading fake news,” and that over the past few years, the U.S. has “planned for wars and violated the Biological Weapons Convention.”

3rd May 2022

  • The hashtag topic, “Zelensky said Ukraine seeks full restoration of its territory”, reached Weibo Hot Search. Some netizens retweeted this post and criticized the narratives under the hashtag by saying “Russia has gone out of its mind”, and “what’s wrong with a sovereign country asking for full sovereignty of its territory?” — these posts quickly received many likes. Even under the Weibo post by the CGTN Journalist Team, comments showed support for Ukraine.
  • CCTV posted on Weibo, quoting the Chairman of the Russian State Duma as saying some European leaders, led by Germany, have forgotten the price they paid for WWII, as they continued to provide Ukraine with weapons and become the ones creating conflicts. They should all be held accountable “as war criminals”. The hashtag topic in the post, “Russia said some countries are pushing the world towards catastrophe”, later became one of the top-trending topics on Weibo in the evening.
  • The Russian defense ministry posted a video interviewing civilians who have fled from the Azovstal steel plant, claiming Ukrainian Azov soldiers “fired into the air and intimidated civilians from leaving,” creating an image of Ukrainian soldiers controlling local civilians. The video was then shared by CCTV Military and Haike News on Weibo.
  • Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting a report by Russian media Sputnik saying the spokesperson of the Pentagon said yesterday that there’s “no sign” of Russia receiving Chinese military assistance. Chinese netizens commenting on the post criticized the US as “double-standard” and “being a hegemon”, as it can offer assistance to others, but does not allow others to do so.
  • Global Times went on quoting two reports by Sputnik on Weibo, emphasizing some countries “are forced to” boycott Russia. One post said Russia claimed that under great pressure from the western countries, many African countries did not dare to vote against motions regarding Ukraine in the UN, and in the end voted to abstain from the voting. Another post quoted the Italian President as saying the negative attitudes toward Russia “should not spill over to Russian culture.”
  • Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian retweeted a video by Xinhua News, claiming the US uses word tricks, noble slogans, and story-telling as “tools to launch a war.”

2nd May 2022: More supporting voices from Chinese netizens for Ukraine observed

  • The hashtag topic, “Russia said it’s not seeking to end its military operation by Victory Day (May 9)”, reached Weibo Hot Search. CCTV Military quoted Russia’s foreign minister as saying the pace of the operation depends first and foremost on “the need to minimize any risks for the civilian population and Russian military personnel’’; Russia “does not demand Zelensky to surrender”, instead of to “release all civilians and give up resisting”. The minister also claimed that his country is “not seeking” to change the regime in Ukraine.
  • The hashtag topic, “Russia said it won’t threaten anyone with a nuclear war”, reached Weibo Hot Search. Little Central Video quoted Russia’s foreign minister as saying Russia “never plays with such a dangerous thing. We all should insist on the statement made by the Nuclear 5 — never, ever, there could be a nuclear war.” But the comments below do not seem to believe in his narratives, some said “Russia was just threatening everyone with nuclear wars a few days ago”, “Russia also denied invading Ukraine before the war”, etc.
  • Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting Russian officials condemning the US and NATO for continuously providing Ukraine with weapons, and claimed that “what the western countries care about is not the fate of the Ukrainians, but how to weaken Russia.” Comments and retweets of this post included supportive arguments, but also refuting ones, such as “Russia is the only one who has no position on saying this”, “shameless remark”, etc.
  • Global Times posted on Weibo, saying Hungary is complying with Russia’s demand on paying for natural gas, and disclosed that 9 other EU countries are also doing the same. But these EU countries won’t admit it to “look like ‘good Europeans’”. Another article by Global Times on Weibo said that the PM of Hungary has been blacklisted by a Ukrainian website. Both of the articles were based on Russian media reports.
  • The hashtag topic, “electricity prices in France up 400%”, reached Weibo Hot Search. Chinese influencers on Weibo, including Lei Xiying (雷希穎) and Attack Bugle Call (衝鋒號角), posted videos of conflicts between French police and civilians to show chaos in France. However, under the hashtag topic, quite a few accounts criticized such fake news being promoted in China. The original Weibo post by CCTV Finance has been deleted, but the account remains one of the contributors to this hashtag topic.

1st May 2022

  • The hashtag topic, “Germany refuses to pay Russian gas in roubles”, continued to occupy Weibo Hot Search from last night to this morning. Comments below and shares of the post mostly claimed that “Merkel’s decade-long efforts went up in flames”, “Germany is just in denial”, “it’s the people who suffer”, etc.
  • The hashtag topic, “Pelosi visits Kyiv”, reached Weibo Hot Search. Several Chinese influencers retweeted the post saying “NATO is fueling the situation in Ukraine”, “the US is inciting Ukrainians to die at the front line”, etc.
  • Angelina Jolie’s visit to Lviv, reached Weibo Hot Search and stirred up discussions on Weibo. Chinese netizens mostly quoted her statement during her visit as a UNHCR Special Envoy in Iraq in 2018, saying the people there “have lost everything but gained freedom”, and reminded each other that Jolie supports the independence of Tibet. The hashtag topic, “Angelina Jolie under siren alert in Ukraine”, also became a top-trending topic on Weibo. Global Times quoted Russian media RT saying there were no missiles attacking Lviv at that time. Comments below criticized Jolie for a “publicity stunt.”
  • The hashtag topic, “Ghost of Kyiv confirmed dead”, reached Weibo Hot Search. Global Times posted on Weibo, claiming the “Ghost of Kyiv” legend was only created for publicity. Meanwhile, it’s worth pointing out that the popularity of the topic on Weibo doubled in a minute, and reached №2 on Weibo Hot Search.
  • On the UN Secretary General’s visit to Kyiv on April 29, the hashtag topic, “Russian authorities escort UN representatives to arrive in Mariupol,” reached Weibo Hot Search. Global Times quoted Russian media TASS as saying 25 Ukrainian civilians have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant by Russian authorities. Comments below mostly said “do not set the Azov Battalion free” and questioned whether the Russian will end up “releasing espionage,” etc.

30th April 2022

  • The hashtag topic, “US and UK continue to add flame to the Ukraine issue”, reached Weibo hot search. CCTV Military quoted the US Secretary of State and UK Defense Secretary for the topic and said the escalating situation in Ukraine “must be supported by the US and NATO in the back.” To support the argument, CCTV Military also quoted Russia’s ministry of defense as saying that 6,800 foreign mercenaries have arrived in Ukraine since the beginning of the war.
  • The hashtag topic, “some Polish cities run out of natural gas”, reached Weibo Hot Search. Global Times Information posted a video including interviews with local residents saying their daily life has been seriously influenced by the lack of natural gas. Netizen comments below mostly said, “innocent people are starting to pay for politics.”
  • The hashtag topic, “Russia held its first night rehearsal with military equipment for its military parade on Red Square”, shows on Weibo Hot Search. In the comments below, while many expressed support for “Russian victory” and some urged the Russian military to “go straight to Poland” after the parade, some netizens questioned the actual combat power of the Russian military, calling it “the most awkward military parade ever.”
  • CCTV quoted Russian media Sputnik as saying Russia will “start an investigation on the US doing drug tests on the patients in a mental hospital in Kharkiv, Ukraine.” The post on Weibo then quoted unknown netizens commenting “those with knowledge of American moral history will not be surprised by these issues.”
  • Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma’s warning that many generations of Ukrainians will have to pay for the weapons leased by the United States to Ukraine and said that Zelensky is “leading Ukraine to the abyss of debt.” Counter-arguments found in the comments below, including “though creating debts, they should still fight the invasion”, and “meanwhile Russia will not return the land it occupied for hundreds of generations”, created heated discussions, while most Chinese netizens disagreed with the arguments. Interestingly, a Taiwanese media China Times also published similar statements on May 1.
  • The hashtag topic, “Japanese PM said Japan and Germany to jointly impose sanctions on Russia”, reached Weibo hot search. Comments below and retweet posts recalled the history of WWII, saying the two countries belonged to the defeated Axis powers, and that now the “fascist Axis powers are coming back”, etc.
  • Chinese influencer Gu Yan Mu Chan (孤煙暮蟬) continued to spread anti-U.S. comments, including a video saying it is “ridiculous” that the UN Secretary-General is anti-war “but not anti-U.S. and anti-Ukrainian-Nazis”. The influencer also retweeted an online meme, taunting that the Nazis “have rebranded as the current NATO” and claimed that “evidence of Azov Battalion Nazis committing crime to civilians was found in Mariupol.”
  • Xinhua News released an interview with Ukraine’s foreign minister and quoted him as saying Ukraine proposed China as its security guarantor and asked China to call on Russia ceasefire, as the war “is not in China’s interests.” Though instead of Russian narratives, the interview included more neutral statements, the interview was only published on its main page and not on its Weibo pages.
  • On the same day, Xinhua News also published an interview with Russia’s foreign minister, quoting him as saying Russia “has no choice” but to initiate the special military operation “due to western interference”. The minister also claimed that the sanctions on Russia imposed by the West are aimed at “weakening the Russian economy”, but “it won’t succeed”. He went on to say Russia is “trying its best to avoid civilian casualties and has offered humanitarian supplies in regions such as Donbas.”

29 April 2022

  • CCTV posted its news clips on Weibo, criticizing British and US officials for “continuously making inflammatory remarks, encouraging Ukraine to attack Russian territory and expanding the war between Ukraine and Russia out of Ukraine.” The post added a hashtag “the US and the UK continue to add flame to the Ukraine issue”, blaming the West for the escalating situation.
  • At a press conference as well as on Weibo and Twitter, Zhao Lijian continued to criticize the United States by saying “the actual goal of the US is not peace”, instead it is “to keep the conflict going”, and that “the US has profited a lot from this war.” Zhao went on saying “the EU should rethink who actually benefits from the war, and who is losing more than the others.”
  • Little Central Video quoted Russia’s foreign ministry as saying Russia was willing to develop dialogues on the basis of “equality and respect for each other’s interests”. However, to bring results to the dialogues, the West “should abandon its belligerent rhetoric, give up militarizing Europe and its attempts to divide Europe.”
  • Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting a report by ​​The Times of Israel, saying a Jew familiar with Zelenskyy’s parents revealed in an interview that they “could not understand why he wanted to become the president”, adding that it’s a “nightmare” for them. The report was not confirmed, and Zelenskyy’s office has not responded to it.

28th April 2022: Linking Ukraine with Nazis, the US continues to incite the war, and Russia is the one working for peace

  • Chinese influencer Attack Bugle Call (衝鋒號角) posted a post and a video under the hashtags regarding the Russia-Ukraine war on Weibo Hot Search, claiming that a Ukrainian influencer searched for Russian soldiers’ bodies to eat in the purpose of gaining more attention online. The post then said netizens found out the bodies were in fact, Ukrainian soldiers. Netizens on Weibo criticized the influencer, calling him Nazi and that he has topped himself.
  • People’s Daily overseas news edition quoted Russian media Sputnik, saying Hilter’s autobiography was found inside the Azovstal steel plant, where Ukrainian nationalists hide. The post emphasized the autobiography has long been banned in Russia and continued to link the situation inside the Azovstal steel plant with Nazis.
  • Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying tweeted a graph of last year’s global military spending and questioned: “who’s the biggest threat to world peace”. The graph showed the military spending of the US is the sum of the following nine countries’ military spending.
  • People’s Daily overseas news edition posted on Weibo, quoting reports of Russian news agency TASS saying Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed Ukrainian nationalists were blocking foreign ships and taking hostages at several Ukrainian ports, adding that Russia was taking all necessary measures to protect navigation security. However, similar reports were not seen in other Chinese media.

27th April 2022: No notable response from PRC to the US-led summit in Germany for Ukraine's defense yet.

  • After the US called for a meeting with 40 countries in Germany for Ukraine-related defense talks, Chinese officials and state media had yet to respond. On Weibo, Chinese influencer Gu Yan Mu Chan (孤煙暮蟬) posted a video claiming that Zelensky behaved arrogantly and refused to meet with the German president, and said that while Germany provided Gepard “Cheetah” anti-aircraft tanks for Ukraine, Switzerland had vetoed the re-export of Swiss-made ammunition from Germany to Ukraine, which suggests that there is no unity.
  • The hashtag topic, “Europe quietly buys Russian oil,” became the top-trending topic on Weibo. CCTV quoted reports by a US report pointing to say that in spite of talks of thesixth round of sanctions against Russia, Europe is still increasing oil imports from Russia. In the comments, netizens said that Europe is not putting its money where its mouth is, and that the talks in Europe are hollow, and it is being kidnapped by the US.
  • The hashtag topic, “Putin said that Russia will not refuse to negotiate with Ukraine,” became one of the hot searches on Weibo. Using this hashtag, Global Times reported that Putin met with the UN Secretary-General on April 26, and said that although the special operations are still ongoing, Russia still hopes to reach a diplomatic solution. It also reported Putin saying that he is surprised that some countries want to have exceptional status or to claim exclusive rights in the world.
  • Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian retweeted two tweets from Socialist Action, which said that, “US is leading this proxy war against Russia and intends for it to be prolonged one”, and that the US does not want “peace negotiations”.

26th April 2022: “Proxy War” and “International Rules”

  • The hashtag topic, “Russia’s foreign minister says the risk of nuclear war exists”, became one of the hot searches on Weibo. People’s Daily overseas news edition, Haike News (海客新聞), quoted the Russian foreign minister as saying that Russia does not use nuclear weapons, but because NATO provided weapons for Ukraine, it is conducting a proxy war with Russia, and these weapons would therefore become legitimate targets of Russian attacks.
  • Global Times reported the Russian foreign minister as saying that the US and other Western countries are seeking to devalue the veto power in the UN Security Council, while ignoring the sovereignty of other countries and blatantly violating the UN charter, and demanding that other countries comply with their “rules”.
  • The hashtag topic, “a US laboratory in Ukraine resulted in pneumonia and 450 deaths 13 years ago,” became one of the hot searches on Weibo. People’s Daily used a similar tactic it used on April 19, to create a video citing apparent documents “disclosed” by the Russian ministry of defense, in order to create conspiracy theories against the US.
  • The hashtag topic, “Ukraine needs at least US$2 billion in economic aid from the US every month,” became one of the hot searches on Weibo. Netizens posted comments accusing Ukraine of being a high-class beggar who is asking too much, and said that Ukraine should ask the US for more, since the money will return to the US anyway.
  • Global Times reported Russia’s foreign minister accusing Ukraine of pretending to negotiate, and that Zelensky, who has an acting background, often contradicts himself. It also reported Russia’s foreign minister blaming Ukraine for not responding to the peace agreement proposed by Russia.

25th April 2022

  • The hashtag, “Russian media reveals a surprise attack on a field hospital in Ukraine,” reached the Weibo Host Search list. Little Central Video republished a Channel One Russia video on Weibo, in which a doctor at this field hospital stated that workers in this hospital conduct complex surgeries wearing bulletproof vests and endure the burdens of both difficult work and the threat of attack.
  • Little Central Video quoted the spokesperson of the Russian embassy in the US on Weibo, stating that embassy operations in the US have essentially been blocked, along with funds in their bank accounts in the US, that the embassy receives threats via phone and mail, and that even leaving the embassy is difficult.
  • Little Central Video posted on Weibo, stating that Syrian civil defense organization, the White Helmets, are on the ground in Ukraine making instructional videos, and that their most important backer is the US government, claiming that the organization has been created fake videos of the war in Ukraine, trying to imply that they are a source of false information. This will have the effect of lowering the believability and effectiveness of Ukrainian messaging.

24th April 2022

  • Global Times’ lead story criticized the EU for using Rubles to import oil, spreading Russian propaganda, saying that the second step is “total control” of Eastern and Southern Ukraine, to make Ukraine “become a landlocked country.” The end of the article quotes the Russian representative to the UN, saying that in this proxy war with Russia, the West is using Ukraine as cannon fodder, stressing that Western support is not sincere.
  • Global Times posted on Weibo, stating that the Ukrainian representative at peace talks admitted that they don’t have enough captured Russian soldiers for an exchange, and quoting Russian media claims that this demonstrates that Ukraine has been executing prisoners.
  • CCTV short-form video account, Little Central Video, quoted a Russian Ministry of Defense announcement, saying that the US plans to censure Russia for using chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons in Ukraine, shows that the US has more than once censured another country for using bioweapons, but hasn’t been held accountable for these falsehoods.
  • The hashtag, “Zelensky states that leaders of foreign countries shouldn’t come to Ukraine empty-handed,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. Global Times posted on Weibo, quoting a CNN report on Zelensky’s expectations of the US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense visiting Kyiv. In the comments below, netizens said that Zelensky was asking too much.
  • The hashtag, “Ukraine said that the Russian military fired missiles at Odesa,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. Global Times stated on Weibo that the emergency situation in Ukraine shows at least 6 to 18 people were injured. Netizen comments mostly did not believe the Ukrainian claims, some stating that “the Odesa government said that the missiles were from the Ukrainian military.”
  • People’s Daily Gansu head, Lin Zhipi, posted an article to his public WeChat account, stating that because Ukraine opposes Russia, and due to nazification, and due to pressure applied to Ukraine from NATO and the US, they support Russia. He criticized intellectuals as not opposing war but rather opposing Russia, that US support is just using Ukrainians as cannon fodder. He concluded by saying that the US, Ukraine, and the EU are the losers of the war.

23rd April 2022: A small display of public opinion questioning the PRC’s position with Russia

  • The hashtag, “Zhao Lijian says that those using the Ukraine crisis to extract their own benefits are clearly seen,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. Xinhua posted on Weibo quoting Zhao Lijian saying that the US only pays lip service to humanitarianism, claiming that the number of Ukrainian refugees they accepted in March was only 12. China MFA spokesperson office posted on Weibo saying the US is “watching a fire from the other side of the river, handing knives and kicking up a fuss”.
  • The hashtag, “Zhao Lijian says the PRC’s position on Ukraine is clearly big-hearted,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. Xinhua quoted Zhao Lijian on Weibo, stating that the US criticizing the PRC for supporting Russia is the old tactic of blackening the name of China, and the PRC is constructively working towards protecting world peace and order. However, some netizens can be seen commenting under this hashtag asking the PRC to respond to whether or not Russia has “invaded” Ukraine.
  • The hashtag, “Putin says Russia has adopted measures to protect Ukrainian civilians,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. CCTV quoted Russian officials on Weibo, stating that Russia has opened humanitarian passages daily and declared ceasefires in order to evacuate civilians. However, netizens responded that war criminals claiming to protect civilians is a huge joke, pointing out that the same claims were made when the Japanese invaded.
  • The hashtag, “Russia reports the number of casualties of the Moskva incident,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. Global Times quoted a Russian Ministry of Defense statement, saying that a fire broke out on the Moskva on the 13th of April, igniting explosives onboard, causing severe damage, the death of one sailor, and a further 27 who jumped ship still missing.
  • Global Times continued to post Russian Ministry of Defense reports on the condition of the war, including: Russian military shoots down a Ukrainian Su-25, Russian military destroys Ukrainian ethno-nationalist organization Redoubt, and Russian navy in the Black Sea fires four missiles at Ukrainian military targets.

Doubting that the EU and British positions are wavering

  • Global Times quoted Sputnik on Weibo, pointing to a Russian Security Council report that without Russian natural gas, Europe cannot last more than a few weeks. CCTV posted on Weibo, saying the EU agreed to import Russian natural gas in rubles, and implying wavering on their position towards Russia. But the EU was allowing European businesses to follow Russian operating procedures.
  • The hashtag, “Britain ratifies using Rubles to calculate Russian gas imports,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. PRC state media, The Paper, quoted Reuters and Bloomberg on Weibo, pointing to a document published on the 22nd of April by Britain’s finance ministry, showing an agreement between Britain and Gazprombank to use Rubles to calculate British imports of Russian natural gas.

22nd April 2022: Numerous war reports from Russian sources emerged

  • The hashtag, “Zhao Lijian says the US treats international law as their own internal household discipline,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. People’s Daily and Global Times quoted Zhao Lijian, saying that the US ignored international law to invade Iraq and Syria, and instigated NATO to expand eastwards, increasing tensions in the region and adding oil to the fire, and continued to upgrade unilateral sanctions putting the global order at risk, putting imperial order above international society.
  • The hashtag, “Russia hits back at British PM’s request for captured British soldiers to be treated mercifully,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. CCTV quoted the Russian Foreign Ministry, saying that the more weapons Britain provides to Ukraine, the more Ukrainians will die, and telling Johnson, “don’t pretend you care.”
  • Global Times quoted Russian security services on Weibo, saying that Ukrainian security services planned to bomb a Russian humanitarian convoy. The video report includes a captured Ukrainian admitting an explosive was placed in a car. To date, we have not seen a report of any response from Ukrainian officials.
  • Global Times posted on Weibo, saying that in a meeting with military officials on the 20th, Biden praised the tenacity of the Ukrainian people. However, Global Times juxtaposed this report with an anonymous netizen’s comment that peace is not the US’s goal, which is instead to make Ukrainians stand in the way of Russian bullets.
  • Zhao Lijian retweeted a cartoon from The Free Thought Project, mocking the US as having big banks, big pharma, weapons manufacturers, and big media, creating huge national debt, ensuring sickness, causing war without end, and maintaining an ignorant public.
  • Weibo influencer, Attack Bugle Call, used the hashtag, “Ukrainian president seeks heavy weapons and support of 7b per month,” publishing a photo of Zelensky’s wife in combat attire, drawing comments from netizens that they are just putting on a show and calling for them to stop acting.

21st April 2022: Media coordination to produce content surrounding the main theme

  • Global Times and Beijing Evening News quoted Russian outlets TASS and RIA Novosti saying that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin that with the exception of Azovstal, the whole of Mariupol had been “liberated” and taken under “complete control” by Russian forces and that all measures were taken to ensure the safety of civilians
  • On Weibo, Global Times quoted a report by Russia’s Sputnik which claimed that an anonymous retired Ukrainian official had revealed that Kyiv has been under Western control for many years, and that talks between Kyiv and the US are akin to the local government reporting back to the central government. The report also mentioned that under the agreement signed between Ukraine and the US in 2005, the US provided Ukraine with assistance for its biolabs to study a range of dangerous diseases.
  • CGTN quoted remarks made by Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin who said that the US, “under the cover of human rights and democracy, meddles in other countries’ affairs and starts conflicts and wars”, while at the same time, “American arms dealers and oil and gas companies have made a fortune”. “This is not disinformation,” he said. “On the contrary, it is pure disinformation to allege that China has acquiesced in and connived at Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and that Russia has requested military equipment from China,” he added.
  • On Baidu, Red Star News reported that Ukraine’s foreign ministry agreed to a proposal by the UN for a four-day “humanitarian truce”, but also quoted a Russian Deputy Representative to the UN who claimed that Russia has repeatedly announced ceasefires but has either been ignored or used maliciously by Ukraine.
  • On Baidu, the Quanzhou Radio & TV Station quoted a Global Times report, which claimed Ukrainian media report that French President Emmanuel Macron was unwilling to help Ukraine, and was even willing to compromise with Russia, in order to resolve the war quickly.
  • The hashtag topic, “Ukraine says it is willing to hold special talks with Russia without conditions”, started trending on Weibo. A Global Times article also used this hashtag when sharing a CCTV article. However, a CCTV article later included additional hashtags in its post, saying that “Russia’s foreign ministry says that it no longer trusts Ukraine’s negotiator” and “Russian-Ukrainian negotiations have been manipulated by the US and NATO”, and claimed that Russia sent a draft for a peace treaty on April 20 which Ukraine claimed not to have received, to paint Ukraine as having no intentions for peace talks.

On Twitter, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian shared three articles from Chinese state media, including:

  • Xinhua News’s article about how the “Russia-Ukraine conflict has exposed to the world America’s dirty roles and textbook-style “buck-passing” tricks to use Ukraine to counter and contain Russia”, and how the US is “repeating the whole playbook and offshore balancing strategy in Asia-Pacific”.
  • China Daily’s article that the “US government and a small number of businesses are turning blind eyes,” and “how US sanctions worked to make the rich richer and poor poorer”. The article ended with the note that, “those who chose not to side with the US on sanctions will automatically receive Washington’s coercive warnings”.
  • CGTN’s article that after Biden’s announcement to “welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees”, “support and resources allocated to Afghan refugees are dwindling”. The article concluded that: “the U.S. seems never care about the well-being of the refugees, regardless of where they come from, Afghanistan, Haiti, or Ukraine. The only thing the U.S. government cares about is its self-interest.”

20th April 2022: Discussing Transnational Corporations

  • After Google Maps clearly showed satellite imagery of Russian military equipment, Global Times posted a commentary on Weibo, criticizing Google and other transnational corporations as captured by US authorities, hurting future transnational business, and will ultimately damage the US itself.
  • Hua Chunying tweeted that many countries oppose US sanctions on Russia, because sanctions will not bring peace and only cause civilians to suffer economic disaster.
  • On Weibo, CCTV Military Affairs quoted Russian officials, creating the hashtag, “Russian military open a humanitarian passage at the Azov steelworks,” which reached the Weibo Hot Search list.
  • Weibo influencer “Assault Bugle Call” used the above-mentioned hashtag, posting that Ukraine parliamentarian Ilya Kiva criticized Zelensky on television as having departed from reality for a long time due to drug-taking. In Taiwan, a video claiming that Zelensky has been abusing drugs reached mainstream media, YouTube, and Facebook. This video has been debunked by Taiwan Fact Check Center.
  • Guancha posted on Weibo with the hashtag, “Ukrainian media slapped in the face over claim about Russian man at Bucha murders,” saying that Ukrainian media identified Russian man, Igor Tymochevsky, as participating in the Bucha rape and massacre, however cited Russia Today claiming that this man had never left Russia, thereby utilizing Russian state media to claim that Ukrainian media is unreliable.
  • Military blog, Global Lens A, posted a Russian official video on Weibo, claiming that Ukrainian soldiers found deceased with Russian passes and surrender documents on their bodies were executed by the Azov Battalion, in order to Nazify Ukraine as brutal and cruel.
  • Irish EU parliamentarian, Clare Daly, was interviewed by Global Times, who posted the full interview on Weibo, in which Daly opposes EU providing weapons to Ukraine, opposes sanctioning Russia, criticizes the US as using the Ukrainian people as pawns in their competition with Russia, states that the continued existence of NATO will only bring more problems, and advocates for the PRC’s right to self-defense in the South China Sea.

19th April 2022: Saying that Western sanctions have failed; Implying that Zelensky is drinking heavily and taking drugs

  • The hashtag, “Putin states that Russia has survived the unprecedented high level of stress applied from the West,” reached number one on Weibo’s Hot Search list. Little Central Video (which belongs to CCTV) used this hashtag, posting that sanctions applied by the West have failed, and that the Russian economy has returned to stability. Weibo influencer He-Tien-En used the same hashtag to claim that Ukraine has lost press freedom, and a video of Russian good treatment of captured Ukrainian soldiers.
  • On Weibo, Global Times quoted an article written by the PRC ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, published in The National Interest magazine, stating that the PRC has historically been peace-loving and anti-war, hoping that US-PRC relations would not sour, claiming that claims the PRC would provide military aid to Russia were false, and stating that the PRC did not know beforehand that Russia would invade. Hua Chunying and Zhao Lijian retweeted Qin Gang’s posting of the article.
  • People’s Daily overseas edition, Haokan News, published a video on Weibo with the hashtag, “Satellite imagery reveals US biolabs in Ukraine: concealed in forests, large-scale US equipment revealed.” The content stated that the labs turn bats into pathogens meant as bioweapons. However, the video only shows a generic forest area, and general lab equipment, supplying no practical evidence.
  • Hua Chunying retweeted a Carlos Martinez Global Times article, claiming that the Russian invasion was caused by NATO expansion, and that the US urging the EU to unite to oppose Russia has caused a greater mess, and stating that in the long-term “Cold War blocs” such as NATO and AUKUS should be disbanded.

18th April 2022

  • CCTV interviewed a director from the Institute of Modern Russia, and created a hashtag topic on Weibo: “Russian expert says the US and the West fabricated and spread a lot of fake news”. The institute director claimed that Russia, Ukraine and the majority of the other countries are victims of the Ukrainian-Russian war, and that everyone wants to end the war as soon as possible, but the US has been sabotaging the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. He also claimed that the US is the only beneficiary of the war and has been applying the same information warfare tactics it used in Syria, Libya and other countries, in Ukraine. The video of the interview is however currently unavailable at the time of writing.
  • On Weibo, Global Times created a hashtag topic, “The US’s mask is being peeled off layer by layer. The US is Voldermort destroying the international order.” It characterized the US as the villain Voldermort from the Harry Potter novel, and said that after the Russian-Ukrainian war began, the US has been using various hegemonic powers to provoke conflicts and disrupt the international order.
  • The hashtag topic, “Zelensky says Ukrainian troops are ready to fight in the Donbas region”, started trending on Weibo. A Chinese influencer on Weibo He Tian En (何天恩) claimed that the US has given one-third of its ammunition stockpile to Ukraine, and that Ukraine is running out of ammunition. He also posted a video of Zelensky suspecting him of alcohol and drug use.
  • Global Times quoted Russia’s RT news reporting a video from the Russian Ministry of Defense showing around 100 sailors lining up in Crimea to meet with the commander-in-chief of the Navy, but did not mention the casualties from Russia’s sunken flagship Moskva. This led to a flurry of discussion in the comments section of the post.
  • Quoting Russia’s RBC’s news, Global Times reported a United Russia party website stating that its party chairperson planned to destroy SpaceX satellites. This is in response to the suspected involvement of these satellites in the attack on Russia’s sunken flagship Moskva, but the website is actually a fake one. The party chairperson Dmitry Medvedev later took to social media to express his “gratitude” to the fake website for the “novel” idea, Global Times said. It also quoted RBC as saying that the IP address of the fake website was registered in the US.
  • Global Times quoted Russia’s Sputnik report of what Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, said on Telegram: that Russia was at war with dozens of NATO Western countries, and he called on the “Ukrainian nationalists” at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to lay down their weapons.
  • Global Times quoted a Russia Today report, which claimed that anti-personnel mines were used by Ukrainian forces, in contravention of the Ottawa Convention. Global Times also said that Ukrainian officials have yet to comment on the matter.

17th April 2022

  • PRC officials continue to spread Russian reports of victory. The hashtag, “Russian military shoots down transport plane carrying Western weapons,” reached Weibo Hot Search. Global Times Weibo account quoted the Russian Department of Defense, saying that the Russian military shot down a Ukrainian transport plane near Odesa that was carrying a large batch of weapons provided by Western countries.
  • People’s Daily overseas edition published on Weibo using the hashtag, “Kharkiv citizens wave Russian flags to welcome the Russian military,” quoting a Russian Department of Defense video in which citizens wave the Russian flag on the roadside for the Russian military. We can’t find this report in English or Mandarin outside the PRC.
  • The hashtag, “Russian military says they have totally eliminated the Ukrainian military inside Mariupol,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. Global Times posted on Weibo with this hashtag, quoting the Russian Department of Defense, saying that the Russian military in Mariupol has already completed eliminated the Azov Battalion, foreign mercenaries, and the Ukrainian military forces, and declared Ukrainian casualties were 23,367.

16th April 2022: Xinhua publishes six reports blaming the US as a “Black Hand” in the Ukraine-Russia conflict

  • From the 7th of April, Xinhua published six articles in a row, accusing the US of being a “black hand” in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Apart from accusing the US of pushing “The Eastward expansion of NATO causing the Ukraine crisis to continuously worsen,” they also quoted the Russian official line, “the US is conducting biological experiments in Ukraine,” continuing to push the biolabs conspiracy.
  • Hua Chunying tweeted that, when US officials doubt which side the PRC is on, what side did the US stand on when it caused the deaths of millions in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq?

15th April 2022

  • People’s Daily overseas edition, “Haokan News,” quoted Russian media Rusvensna’s report, saying that Ukrainian capital city Kyiv was struck with missiles late at night, the topic “Kyiv struck by missile attack,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list, however most PRC state media had not yet reported this news.
  • Global Times quoted English political magazine, New Statesman, reporting an interview with US intellectual Noam Chomsky, who said that humanity is in the most dangerous time in history, and that although Putin’s military aggression is an error, we shouldn’t put a label on him, and need to understand the issues clearly, and that in discussing Putin’s anti-democratic position, we also need to stress that the US has done many things to harm democracy.

14th April 2022

  • Using the hashtag, “US uses Ukrainian psychiatrically ill for biological experiments,” People’s Daily quoted the Russian Department of Defense on Weibo, saying that US scientists hid that they used patients from Kharkiv psychiatric hospital for pathogen tests.
  • Global Times published on Weibo using the hashtag, “China presses the US to clarify their biological military activities,” quoting a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, stating that the US accused Russia of using chemical weapons in order to divert attention from their biolabs in Ukraine, and quoted Zho Lijian, questioning why the US is hiding its global biological military activities.
  • Using the hashtag, “Two Ukrainian helicopter gunships invade Russian airspace,” People’s Daily quoted Sputnik on Weibo, saying that Ukraine has used airstrikes on Russian residential areas six times. On Twitter, Ukraine Weapons Tracker claimed that this was a Russian false flag operation.
  • CCTV’s hashtag, “The US is the country with the worst human rights in the world,” reached the Weibo Hot Search list. Few follow-up discussions are also highly attached to the US’s role in the war. Some other accounts hijacked it with criticism of the PRC, but have since been deleted.
  • Global Times posted on Weibo with the hashtag, “The US is a hypocrite that doesn’t care about lives,” continuing to attack the US as exporting war and creating refugees.
  • Hua Chunyin tweeted a cartoon, “The peace movement has changed somehow,” mocking NATO as talking about peace but being a provider of military assistance.

13th April 2022

  • Global Times wrote a post on Weibo titled, “Zelensky publicly exposes photos of arrested opposition leaders”, citing Russia’s Sputnik news report of Zelensky’s suggestion to exchange pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk for captured Ukrainians. Global Times however did not report that Medvedchuk had been under house arrest for treason since 2021, and was trying to escape.
  • Global Times quoted foreign media reports that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fined for throwing parties at government offices in 2020 and “repeatedly” breaking COVID-19 regulations, and added that Johnson had initially tried to lie and conceal the information, and claimed that the government officials had the privilege to violate these regulations. Since the UK Prime Minister’s visit to Ukraine, Global Times has repeatedly published articles attacking him.
  • Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian posted a Global Times article with a comic mocking US sanctions against Russia, and said that “US Sanctions [are] the problem, not the solution.”
  • Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying tweeted that the US said that it would “welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees” but admitted “only 12 refugees” in March.
  • The South China Morning Post reported Peking University Finance Professor Michael Pettis saying that, “A country like China that runs a trade surplus has to invest in foreign assets and there are few other choices but US bonds.” In contrast to the mainstream criticism of the US within China, more voices with different opinions are beginning to emerge in recent days.

12th April 2022

  • Both CCTV and Global Times quoted an article from Russia’s Strategic Culture Foundation, which claimed that the US biological military research in Ukraine was undertaking the monitoring of biological conditions in the NATO regions, collecting dangerous pathogens and transporting them to the US, the research of bioweapon preparation, and developing bioweapons to target the different racial groups. The foundation was previously identified by the US State Department as a state-linked entity involved in spreading disinformation.
  • People’s Daily wrote that the US has made a fortune off the Russian-Ukrainian “conflict”. CCTV and CRI News Radio also quoted Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian as saying that “the US-led NATO has escalated the tension between Russia and Ukraine to the breaking point,” and that “instead of taking real actions to ease the situation,” the US “has been incessantly adding fuel to the flame [and] heightening the conflict”. They also quoted Zhao as saying that, “the US has also been constantly spreading disinformation to smear China”, and pursuing “hegemony and bullying”.
  • Global Times wrote a post on Weibo titled, “Biden claims to support the Ukrainian refugee plan but gets a slap in the face by the actual data”, and criticized the US for saying one thing but doing another. Global Times wrote that the US said that it would accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, but only 12 Ukrainians entered the US on April 11.
  • Global Times wrote on Weibo that the “UK Foreign Secretary followed the Azov Battalion” to claim that Russian troops were using biochemical weapons in Mariupol. However, on Twitter, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss did not mention the “Azov Battalion”, but had instead said the claims of chemical agents needed to be “verified”. Global Times also insinuated that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss withheld the knowledge that this news came from the “Azov Battalion”.
  • On Twitter, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying quoted a survey allegedly claiming that 92% of Chinese netizens believe that the US threat to sanction China is a form of “bullying and coercive behavior”, and that 89% of netizens think that the “US Indo-Pacific Strategy is an Asia-Pacific version of #NATO”.
  • After Putin’s meeting with Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko, CCTV quoted Putin as saying that Ukraine had deviated from the agreements made at a peace conference in Istanbul and that talks have reached a “dead end”, and that the negotiating position of Ukraine has changed. The aim was to portray Ukraine as being fickle and at fault for the negotiations failing.

11th April 2022

  • CCTV wrote a post on Weibo titled, “German media says NATO is sprinting towards a military dead end”, and quoted German newspaper Junge Welt saying that NATO is a group of robber countries on the wane, and that the US and NATO have been plotting in Ukraine.
  • CCTV and People’s Daily reported Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian saying, “NATO has disrupted Europe. It should stop trying to destabilize Asia and the whole world.” He added that, “NATO … has traveled to the Asia-Pacific to flex its muscles and provoke tensions in recent years,” and that it “has been transgressing regions and fields and clamoring for a new Cold War of bloc confrontation”.
  • Global Times quoted a report from Russia Today that claims US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan “boasting” that the US is sending “unlimited” weapons to Ukraine “every day”. In RT’s report, it however did not use the word, “unlimited” (無限制), but had quoted Sullivan as saying the US is trying to “get Ukraine what it needs”. Global Times also quoted RT saying that Russia has “consistently denied targeting civilians,” and accused Ukraine’s Azov Battalion of “regularly using human shields and civilian infrastructure as a cover to avoid being hit by Russian forces”. Note however that Global Times used the term, “Azov Battalion” (亞速營) but RT’s news had used the term, “radical neo-Nazi battalions”.
  • Global Times wrote a post on Weibo titled, “US influencer revealed that he was used by the White House as an anti-Russian pawn”, and claimed that US influencers were being brainwashed to spread the White House’s spiritual ideology and anti-Russia propaganda.
  • Global Times wrote a post on Weibo titled, “US is the poison maker which sows the seeds”, and claimed that the US has set up biolabs overseas, used biochemical weapons overseas and organized color revolutions in many countries, and said that be it is “biological” or “spiritual” poison, the US is the top “poison maker”.
  • Weibo influencer ‘Earth Lens A’ (地球鏡頭 A) posted a video screenshot from an unknown source, which claimed that a Ukrainian female Nazi was killed by Chechen special forces. The post had over 7,000 likes at the time of writing but there have been no other news sources about this in either English or in Chinese.
  • After the British Prime Minister’s visit to Ukraine, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying quoted Bloomberg on Twitter and said: “in the #UK, sanctions on #Russia has led to a 54% spike in gas and electricity prices on April 1,” to point to the UK suffering the consequences of its sanctions against Russia.

10th April 2022: The day after the British Prime Minister’s surprise visit to Kyiv

  • Patriotic Weibo influencer accounts Guyanmuchan and Dibaguanwei republished a photo claiming to be of deceased Russian soldiers whose throats were cut by Ukrainian women as a warning (this photo can be found on the Russian internet), spreading the message that Ukrainians are ruthless and inhumane.
  • The day after the British Prime Minister’s surprise visit to Kyiv, Global Times’ Weibo account quoted a report from The Times, saying the discourse around “planning to take Ukrainian women refugees” is rampant in the UK, that some single men in the UK are planning to do this, in an attempt to connect this negative news to the UK.
  • Global Times’ Weibo account used the hashtag, “As Zelensky and Johnson stroll in Kyiv, and Ukrainian defense stresses ‘bravery,’ London netizens say ‘Beware!’,” quoting netizens in the UK to say that Johnson cannot be trusted and has a hidden agenda. The conclusion of the post criticizes UK support for Ukraine as facile, saying they are only friends on the surface, and pointing out that the UK is procrastinating on its policy to accept Ukrainian refugees.

9th April 2022: PRC Netizens Oppose Russian State Media Discourse, Appear in Discussions Under PRC State Media Weibo Posts

  • Global Times quoted the Russian Federation Investigation Commission, reporting with the hashtag, “Russia says it is certain of who committed the attack on a train station in Eastern Ukraine,” believing that the attack was staged by Ukraine. It is worth noting that we began to observe opposition from netizens in the comments below this post, criticizing the quality of reporting, and ridiculing the situation as “whatever the Russian state media says, the PRC state media embraces.”
  • A hashtag was created on Weibo, “NATO falsely stating that China refuses to condemn Russia is a serious challenge.” Reference News said that the NATO Secretary General’s criticism is provocative and wildly arrogant.
  • CCTV cut a passage from the EU parliament question time broadcast and used the hashtag, “EU parliament questions where NATO has brought peace,” toughest that Western officials also don’t entirely support sanctions against Russia. Hua Chunying and Zhao Lijian also republished this clip on Twitter. The EU parliamentarian in question also called on the EU to engage in peace talks with Russia in order to save Ukrainian lives, which these reports chose to ignore.
  • Zhao Lijian tweeted an NBC News report claiming that Russia was seeking military support from the PRC were disinformation spread by US intelligence agencies, and mocking the US as rumor mongers.

8th April 2022

  • The hashtag, “US Biolabs in Ukraine research eight kinds of a virulent disease,” reached Weibo Hot Search. People’s Daily quoted the Russian Ministry of Defense, saying that US Biolabs in Ukraine studying virulent diseases are all close to schools and kindergartens. The language they used for Biolabs conspiracy theories appears to be more extreme.
  • The hashtag, “Russian presidential spokesperson says the Russian military has suffered heavy losses,” reached Weibo Hot Search. Global Times quoted the Russian presidential spokesperson as saying that Russia’s retreat from Kyiv has created a good atmosphere for peace talks. Guancha also quoted the Russian presidential spokesperson, saying that the Russian retreat is a gesture of goodwill, and hoping that Zelensky will agree to terms of peace. This piece also once again denied the Bucha massacre.
  • Global Times reported on Weibo with the hashtag, “Russia has been stopped from holding a seat on the UN Human Rights Council,” using the same language as Russian officials, saying that US manipulation to remove another country from the Council sets a dangerous precedent.

7th April 2022

  • Since April 1st, the false claim that the commander of NATO’s army was trapped at Mariupol continued to appear on Weibo, Weixin, Douyin, Xigua Video, and YouTube. It is worth noting that, apart from CCTV’s program “Global Times Witness,” PRC state media have not spread this disinformation.
  • Former Taiwanese legislator, Chiu Yi, posted on Facebook that the Bucha massacre was planned by Ukraine, that the real situation is unclear and requires clarification, placing his opinion in alignment with Russian and PRC officials.
  • Global Times’ Weibo account used the hashtag, “Revealed! Czech Republic gives Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine, breaking with other NATO countries,” characterizing Ukraine accepting Soviet-made tanks as a break with NATO.
  • Global Times started a hashtag, “US Senator says if China attacks Taiwan the US will sanction China,” stating that opinion in the US is divided about sanctions against Russia, that the US is intentionally dragging the PRC into the sanctions discussion, and that comparing Ukraine to Taiwan is “a very dangerous path.”
  • Global Times cited a New York Times video, posting on Weibo that the Ukraine military shot wounded Russian soldiers at close range.
  • China Mission to the EU tweeted an edited NBC News video clip, saying that the US intentionally used inaccurate intelligence as a weapon. The same NBC clip also discussed the Russian deployment of disinformation as a weapon, which the China Mission to the EU avoided mentioning.
  • CCTV posted on Weibo with the hashtag, “Solid proof the US brings misery to other countries,” saying that the US Speaker of the House of Representatives visiting Taiwan, comparing Taiwan to Ukraine, is intentionally provoking trouble on the Taiwan question. They also stated that the US is throwing oil on the fire, getting rich off the Ukraine war, and extending their hand into Asia, making others fight for their own benefit.

6th April 2022

  • CCTV reported China’s ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun as saying that the relevant circumstances and specific causes of the civilian deaths in Bucha should be verified and established, but he did not condemn the massacre. The hashtag CCTV created in relation to this news, “China says the death of civilians in Bucha must be investigated”, started trending on Weibo.
  • CCTV and People’s Daily wrote articles about the US profiting from the chaos arising from the war and sanctions, while Europe is faced with a refugee influx, capital outflows and energy shortages, and blamed the US for it. They published their posts with the hashtag: “Zhao Lijian says the US is making a lot of money from the chaos.”
  • Global Times wrote an article calling the US a Cold War conspirator of the 21st century, and accused the US of inciting confrontations by instigating a color revolution in Ukraine, strengthening Europe’s dependence on the US and NATO, and being the instigator of the Ukrainian-Russian war. Global Times created the hashtag topic alongside the article: “The true colors of the US are being peeled off layer by layer. America is the Cold War conspirator of the 21st century.”
  • Global Times created articles with the hashtags, “NATO is a stumbling block to the new European security architecture”, and “the Cold War mentality resurfaces”, to promote the narrative that NATO as led by the US and UK is the root of the security issues in Europe and the instigator of the Ukraine “crisis”, and that the idea of China as a strategic threat is a re-emergence of Cold War mentality.
  • Global Times reported that nearly 60% of Russians have a negative attitude towards NATO. In connection with the news, Global Times created the hashtag, “Russia hosts the NATO’s Chronicle of Cruelty exhibition”, and it became one of the top searches on Weibo.
  • The topic of Zelensky calling for Russia to be removed from the UN Security Council started trending on Weibo. Guancha Syndicate also reported remarks by US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield as saying that it is not possible to remove Russia from the council, to create the narrative that even the US does not agree with Zelensky’s views.
  • CCTV and Global Times wrote articles using the hashtag, “Russia calls the expulsion of Russian diplomats short-sighted”, and quoted Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that European countries expelling Russian diplomats are following the US and burning bridges.

5th April 2022

  • Global Times and CGTN reported that the tweet by the Russian foreign ministry denying the Bucha massacre was censored by Twitter. However, the reality was that the tweet was marked abusive by Twitter but was not removed.
  • Guancha Syndicate and Global Times continued to quote Russian sources claiming that the West and Ukraine are trying to frame Russia for the Bucha massacre, and that the photos and videos from Bucha are fake.
  • The topic that the “US is bulk-buying Russian crude oil” started trending on Weibo. On Weibo, Sina Finance and Chinese influencers, as well as China Times, a pro-China outlet based in Taiwan, quoted Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Mikhail Popov as saying that the US is forcing Europe to impose sanctions against Russia, but is yet continuing to import oil from Russia. This has been debunked.
  • The topic of Merkel defending the decision to block Ukraine from joining NATO became a trending topic on Weibo. China’s National Business Daily and other Chinese influencers emphasized this topic after Zelensky criticized Merkel and highlighted that a spokesperson for former German chancellor Angela Merkel “stands by” her decision. The aim of this appears to sow discord between Ukraine and Germany.
  • CCTV posted an article about US businesses continuing to do well in spite of the sanctions, and said that the US was “fooling” Europe by calling for sanctions against Russia while profiting from exporting weapons and liquefied natural gas.
  • CCTV and People’s Daily published articles about the Chinese Embassy in Serbia paying tribute to martyrs killed in NATO bombing, to play up the negative image of NATO.
  • Global Times published an article about the Polish prime minister accusing Germany of protecting Russia for its own economic interests, and created a hashtag that said: “Infighting within the European Union — Poland says Germany is the biggest roadblock to sanctions against Russia”. Global Times then quoted a German official as saying that blocking the import of natural gas from Russia will have a major impact on Germany’s economy, to play up the idea that sanctions are self-defeating for Europe.

4th April 2022: Conspiracy that Bucha massacre is ‘staged’ by Ukraine

  • CRI News Radio reported the Russian defense ministry denied responsibility for the Bucha massacre and accused Ukraine of fake-staging the photos and videos from Bucha. CRI News Radio created a hashtag for the report: “Russian defense ministry says Ukraine has put up a good show with its accusations”. It was later deleted but Chinese influencers and social media accounts are still reposting the topic and promoting Russia’s denials.
  • The topic that the “Russian-Ukrainian conflict will benefit US arms dealers in the long term” started trending on Weibo. CCTV and CRI News Radio both reported that US arms dealers will be profiting from the war.

3rd April 2022: More propaganda about the US benefiting from the war in Ukraine

  • CCTV and CRI News Radio reported that the profits of US liquefied natural gas exports have reached new heights due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, to push the narrative that the US is benefiting from the war.
  • CRI News Radio reported Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling Europeans to “sober up from the American bourbon”, and that NATO is “designed for aggression”. (The Chinese translation however translates loosely to Peskov telling Europeans to wake up from the US’s spell.) The aim again is to push the narrative as Europe being influenced by the US, and to sow discord between Europe and US.
  • CCTV reported that Germans were snapping up and hoarding firewood due to fears of gas supplies being cut off, and Global Times also reported a European Commissioner asking people to take shorter showers to save power. Such news aims to create the impression that Europe is facing an energy dilemma due to its sanctions against Russia, and has been incompetent in managing the crisis.

2nd April 2022: Xi Jinping attends PRC-EU meeting; No sign yet of large-volume PRC state media reports on the meeting

  • The PRC-EU meeting reached Weibo’s hot search list. CCTV reported that Xi expressed hope that the EU would develop an independent understanding of the PRC, and create independent policy regarding the PRC. No content regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine was reported, only a PRC foreign ministry press release appeared.
  • Little Central Video (which belongs to CCTV) created a hashtag, “Ukraine passes a law forbidding the use of the letters Z and V,” which reached the Weibo hot search list, utilizing a number of video influencer accounts to continue amplifying the discourse around “absurd sanctions.”
  • Global Times and CCTV created hashtags, “Hungarian president explains why he places himself outside of the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” and “Hungarian president says Russian natural gas is irreplaceable,” stating that substituting US natural gas will cause employment to rise.
  • People’s Daily created the hashtag, “US crazily sucks blood and rakes in money from the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” in an attempt to ridicule US arms sales.
  • Using the hashtag, “US responsible for over 80% of armed conflicts since World War II,” the Global Times English account posted a Mandarin-language video, stating that the warmongering US is the source of chaos in the world.
  • Zhao Lijian published a tweet citing an interview with an Indian academic, stating that Western countries only say they are brothers with other countries, but when danger comes, they leave other countries to suffer. A separate tweet criticized Western countries as sermonizing colonizers.
  • Zhao Lijian published a cartoon on Twitter attempting to ridicule the US as forcing other countries to take sides.
  • A famous patriotic Weibo influencer account, Guyanmuchan, published a post on Weibo claiming that retired US soldier Russell Bently attacked Nazis in Ukraine. The next day (4/3), Global Times quoted a NewsWeek report stating that Russell Bentley wants to kill Nazis and protect innocent civilians. Patriotic PRC influencer account, Taiwan Silly Things, also republished this report, strengthening support for Russia’s claimed reason for invasion: de-Nazification.

1st April 2022

  • Global Times amplified Russian military propaganda, creating hashtags on Weibo “Russia establishes a working group to investigate US biolabs in Ukraine.” CCTV created more inciteful hashtags, “Russia says US is using Ukraine to conduct biological experiments on human subjects,” and “Russia has evidence that the US military is involved in biological experiments.” The video report had over 6 million views at the time of writing. PRC foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian criticized the US as holding a double standard in criticizing other countries for violating international agreements while being a violator itself.
  • Hua Chunying posted on Twitter saying that the PRC does not allow the weaponization of world economic discourse, which creates serious financial, trade, energy, technology, food, industry, and supply chain risks. She pointed to the US calling on the world to sanction Russia as damaging to the global economy.

31st March 2022: More inciteful keywords regarding bioweapons conspiracies emerged

  • Quoting Russian propaganda, CCTV posted on Weibo with hashtags, “Russia confirms list of US officials involved in biological experiments in Ukraine,” and “Divulging of 5629 contracts reveals the global situation of US biological experiment laboratories,” continuing to promote the spread of these conspiracies.
  • Zhao Lijian and Hua Chunying tweeted a clip of an interview with a formal high-level CIA official, saying that US interference in the internal politics of other countries only follows consideration of their own interests, leaving other countries with no recourse.
  • Reference news quoted a report by The Times (UK), stating that the UK prime minister wants to provide Ukraine with “even deadlier weapons,” continuing to deepen their portrayal of European countries as wishing the war to continue and throwing oil on the fire.
  • Responding to the US Department of Defense report deliberating on the nuclear situation, Wang Wenbin criticized the US at a press conference, stating that the US is still a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but that Biden has not honored his campaign promise to forswear first-use of nuclear weapons, and followed with criticism of US-Japan cooperation on nuclear weapons. To date, the PRC has not criticized Russia’s direct use of nuclear threats.
  • In its ‘Regular Press Conference’, China’s Ministry of National Defense spokesperson said: “From Kabul to Ukraine, for something that those countries could not get from certain foreign countries, how could Taiwan be possibly getting it?” Relating Taiwan to Ukraine, he said: “Those bad checks from external forces are ultimately unreliable. If Taiwan is willing to be a “chess piece” in other’s power game, it ultimately cannot escape the fate of being abandoned.” He added: “There is no way out for Taiwan to bank on foreign support, and “rejecting reunification by force” is but a dead end.”
  • China held a meeting of the China-U.S.-Russia Consultation Mechanism in Anhui, and there was talk of whether the Ukrainian-Russian war will be discussed at the meeting. However, compared to the greater news coverage prior to the meeting, there was lesser news thereafter. China Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for greater practical cooperation on the Afghan issue. China’s Reference News later wrote a report saying, “Some Americans cannot sit still when meeting with Chinese and Russian foreign ministers”, again pushing the narrative of American hegemony and that China is one that supports peace.

30th March 2022: Talks between the Chinese and Russian foreign ministers have not been widely reported by official media

  • Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov visited China but there were only scant reports on Weibo. When asked about it, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at the ‘Regular Press Conference’ that, “further information on this meeting will be released in a timely manner”. However, no Chinese official or media reported about it.
  • China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at its ‘Regular Press Conference’ that, “there is no limit to China-Russia cooperation in the pursuit of peace, … and no limit to our opposition to hegemony.” Spokesperson Hua Chunying also tweeted that China “stand[s] on the side of peace”, but there was no mention of the meeting between China’s and Russia’s foreign ministers.
  • Chinese state media People’s Daily wrote a post about Nepal rejecting Ukraine’s request to ban Russians from climbing the Himalayas, and the hashtag on the topic became one of the ‘Hot Searches’ on Weibo, creating the impression that most countries do not support sanctions against Russia.
  • Chinese state media CCTV interviewed an apparent Russian expert who claimed that the US has been collecting blood samples from Ukrainian soldiers, and transporting biological specimens from Ukraine, in order to launch an offensive biological military attack. The hashtag on this topic became one of the ‘Hot Searches’ on Weibo.
  • China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian posted a 2004 article from Guardian to talk about the 2004 “color revolution in Ukraine” as being “an American creation … funded and organized by the US government.” The article described the US assisting grassroots campaigns to counter “rig elections” and “topple” anti-democratic regimes.
  • Zhao Lijian shared an article written by the ‘China Youth Network’ website, and said that, “Europe needs to be wary about being stabbed in the back by the US again.” The article claimed that the US is “kidnapping” Europe for its own interests, and “adding fuel” to the war in Ukraine.

29th March 2022

  • Global Times quoted Reuters and Wall Street Journal as saying that, “Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is suspected of being poisoned,” in Chinese and it appeared on Weibo’s ‘Hot Search’. However, this news is not shared on Global Times’ Twitter or its English news.
  • On Weibo, the hashtag, “UK and France distanced themselves from Biden’s remarks about Putin” became one of the ‘Hot Searches’. Global Times reported about the UK and France distancing themselves from Biden’s speech that Putin “cannot remain in power”, and used this to highlight the disagreements that exist between the Western countries. Global Times also said that Biden making excuses for his gaffes and the walk backs from his statement reflected that the US is under public pressure to back away from this position.
  • Global Times quoted Russia Today’s article about a “German politician calling for Germans to boycott Russian energy by wearing sweaters indoors during winter”, to insinuate that German officials are ignorant of the suffering of the people.
  • On Weibo, Global Times wrote an article about Russia saying it would not provide gas without payment in rubles, and the hashtag it created became one of the ‘Hot Searches’ on Weibo, where several influencers began to chime in on the topic, claiming that European countries will suffer consequences of their own making if they continue their sanctions against Russia.
  • On Twitter, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that it is an “unacceptable double standard” that “refugees from Ukraine deserve sympathies while the refugees from countries in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America are not worth compassion”, in another attempt to use whataboutism to deflect from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
  • On March 29 and 30, Zhao Lijian posted tweets criticizing Western countries for sanctioning or condemning Russia. On March 29, he posted an infographic that shows, “the overwhelming majority of countries announced no sanctions on Russia.” On March 30, he shared a Financial Times article and quoted: “The West is mistaking its own unity for a global consensus… At the UN, the 35 that abstained account for almost half the world’s population. If you add those that voted with Russia, it comes to more than half.”

28th March 2022

  • CCTV posted an article on Weibo about the US military sending activated anthrax samples to 9 countries, which became one of the top searches. On the same day, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also shared an infographic from Global Times on Twitter spreading the conspiracy about the US’s “long history of using and developing chemical and biological weapons in other countries”. Zhao added the caption: “US has dirty records of using, developing bio, chemical weapons.”
  • On Twitter, Hua Chunying shared a New York Times article from January this year prior to the war, and quoted the article saying that “Washington’s decades-long embargo of Cuba … [is] as an act of political bullying.” She also quoted an article from Democracy Now on Twitter, saying that “the numbers (in #Ukraine) are minuscule compared to the number of people that died, were displaced, were injured as a consequence of the #US wars in #Iraq and #Afghanistan.” These posts seek to use whataboutism to deflect attention from Russia’s war in Ukraine and to magnify the conflicting voices within the US, in order to deflect attention from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
  • Hua Chunying also shared an article on Twitter from the European Policy Center, with the quote, “The immediate shock of the Russo–Ukrainian war is already threatening to stall the #EU’s burgeoning economic recovery, create a new supply chain crunch and threaten financial stability.”
  • On Twitter, Zhao Lijian also posted a video by India’s right-wing news channel Republic TV highlighting a quarrel between a TV host and an American professor, and shared the quote, “#US is in no position to pretend to be the guardian of democracy and human rights. You are the worst perpetrator of atrocities… India is a big country. We are not your satellite state.”
  • Reuters reported on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov describing his upcoming trip to China, that “Russia-China relations at strongest level ever”. However, unlike the previous frequent reposting of Russian propaganda by Chinese officials and state media, this time this message was not amplified.

27th March 2022

26th March 2022: Xi speaks with Johnson

  • Hashtags appeared on Weibo hot search stating, “Russia says the US is diverting attention from their biolabs in Ukraine,” and “What’s behind the US biolabs.” Influential Weibo accounts including “Central Military Affairs” and some influencers continued to push conspiracy theories about US bio labs and bioweapons in Ukraine.
  • Global Times created the Twitter hashtag #UkraineCrisisInstigator to criticize the US and NATO as the instigators of the Russian invasion. However, to date, the hashtag has not been effective at generating momentum.
  • Global Times tweeted that the US embassy in the PRC used their WeChat public account to push content glorifying a Ukrainian Nazi organization, angering PRC netizens. They criticized the US as only concerned about their own international standing, and using any unethical means to attack Russia.
  • Global Times created a hashtag, “Putin criticizes Japan as not daring to say who dropped a nuclear weapon,” quoting Putin in a post published on Weibo. They stated that Japan has become more than just a follower of the US, citing discussion on PRC social media stating “Japan is not an independent country,” using this to mock Japan as a US vassal state.
  • After Xi and Boris Johnson spoke on the phone, Global Times published a tweet reporting that Xi expressed hope that peace will return as quickly as possible, stated that the PRC will continue to be a constructive force, and hoped that the UK will look at the PRC “objectively.” However, Global Times also published another tweet mocking NATO and the US as the instigators of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

25th March 2022: The China-India Relationship

  • After PRC foreign minister, Wang Yi, visited India, Hu Xijin stated on Twitter that India has also been bullied by the West, and that the PRC, Russia, and India should join forces and cooperate in order to provide a counterbalance to the West.
  • Global Times attacked the Great Translation Movement, saying that the Chinese diaspora participants of the movement are collaborating with anti-China forces, and translating anti-China Western media discourse into Mandarin. Further, Global Times said that these migrants believe themselves to be heroes that look down on the “ancestral motherland,” and just want to gain the attention of the Western media.
  • Responding to recent attention to the possibility of the PRC providing military assistance to Russia, which included NATO singling out the PRC on the 24th of March and calling on them not to provide assistance, the PRC Ministry of National Defense held a press conference to refute the possibility as a rumor fabricated by the US. This was also reported on by the PLA Daily.
  • Global Times stated that NATO is a tool by which the US controls the EU and restricts its exercise of sovereignty in the military domain, and ridiculed the EU in a cartoon as a puppet of the US.
  • At a press conference, Wang Wenbin again raised the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and criticized the US and NATO for their actions in Serbia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as present-day Ukraine, stating that they “live for war”. Hua Chunying claimed on Twitter that the PRC is the most peace-loving country, and that the US and NATO should learn from peacemakers such as the PRC, instead of causing divisions.
  • The Spokesperson of the PRC's mission to the EU responded to a NATO meeting, stating that the PRC is just and fair and has been diligently pushing for constructive peace talks. They criticized NATO’s eastward expansion, again raising the bombing of their embassy in Yugoslavia, stating that NATO must look hard at itself and give up its “cold war mentality.” It said NATO’s accusations that the PRC has amplified Russian disinformation are false. They essentially attempted to whitewash anything said about the PRC that hurts their interests.
  • A hashtag appeared on Weibo, “Verification that COVID was created by a US company.” Hong Kong-based PRC state media Wen Wei Po published a report making this claim on the 24th of March, which was later deleted by their editors. When we searched for this hashtag on Weibo on the 28th of March, we could not find much evidence of the PRC state media continuing to push this talking point, suggesting that they want to conceal their role in amplifying it after it spread.

24th March 2022

  • On Weibo, one of the top searches was the topic of the United Nations Security Council rejecting the draft resolution on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. However, the resolution was rejected because it was sponsored by Russia and did not mention Russia’s role in the invasion of Ukraine.
  • Chinese state media CCTV reported that the US has reinstated 352 tariff exclusions for Chinese imports, and that the decision was made after consultation with other US agencies. However, netizens on Weibo commented that the US has bowed to China because of inflationary pressures.
  • On Twitter, China Daily drew cartoons to mock the US as “an arsonist who sets the fire and steps aside to watch it burn”, and which is “blocking peace”. Global Times created a hashtag to label the US as a “Ukraine Crisis Instigator” and is “creating trouble”.
  • A new batch of YouTube channels appeared to spread conspiracy theories about the US. For example, from March 14, the channel “Hello Ah Sheng” (哈喽 阿生) released a series of videos about the US conducting biochemical experiments at Fort Detrick and in Ukraine.

23rd March 2022

  • The hashtag about “US Biolabs being a source of infectious diseases” (#美生物實驗室已成傳染病禍源#) became one of the most-searched topics on Weibo. On Weibo, CRI News Radio posted a video that claimed that a certain Aleksei Petrovich Leonkov, editor-in-chief of the magazine “National Arsenal”, had obtained evidence that US labs in Ukraine are working on highly dangerous viruses.
  • Global Times spread conspiracies about the Russian army finding evidence of biochemical weapons in Ukraine, and that the COVID-19 virus is manufactured by American companies.
  • Chinese academics Zhang Weiwei and Jin Canrong went on Dragon Television's “This is China” program, and spread the propaganda that the war is due to US support for NATO’s expansion, and other anti-US and pro-Russian narratives.
  • Among the top searches on Weibo, an article by Global Times quoted the US Department of Defense emphasizing they will not send troops to Ukraine, in an attempt to sow distrust in the US. Another top article was one by Guancha Syndicate which quoted Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov as saying that Russia will not rule out the use of nuclear weapons if it is faced with an existential threat.
  • On Twitter, both Xinhua News and Global Times quoted the Russian foreign minister as saying that the US “does not care about restoring peace in the country”, and that it wants to “take advantage of wars to become rich”.
  • China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that no country has the “right” to expel Russia from the G20.
  • In response to a call between Japan’s Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, People’s Daily quoted China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin as saying, “Taiwan is China’s business, not Japan’s business”, and said that it is “dangerous and futile” to compare the situation in Taiwan and Ukraine.
  • Global Times claimed that the foreign ministers of Egypt and Pakistan support China’s position on the Ukraine “crisis”. Guancha Syndicate pointed to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan as saying that the US has not seen China providing weapons to Russia, and used the topic of “US refuting itself” to mock the US, and to say that it is embarrassing itself.

22nd March 2022

  • On Weibo, Global Times quoted Russian news agency TASS about Moscow terminating peace treaty talks with Japan. The hashtag on this topic appeared on Weibo’s top searches (俄外交部宣布將停止日俄和平條約談判), garnering many anti-Japan comments, such as saying Japan “deserves to be beaten up” and that it is trying to “jump on the bandwagon”.
  • On Weibo, Guancha Syndicate posted a video claiming that rising fuel prices due to Western sanctions against Russia has led to “backlash” and sparked protests across Europe. The hashtag became one of the top searches (歐洲多國爆發街頭示威). However, these protests did not start only a week ago. For example, the protests in Spain and Greece have been ongoing since last year in response to price hikes and inflation, before the war started.
  • Xinhua News posted on Weibo that “Ukraine’s Foreign Minister agreed with China’s position”, even to the extent of claiming he said, “What China said is right!”, with the hashtag on this topic breaking into the top searches on Weibo (烏克蘭外長發推稱同意中方立場). Xinhua News did not provide any context to the statement, but what Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had specifically tweeted was that Ukraine “share[d] Beijing’s position on the need to find a political solution to the war against Ukraine” and called on China to play an “important role in this effort”.
  • On Twitter, China Daily’s European Union bureau chief Chen Weihua made a video saying that the “unilateral economic sanctions imposed by the US and its allies … are totally illegal”. However, when it comes to China’s military buildup on the man-made islands in the South China Sea, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that China is “entitled to deploy necessary defense facilities on its own territory”. China asserted that it has the “right” to military expansion while accusing Western economic sanctions as being “illegal”.

21st March 2022

  • A PRC national living in Ukraine, Wang Jixian, who posted a number of videos opposed to the Russian invasion has been censored. Including Baidu and Weibo, the keyword combinations “Wang Jixian” and “Wang Jixian Ukraine Chinese” are limited, and Wang’s accounts in the PRC have seemingly been deleted, leaving him unable to contact his family.
  • Wang Wenbin stated at a press conference that the PRC’s position on the Ukraine crisis is “objective and fair,” and that “time will prove that the PRC is standing on the right side of history.” On the other hand, the Global Times criticized the US in a tweet saying that condemnation of Russia’s behavior is standing on the wrong side of history. Thus we see, at the same time, PRC diplomats telling the world that the PRC’s position is correct, and PRC state media criticizing the West’s position as incorrect.
  • UK media The Guardian, quoting a report NewsGuard, reported that new TikTok users are given confirmed disinformation within minutes by TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, including a large amount of content that has been confirmed as Russian state propaganda.
  • The PRC embassy in Ukraine was interviewed by Global Times, wherein the embassy reported that the evacuation of PRC nationals has been completed, and creatively described the “Top-5 mosts” they had to overcome: “The most complicated environment,” “The most dangerous situation,” “The most difficult evacuation,” “The community to be evacuated that most makes one anxious and worried,” “The most number of embassies involved in the evacuation.”

20th March 2022: “China’s position is on the right side of history”

  • Among pro-China overseas Chinese communities, views such as how “the Russian-Ukrainian war was jointly planned by the U.S. and Russia for the benefit of the U.S.” and “the Ukrainian government had provoked Russia into war” started appearing, including on Singapore’s state media Channel 8 TV.
  • Global Times made a post on Chinese social media Weibo with the hashtag, “Ukraine says that China is an important part of the global security system” (烏方喊話中國做全球安全體系重要組成部分), and said that China has repeatedly stated its position as one that is fair, objective and unimpeachable. The post was widely shared and received wide agreement. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also reiterated that China “opposes war”, and that “China’s position is on the right side of history”.
  • Global Times’ former editor-in-chief Hu Jin posted on Weibo that China should support Russia’s strategic position, but avoid China-US confrontation while maintaining a neutral policy in the “conflict” between Ukraine and Russia. On Twitter, he also made known his views that “China will not follow the US and the West to sanction Russia”, but did not mention the need for providing support for Russia’s strategic position.

19th March 2022

  • The People’s Daily created a hashtag on Weibo, “Russia uncovers a U.S. bio lab network in Ukraine” (俄起底美在烏生物實驗室網絡), citing documents released by the Russian Ministry of Defense which accused the U.S. Department of Defense of carrying out experiments in Ukraine, the purpose of which is to “establish a mechanism for the covert transmission of deadly pathogens and viruses”.
  • After the Biden-Xi call, Chinese state media China Daily, Global Times, CGTN and Xinhua News posted articles on Twitter, saying that China “will never accept coercion by the US”, accused the U.S. of being the instigator of the war, continued to demand investigations be conducted against the alleged U.S. biological weapons in Ukraine, as well as created a video which glorified Putin and criticizes the use of sanctions against Russia.
  • Global Times published a post quoting U.K. media Daily Mail as saying that after the “Crimea incident” occurred eight years ago, CIA has been making secret trips to Ukraine to help train Ukrainian snipers eight years ago.

18th March 2022: Biden-Xi Call

  • After the Biden-Xi phone call, both sides stressed different points. The PRC stated that the U.S. promised: not to seek a new Cold War, not to try and change China’s system, not to oppose them by forming alliances, not to support Taiwan's independence, and have no intention to create a conflict with the PRC. The U.S. side stressed that Biden warned Xi that the U.S. would make the PRC pay a price for any support given to Russia to attack Ukraine.
  • UK media The Telegraph reported that the PRC side’s Chinese language summary of the Biden-Xi phone call appeared online before it had finished.
  • People’s Daily reported on Zhao Lijian’s comments that PRC aid to Ukraine consists of life necessities, whereas U.S. aid is deadly weapons. On Twitter, Global Times published comic sneering at the U.S. as putting oil on a fire. This became a Weibo topic titled, “The PRC provides food to Ukraine, the US provides deadly weapons.” Ukraine’s vice-premier responded on Facebook that Ukraine needs weapons, and called upon the PRC to cease their support of Russia.
  • Responding to an AFP journalist at a press conference, Zhao Lijian states that the US should not “throw dirty water” on the PRC, and that the US is using the Ukraine crisis to fish for their own benefits.
  • CCTV reported on Weibo that a Bulgarian journalist revealed US-Ukraine cooperation on biological experiments, and stated that the US has regularly conducted such experiments in foreign countries.
  • People’s Daily stated in a commentary that the US has already joined public agreements banning biological weapons, but has violated this agreement by establishing biological weapons research laboratories all over the world, echoing Zhao Lijian’s call at a press conference on the 10th of March demanding the US to allow inspections of biological experiment facilities.
  • CGTN published a post on Facebook reporting the Ukrainian government’s accusation that Russia bombed a theatre at Mariupol that was acting as a bomb shelter for civilians, and that the authorities in Moscow denied this.
  • CGTN American tweeted about Russian soldiers shooting and killing ten civilians waiting in line for bread, and then deleted the tweet.

17th March 2022: Focus on PRC-Russia relationship; Whitehouse announces Biden-Xi phone call

  • PRC ambassador to the U.S., Qin Gang, wrote to Washington Post stated that China didn’t know the war was going to happen, “Conflict between Russia and Ukraine does no good for China,” and “Had China known about the imminent crisis, we would have tried our best to prevent it.”
  • In the morning, no Ukraine-related items reached Weibo’s hot search. In the afternoon a topic appeared on 15th regarding Zelensky’s speech to US congress, “A U.S. senator was verbally attacked for not clapping Zelensky’s speech.”
  • German media Bild reported that the Russian foreign minister was originally set to land in Beijing on Thursday, however his plane turned around mid-flight, returning to Vnukovo airport. The Kremlin denied that this occurred.
  • The White House announced that Biden and Xi will discuss both U.S.-PRC relations and Ukraine-Russia on the phone. However, PRC state media CCTV and Xinhua only reported that they discussed relations between the two countries and nothing about Ukraine-Russia.

16th March 2022

  • Various media in Taiwan reported that Ukraine's capital Kyiv was besieged for days, and that air raid sirens rang out day and night, and a curfew was ordered. However, a local war correspondent reported later that “Kyiv is not besieged”, and that, “roads are open and safe and filled with cars and trucks (flowing in both directions). Gas station lines are relatively normal too — life has adapted to wartime.”
  • Chinese state media Global Times continued to accuse the US of possessing a biological weapons program in Ukraine for several days, and on top of sharing news and press briefings from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also created cartoons to repeat these accusations.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a speech to the US Congress, and called on the US to provide more assistance and declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine. On Weibo, Global Times created a hashtag, “Zelenskyy says to remember the Pearl Harbor attack and 911” (澤連斯基稱請記住珍珠港襲擊和 911), and emphasized the role of Japan during the second world war, which promoted comments directing hatred and ridicule towards Japan among Chinese netizens.
  • CCTV (archive) began making reports that were not favorable to the Russian military, causing many observers to believe that the PRC’s attitude toward Russia has started to change.

15th March 2022

  • China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at the ministry’s Regular Press Conference that Russia had “denied the claim that Russia requested military aid from China”, and accused the United States of “spreading disinformation”. However, Zhao did not clarify if China had any intention of providing military aid to Russia. This was reported by Chinese state media People’s Daily on Weibo.
  • The International Peacekeeping and Security Center (IPSC) in Ukraine was attacked by Russian missiles on March 13. The following day, numerous narratives quoting Russian media reports started to spread on Chinese social media Weibo, such as about Canadian sniper Wali being killed, even claiming that he died within barely 20 minutes of being on the battlefield. In response, Wali updated on his Facebook that he was safe. Rumors were also spread on Weibo that Korean Internet celebrity Captain Lee Geun died in Ukraine, but he also took to Instagram to refute the rumors. Both of these narratives were also shared on Taiwanese media outlets.
  • Twitter user Han Yang has been posting their translations of discussions about the Russian-Ukrainian war on chat group of WeChat onto Twitter, showing Chinese netizens’ praises of Xi Jinping and Putin, or about disinformation from the Russian government that is shared in these chat groups. A prominent patriotic Weibo account Diba (帝吧) then criticized Han Yang as a “colonizer” who has been enslaved by the US.

14 March 2022: Concern about whether the PRC will provide military aid to Russia

  • Due to a new outbreak of COVID in the PRC, Weibo was dominated by the pandemic and lockdowns, and Ukraine-Russia content mostly did not appear in the hot search list.
  • Responding to Russia naming Taiwan on its list of unfriendly countries, MFA spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that if Taiwan is sanctioned by Russia they only have themselves to blame. This was re-published on Weibo by People’s Daily.
  • Elise Thomas, an independent journalist with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, tweeted her observation that some members of the previously anti-PRC far-right community QAnon have started to become pro-PRC in the wake of conspiracies surrounding the invasion of Ukraine. On the 13th, CCTV posted, “The conspiracies hidden behind U.S. biological experiments in Ukraine,” which makes use of a clip from Fox News with Chinese subtitles, that has been shared in large volumes in the Chinese language media and video platforms. The PRC and Russia recycling domestic U.S. conspiracy content deserve continued observation.
  • Global Times created a Weibo hashtag, “U.S. officials accuse China of spreading fake news in support of Russia,” quoting Zhao Lijian’s whitewashing of PRC support for Russia. At a meeting on the same day, the U.S. warned the PRC that support for Russia will be met with economic sanctions. CNN reported that the PRC maintains an open attitude to provide support for Russia. The financial world believes this was the main reason behind a major fall on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
  • A high proportion of computers in Russia are sold by Taiwan company ASUS. After the Ukrainian government called on ASUS to join the resistance to Russian aggression, the company announced that they are stopping exports to Russia, and sending 30m TWD in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. This move drew criticism from some online news platforms.

13th March 2022

  • Ninety minutes after a Ukrainian representative posted on Twitter that peace talks were underway, CCTV News reported that the Ukrainian representative had already created a working group and were about to sign an agreement, including details of Ukraine’s list of demands. Xinhua’s subsidiary “Reference News” created a Weibo hashtag, “Ukraine states that they are about to sign a peace agreement with Russia.” A number of Taiwanese mainstream media follow suit and report this news. However, regarding both the details and timing of this news, CCTV appears to be the very first to publish, even seven hours earlier than Reuters, causing doubt among Taiwanese media.
  • CCTV created a hashtag, “The conspiracies hidden behind U.S. biological experiments in Ukraine,” quoting recently published Russian Ministry of Defense statements accusing the U.S. of endangering the world with their biological experiments.
  • Between 24th February and 10th March, CGTN ran numerous adverts about Ukraine on Facebook. CGTN’s Facebook fan page has 110m followers. Considering that Facebook’s parent company has already banned Russian state media from the platform, and stopped promoting their content, U.S. media Axios reported the concern that PRC state media has become a pipeline for narrative washing Russian state propaganda.

12th March 2022

  • Follow-up: On the 8th of March, PRC diplomats on the 3rd of March reported that E.U. official Josep Borrel stated, “China is a peace-loving super-power.” This was also reported by Voice of America, but denied by E.U. spokespeople.
  • CCTV created a Weibo hashtag, “U.S. frantic to the point of using internet influencers,” stating that the white house ordered 30 TikTok and YouTube influencers to post content supporting the U.S. position, and worked hand-in-hand with major U.S. social media platforms to drown out Russian voices.

11th March 2022: Equating Biological Experiments and Biological Weapons

10th March 2022: Close relationship between China state media and Russian officials is more visible

9th March 2022: Mentioned China’s role in humanitarian

8th March 2022

  • Following the previous day, Chinese state media Xinhua News and CCTV both published allegations that the U.S. admitted to having biological laboratories in Ukraine, and that Ukraine has destroyed pathogens in U.S.-funded laboratories, both of which made it to the top-10 trending on the Weibo hot search. At the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Regular Press Conference, ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian asked the U.S. to “give a full account of its biological military activities at home and abroad and subject itself to multilateral verification”. Xinhua News later published an article claiming that Russia has found evidence of a military-biological program in Ukraine.
  • Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a virtual summit with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and asserted that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter must be fully observed, the legitimate security concerns of all countries must be taken seriously, and all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be supported”. He also claimed that there is a need to “prevent a massive humanitarian crisis”, and to “keep the talks going and bring about peaceful outcomes”. While Xi mentioned, “Chinese side is deeply grieved by the outbreak of war again on the European continent”, in the Chinese press release that was released thereafter, it did not use words such as, “war” or “invasion”, either the phrase, “special military operation”, used by Russia. It remains to be seen whether Xi’s words will result in a change in the direction of China’s information control.

7th March 2022: China’s Role in the Russian-Ukrainian War

6th March 2022: Anti-US, Anti-Ukraine, Pro-Russia Sentiments in the Chinese Information Space

  • Unlike other major world leaders, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has made no public remarks about the Ukrainian-Russian war, other than the report by Chinese state media about him speaking to Russian leader Vladimir Putin on February 25, 2022, just after the start of the war.
  • Chinese state media Global Times wrote a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo about how the “three Ukrainian supermarkets which removed Coca-Cola from their selves” resulted in outrage among Chinese netizens, and also created a corresponding hashtag on this topic. This is a similar strategy used previously, such as on the topic of the “Russian cats which were sanctioned” by the International Cat Federation due to the war, where Chinese media tries to amplify news about the sanctions, in order to guide public opinion towards thinking that these sanctions have not received widespread support, so as to undermine the credibility of the Ukrainian government and sanctions imposed on Russia by the West.
  • The Russian government released a video showing Vladimir Putin explaining the reason for sending Russian troops to Ukraine to a group of flight attendants sitting in close proximity to him, in an attempt to turn around his image. The video was quickly reposted by Global Times, which added Chinese subtitles to it, and spread to other Chinese media environments including Taiwan.
  • In the past two days, Global Times has posted numerous articles and posts on Weibo on topics such as how “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accuses NATO” of refusing to establish a no-fly zone in Ukraine, or how explosions have rocked Russia’s border cities, with the tone becoming increasingly anti-US, anti-Ukraine and sympathetic towards Russia’s stance.

5th March 2022: Weibo Cools Down

  • Following the March 4th annual session of the National People’s Congress, no Ukraine-Russia war topics made the top-20 Weibo hot-search results. Until now, the reports from the NPC have not mentioned anything about the Ukraine-Russia war. It is worth noting that according to the announcement of Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), the PRC’s military spending is set to increase by 7.1%.
  • Guancha created a hashtag “Russia decides to block Facebook and Twitter,” which received much support from online netizens.
  • Although polling shows that an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians (91%) support their government, and have confidence in fighting back the Russian invasion. In the Mandarin language information environment, we are observing content quoting minority opinion implying that “the Ukrainian government and its policies are not supported by its people.” For example, on the 28th of February, a Weibo post appeared titled “The people of Kyiv are quite happy that Russia has invaded,” which on the 1st of March was posted to YouTube and Facebook with Chinese subtitle, republished by Taiwanese mainstream media, reaching to private LINE chat groups and overseas Chinese communities.

4th March 2022: Regularly quoting disinformation and conspiracy theories from Russian sources

  • China News Service and Global Times quoted a CCTV report titled “Zelensky states that international allies are not helping Ukraine in time,” yet the volume of attention on social media continued to decline, from 9 am to midday it dropped from 4th on Weibo’s hot search list to 27th.
  • Xinhua’s “Reference News” established a Weibo topic “Putin states only Fascists fight like this,” claiming that Ukraine’s military has no humanity towards their populace, echoing Russian state media’s false narrative that “Ukraine’s government is using the populace as a shield.”
  • Paralympic chairman Andrew Parsons’s opening ceremony speech at the Beijing Winter Paralympics, which stressed peace and opposition to Russia’s war, was not translated live on air by CCTV, and was later taken down.
  • Hua Chunying edited a film from Western media questioning the US and Nato’s creation of conflict in the Middle East.
  • From 9 pm Global Times published a number of articles on Weibo questioning whether Zelensky had left Kyiv, referencing Sputnik and TASS. Close to midnight, they referenced Sputnik as reporting that Zelensky was still in Kyiv. An hour later they quoted an opposition parliamentarian’s claim that Zelensky had already fled to Poland. On the morning of the 5th, after Zelensky posted a video of himself clarifying that he is still in Kyiv, Global Times followed suit and once again changed their story.
  • Although the volume of discussion on Weibo has been trending down, it can be observed that conspiracies have started to emerge, which have been allowed to spread by Weibo’s censors. For example, when a fire broke out next to a nuclear power plant, one commenter said that the US told Ukraine to light the fire in order to gain international support.

3rd March 2022: Weaponized fact-checking results to attack Western media’s integrity

  • On Chinese online video-sharing platform Xigua Video, a Global Times host accused BBC of falsifying a video of Russian artillery hitting a Ukrainian residential area, and claimed that Western news and social media are “fanning the flames” of the crisis. Increasingly, Chinese media are beginning to use fact-checked results conducted by Western media to attack the integrity of information shared by Western sources, such as a report by Chinese media Guancha Syndicate, which carried news of the fact-checking of the “Ghost of Kyiv” by Western media.
  • Russian state-owned media Sputnik quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as claiming that neo-Nazis in Ukraine shot at Chinese citizens as they were trying to enter Russia from Kharkiv, and injuring two people. The news was promptly reposted on its Weibo account, but it has not been reported in any other mainstream outlets.

2nd March 2022: Trending the anti-US narrative

  • Officially, the Chinese government has called for Russia and Ukraine to conduct negotiations, however, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying has continued to share viewpoints from certain Western academics on Twitter, about the crisis being inflamed by the United States and the West.
  • The Chinese embassy in France shared an article on Twitter titled, “Respond to Putin’s Illegal Invasion of Ukraine with Diplomacy, Not War”, alluding to the “invasion” being “illegal”, though the tweet was quickly deleted.
  • It has been observed that template responses of the war have been shared on Chinese social media, online video platforms, and content farms, with narratives criticizing the United States or the West, by trying to shift the sentiment from being “anti-war” to being “anti-US”, or by emphasizing the close friendship between China and Russia.

1st March 2022: Shifting

  • After PRC foreign minister Wang Yi spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart, the PRC foreign ministry used the term “warfare” for the first time to refer to the Ukraine-Russia conflict. The PRC foreign ministry took to Twitter to claim that “The PRC will continue to work to alleviate the situation and be a constructive force for peace.”
  • On PRC social media platforms Weibo and Douyin censors start to delete posts describing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as anti-Ukrainian content. Consequently, Weibo’s hot search results continue to show less content pertaining to the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
  • A transgender PRC talk-show host, Jin Xing, published a Weibo post opposing the war and supporting peace. Many Weibo accounts attacked the host, including attacks on her gender. The original post was censored.
  • In a continuation of their narrative strategy of 27th February, PRC-official related website Guancha publish a video introducing the Ukrainian neo-Nazi group “Azov regiment,” continuing to rationalize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • During his oral interpellation in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan (or parliament), Taiwan’s legislator Fu Kun-chi from the opposition Kuomintang party (KMT), and former Hualien County commissioner, incorrectly used footage from the Tianjin 2015 explosions to depict the war in Ukraine.

28th February 2022:

27th February 2022: Adding doubts to Ukraine along with the US

  • Pro-CCP Taipei City legislator Hou Han-Ting and influencer Huang Chih-Hsien (also known as Joyce Huang) post content on YouTube and Facebook recycling Russian state media’s “de-Nazification” pretext for invading Ukraine. Hou’s video is republished in large volume through Taiwanese pro-PRC Facebook fan pages and groups, including “Zhonghua Network” (中華微視) and “Cross-Strait Lead Story” (兩岸頭條).
  • “Guancha,” a website with close links to the CCP, published a story claiming that Ukrainian neo-Nazis “Azov regiment” participated in the 2019 protests in Hong Kong.

26th February 2022: Continuation of the official line

25th February 2022: PRC officials set their tone, take the opportunity to attack Taiwan

24th February 2022: Testing the waters on commercial platforms

  • A number of Weibo accounts we have been monitoring, including Global Times, lead online discourse pushing the narratives “The big powers of the west will not help,” and “Western support is virtual-only” to the top of Weibo hot search.
  • Taiwanese online discussion platforms compared the Russian invasion with the PRC, with narratives such as “The PRC is more peace-loving and rational.”
  • Official PRC state media, including Phoenix TV, pushed the narratives “Ukraine’s army and air force will be obliterated within an hour,” and “US drones flee the battlefield within hours of war breaking out.”

22nd & 23rd February 2022: Preparation

  • 22nd, Beijing News subsidiary Horizon News (世面) is suspected of accidentally publishing censorship guidance directions to a public Weibo account, including the direction not to publish anything that is anti-Russia or pro-West, instructions on how to handle republications, and monitor comment threads, etc.
  • The PRC foreign ministry responds to “Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow” by asserting that Taiwan’s situation is different from Ukraine's, as “Taiwan has always been an inseparable part of the PRC.” They refuse to describe the Russia-Ukraine situation as an “invasion” or “war.”
  • An audio recording circulates on Weibo purporting to be of Zelensky saying that he has arranged for his family to leave Ukraine, with simplified Mandarin subtitles, with at least 3,030,000 views so far.
  • At the same time, some Taiwanese politicians publicly expressed views aligned with CCP and Russian propaganda. For example, Chao Shao-Kang posted on Facebook that “small countries should not provoke big countries,” and “we can see that the U.S. is very changeable and unreliable.”

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Doublethink Lab

Doublethink Lab

Doublethink Lab focuses on mapping the online information operation mechanisms as well as the surveillance technology exportation and digital authoritarianism.