China is trying to present itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine crisis. The country’s state news agency Xinhua called the conflict “a special military operation” and a “Russia-Ukraine crisis” but never referred to it as an attack.

State broadcaster CCTV reported civilian casualties for the first time just three weeks after the Russian attack. More recently, state outlets have backed Russia’s claim that the United States is financing the development of biological weapons in Ukraine, including migratory birds that could spread the avian virus to Russia. Chinese state media reports highlight their government’s position on the Ukraine issue.

China has not condemned Russia’s attack on a sovereign state with which Beijing has strong economic ties, but instead speaks of ‘legitimate security concerns’ that need to be discussed by ‘all sides’. And in recent days there has been outrage in the West over the discovery of civilians killed by Russian troops in Bucharest, with coverage in China’s state media shortened, despite subtle changes in recent tunes to acknowledge the human numbers.

Reports in the Chinese media impartially suggest that the United States is the real villain. China’s relations with Russia have been closely scrutinized since the two countries announced an “unlimited” partnership in early February. “We should understand the information as part of this,” said David Bandursky, co-director of the China Media Project, noting that there is a long history of cooperation between Chinese state outlets and Russian companies such as Sputnik and Russia Today.

As the conflict continues, Chinese state media have lent their platforms to expand Russian propaganda. According to the US-based bilingual news website China Digital Times, state outlets cite Kremlin officials and Russian state media as their news sources and receive regular state guidance that guides their reports. Source: Al-Jazeera.

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