No anti-Russia or pro-West content: Chinese news outlet's leaked orders on covering Ukraine crisis

China is striking a balancing act.

Matthias Ang | February 23, 2022, 04:59 PM

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A Chinese news outlet has accidentally posted instructions of how the country's media should cover the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia.

According to The Washington Postthe now-deleted post was put up on Weibo by Horizon News, a social media account under The Beijing News which is owned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

A screenshot of the post that was subsequently shared on Twitter shows that as part of the instructions, media outlets were told not to produce content that's "anti-Russia" or "pro-West".

In addition, all posts must be vetted before publication and published at a controlled pace.

Striking a balancing tone over the crisis

The Washington Post further reported that the instructions were part of a larger balancing act that China appeared to be striking in regard to the crisis.

China's ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Zhang Jun, also called for restraint to be exercised by "all parties" and avoid "fuelling tensions" in Ukraine, CNN reported.

However, Zhang refrained from condemning Russia's recognition of Ukraine's two breakaway regions, Luhansk and Donetsk.

He was quoted as saying:

"The current situation in Ukraine is the result of many complex factors. China always makes its own position according to the merits of the matter itself.

We believe that all countries should solve international disputes by peaceful means in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter."

He was echoed by China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who said during a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, that the situation should be de-escalated and resolved through dialogue, CGTN reported.

Russia must feel it has China's support through private channels

Meanwhile, in a blog post on WeChat, Ming Jingwei, a senior editor at Xinhua News Agency, wrote that China's position on the matter was clear: that Russia's "legitimate" security concerns should be respected, along with the territory and sovereign integrity of Ukraine.

Ming also noted that China, at the present stage, is still far from "revealing all its cards" with the the U.S. in a showdown, therefore making it unnecessary to "excessively agitate" them.

Hence, while it is important for China to not clash publicly with the European Union and the U.S. on the issue, the country must also ensure that Russia feels it has China's support on the matter, through private channels.

This is so that China will have the support of Russia when it comes to "completely resolving" the issue of Taiwan, Ming elaborated.

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Top collage left screenshot via Weibo, right photo Russia Ministry of Defence Facebook