Chinese netizens cheer Russia's invasion, call for young Ukrainian women to be taken in as refugees

Comments that spoke out against these nationalistic Chinese netizens have been removed.

Matthias Ang | March 01, 2022, 02:41 PM

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Russia's invasion of Ukraine has found an online source of support: Chinese internet users.

Many of them have stood by Russian President Vladimir Putin despite his recent actions -- he had ordered an all-out invasion of Ukraine, which has since killed many and displaced several more people from their homes.

Putin's speech on day of Ukraine's invasion cheered by netizens

In particular, a Mandarin translation of Putin's Feb. 24 speech, the day of the invasion, by Guancha.cn, was warmly welcomed by Chinese netizens.

Source: Screenshot via Guancha.cn

" I found this translation too awesome, so awesome that I thought the press release was written by us."


Source: Screenshot via Guancha.cn

"The U.S. and NATO wantonly persecute non-Western countries such as Russia and China according to their own definitions. There is no need to bear it any longer. Russia and China must protect their core interests from being violated!"


Source: Screenshot via Guancha.cn

"Russia's past 30 years have shown the truth: Truly great nations are not qualified to surrender!"

The speech had gone viral on Weibo, with the hashtag #putin10000wordsspeechfulltext reaching 1.1 billion views within 24 hours, according to the New York Times (NYT).

Chinese netizens blame Ukraine for offending Russia

Many Chinese Weibo users also blamed Ukraine for offending Russia, arguing that Russia was simply acting in its own interests.

Source: Screenshot via Weibo

"If Russia doesn't fight, they will be threatened by NATO’s eastward expansion of missile control, Ukraine joining NATO will add on to Russia's difficulties... If Russia fights, they will at least let the Europeans and Americans know that they can fight till either one's defeat. Anyway, who doesn't want to avoid bloodshed? Putin has even talked to them a few times, Ukraine is just crazy."


Source: Screenshot via Weibo

"Right from the start, this is not an invasion by Russia, but self-defence. Also, all of you who are holier-than-thou, do you think China will be completely safe if Ukraine joins NATO? Russia is just considering their own interests. The basis of a shared destiny among humanity is that as long as you don't offend me, I won't offend you. But if you do offend me, why should I tolerate it?"


Another pointed out that China had to support Russia on the grounds that if Russia was suppressed by the U.S., China would be targeted as well.

Source: Screenshot from Weibo

"We must support Russia. If even Russia is suppressed by Uncle Sam, we will eventually be surrounded by enemies."

A video by an influencer also went viral among the Chinese for his call for people to support Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Chinese historian slams online reaction

Such comments have attracted the criticism of a Chinese historian, Xu Guoqi, who said the response of Chinese diplomats and the online reactions of netizens were disappointing, The Guardian reported.

Xu was quoted as saying:

"I’m afraid it seems we still have not learned the lessons of the past tragedies. As a historian I’m very disappointed."

Xu was echoed by Chinese Twitter users who also expressed their disbelief at the support that Russia was receiving on social media within China.

"So many people supporting Russia within the country. Ridiculous. China truly deserves to be invaded in the past, and to have so many regions which want to be independent.

On Feb. 26, Xu, along with four other historians, published an open letter that denounced Russia's invasion and called for peace.

According to the historians, the aim of the letter was to persuade Beijing to be clearer in its stance, and to condemn Russia's actions.

However, the letter was soon removed by China's all-seeing internet censorship apparatus two hours and 40 minutes after it was posted, with Chinese trolls branding the authors as "traitors" who bring China shame.

The removal of the letter appears to be part of a wider pattern by Chinese censors in removing posts of a sympathetic nature towards Ukraine.

Weibo removes comments by netizens who called for China to take in young Ukrainian women

In addition, some internet trolls have proposed that China take in young Ukrainian women as refugees, SupChina reported.

Source: Screenshot from Weibo via SupChina

"I'm only concerned about the ladies from Ukraine."


Source: Screenshot from Weibo via SupChina

"A war in Ukraine means many of this country's male soldiers will be killed, leaving the women. Looks like there's hope for me to ditch my singlehood."


Source: Screenshot from Weibo via SupChina

"I am only concerned about whether Ukrainian beauties can safely enter China."


Source: Screenshot from Weibo via SupChina

"For now, I will not participate in the discussion about Ukraine's attack on China. But due to my humanitarian beliefs, I am open to taking in Ukrainian girls who have lost their homes in the war."

The posts subsequently attracted a backlash from other Chinese netizens.

Female netizen who slammed "garbage" remarks accused of being anti-China, accepting bribes

One female netizen, whose now-deleted post garnered over 200,000 likes, criticised the remarks, adding that such comments demonstrated what "ordinary" Chinese men were like.

She subsequently put up a second post in which she said that she was attacked online after she spoke out against these comments, which she called "garbage" remarks.

She also said she was accused of being "anti-China", and that she was bribed to make these comments.

Denying these allegations, she said that her original post had simply been forwarded many times until it was picked up by a media outlet that's "anti-China".

Source: Screenshot from Weibo

Comments removed by Weibo after reportedly endangering Chinese nationals in Ukraine

Weibo subsequently removed the comments after they reportedly led to a rise in harassment of Chinese nationals in Ukraine, once the remarks were translated by Ukrainian media, according to a CNN International reporter, Zixu Wang.

A warning was also put up by state media China News calling on netizens to talk about the war "rationally" and not use "vulgar" expressions to talk about Ukrainian women.

The Chinese embassy in Ukraine is also urging its nationals in the country to maintain friendly relations with the Ukrainian people, avoid disputes, and not display any identifying signs.

Separately, nationalistic state tabloid Global Times published a piece accusing "separatist forces" in Xinjiang and Taiwan of amplifying such remarks that were "made by a very small portion of netizens".

There is a possibility Chinese platforms are spreading Chinese lines among Singaporeans

Meanwhile, retired diplomat Bilahari Kausikan noted that among Singaporeans, the online chatter appeared not so much to be the denouncement of a larger country invading a smaller country, but rather the U.S. not coming to Ukraine's aid.

In providing the context as to why the U.S. is not going to use force to defend Ukraine, while still providing lethal aid, he noted the possibilities of Chinese platforms being used to spread Chinese lines among Singaporeans for "obvious purposes", or Singaporeans just "mindlessly repeating" what they have consumed.

Bilahari added:

"I don’t think the majority mean to do harm but harm is nevertheless done. Singaporeans should beware of being manipulated and draw the correct lessons from this conflict."

The former ambassador also urged Singaporeans to realise that international relations "are not a sporting event or a movie", in which they can cheer a side without any real costs.

He elaborated:

"If we fail to understand the complexity of the issues and hence miscalculate our interests, the costs to us could be great.

And China’s own attitudes towards this conflict are more complex and ambivalent than many Singaporeans seem to think."

You can read his full post here:

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Top collage left photo by Alex Nicodim/NurPhoto via Getty Images, right photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images