Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has faced strong opposition from the West and the international community. However, China has avoided criticizing Moscow’s actions.
In contrast, the New York Times reported that Chinese internet users have shown they favor Russia, calling Putin “the best legacy of the former Soviet Union” and “the greatest strategist of this century.”
Not long after Russia’s invasion, controversial and inflammatory remarks against Ukrainian women appeared on China’s Weibo and Douyin platforms. Some of which were: “I am withdrawing myself from participating in the discussion about Russia’s attacks on Ukraine. But due to my humanitarian beliefs, I am open to taking in Ukrainian teenage girls who become homeless because of the war.” Also, “Ukraine being caught in a war means that many male soldiers will be killed and many women will be left behind. Looks like I’ll no longer be single soon.”
In an analysis by Simone McCarthy, Sun Guang, a Chinese video blogger living in Ukraine for 20 years, told CNN that such “disgusting remarks” were later reposted by Ukrainian media, raising suspicions among Ukrainians toward the Chinese community.
Sun said, “As soon as they see I’m Chinese, they think I’m here to sabotage or support Russia.” He was also stopped and interrogated by some Ukrainian residents while shopping for groceries.
Sun believed that the current situation in Ukraine was dangerous for Chinese citizens, and he urged Chinese citizens to be compassionate toward Ukrainians. He said that “Ukraine is suffering in war; its people are dying every day.”
A Chinese student in Kyiv, Ukraine, was threatened and intimidated by locals when she walked to a supermarket to buy supplies on Feb. 25 local time. The female student posted a video saying that the current situation in Ukraine is serious and some local people are agitated.
According to Chinese state media, there are currently about 6,000 Chinese citizens in Ukraine.
After the invasion broke out, the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine suggested that Chinese people put the Chinese Communist flag on their vehicles. However, after the Chinese mainland remarks were made known, there rose a tide of rejection of Chinese in Ukraine. Hence the regime told Chinese people not to “identify themselves or display identification marks.”