A Chinese media outlet accidentally published instructions on how the country’s media should cover the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis.
According to The Washington Post, the now deleted post was posted on Weibo by Horizon News, a social network account under Beijing news who belongs to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
A screenshot of the message which was later shared on Twitter shows that as part of the instructions, media outlets were asked not to produce “anti-Russian” or “pro-Western” content.
In addition, all posts should be checked before publication and published at a controlled rate.
Detailed censorship instructions for the dissemination of reports and comments on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, leaked in error⬇️⬇️⬇️
*Shimian account belongs to 新京报 (Beijing News).
*人新央 presumably refers to People’s Daily, Xinhua and CCTV. pic.twitter.com/VoZSj08goS
— 𝐋𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐋𝐢 (@lingli_vienna) February 22, 2022
Adopting a balanced tone in the face of the crisis
The Washington To post further signaled that the instructions were part of a larger balancing act that China appeared to be hitting with regards to the crisis.
Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Zhang Jun also called for restraint from “all parties” and to avoid “fueling tensions” in Ukraine, CNN reported.
However, Zhang refrained from condemning Russia’s recognition of Ukraine’s two breakaway regions, Lugansk 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 based on the merits of the case itself.
We believe that all countries should resolve international disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”
It was echoed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who said in a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the situation should be defused 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, editor-in-chief of Xinhua News Agencywrote that China’s position on the matter was clear: that Russia “legitimate” security issues must be respected, as well as the territory and the sovereign integrity of Ukraine.
Ming also noted that China, at the current stage, is still a long way from “revealing all its cards” with the United States in a confrontation, making it pointless to “excessively agitate” them.
Therefore, while it is important that China does not publicly clash with the European Union and the United States on the issue, the country must also ensure that Russia feels that it has China’s support. on the issue, through private channels.
This is for China to have Russia’s support when it comes to “completely resolving” the Taiwan issue, Ming explained.
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Top collage, left screenshot via Weibo, right photo Russia Ministry of Defense Facebook