Chinese citizens are blindfolded in the Russia-Ukraine war as they lack access to impartial news and information.
Many pro-Russian remarks appeared on China’s social media platforms within hours of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, characterizing the conflict as a comedy or an opportunity to “chigua” (a slang term for rubbernecking or watching a disaster from afar), reported The HK Post.
Such remarks have once again led the world to assume that the Chinese people are inextricably linked to their government.
However, they lack access to impartial news as China’s official coverage of the situation has been tilted toward Russia since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, reported The HK Post.
The predominance of official narratives in China’s media environment, along with the pervasiveness of nationalism, shapes Chinese perceptions of the world.
The Chinese government has avoided using the word “invasion” to characterize Russia’s activities, and Chinese state media have frequently claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine was motivated by US pressure and NATO expansion, reported The HK Post.
The Chinese and international media have a tendency to report on the crisis with quite different narratives and stories. Chinese students trapped in Ukraine who requested assistance on Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) have had their tweets deleted.
At the same time, the Chinese government has announced that it is chartering flights to assist Chinese students and citizens in returning to China. Most Chinese people’s perceptions of the war are largely shaped by what the Chinese government wants them to perceive, reported The HK Post.
Social media commentary in China is strictly regulated. Unfavourable comments on the government are kept secret from the general public. Nationalism and violent, “wolf warrior” motifs abound in the remaining entries.
The Chinese government has a large “water army” that tries to influence the populace. They are active not just on domestic social media platforms, but also on major international ones.
In truth, Chinese citizens’ viewpoints are not as polarised as the Chinese government’s. Public opinion on the situation in Ukraine is split between those who enthusiastically support the government’s position and others who believe Putin is a Hitler-like figure whom they refer to as “Putler.”
The second group of Chinese feels that the conflict is unquestionably a tragedy and that in the contemporary world, it is a terrible thing for a sovereign state to violate another sovereign state, reported The HK Post. (ANI)