In one report, a comment citing Russia with the phrase “Ukrainians put in a good show” flashed over very blurry footage of the Ukrainian city.
Separately, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday that the horrific photos from Boucha showed “all indications” that civilians were “directly targeted and killed”. On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres added to growing international calls for a war crimes investigation into the deaths of civilians in the town.
This was featured in an editorial published in the nationalist tabloid Global Times on Wednesday, which appeared to question the veracity of what it called, in quotes, the “Bucha incident” and absolved Russia of responsibility.
“It is unfortunate that after exposing the ‘Bucha incident’, the United States, the initiator of the Ukraine crisis, has not shown any signs of urging peace and promoting talks, but is ready to exacerbate tensions between Russia and Ukraine.” The editorial said.
“No matter how the ‘Bucha Incident’ occurred, no one can deny at least one thing: the war itself is the main culprit of the human catastrophe,” she added.
Rising tensions with the United States have brought Moscow and Beijing closer in recent years, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping declaring their countries’ partnership “limitless” just weeks before the Russian invasion.
At a special session of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun acknowledged that the images of the killing of civilians in Bucha were “extremely disturbing”, but when it came to blaming the situation, he urged “all parties” to “exercise restraint and avoid accusations that do not basis for it.”
“The relevant circumstances and specific causes of the accident must be verified and proven. Any accusations must be based on facts,” Zhang said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made similar remarks at a regular press conference on Wednesday, saying, “Humanitarian issues should not be politicized.”
“All parties should exercise restraint and avoid baseless accusations” before the fact-finding is completed, Wang said, adding that China “is willing to continue working with the international community to avoid any harm to civilians.”
But at home, China has been broadcasting a clearer message, one that ties into a longer history of Russian and Chinese state media that reinforce each other’s narratives — on issues such as the treatment of Russian opponents, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, and the origins of Covid-19 — as it seeks to refute officials’ characterizations. and Western media.
In an example of such interference on Tuesday, China’s state news agency published a post on the Twitter-like social media platform Weibo with the hashtag, “Russia shows video to prove that Bucha incident was staged,” citing a report from Russia’s state news agency.
But with China amplifying Russian rhetoric in its reporting at home, some public manifestations of skepticism can be seen, even on ultra-moderate Chinese social media platforms.
In a recent example, a widely followed military blogger wrote on Sunday that Ukrainians were responsible for a “massacre” of civilians – but several users in the comments below indicated that the post’s details were wrong.
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