Daily Column – 14th March 2022

People should ask: What does China, the great superpower of the East, think about all of this?

A lot of people in the United States want to know more. Since Russia started taking over Ukraine, it has sent its national security adviser to Rome to meet with a top Chinese diplomat. This is the first time the two countries have had high-level talks in person since then.

No, we don’t know.

Let’s just say that the Great Wall isn’t being lit up with the colours of Ukraine’s flag. It’s true that China has talked about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, but it only blames the United States for starting the war there, not Russia.

It wasn’t the only country that didn’t vote for the measure. 141 countries in the UN General Assembly voted to pass it. China was one of 35 countries that didn’t (and five voted against).

There are a few signs that China has been willing to help Putin. If you look at Chinese state-run media and government officials, they are repeating Russia’s false claim that the U.S. helped build biological weapons labs in Ukraine. The US thinks that this propaganda will be used as a reason for Russian forces to use chemical weapons because of it.

We know for sure that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are good friends. They told us that, too. Before the Olympics, the autocratic leaders said there were “no limits” to their friendship.

This might still be true, but that friendship might have some limits.

China and Russia both want to make the United States less powerful, but China is far more connected to the world’s economy than Russia is. Because Putin invaded Ukraine, it can’t be a good thing that Putin did this.

Xi should use his power to help Putin and end the war, some Chinese scholars say. They say that Putin is a weak leader who doesn’t deserve Xi’s full support, and that by helping to negotiate peace in Ukraine, China could get points with the rest of the world for being a “responsible” world power.

For now, it’s not clear whether Xi will give Putin a bone, or throw him under the bus.

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