Beware of the CCP’s Strategic Deception

Commentary As the Russian invasion of Ukraine risks escalating into a nuclear war, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) refuses to make a clear-cut commitment to distance itself from the aggressor. This is clear following the video call between President Joe Biden and his counterpart Xi Jinping on March 18. However, in the lead-up to the meeting, thanks to strong international pressure against Beijing extending a lifeline to Moscow, the CCP made slight adjustments to its pro-Russia stance. For example, the state-owned CCTV unprecedentedly carried a news item detailing Russia’s casualties since the invasion, citing official Ukrainian sources. The Chinese ambassador to Kyiv praised the strong unity of the Ukrainian people. The control of domestic social media was relaxed to allow some criticism of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, previously upheld as “Putin the Great.” These adjustments led some to think that the CCP might adopt a more balanced view to ward off likely sanctions from the West. This is not the case. According to the official handout given by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi used the neutral word “crisis” to describe the Russian invasion and refused to call a spade a spade. He blamed both Russia and Ukraine for the war by citing the old Chinese idiom, “It takes two hands to clap” (similar to the Western saying, “It takes two to tango”). He also implicitly blamed the United States and NATO by citing another Chinese saying, “He who tied the bell to the tiger must take it off” (meaning, the one who created the problem has the responsibility to find a solution), implying that the eastward expansion of NATO had made the present predicament and that the onus rests with the United States and NATO. Xi said: “The U.S. and NATO should also have a dialogue with Russia to address the crux of the Ukraine crisis and ease the security concerns of both Russia and Ukraine.” Thus, by endorsing this Russian excuse for the invasion, the CCP stood clearly on the Russian side, undeterred by the American threat to sanction it. There was not even a single word in the ministry’s handout that censured Russia, which had laid waste to numerous Ukrainian cities, resulting in at least 3 million refugees. Yet Xi spoke at length against sanctioning Russia: “Sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions would only make the people suffer. If further escalated, they could trigger serious crises in global economy and trade, finance, energy, food, and industrial and supply chains, crippling the already languishing world economy and causing irreversible losses.” By blaming not the aggressor but people’s punitive reactions against Russia, Xi tacitly condoned the aggression. Xi spoke about the CCP’s six-point initiative on humanitarian relief in Ukraine, and his ambassador to Kyiv “guaranteed” that China “would never invade Ukraine.” Some observers took it as the CCP’s subtle commitment not to supply military hardware to Russia. The problem is not China invading Ukraine, quite the contrary. China should come to Ukraine’s defense because in 2013, under Xi’s watch, Beijing signed a joint declaration with Kyiv pledging protection to the latter in case it was threatened with a nuclear attack. Xi dwelt on China’s adherence to the United Nations Charter and portrayed the CCP as an impartial and neutral onlooker. Yet in dealing with the Ukrainian crisis, China twice abstained from two U.N. resolutions to condemn the Russian invasion. Indeed, these actions go against what Xi proclaimed: “China advocates upholding international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations.” In all the significant statements made recently by the CCP on Ukraine, including those from Foreign Minister Wang Yi, diplomat Yang Jiechi, and Ambassador Qin Gang, they stressed that the “principle of indivisible security” should be upheld. Russia had used this principle to justify its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the current wholesale invasion of Ukraine. While trying to portray China’s position as neutral and impartial, this explicit support for Russia’s casus belli betrayed the CCP’s true stance. Thus, the world should be aware of the CCP’s strategic deception. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Follow Ching Cheong is a graduate of the University of Hong Kong. In his decades-long journalism career, he has specialized in political, military, and diplomatic news in Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, and Singapore.

Beware of the CCP’s Strategic Deception

Commentary

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine risks escalating into a nuclear war, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) refuses to make a clear-cut commitment to distance itself from the aggressor. This is clear following the video call between President Joe Biden and his counterpart Xi Jinping on March 18.

However, in the lead-up to the meeting, thanks to strong international pressure against Beijing extending a lifeline to Moscow, the CCP made slight adjustments to its pro-Russia stance.

For example, the state-owned CCTV unprecedentedly carried a news item detailing Russia’s casualties since the invasion, citing official Ukrainian sources. The Chinese ambassador to Kyiv praised the strong unity of the Ukrainian people. The control of domestic social media was relaxed to allow some criticism of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, previously upheld as “Putin the Great.”

These adjustments led some to think that the CCP might adopt a more balanced view to ward off likely sanctions from the West. This is not the case.

According to the official handout given by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi used the neutral word “crisis” to describe the Russian invasion and refused to call a spade a spade. He blamed both Russia and Ukraine for the war by citing the old Chinese idiom, “It takes two hands to clap” (similar to the Western saying, “It takes two to tango”).

He also implicitly blamed the United States and NATO by citing another Chinese saying, “He who tied the bell to the tiger must take it off” (meaning, the one who created the problem has the responsibility to find a solution), implying that the eastward expansion of NATO had made the present predicament and that the onus rests with the United States and NATO.

Xi said: “The U.S. and NATO should also have a dialogue with Russia to address the crux of the Ukraine crisis and ease the security concerns of both Russia and Ukraine.”

Thus, by endorsing this Russian excuse for the invasion, the CCP stood clearly on the Russian side, undeterred by the American threat to sanction it.

There was not even a single word in the ministry’s handout that censured Russia, which had laid waste to numerous Ukrainian cities, resulting in at least 3 million refugees.

Yet Xi spoke at length against sanctioning Russia: “Sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions would only make the people suffer. If further escalated, they could trigger serious crises in global economy and trade, finance, energy, food, and industrial and supply chains, crippling the already languishing world economy and causing irreversible losses.”

By blaming not the aggressor but people’s punitive reactions against Russia, Xi tacitly condoned the aggression.

Xi spoke about the CCP’s six-point initiative on humanitarian relief in Ukraine, and his ambassador to Kyiv “guaranteed” that China “would never invade Ukraine.” Some observers took it as the CCP’s subtle commitment not to supply military hardware to Russia.

The problem is not China invading Ukraine, quite the contrary. China should come to Ukraine’s defense because in 2013, under Xi’s watch, Beijing signed a joint declaration with Kyiv pledging protection to the latter in case it was threatened with a nuclear attack.

Xi dwelt on China’s adherence to the United Nations Charter and portrayed the CCP as an impartial and neutral onlooker. Yet in dealing with the Ukrainian crisis, China twice abstained from two U.N. resolutions to condemn the Russian invasion. Indeed, these actions go against what Xi proclaimed: “China advocates upholding international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations.”

In all the significant statements made recently by the CCP on Ukraine, including those from Foreign Minister Wang Yi, diplomat Yang Jiechi, and Ambassador Qin Gang, they stressed that the “principle of indivisible security” should be upheld. Russia had used this principle to justify its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the current wholesale invasion of Ukraine.

While trying to portray China’s position as neutral and impartial, this explicit support for Russia’s casus belli betrayed the CCP’s true stance. Thus, the world should be aware of the CCP’s strategic deception.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Ching Cheong is a graduate of the University of Hong Kong. In his decades-long journalism career, he has specialized in political, military, and diplomatic news in Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, and Singapore.