China’s Messaging on the Ukraine Conflict

By Ingram Niblock with Dr Samantha Hoffman and Matthew Knight

Recently published a research note on Chinese messaging on the Ukraine conflict.

The note was published on May 23, 2022 and be found on the ASPI website.

The executive summary highlighted the following findings:

  • In posts by Chinese diplomats, the US, NATO and the West were almost exclusively blamed or criticised for Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Russia was not specifically blamed.
  • The most common posts shared news relating to the conflict (including readouts of Xi Jinping’s calls with world leaders), primarily from Chinese state media. Those articles usually presented China’s and, where they aligned, Russia’s views of the conflict. They frequently reported on the actions of Chinese officials reiterating China’s position.
  • Chinese diplomats repeated Russian conspiracy theories about US biological weapon labs in Ukraine with gusto and linked the alleged activities to conspiracy theories about the origin of Covid-19.
  • Posts about Ukraine on Facebook mostly underperformed compared to regular posts, except in Europe. On Twitter, Ukraine material appeared to broadly perform better than non-Ukraine material, particularly when the content attacked or blamed the West.
  • Chinese diplomats did not appear to specifically target the Chinese diaspora (by posting in Chinese) in posts about Ukraine to any significant extent on Facebook or Twitter.
  • A selection of CGTN content on YouTube largely mirrored the narratives of the Chinese officials on Twitter and Facebook.