CNN reported, on Friday, Feb. 25, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin continued to refrain from acknowledging Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a regular press conference, dodging more than 30 questions about Russia’s aggression and the current crisis in Ukraine.
The Chinese spokesman Wang Wenbin stuck closely to statements from China in previous days. He said, “All countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected”, when asked a variety of questions from foreign journalists during the press conference. He said that China “understands Russia’s legitimate concerns on security issues,” and echoed calls for parties to “exercise restraint and avoid further escalation of the situation.”
At the press conference, foreign journalists pointed out that China has always supported the principles of “non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs” and to “respect national sovereignty.” They also asked questions like, Will China recognize the Donetsk and the Lugansk People’s Republics? Is Russia’s latest move a violation of the new Minsk Agreement? How does China view potential sanctions against Russia? Does China see similarities between Ukraine and Taiwan? … and more.
The report said, facing a series of questions from foreign media, Wang Wenbin did not respond directly to the point to any of them.
Apple Daily said this is the second time that Chinese spokesman Wang Wenbin used the “dodging questions” tactic at a press conference, and the number of dodging questions has been at a record high.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he would recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine on February 21, Chinese spokesman Wang Wenbin dodged 14 Ukrainian-related questions in a row without giving a direct answer at the regular press conference of the Foreign Ministry the following day.
Since the crisis of the situation in Russia and Ukraine broke out, DW News concludes that the Beijing government does not seem to have decided how to set the tone other than to condemn the U.S.
“Double standards” on Ukraine issue?
At Thursday’s regular press conference at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, foreign media reporters questioned whether Beijing’s frequent talk of respecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity, along with its ambiguous attitude on the Ukraine issue, was a double standard.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did not give a direct answer, but once again aimed at the West. She cited the example of “Eight-Power Allied Forces and other colonialist powers to show how China’s sovereignty and territory have been “invaded”. She also accused the U.S. of wanton interference in China’s internal issues, undermining China’s sovereignty and security on issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
An AFP reporter then turned to the China’s alleged “genocide” in Xinjiang, which China called the “lie of the century”.
She said, “China has been accused of committing genocide in Xinjiang, an accusation that has been called “lie of the century”. Now Russia is saying that the genocide of Russians happening in Ukraine is one of the justifications for its invasion in Ukraine. Has Russia showed you any evidence that genocide is happening in Ukraine? And if it’s not the case, are you prepared to say that this is also a lie of the century?”
Hua Chunying responded that there is no “genocide” in Xinjiang, saying that she is not aware of what is happening in the eastern part of Ukraine.
Will China condemn Russia? Hua Chunying’s response
When asked whether China would call on Russia to withdraw its troops, Hua Chunying repeated several times that China calls on all relevant parties to “exercise restraint.”
When repeatedly asked about when China would join the U.S., Europe and other countries in condemning it, Hua evaded saying, “This reminds me that it is the handful of countries you raised, including the U.S., that have been interfering in China’s internal affairs and attacking China based on disinformation.”
As reporters pursued the issue and continued to ask questions, she replied: “Is China a party directly concerned? Who is the one that started the fire, fanned the flames and added fuel to it?”
At a press conference on Wednesday, February 23, Hua said that it would be “irresponsible and immoral” to accuse China of failing to act now, as the U.S. is “culprit of current tensions surrounding Ukraine”.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden said Thursday at a press conference. He said: “Putin will be a pariah on the international stage. Any nation that countenances Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine will be stained by association.”