Chinese critics of Russian attack on Ukraine frightened to speak out
 

Chinese critics of Russian attack on Ukraine frightened to speak out

03/2022

//Most posts on Chinese social media have expressed support for Vladimir Putin, but many dissenters feel they can’t say what they think.

Although many people have posted their views on the conflict on China’s vast – but heavily censored – social media platforms, Fang Kecheng, an assistant professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a former journalist with Guangzhou-based liberal newspaper Southern Weekly, warned not to read too much into those messages.

“Academic studies have found that only 1 per cent of the users would actively post on social media platforms. And in this specific context, I believe those who are more hawkish and chauvinistic people are much more likely to post than others.

“Also, the government is actively censoring posts that are overtly critical of Russia. So we should be very cautious in drawing any conclusion from Weibo data,” he said.

“I do believe that there is a strong pro-Russia view on Weibo. The most important reason is that many are buying into the official narrative that Nato and the US have pushed Russia into starting the war, and that if China does not support Russia, Nato will become a threat to China.

“This simplistic narrative motivates many to accept and spread misinformation that favours Russia,” Fang said.

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