It should be the story of an autocratic aggressor, who through military might, launches an unprovoked attack on its neighboring country. It should be the story of the brave Ukrainians, who were extremely outnumbered and had a tenth of the military budget of Russia, not only defended their country, but in some cases repelled Russians from captured cities. Well, at least for now.
Yet, neither Russian nor Chinese state media is broadcasting the truth. China is repeating the lies told by Putin and Russian officials.
Russia has been using the state owned media stations to justify the “military operation” as a means of re-uniting their country. To Putin, Ukraine never was entitled to be an independent country. Part of their justification is the NATO acceptance in the 1990’s of the break away Eastern European countries, which they consider part of their security zone. By their logic, NATO is the aggressor and the US, being the largest contributor to NATO, is part of this aggression.
Russia concocts ludicrous stories for their own television networks. The “biological laboratory” story was quickly dismissed by most US networks. Ukraine does not have secret bioweapon labs. It has public health or research biological laboratories, to help identify dangerous pathogens and prevent their spread. The US and other countries became rightfully concerned about the accidental escape of these pathogens when Russia began bombing Ukraine and helped Ukraine safely destroy their laboratory samples. Yes, the US was involved in biological laboratories, but in a very good and necessary way.
The Russians say that the Ukrainians were studying the use of migratory birds to spread disease to Russia. European and US scientists, involved in agriculture and public health studies, identify the possible pathways by which pathogens can travel long distance including migratory birds. Contaminating birds with diseases would likely do damage their agriculture or make their own populations sick.
Nevertheless, the Chinese passed along the Russian story of bioweapon labs discovered in the Ukraine to their own population. The war is called a military operation, not an invasion. Civilian casualties were not mentioned until recently.
In the UN, the Chinese ambassador did not vote with Russia, against a condemnation of the invasion. Instead he stayed on the sidelines. Unfortunately, for the populace, the Chinese have sided with Putin in the misinformation war. Autocrats, like Xi Jinping, support other leaders like Putin. Today Xi backs Putin, as he allows the brutal killing of civilians in Ukraine. Putin can turn a blind eye to atrocities committed by Xi, in the internment, rape and force labor of Uyghurs. Having control of the media is essential to autocrats.
China makes up 1.4 billion of the 7.9 billion inhabitants worldwide. India makes up another 1.4 billion for a total of 36% of the world’s population. India’s news media has condemned the war, but the government seems to turn a deaf ear to the suffering. I hope to add more on this topic. It is too big to ignore. See links.
Al Jazeera: Russia-Ukraine War: In Chinese Media, the US is the Villain
CNN: As the world reacts in horror to Bucha, China’s state media strikes a different tone
France 24: India tries diplomatic dance on Ukraine, but Russia is an awkward partner