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OPINION                                                                   MAY 27, 2022  |    The Indian Eye 10

                     Chinese News Media

                              Narratives on the

                   Ukraine-Russia Crisis

             The Russian military intervention though challenged the Chinese narrative of the Western countries being the prime
              aggressors. The Chinese media has peddled the dual narrative of vilifying the West and glorifying China’s supposed
        mediatory role in the crisis, even as the war continues to rage in Ukraine. The Chinese media’s coverage of the crisis has been
                                       less about Ukraine and Russia and more about China and the West

        MAYURI BANERJEE                   Russia–Ukraine tensions.                 ‘The West is Lying         and conflict in the region. An article
                                              They highlighted the purported        and is Divided’           in the Xinhua News Agency charged
              rior to Russia’s military in-  divergences within  major Western                                that the US supply of weapons to
              vasion of Ukraine, Western   powers as a reflection of these coun-  Categorizing US warnings of   Ukraine under the pretext of Russian
        Pmedia outlets reported that      tries’  unitary pursuit of geopolitical   possibility of Russian invasion of   invasion was aggravating tensions be-
        the Chinese government circulated   goals. Secondly, there was a marked   Ukraine as “hype” and “propagan-  tween the two countries. It described
        guidelines to Chinese news media   eulogization  of  China’s  supposed   da”, Chinese news media charged   NATO’s deployments to Eastern Eu-
        agencies  explicitly  forbidding  publi-  role as a force for stability in interna-  the US of falsely exaggerating the   rope in response to Russia’s military
        cation of anti-Russia or pro-Western   tional politics.             risk of war and perpetrating tension   exercises as aggressive and warned
        content.                                                                                              the US not to ‘play with fire’.
            The guidelines required these                                                                         In the aftermath of the telephon-
        agencies to use only those hashtags                                                                   ic conversation between Chinese
        approved by the three state news                                                                      Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US
        organizations—People’s    Daily,                                                                      Secretary of State Antony Blinken on
        Xinhua News Agency and the state                                                                      27 January 2022, CGTN accused the
        broadcaster, CCTV. A review of                                                                        Biden administration of causing pan-
        news reports in Chinese mainstream                                                                    ic  and  instigating  conflict  between
        media like People’s Daily, CGTN,                                                                      Russia and Ukraine. An Editorial
        CCTV, Xinhua, People’s Liberation                                                                     in CGTN stated that Russia made
        Army Daily and China News Service                                                                     no military threat to Ukraine and
        gives a sense of pro-Russian report-                                                                  instead accused the US and NATO
        age.                                                                                                  of nibbling at Ukrainian territory to
            In the initial phase of Russia’s                                                                  antagonize Russia.
        military build-up near the Ukraine                                                                        Several reports titled “West-
        border, Chinese news media focused                                                                    ern politicians amplify the idea that
        primarily on projecting Western in-                                                                   Russia is about to ‘invade’ Ukraine”,
        terventionist approach and system of                                                                  “The United States continues to in-
        military alliances as the cause of the                                                                       Continued at next page... >>

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