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Contradictions in Coverage: Chinese Media & The Ukraine War | GZERO World

Contradictions in coverage: Chinese media & the Ukraine war

Many Chinese media outlets have “an outstanding capability to maintain a state of denial, to say things that are clearly not true” — but not all have spread propaganda about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, says Melinda Liu, Newsweek's bureau chief in Beijing.

State-run media are trying to show some of what's going on in Ukraine, and (part of) Chinese social media is showing sympathy for Ukrainians, Liu tells Ian Bremmer in a GZERO World interview. Still, much of the focus remains on Russian casualties.

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Ian Explains: Limits of the China-Russia Friendship | GZERO World

The limits of the China-Russia friendship

CIA Director Bill Burns once called Vladimir Putin an “apostle of payback.” But what about Putin's fellow autocrat wingman, Xi Jinping?

Xi and China are now in an awkward spot, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World. The Chinese are trying to condemn the invasion of Ukraine without condemning Russia, the invader.

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Xi Jinping & Vladimir Putin: No Trust Among Autocrats | GZERO World

Xi Jinping & Vladimir Putin: No trust among autocrats

Melinda Liu describes the current relationship between authoritarian buddies Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin as a "marriage of convenience."

"They've known each other a long time, so it's not entirely awkward, but it's not entirely comfortable either. There's ... not a lot of trust," says Newsweek's Beijing bureau chief in an interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. "Each of them probably know[s] that down the road, a number of years from now, the tables will be turned and one of them will be aligned with America against the other ... It's always been like that, and it always will be like that."

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China’s Discontent & the Russia Distraction | Beijing Bureau Chief Melinda Liu | GZERO World

China’s discontent & the Russia distraction: Beijing bureau chief Melinda Liu

The relationship between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping is a "marriage of convenience," Newsweek's Beijing bureau chief Melinda Liu tells Ian Bremmer in a GZERO World interview. "They've known each other a long time, so it's not entirely awkward, but it's not entirely comfortable either. There's ... not a lot of trust."

But according to Liu, Xi's biggest problem right now is not Putin, but China’s zero-COVID policy - which now has 26 million people under lockdown in Shanghai. China is facing a challenge they never saw coming — and that "hits right to the soul."

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Putin and Xi meet in Beijing before the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

China (warily) watches Russia’s war

The war in Ukraine “is the most severe geopolitical conflict since World War II and will result in far greater global consequences than [the] September 11 attacks.” So wrote Hu Wei, a Shanghai-based academic affiliated with a Chinese state research council, in a paper published by the Carter Center earlier this week.

In response, wrote Hu, China must unload “the burden of Russia as soon as possible.”

Chinese state censors blocked the paper almost immediately. That’s hardly surprising since China’s President Xi Jinping remains sympathetic to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, his fellow traveler in efforts to push back against global US power.

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China Is Wary of Supporting Russia: Finland’s Former PM Stubb | GZERO World

China is wary of supporting Russia: Finland’s former PM Alexander Stubb

Russia's war in Ukraine has thrown China into the global spotlight for some troubling reasons — and at a very bad time for Xi Jinping. What's on his mind now?

Former Finnish PM Alexander Stubb tells Ian Bremmer that Xi is likely worried more about domestic stuff like zero COVID, his own political future, and perhaps turning inward on the economy. Even some instability in Europe is not so bad for Xi because the focus on US-Russia takes attention away from rocky US-China ties.

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Vladimir Putin meets Xi Jinping in Beijing.

Sputnik/Aleksey Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

Ukraine throws wrench into China-Russia friendship

Xi Jinping isn’t very happy with Vladimir Putin these days.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has unleashed the type of global geopolitical uncertainty and — more importantly — economic instability that China’s president loathes. It is forcing Xi to put some daylight between Beijing and Moscow. Still, China insists that sanctions are not the way out and is vowing to continue doing business with an increasingly isolated Russia.

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Putin and Xi meet in Beijing for the first time since late 2019.


What We’re Watching: China’s Ukraine dilemma, Russian sanctions avoid SWIFT

How China sees Ukraine. One man’s invasion is another man’s … what, precisely? China apparently prefers not to define Russia’s attack on Ukraine as an invasion, a point reflected in Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying’s repeated dodging of the question in a Thursday press conference. The invasion — yep, we’re calling it like we see it — puts Chinese leadership in a tricky spot. Earlier this month, at the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin pointedly closed ranks against the West. But even Xi is unlikely to condone Russian actions that end up destabilizing the world economy (Thursday's markets were all over the place). Instability, after all, is Xi’s bugbear, and China had already softened its support for Putin’s aims in Ukraine even before the Russian assault began. While China is unlikely to join the US-led allies in sanctioning Moscow — perhaps because Xi is worried he could face similar economic punishment should he someday decide to move on Taiwan — a new Cold War is the last thing a country focused on economic growth and global commercial power wants. Even Hua admitted, dryly: “What you are seeing today is not what we have wished to see.”

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