A new report from a U.S. think tank pointed out that although China has tried to show neutrality in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the signals conveyed by Beijing-controlled media and Chinese diplomats on international social media in the past month have been mostly biased in favor of Hamas. , blaming the United States and other Western countries for the conflict. However, the report pointed out that as relations between the United States and China have warmed and the expected bilateral talks between the leaders of the two countries are approaching, Chinese officials, especially the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have lowered their criticism of the United States on the Israel-Kazakhstan issue.
“Voice of America”According to reports, the report was produced by the Alliance for Defense of Democracies, a research organization under the German Marshall Fund of the United States. This report analyzes how China, Russia, and Iran each used the crisis to promote their own narratives on international social media such as X after the conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out, blaming the conflict on the United States and the West. On some issues, the United States is criticized even more than Israel.
Since the conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out on October 7, the nationalist state-run Global Times has published many editorials in English, accusing the United States of favoring Israel in this conflict and saying that the United States should be responsible for the outbreak of the conflict.
However, one of the authors of the report believes that compared with China’s hostility to the United States in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is less hostile to the United States in the Israel-Kazakhstan conflict. Etienne Soula, a researcher at the Alliance for Defense of Democracies, a research arm of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said: “In response to this crisis, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has to some extent tempered its criticism of the United States.” Sua La pointed out that even when asked directly how he views the United States’ performance in this conflict, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokespersons have recently avoided directly criticizing the United States.
Although official media and diplomats’ comments favored Hamas, most of them did not directly criticize the United States.
At a press conference on November 7, a reporter from Turkey’s Anadolu Agency asked Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin how he understood that the United States only seeks a humanitarian “pause” of the conflict rather than a “cessation of the conflict.” Wang Wenbin did not condemn the United States in his answer, but asked the reporter to ask the United States this question, while once again emphasizing that China would take “responsible actions” to alleviate the crisis.
Wang Wenbin’s attitude is consistent with China’s recent reduction of its anti-American voice. On October 31, the People’s Daily, the organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, published an article titled “Zhong Sheng” (believed to be a homophone of the voice of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China). The title of the article was, “Promote Sino-US relations to truly stabilize and improve.” .
U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to meet next week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in San Francisco. China has not confirmed the meeting, but if it takes place it would be the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since their summit in Bali last year.
Since the beginning of this year, senior officials from the two countries have met many times. Analysts and experts believe that U.S.-China relations have entered a relatively mild “thawing” period after more than five years of tension.
The report also pointed out that although China claims to be neutral, Chinese state media are biased towards Hamas in their news reports. On the day Hamas launched its attack on Israel on October 7, the English YouTube channel of China Global Television Network CGTN only played a short clip mentioning that missiles flew into Israel from Gaza, killing one person and injuring 15 others. In the days that followed, CGTN reporting focused on Israeli counterattacks and civilian casualties in Gaza.
China deliberately shows “pro-Russian neutrality” in the Russia-Ukraine war
The CGTN Africa bureau’s YouTube channel did not show any footage of the Hamas attack in the days after it launched, and also focused its coverage on Israel’s response.
Xue Jian, the Chinese Consul General in Osaka, posted a computer-generated photo on the social media platform On the 19th, he posted another photo that appeared to be created through artificial intelligence, showing a baby lying on a table with American and Israeli flags, waiting to be eaten.
The Alliance for the Defense of Democracy reported that China’s approach to the conflict was similar to the “pro-Russian neutrality” displayed by Beijing in the war in Ukraine. China has sought to position itself as sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians while adopting a moderate tone in its messaging, stressing the need for both sides to respect international law and avoid civilian casualties, the report said.
The report said that China’s approach in many ways reflects China’s “pro-Russian neutrality” on the Ukrainian issue, but China’s aversion to Islamic terrorism and its complex interests in the Middle East have largely led to the decline of the post-Ukraine incident. A more cautious response.
Sulla of the Alliance for Defense of Democracy said: “It seems that China does not want to completely alienate Israel. Compared with the pro-Russian signal on the Ukrainian war, China is not so obviously pro-Palestinian.”