As the world reacts in horror to Bucha, China's state media strikes a different tone

A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Meanwhile in China newsletter, a three-times-a-week update exploring what you need to know about the country’s rise and how it impacts the world. 여기에서 가입하세요.

Shocking images showing the bodies of civilians scattered across the streets of Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, have sparked global horror in recent days and raised the urgency of ongoing investigations into alleged Russian war crimes. But a starkly different narrative is playing out on China’s state-run media.

그곳에, domestic media reports on the civilian casualties in Bucha have been quick to emphasize the Russian rebuttal, with two prominent televised reports from national broadcaster CCTV this week highlighting unsubstantiated claims from Moscow that the situation was staged after Russian forces withdrew from the area.
In one report, a caption citing Russia with the wordsUkrainians directed a good show,” flashes over heavily blurred footage from the Ukrainian town.
    There is no evidence to suggest this is the case. Satellite images suggest some bodies had been there since at least March 18, while eyewitnesses have said the carnage began weeks ago.
      갈라져, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday said the shocking images from Bucha showedall the signsthat civilians weredirectly targeted and directly killed.” 화요일에, UN chief António Guterres added to growing international calls for a war crimes investigation into the killing of civilians in the town.
        The allegations of war crimes raise the stakes for China’s position. Beijing’s apparent boosting of Russian propaganda is consistent with its stance since the beginning of the invasion, as it has refused to condemn Russia at home or in its diplomacyeven as the civilian death toll grows.
        대신, Beijing has sought to portray itself as a neutral actor, calling for peace while blaming the situation on the United States.
          This was on show in an editorial published in the nationalist tabloid the Global Times on Wednesday, which appeared to question the veracity of what it called, in quotes, 그만큼 “Bucha incidentand absolve Russia of responsibility.
          It is regrettable that after the exposure of the ‘Bucha incident,’ 미국, the initiator of the Ukraine crisis, has not shown any signs of urging peace and promoting talks, but is ready to exacerbate the Russia-Ukraine tensions,” the editorial said.
          No matter how the ‘Bucha incidenttook place, no one can deny at least one thing: War itself is the main culprit of the humanitarian disaster,” 그것은 추가했다.

          A common foe

          Rising tensions with the US have driven Moscow and Beijing closer in recent years, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping declaring their countriespartnership hadno limitsjust weeks before Russia’s invasion.
          Since Russia’s invasion, Beijing has come under considerable pressure to decry Russia’s actions and join countries around the world in imposing sanctions. Chinese officials have instead refused to use the term invasion to describe Russia’s actions, and have repeatedly said they will cut their own path when it comes to their response.
          At a United Nations Security Council special session on Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun acknowledged that the images of civilian deaths in Bucha weredeeply disturbing,” but when it came to attributing blame for the situation he urgedall sides” ...에 “exercise restraint and avoid unfounded accusations.
          The relevant circumstances and specific causes of the incident should be verified and established. Any accusations should be based on facts,” Zhang said.
          Similar comments were made at a regular briefing on Wednesday by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin, 누가 말했다 “humanitarian issues should not be politicized.
          All parties should exercise restraint and avoid groundless accusationsbefore fact-finding was concluded, Wang said, adding that Chinais willing to continue to work together with the international community to avoid any harm coming to civilians.
          But at home, China has been broadcasting a more pointed message, one that ties into a longer history of Russian and Chinese state media reinforcing each other’s narrativeson issues such as the treatment of Russian dissidents, Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, and the origins of Covid-19as they seek to refute the characterizations of Western officials and media.
          In an example of such overlap on Tuesday, state agency China News Service ran a post on the popular Twitter-like social media platform Weibo with the hashtag, “Russia shows the video to prove that the Bucha incident is stagedreferencing a report from a Russian state news agency.
            But even as China amplifies Russian rhetoric in its reporting at home, some public shows of skepticism can be seen, even in China’s highly moderated social media platforms.
            In a recent example, a widely followed military blogger wrote on Sunday that Ukrainians were responsible for amassacreof civiliansbut multiple users in the comments below suggested the details of the post were wrong.

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