The Russian Narrative & The Chinese Echo Chamber

The Russian Narrative & The Chinese Echo Chamber
Marc-Olivier Jodoin via Unsplash



Marc Luetz


China Human Rights Researcher 


Global Human Rights Defence


The ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War has now entered its second week of the conflict with the Ukrainian state garnering international support and aid. The conflict has also drawn lines in the international system between states that view the conflict as a clear violation of the rules-based international order and those that do not openly comment on the recent developments. The People’s Republic of China is one of these states — as many states after the 28th of February sought to isolate the Russian Federation, the stance of  Chinese state-run media has made it clear where China stands on the matter. 

The Chinese regime has on the international stage intentionally left its position ambiguous, with the refusal of recognizing the conflict as a Russian-led invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine and the recent abstaining on a vote condemning the conflict in the United Nations. However, in the domestic setting Chinese state media has become an echo chamber for Russian propaganda — one with a reach encompassing over 1.4 billion individuals. Consequently, the conflict has been characterized as an effort by the Russian military to address the ‘Nazi’ and ‘Western’ aggression in the region. A narrative that is perceived in China as increasingly justified and is marked by the lack of discourse and information surrounding the international community's reaction to the invasion as illegal and a severe breach of international law. China stands to gain from this calculated approach, as Russian media outlets such as the success of Russian media outlets such as ‘Russia Today’ and ‘Sputnik’ are attractive examples of how to shape and influence both the domestic and international narratives: a potential asset in China’s already highly censored internet and media outlets. 

The developments in Ukraine are unsettling for the international system, alongside the parallels that exist between China’s political and territorial ambitions toward Taiwan in the South China Sea. However, the increasing willingness of state actors such as China and Russia to not only censor international and domestic media but also provide an alternative ‘narrative’ is disturbing and only serves to fuel parallel realities that can only cause a deterioration of the international system. As the war in Ukraine continues it is pivotal to continue to watch how the Chinese regime continues to portray the conflict and the political rhetoric of its leaders as they can identify the direction of state censorship in the region and its geopolitical ambitions.

Sources and further reading:

Yuan, L. (2022, March 4). How China Embraces Russian Propaganda and Its Version of the War. The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from