British Journal of Chinese Studies

dragon mural beijing 2018 copyright Gerda Wielander
Vol 13 No 1 (2023)
Essays

Against a Monolithic “Chinese Perspective” on Ukraine: Revisiting Responses from Within China

Kristy Amber Bryant
University of Oxford
Published January 28, 2023
How to Cite
Bryant, K. (2023). Against a Monolithic “Chinese Perspective” on Ukraine. British Journal of Chinese Studies, 13(1), 84-88. https://doi.org/10.51661/bjocs.v13i1.222

Abstract

As the war in Ukraine wages on, China watchers continue their observations on the Chinese responses to Russia’s military assaults. Since its beginning, Western observers have been quick to jump to conclusions based on their assumptions about Sino-Russian relations and yet, while actions speak louder than words, it remains a challenge for many of them to describe precisely what China’s stance is. There are a number of contributing factors that explain why it is problematic to stereotype China’s position as Russia’s ally and, for the most part, these are overlooked in favour of maintaining the dangerous East versus West, authoritarianism versus democracy binary. This essay raises concern with the trend of essentialist takes on particularly sensitive issues and contexts, like the war in Ukraine, and argues for more reflexivity, meticulous scrutiny of sources, and nuanced analysis so as to account for greater nuance in academic interpretations and beyond. Highlighting the issue of ununified and variable official statements and mainstream media and the rising popularity of alternative sources, particularly social media influencers, this piece argues for more consideration regarding the diversity of voices within China.

Keywords
  • China watchers,
  • Sino-Russian relations,
  • social media,
  • Wang Jixian,
  • perspectives
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