Chinese nationals stranded in Ukraine have become targets of harassment from Ukrainians angered by the Chinese government’s stance on Russia’s invasion of the country.
China, a close trading partner of Russia, has refused to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and has accused the U.S. of aggravating tensions between the neighboring countries. They have also publicly denounced the sanctions led by the West, stating that they have no legal grounds, according to Reuters.
“We will not participate in such sanctions. We will continue to maintain normal economic and trade exchanges with relevant parties,” Chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission Guo Shuqing said.
Chinese state media has been cautious in their coverage of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, categorizing the attacks as “special military operations” and avoiding the term “invasion,” according to CNBC. They have also focused their coverage on Russia’s openness to a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
Chinese nationals in Ukraine
Out of the 6,000 Chinese nationals residing in Ukraine, China’s foreign ministry stated that more than 2,500 people have been relocated. The first evacuees of around 600 people were relocated to Moldova on Monday, and about another 1,000 waited to be evacuated to Slovakia and Poland on Tuesday.
China’s stance on Russia’s attack, however, has reportedly placed a target on the remaining Chinese nationals stranded in Ukrainian cities.
The Chinese embassy located in Kyiv previously asked its citizens to display their Chinese flag to keep themselves safe; however, they have since issued a new statement calling on Chinese nationals to conceal their identities over the weekend, according to Financial Times.
“Do not reveal your identity or display identifying signs at will,” the embassy stated on WeChat.
A Chinese student at Kyiv University, identified by her surname Wang, said, “I dread every time I have to go into the shelter, because the locals are hostile now.”
Xu Xianghui, an international student in Ukraine, alleged she was followed and then threatened in a supermarket in a video shared to Weibo.
“This is the consequence of our failure to oppose aggression,” one user commented under the clip
Yurii Poita, head of the Asia-Pacific Section at the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies in Kyiv, told the Financial Times: “We completely understand that China is somehow backing Russia. They are not officially saying that they are backing Russian aggression, but in their rhetoric, they do. People here don’t have time right now to read much about this because they are fighting. But they will take into consideration these cruel jokes from Chinese and the behavior of the Chinese government, and after this war, Ukraine clearly understands who our real friends are.”
In the latest announcement from China’s foreign ministry, spokesperson Wang Wenbin confirmed the first case of a Chinese national casualty in Ukraine.
“A Chinese national was injured by a gunshot while evacuating on his own on March 1 Beijing nighttime,” Wang said, according to Reuters.