A Chinese news outlet appears to have accidentally leaked its own censorship instructions in its coverage of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
According to a now-deleted Weibo post, Horizon News, which operates under China’s state-owned outlet Beijing News, said that comments and reports deemed unfavorable to Russia or favorable to the West cannot be published.
The post appears to have made rounds on Tuesday morning. Eagle-eyed users managed to take screenshots and spread them on various online platforms before the original Weibo post was deleted.
China and Russia have no formal military alliance. However, they have strengthened their economic relations in recent years, becoming main trade partners.
In September 2021, Beijing supplied Moscow with computers, heating machinery, automobile parts, telephones and electric heaters, according to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). In turn, Moscow provided crude petroleum, refined petroleum, coal briquettes, sawn wood and gas turbines.
During the opening of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that their “friendship” has “no limits” and “no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation,” according to Reuters. Additionally, Putin affirmed his opposition to Taiwan’s independence.
Russia, which launched its invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, is now facing an increasing amount of sanctions from multiple governments. But while most of the world has denounced Russia for its actions against Ukraine, China has yet to publicly denounce the transcontinental country.
“Simply put, China has to back Russia up with emotional and moral support while refraining from treading on the toes of the United States and European Union,” wrote Ming Jinwei, senior editor at China’s Xinhua News Agency, according to The Washington Post.
“In the future, China will also need Russia’s understanding and support when wrestling with America to solve the Taiwan issue once and for all,” he added.