Chinese professors, students and other citizens are taking an anti-war stand regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine through an open letter and a petition urging the Chinese government to honor the commitment it made to Ukraine years ago.
A group of history professors from universities in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macao published an open letter on Saturday which called for Russia to stop its invasion of Ukraine, The Washington Post reported.
“As a country that was once ravaged by war, where families were destroyed, where everywhere people were dying of starvation… [w]e sympathize with the pain of the Ukrainian people,” the open letter read.
The letter was signed by Nanjing University professor Sun Jiang, Peking University professor Wang Lixin, Hong Kong University professor Xu Guoqi, Tsinghua University professor Zhong Weimin and Fudan University professor Chen Yan.
“We emphatically call on the Russian government and President Putin to stop the war and resolve any dispute through negotiations,” the letter continued, adding that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia could start a “massive, global war.”
“In the midst of all the noise, we felt the need to make our voices heard,” they continued. “We are concerned that Russian military action will lead to turmoil in Europe and the entire world, and trigger wider humanitarian disaster.”
In a similar vein, a petition, signed by 121 alumni from several top Chinese universities, was created to urge the Chinese government to honor the U.N. Resolution 984 it previously committed to, which gives security assurance to nonnuclear states, including Ukraine.
“We resolutely support the righteous fight of the Ukrainian people against Russian aggression,” the alumni wrote in the petition released on Monday. “We demand that the international community maintain and respect the territorial integrity, the national dignity, and the sovereignty of Ukraine.”
Several Chinese citizens have also joined the anti-war movement in China.
A video that has made rounds on Chinese social media shows a man protesting on the street to put an end to the war in Ukraine. A police officer can be seen taking away his sign which says “Stop War” in English and “Please do not support war in Ukraine” in Chinese.
Chinese poet Yu Xiuhua also shared her anti-war stand in a poem she published on WeChat on Sunday. She started her post with “I pray that a poem can stop a tank.”
A senior journalist, only identified by the surname Gao, said many people in China were surprised when Ukraine fought back against one of the world’s strongest militaries during the full-scale invasion that began last week.
“The capability and determination of the Ukrainians really surprised us, and we really admire it,” Gao said. “We think… Russia will likely be removed from its seat as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.”
The Chinese Embassy in Ukraine called for calm online on Sunday after several Chinese social media platforms, such as Weibo, WeChat and Douyin, beganstarted banning accounts for their “provocative comments” while discussing the Ukraine crisis, as NextShark previously reported.
Days beforehand, Chinese women on Weibo had called out several men who said they were willing to take in attractive female Ukrainian refugees, as NextShark previously reported.