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Chinese media believes Bucha massacre was staged, US to blame


The slaughter of civilians in Bucha has stunned the world – but China has reacted to the tragedy by making a bizarre claim.

Confronting images of the bodies of murdered civilians littering the streets of Bucha brought home the tragic reality of the war in Ukraine last week.

As Russian troops retreated from Kyiv, evidence of the killings began to emerge, with heartbreaking photographs showing dozens of bodies lying across roads in the Ukrainian city, with some found with their hands bound.

Since then, hundreds of bodies have been discovered in mass graves, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky branding Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a war criminal and describing the horror as “genocide”.

The grim discovery sparked global condemnation, with US President Joe Biden calling for the Russian leader to face a war crimes trial.

Unsurprisingly, the Kremlin had denied murdering innocent civilians in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine, instead spreading the conspiracy theory that the situation was staged.

“This information must be seriously questioned,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press in response to the Bucha tragedy. “From what we have seen, our experts have identified signs of video falsification and other fakes.”

And Russia’s stance was to be expected, it’s China’s response that has started to raise eyebrows.

China’s wild claim

Since the invasion of Ukraine began, China has attempted to distance itself from the crisis, and touted itself as being neutral.

But as most of the world condemns the Bucha killing, Chinese state media has doubled down on Russia’s conspiracy theory, insisting to billions of citizens that the deaths were staged.

One Chinese news report claimed “Ukrainians directed a good show”, while Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece the Global Times this week also spread Kremlin propaganda and painted the US as the aggressor in a bizarre editorial.

“It is regrettable that after the exposure of the ‘Bucha incident’, the US, the initiator of the Ukraine crisis, has not shown any signs of urging peace and promoting talks, but is ready to exacerbate the Russia-Ukraine tensions,” the piece reads.

“No matter how the ‘Bucha incident’ took place, no one can deny at least one thing: War itself is the main culprit of the humanitarian disaster.”

In a separate article, the Global Times also repeated that Russia had “categorically denied it and presented the UN Security Council with empirical evidence of the Ukrainian side’s video falsification and other fakes”.

And earlier this week, state agency China News Service shared a report from a Russian news agency about Bucha on social media site Weibo with the caption: “Russia shows the video to prove that the Bucha incident is staged”.

Closer ties

It’s just the latest example of strengthening ties between the two nations.

In early March, the New York Times reported that senior Chinese officials likely had some level of knowledge about Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine before Mr Putin launched the operation in February.

Citing US and European officials and a Western intelligence report, the publication claimed top-ranking Chinese figures told senior Russian officials in early February not to invade Ukraine until the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Mr Putin ultimately ordered the invasion to begin four days after the Olympics ended, with the President ramping up his military advance and rhetoric in the hours after the closing ceremony ended.

Last month, China again sparked outrage after abstaining from voting in a United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There were 141 votes in favour, five against, and 35 abstentions – including China, India, and Cuba.

Later that month, China doubled down on a separate Russian conspiracy theory which experts believe could be part of a plot to justify the invasion of Ukraine, with a Chinese official accusing the US of running biolabs in the eastern European nation.

The comments were made in the wake of reports from Russian media outlets which alleged that a network of more than 30 biological labs were operating in Ukraine at the request of the US Department of Defence’s Threat Reduction Agency, an allegation the US had dismissed as nonsense.

China has also repeatedly refused to join other nations in imposing sanctions on Russia, arguing that they threaten a political resolution to the conflict.

In fact, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently described Russia as the country’s “most important strategic partner”, adding their alliance was “one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world”.

“No matter how perilous the international landscape, we will maintain our strategic focus and promote the development of a comprehensive China-Russia partnership in the new era,” Mr Wang said in a news conference.

“The friendship between the two peoples is iron clad.”

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