China mocks US demand
Beijing has mocked Washington’s pressure to make China take a side in the Ukrainian conflict, claiming it’s just a thinly veiled threat.
In a caricature posted on Twitter by Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Zhao Lijian, on Saturday, a dark human figure is pictured with a gun held to its head by a hand painted in the US flag’s colors. The caption overhead reads “Take (my) Side!” According to the Chinese diplomat, this is exactly what the US means when it “pressures others to take sides.”
When the US pressures others to take sides, it actually means… pic.twitter.com/KYdIMmWe7G— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) April 2, 2022
Lijian appears to have a soft spot for caricatures, having posted several others over the past month. In mid-March, the Chinese official posted a world map featuring only the US, Canada, the UK, the EU, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, titled “the ‘international community’ you always hear about.” Lijian suggested that this is what the West really means when it talks about the international community.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that when the West talks about the "int'l community", they mean: pic.twitter.com/RZNOwDymX2— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 17, 2022
In February, following the start of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, the Chinese Foreign Ministry representative published a cartoon depicting Uncle Sam lamenting “Why can’t China do more to help put out the fire?” while dousing the flames of the Ukrainian conflict with gasoline from a fuel dispenser. Lijian suggested that Washington “should ask itself who’s the one that started all these.”
The US should ask itself who's the one that started all these. pic.twitter.com/Zxdk1OUG4o— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) February 26, 2022
The US, Canada, the UK, the whole of the EU, Japan, Australia and a few other nations have slapped several rounds of sweeping economic sanctions on Russia since February 24. The punitive measures target, among other things, the country’s central bank assets, some of its major commercial banks, entire industries, individual business people and top officials.
China, while calling for a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian conflict, has, however, refused to impose sanctions on Russia, or unequivocally condemn Moscow’s actions. In early March, China abstained during a vote at the UN on an anti-Russian resolution, while giving its backing to a Russian-proposed document several weeks later.
The US has increasingly been putting pressure on China in recent weeks, with President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken warning Beijing of potential “consequences” and “costs” should China aid and abet Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, or help Moscow to circumvent Western sanctions.