China warns embassies not to spread propaganda

InternationalMay 17 ’23 at 11:17Author of the book: Mark VanHarveldt

China has asked several foreign embassies and international organizations in Beijing not to display “politicized propaganda” in their buildings. This is to avoid conflicts between states. This is what diplomats told Reuters news agency. According to diplomats, the request appeared to be aimed at Ukrainian flags that have hung on buildings since the Russian invasion. None of the embassies accepted the request.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, many foreign embassies in Beijing showed their solidarity with Ukraine by raising or displaying the Ukrainian flag on posters and projects. Embassies put up signs in Chinese and English with messages like #StandWithUkraine.

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“We and others received a letter urging embassies and missions not to use the exterior walls of their buildings for ‘politicized propaganda,'” said an anonymous diplomat whose embassy displayed a picture of the Ukrainian flag. The letter was sent on May 10 from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The Canadian embassy in Beijing displays a large Ukrainian flag with the message ‘We support Ukraine’. (ANP / AFP / Noel Celis)

The diplomat also said he did not plan to follow up on the announcement. Three other diplomats based in Beijing confirmed the report, saying that while it did not directly refer to the Ukrainian flag, it was clearly aimed at. According to the declaration, embassies and international organizations are “obliged (…) to follow Chinese laws and regulations”, although Beijing respects diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Embassies in Beijing that have expressed support for Ukraine include Canada, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

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