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  • Borislav Ivanov

China's contribution to the war

Since the very beginning of the highly devastating Russian invasion of Ukraine, China has tried to come out as neutral or even as supportive towards Ukraine. Despite its rigorous campaign in the West to be perceived as a neutral side to the war, this is exceedingly far from the truth. Beijing has attempted to do what it does typically: tap dance between all sides, pretending to be neutral, but it has found itself an outlier among the world's major powers. Xi's inclinations are misleading to nobody, and his stance is further alienating a strengthened transatlantic partnership.

China declared in February that its friendship with Russia has "no limits", insinuating potential Chinese aid to Russia during an invasion of Ukraine, and in return expecting Russian help during a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Currently, China is seemingly backtracking on that promise, as it hasn't provided Russia with any actual aid, despite Russia requesting it from China last Saturday.

Washington has already threatened China with large-scale sanctions if it decides to aid Russia with any equipment or support. These threats will most likely sway China from any direct support, although indirect and covert support will keep being a factor.

China has been watching the invasion closely to gain insight into what would happen during their eventual invasion of Taiwan. The CCP expected that the West would not intervene in any way, as it was believed to be highly disorganized and disunited. The NATO alliance system is still alive, well, and surprisingly potent. The Chinese Communist Party, preoccupied with domestic stability, is presumably cringing at Russia's sanctions' severity and calculating the cost of enduring the same. Many observers believed that the Ukraine crisis would pave the way for a Chinese military strike in Taiwan. So far, it appears to have had the opposite effect.

With all that being said, this doesn't mean that China will not invade Taiwan. Since the Chinese communist party took over mainland China, reclaiming Taiwan has been their primary objective. It only means that China must be much more prepared for the invasion and its fallout than it currently is. And it also means that China must make the West even more dependent on Chinese trade and products. It would have to ensure that sanctions against China would hurt the West as much as they hurt China itself.

The way that China has been aiding Russia indirectly during this conflict is through a massive disinformation campaign. Propaganda is one of the strong sides of the CCP, and now it is utilizing its skills in that sphere to indirectly help Russia by spreading propaganda about the war in Ukraine, justifying Russian aggression, and claiming the US has been developing bioweapons in Ukraine. These justifications and conspiracy theories, propagated by the Russian and Chinese propaganda machines, have also been supported by QAnon and similar fringe groups in Europe. It is frightening how many people in Europe and the US have been falling for Russian and Chinese propaganda, forging a new rift.

Despite this, the West is now more united than ever, and there are even talks about further development of the European Union into something resembling a federation. This war has irreversibly changed the geopolitical landscape, and its ripples are just starting to be felt.

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