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A Chinese news outlet accidentally leaked its own censorship instructions on Russia-Ukraine coverage: report

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2/22/2022 jlahut@insider.com (Jake Lahut)
Photo illustration. Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images © Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Photo illustration. Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • An accidental post on Tuesday revealed a Chinese media outlet's "instructions" on Russia-Ukraine coverage.
  • Horizon News, a subset of Beijing News, shared the instructions on its Weibo account.
  • The post noted that no anti-Russia content would be published, per The Washington Post.

An accidental social media post revealed how one Chinese outlet is toeing the line while the world grapples with the mounting Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Horizon News, a subset of Beijing News, which is owned by the Chinese Communist Party, posted "instructions" on how to cover the escalating tensions to its Weibo page on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.

China has strengthened its alliance with Russia in recent years and the two countries have also become increasingly active economic partners. Trade between China and Russia has grown from $10.7 billion in 2004 to $140 billion by 2021, according to the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank.

Coupled with China's strict limits on press freedoms, news outlets in the nation are constrained in what they can say without government intervention.

In the Weibo post, Horizon News stated that any content painting Russia unfavorably would not be published. The same applied to any pro-Western framing, according to The Post.


Video: Russia receives strong support from China in Ukraine standoff (NBC News)

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Later on Tuesday, the Weibo post was deleted, The Post noted.

"Simply put, China has to back Russia up with emotional and moral support while refraining from treading on the toes of the United States and European Union," Ming Jinwei, a senior editor at the Xinhua News Agency, wrote in a WeChat blog cited by The Post. Xinhua is the official press agency of the Chinese government.

"In the future, China will also need Russia's understanding and support when wrestling with America to solve the Taiwan issue once and for all," the editor later added.

On the US side, President Joe Biden announced a slew of new sanctions to punish Russia for what the White House is describing as the "beginning of an invasion." 

"It can no longer raise money from the West and can not trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either," Biden said of Russia.

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