Fact-Checking CNN’s Hit Piece on Chinese-Russian Ties
What follows is a quick fact-check that’ll clarify the truth behind CNN’s most misleading and even outright false claims.
Nectar Gan, who’s a China Reporter for CNN Digital Worldwide based in Hong Kong, published a hit piece on Chinese-Russian ties. Titled “Xi and Putin want to create a new world order. Russia’s setback in Ukraine could spoil their plans”, it twists the truth to misportray their relations in a way that’s designed to sow doubts about their shared grand strategic vision of accelerating multipolarity. What follows is a quick fact-check that’ll clarify the truth behind her most misleading and even outright false claims:
Claim: “A defeated Russia will strengthen the West and become a less useful and reliable asset in China’s great power rivalry with the US.”
Truth: It’s premature to predict that Russia will be defeated in Ukraine, while the Chinese-Russian partnership is one of equals wherein neither exploits the other as a pawn, let alone against third parties.
Claim: “So far, the two authoritarian powers have not come any closer to shaping the world order in their favor”.
Truth: The vast majority of humanity across the Global South is represented by governments that defied the US’ hegemonic pressure to sanction Russia, which proves how much the world order has changed.
Claim: “A Russian victory might also have set a dangerous precedent in regards to China, which has vowed to ‘unify’ with the self-governing democracy of Taiwan — by force if necessary.”
Truth: No credible comparison can be made between Taiwan and Ukraine since they’re completely different in geographic, historical, military, political, strategic, and all other terms.
Claim: “An easy win for Putin would have further deepened Xi’s belief the West is in decline, and provided a template for an attack on Taiwan”.
Truth: China is already convinced that multipolarity is inevitable, just like its goal of reunifying with Taiwan, which it hopes to achieve through political means and will only use military ones as a last resort.
Claim: “… a complete defeat (for Russia in Ukraine) could potentially create political instability in the Kremlin — and serious headaches for China.”
Truth: There is absolutely no chance that any scenario, whether connected to Ukraine or whatever else, will politically destabilize the ruling authorities and consequently complicate Russia’s foreign policy.
Claim: “…in a worst-case scenario, [a Russia without a strong Putin] might even grow more friendly to the West, adding to long-running Chinese fears about geopolitical encirclement by the US.”
Truth: This is also a political fantasy spun as a supposedly credible scenario in order to simultaneously manipulate perceptions about the Ukrainian Conflict, Russian domestic affairs, and Chinese-Russian ties.
Claim: “The question, then, becomes how far Beijing is willing to go to ensure Putin remains in control, and that Russia remains a powerful security and strategic partner to counterbalance America.”
Truth: This lie-filled sentence requires three clarifications: President Putin’s future doesn’t depend on China; Russia is already strong and will remain so; and China doesn’t exploit Russia against the US.
Claim: “Having watched Russian tanks roll into Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, Central Asian leaders of former Soviet territories are worried that Russia could encroach on their land too.”
Truth: This is literally fake news since no Central Asian country voted against Russia at the UN, which they’d have been expected to do had their leaders truly been worried about what was claimed above.
Claim: “Iran’s expected inclusion in the SCO is stoking fears long held by some observers that the grouping is emerging as an anti-West bloc.”
Truth: Russia’s Permanent Representative to the SCO Secretariat Natalia Stepkina exposed that false narrative on Thursday as being intended to justify NATO’s existence.
Claim: “Delhi has also seen relations with Beijing nosedive due to conflicts along their border, and has moved closer to Washington and its allies in the Indo-Pacific.”
Truth: India is balancing between China and the West, but it’s recently improved ties with the former after they disengaged troops from their disputed frontier while ties with the US worsened over Russia.
Claim: “Xi will use the SCO summit to show both the home crowd and the world that, despite being diplomatically isolated by the West, China still has friends and partners”.
Truth: All members of the international community have diplomatic relations with China except for a dwindling number of small states, which proves that the People’s Republic is far from “isolated”.
As can be seen above, CNN’s latest hit piece on Chinese-Russian ties mixes twisted interpretations of the facts with a few outright false claims to produce a manipulative information warfare product. The purpose is to mislead the target audience into wrongly thinking that their relations are weakening, have become controversial, and are now a liability to Beijing. Nothing could be further from the truth since they’re strong, accepted by the Global South, and mutually beneficial to their multipolar goals.