This petition now circulating among Chinese academics on Chinese social media is being now censored by China’s Internet overseers.
The official PRC attitude seems to be uncomfortable, quiet support reflected in its abstention at the United Nations Security Council and the different tones of the PRC and Russian Federation read-outs of the post-invasion Putin-Xi conversation reported at neican.org Xi-Putin phone call on Ukraine (February 25). In any case, Russia – China relations may not always be as solid as they appear, especially given Russian racism and Chinese attitudes towards of superiority towards the failed-communist-state former elder brother.
The Chinese text feels very emotional referring explicitly and in the phrasing qilaile [arose or stood up] the Ukrainian people have stood up, to the experience of the Chinese people. Almost like I could hear The Song of the Volunteers — hymn of determined all-out popular resistance to the Japanese invaders that later became the PRC national anthem — in the background arise! arise! may our flesh and blood become a new Great Wall stopping the invaders.
It is happening again, this time in Ukraine.
And China is backing the wrong side.
Could that be changing? Or is that just wishful thinking?
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The four university professors who are circulating the petition can expect to be called in for a discussion of their thinking. I’ll always remember the Sichuan Academy of Social Science professor who told me at lunch on day in Chengdu “My real job is to monitor the thinking of the other professors!”
Here they are, with link to Google Translate machine translation versions of their online profiles:
- Sun Jiang, Professor, Nanjing University School of Government
- Wang Lixin, Chair, Department of History, Peking University
- Xu Guoqi, Professor, The University of Hong Kong
- Zhong Weimin, Professor, Department of History, Tsinghua University
- Chen Yan, Professor,Fudan University
Our Attitude Towards Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
(February 26, 2022)
The war began in darkness.
In the early hours of February 22, 2022 (the evening of February 21 in Moscow), Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk State, as independent states, that had been proclaimed by civilian armed groups in eastern Ukraine. Then on February 24, the Russian Federation launched its air, land and sea forces on a massive invasion of Ukraine.
The international community was shocked that a permanent member of the United Nations, a major power with nuclear weapons, would fight against a weaker brother. What will this war lead to? Will it lead to a large-scale world war? Great catastrophes in history often started with local conflicts. International public opinion is worried.
For days, the Internet has live-streamed this war: ruins, the sound of artillery, refugees,… We are deeply pained to see Ukraine’s wounds. As citizens of a country that has suffered from ravages, broken families, starving people, and been compeled to give up part of its national territory….we recall that these kinds of sufferings and humiliations forged our own historical consciousness, and we share the pain of the Ukrainian people as if it were own own.
Over the past few days, Ukranian people from all quarter have been speaking out against this war. The Ukrainian people have stood up. Old Ukrainian mothers are sternly reprimanding these unwanted guests, old Ukrainian fathers are deploring the evils of war, and nine-year-old Ukrainian daughters are tearily calling for peace. In Moscow, in St. Petersburg, in other cities, citizens took to the streets amd scientists have issued anti-war statements. The voices of peace, peace, and protest against war have moved hearts and minds across international borders.
Over the past few days we have been following the developments closely. We have been thinking about the past and about the future. In the midst of this clamor, we feel that we too need to make our voices heard.
We strongly opposed Russia’s war against Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of a sovereign state by force, no matter how many reasons or excuses Russia may have for its acctions, is a violation of the norms of international relations based on the United Nations Charter and a breach of the existing international security system.
We strongly support the actions of the Ukrainian people in defense of their country. We are concerned that Russia’s use of force will lead to destabilization of the situation in Europe and the world as a whole and lead to a wider humanitarian disaster.
We strongly appeal to the Russian government and to President Putin to stop this war and settle the dispute through negotiations. Power politics will not only destroy the achievements of civilization and the principles of international justice, but will also bring great shame and disaster to the Russian nation.
Peace begins with the desire of the human heart. We oppose unjust wars.
Sun Jiang Professor, Nanjing University
Wang Lixin Professor, Peking University
Xu Guoqi Professor, University of Hong Kong
Zhong Weimin Professor, Tsinghua University
Prof. Chen Yan, Fudan University
2022二月22日凌晨（莫斯科当地21日晚）， 俄罗斯总统普京签署命令，宣布承认乌克兰东部民间 武装自称的顿涅茨克人民共和国和卢甘斯国为独立国家,继而于24派遣海陆空军发动了对乌克兰的大规模入侵。
一个联合国常人理事国， 一个拥有核武器的大国，竟然对弱小的兄弟之大打出手,国际社会为之震惊。 战争何处去? 会不会导致大规模的世界战争？ 历史上的巨大灾难往往源于局部冲突。国际舆论忧心忡忡。
连日来，网即时直播战况：废墟，炮声、难民，… 乌克兰的伤口的深深地刺痛了我们作。作为曾饱受 蹂躏国家，家破人亡，饿殍千里，割地赔偿…，这些苦难和耻辱铸就了我们的历史意识，我们对乌克兰人民痛苦感同身受。
连日来，反战声音四响起乌克兰人民起。乌克兰人民起来了。 乌克兰老母亲在厉声训斥不速之客，乌克兰老父亲在痛陈战争之恶，9岁的乌克兰幼女用泪声呼吁和平。 俄罗斯人民起来了，在莫斯科，在圣彼得堡，在其他城市,市民们走上街头, 科学家们发出反战声明。和平，和平，反战的声音跨越国界震撼人心。
连日来我们密切关注事态的发展，思考过去, 心系未来。在众声喧哗中, 我们感到有必要发出我们的声音。
我们, 强烈反对俄罗斯对乌克兰发动的战争。 无论俄罗斯有千种理由，万般借口以武力入侵一 个主权国家都是对以联合国宪章为基础的国际关系准则的践踏, 是对现有国际安全体系的破坏。
我们, 坚决支持乌克兰人民保家卫国的行动。 我们担忧俄罗斯的武力行为将导致欧洲乃至整个世界局势的动荡引发更大范围的人道主义灾难。
孙江 南京大学 教授
王立新 北京大学 教授
徐国琦 香港大学 教授
仲伟民 清华大学 教授
陈雁 复旦大学 教授