By Funakoshi Takashi (Beijing)
Several Chinese historians issued a statement on social media on the afternoon of Feb. 26 calling on the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin to stop the Russian troops’ invasion of Ukraine. The Chinese government has not acknowledged that Russia’s military action is an invasion, and has expressed support for Russia’s position against the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The scholars’ statement, which is not consistent with the Chinese government’s position, was soon deleted and made inaccessible.
Five historians, including Professor Sun Jiang of Nanjing University, issued a statement entitled “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and our position.” The statement strongly criticized Russia’s action, saying, “We strongly oppose Russia’s war against Ukraine. No matter what Russia’s reason may be, the invasion of a sovereign nation by force destroys the existing global security framework.”
Sun and his colleagues also said, “We firmly support the Ukrainian people’s actions to protect their country” and urged the Russian government and President Putin to “stop the war,” calling for “a resolution of the dispute through negotiations.”
Although the statement did not comment on the Chinese government’s posture, it was soon deleted on the grounds that it was “suspected of violating Internet service management regulations.”
In response to Asahi Shimbun’s inquiry, Sun said that “I definitely drafted the statement and all the signatories confirmed it before it was released.” Even after the statement has been deleted, a screen shot has been disseminated, eliciting voices of support.