Statement of Citizen Power Initiatives for China

The Democratic World Must Take Action Against Xi Jinping and the CCP—Putin’s Accomplice in the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

On February 24, 2022, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin launched a war of aggression against Ukraine, provoking strong indignation and condemnation from around the world.

Under the leadership of President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian people have resisted bravely and heroically, despite the risk of being captured or killed. Governments and people across the democratic world have shown great solidarity, offering Ukraine moral, material, financial and military support, while imposing economic sanctions on Putin and the Russian oligarchy.

Although the crisis in Ukraine is still ongoing and highly dynamic, it is crystal clear that Russia invaded Ukrainian territory without justifiable cause or provocation, and the vast majority of the free world has come out in strong support of the Ukrainians. Yet there are exceptions. In particular, while the forces of justice in the world have unequivocally condemned the actions of Putin and his regime, the role that Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime have played as an accomplice in Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine cannot be ignored.

It is no coincidence that Beijing chose to elevate its strategic alliance with Moscow precisely as Putin’s regime waged an unprovoked war against Ukraine on the pretext that NATO’s eastward expansion poses a security threat to Russia.

On the opening day of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Xi and Putin signed a joint statement announcing that there is “no limit” to Sino-Russian strategic cooperation. Beijing has stated that it supports Moscow’s opposition to NATO’s eastward expansion and understands Moscow’s “security concerns.” By then, Xi and the CCP already knew about Putin’s plan to invade Ukraine. Instead of trying to stop Putin, Xi only asked Russia delay the invasion until after the Olympics. Xi even strategized with Putin on how to adopt economic measures to counter the sanctions that democratic nations, including the United States and European countries, would impose following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Putin and Xi signed fifteen cooperation agreements covering geopolitical, trade and investment areas, involving oil, natural gas, wheat, and renminbi currency settlements, with the energy deal alone valued at $117.5 billion. As Russia invaded Ukraine, Beijing announced that it would allow the import of wheat from throughout Russia. All this is undoubtedly a clear manifestation of Xi’s support for and collusion with Putin, giving him the green light to launch a full-out war against Ukraine and increasing Russia’s ability to cope with economic sanctions imposed by the West.

In a call between the two dictators the day after the invasion began, Xi emphasized to Putin that he “respects the actions of the Russian leadership in the current crisis,” a clear indication that the CCP is on the side of war criminal Putin. China’s totalitarian regime has instructed Chinese media and websites not to publish any articles or statements offensive to Moscow or supportive of Ukraine, and Beijing has cracked down even harder on Chinese citizens who have voiced their opposition to Putin’s war of aggression. Censorship of Chinese social media has been ramped up to unprecedented levels. China’s state-controlled “internet”—which blocks many prominent websites like Google, YouTube and Wikipedia—features almost exclusively pro-Russian rhetoric, and portrays Putin as a heroic figure who has dared to challenge the West. Dissenting comments are immediately deleted.

China abstained several times from voting on the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and demand its full withdrawal (despite the fact that U.N. resolutions are merely non-binding recommendations). And after the West escalated economic sanctions on Moscow and removed some Russian banks from the SWIFT global transaction system, China sought to mitigate the resulting damage to the Russian economy by allowing Russia’s state-owned oil company Gazprom to settle some of its business in renminbi.

To be clear, prior to the outbreak of Putin’s war against Ukraine, there was no external threat to Russia’s national security; even if Ukraine became a member of NATO, Russia would not be subject to military attack by any country. What, then, is Putin afraid of? In fact, what scares him is any challenge to his egoistic expansionist ambitions; the threat to his dictatorship posed by Russian civilians demanding democratic freedoms; and the sense of encouragement felt by the Russian public as it has witnessed the gradual success of neighboring Ukraine as a thriving democratic nation-state. It is in these respects that Xi’s fears are very similar to Putin’s.

In short, Putin and Xi are colluding to reverse the democratic gains that the free world made by winning the Cold War and to change the dominant civilized international order based on democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is a dangerous action in which the two aforesaid dictators are conspiring to change the global landscape and establish their tyrannical dominance in the new world order.

But they miscalculated. The decisive courage of Ukraine in defending her freedom and autonomy, the unanimous support of the democratic world, the serious challenge that the unjust war poses to human civilization, and the shared sense of unprecedented crisis have combined to elevate mankind’s moral conscience and faith in democracy to new levels. All of this foretells the end of the crisis.

However, it is important to recognize that the invasion of Ukraine is being waged by the world’s second largest military power with the backing of the world’s second largest economic power. Before the war ends, it is likely to become evermore brutal and bloody. Ukraine will ultimately emerge victorious, but in the meantime, the lives of more Ukrainians will be lost and the toll on the world at large will only grow. In order to minimize the damage to Ukraine and the democratic world, force Russia to retreat as soon as possible, and establish a stronger post-war basis for international justice, the democratic world must not only unite to take joint economic and military actions against Russia, but also take similar joint actions against China. To this end, we make the following appeal:

  • First, cut off China’s economic backing to Russia. Beijing’s close and extensive trade relations with the U.S. and Europe mean that China will indirectly channel American and European wealth to Russia, thus reducing financial pressure on Putin and greatly dampening the efficacy of economic sanctions. For this reason, the democratic world should first punish China for the support it has already given Russia, explicitly demand that China decouple itself from Russia economically, set a clear scope and timetable for such decoupling, pay close attention to Russian-Chinese economic exchanges, plan in advance for joint economic sanctions against China, and be ready to promptly impose such sanctions in the case of any violations by China.
  • Second, openly develop a plan to publicly disclose the hidden offshore assets of members of China’s ruling class and political families (including Xi Jinping’s family) and be ready to freeze these assets at any time, as warranted by the Chinese regime’s actions or inactions.
  • Third, make a clear commitment to defend Taiwan’s democratic autonomy. Although neither the U.S. nor NATO has taken any direct military action against Russia, and perhaps will continue to abstain from doing so in the future, the U.S. should internationalize the Taiwan issue. The U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding Taiwan may have served a purpose in the past, but as the CCP’s ambition to invade Taiwan by force becomes increasingly apparent, with China continuing to make unprovoked military incursions into Taiwan’s waters and airspace, the U.S. must abandon its policy of strategic ambiguity and replace it with one of strategic clarity, especially in light of Putin’s brazen invasion of Ukraine.

The crisis in Ukraine has taught the democratic world a grave lesson, namely, that appeasement of tyrannical dictators will inevitably wreak havoc around the globe on the ever-fragile state of freedom, democracy and rule of law, and could even threaten the entirety of human civilization in the case of nuclear war. The democratic world must take the current opposition to Russia’s war against Ukraine and the defense of world peace as an opportunity to provide strong support and assistance to peace-loving Chinese citizens who oppose Russia’s war of aggression and the CCP’s aid and abetment thereof.  Finally, the democratic world must jointly devise an overarching strategy to counter the Eurasian axis of evil (composed of China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Syria) and promote global democratization, and implement it without hesitation.

March 7, 2022

Washington, D.C.