But when people in Kyiv woke up to sound of bombs in what the Nato chief called a “deliberate, cold-blooded” invasion, the door had clearly been closed. China’s state media, however, insisted it was a “special military action” by Russia. Quoting Vladimir Putin, China’s central television tweeted: “Russia was left with no other choice.”
Chinese netizens were fascinated by Russia’s move. Three weeks ago, Putin was the guest of honour at the Beijing Winter Olympics. On 4 February, he and Xi Jinping pledged that there would be “no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation” in their bilateral relationship. On Thursday, millions took to the social media site Weibo to discuss it. So much so, a new phrase was coined: Wu Xin Gong Zuo（乌心工作）to describe those who were so concerned with the situation in Ukraine they could not focus on work.