Editor’s Note for Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A note for Access newsletter readers from Jeremy Goldkorn. Today: Beijing stands firmly by Russia over Ukraine, and some words from Ambassador Winston Lord, who there with Nixon and Mao when they met 50 years ago.

editor's note for Access newsletter

My thoughts today:

In one her few appearances as spokesperson since her promotion to Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs in October 2021, Huà Chūnyíng 华春莹 gave the daily Chinese government briefing in Beijing today (readout in English, Chinese).

Ukraine was a major subject. Hua’s remarks, and the tone of much of the official Chinese reaction as expressed in central government media, is well summarized by these two tweets from Hua’s personal Twitter account:

When expanding NATO eastward five times to the vicinity of Russia and deploying advanced offensive strategic weapons in breach of its assurances to Russia, did the U.S. ever think about the consequence of pushing a big country to the wall?

It is unwise of the Taiwan authorities to try to exploit the Ukraine issue to its benefit. Taiwan is not Ukraine. It is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and this is an indisputable historical and legal fact.

In short: Beijing is standing firmly by Russia, blaming the U.S. for the Ukraine crisis, and warning Taiwan: “Don’t even think about thinking about anything!”

Worth a read today: Der Spiegel did a Q&A with Ambassador Winston Lord, who was in the room with Nixon and Mao when they met 50 years ago, and who now says Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 is, “along with Putin, the most dangerous man in the world.” Lord says a lot more than that, and much of it more nuanced than is captured in the soundbite.

Related: A week that changed the world, on China Heritage.

Our word of the day is the costs of having children (生育成本 shēngyù chéngběn).