Since the Russia-Ukraine conflict started more than one month ago, some Western media outlets have been intensifying their campaign against China, accusing it of being an accomplice of Russia in the conflict. They even cook up stories to claim that China had advance knowledge of Russia's military move and asked Moscow to delay its special military operation until after the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
Such baseless allegations are aimed at not only vilifying China but also could lead to serious consequences.
If China had any clue about Russia's plan, it would have asked Chinese students and other nationals in Ukraine to leave the country before the conflict broke out. In fact, China's evacuation program began much later than many other countries.
After Russia launched the special military operation, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and other economies imposed severe sanctions on Russia, especially targeting banks, exports and oil refineries with the aim of crippling the Russian economy. Not content with that, the US and some other Western countries have even asked China to join them in issuing sanctions against Russia.
China is Russia's largest trade partner, and Sino-Russian economic relations have strengthened significantly over the years, benefiting both countries and their peoples. Perhaps the US and some other Western powers are targeting China because they have not been able to stop China-Russia trade in crude oil and food products despite imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Worse, some US intelligence officials have claimed that China may provide military equipment and other strategic assistance for Russia on the latter's request. They spread such malicious rumors possibly because Beijing refused to toe Washington's line on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the high-level China-US talks held in Rome recently.
Washington's desperation to strengthen the Western alliance against Moscow shows the US administration underestimated Russia's determination to safeguard its national security and interests. As such, to cover up its strategic bungling and further its evil designs, the US is trying to make China a scapegoat.
The fact is, the US was instrumental in deepening the Ukraine-Russia tensions, which ultimately led to the conflict, and it did so to garner the support of its European allies to maintain its hegemony.
As for the Beijing Winter Olympics, in the run-up to the sports gala, the US and its allies began spreading panic by claiming Russia would invade Ukraine, although Russia withdrew its forces from the Ukrainian border. To fulfill its "prophecy", the US seemed to keep pushing Russia until the latter eventually took military action.
The US has also warned China that it would have to face the consequences of backing Russia in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, exposing its double standard on the Ukraine crisis.
No matter what it does, the US cannot absolve itself of the malfeasance of creating the Ukraine crisis since 2014. For years, the US had been instigating trouble, nurturing the seeds of antagonism, in the region by, for example, continuing to expand NATO eastward and intensifying the threat to Russia, and spreading fake information.
The US and its NATO allies didn't stop their provocative actions even after Russia said they were violating their promises by continuing NATO's eastward expansion. And although it has not sent any troops to fight in Ukraine, the US, instead of earnestly trying to end the conflict, has provided a wide range of military equipment to help Ukrainians take on the Russian troops, leading to heavier casualties and more bloodshed.
Maybe, the US can gain some transient benefits from the Ukraine-Russia conflict, but the longer the conflict continues, the more serious will be the boomerang effect on the US.
In contrast, China has been advocating Russia and Ukraine to hold direct talks to restore peace since the conflict broke out, although face-to-face talks between the two sides would not be smooth sailing. That apart, the Chinese government, as well as the Chinese Red Cross, has provided humanitarian aid for the war-ravaged Ukrainians.
China will continue to make efforts to deescalate the crisis through peaceful talks and help overcome the humanitarian crisis. It is hoped the US will stop its old practice of blame game and do something truly helpful for peace.
Li Qingsi is a researcher at the National Academy of Development and Strategy, and a professor at the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China; and Sun Shaoyan is a lecturer at Beijing Union University.