China’s state-run Global Times on Monday joined the chorus attempting to protect Hamas by demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, just as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are beginning to penetrate the tunnel complexes Hamas constructed under hospitals and schools.
“In order to realize an immediate ceasefire when Israel ignores all calls and warnings to halt its military operations in Gaza, the world, or at least countries in the region that care about the humanitarian situation of Palestinians, also needs measures to impose concrete constraints on Israel,” the Global Times pontificated.
It is difficult to imagine what “concrete constraints” the Chinese tyranny would accept during a successful operation against terrorists who raped and murdered over 1,200 of its citizens, including children. China marched a million Muslims into concentration camps to address a far more nebulous security threat from a separatist group that the U.S. government has confirmed does not exist.
The Global Times harangued the international community for failing to protect Hamas from the IDF, uncritically quoting unconfirmed figures from the Hamas terrorists to argue the Gaza war is a bigger atrocity than the one perpetrated by Hamas on October 7:
More than 11,000 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and children, have been killed since the war began, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza. About 2,700 people have been reported missing and are thought to be trapped or dead under the rubble, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.
The Saudi-African Summit and the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit, which were recently held in Riyadh, “have sent a clear message of promoting a ceasefire, protecting civilians, increasing humanitarian assistance, and implementing the ‘two-state solution,’ and we welcome these efforts,” [Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning] said.
The Global Times approvingly quoted the Arab-Islamic summit condemning “Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, war crimes and barbaric and inhumane massacres by the occupation government.”
The Chinese Communist paper unabashedly tried to play the incident for diplomatic credibility, congratulating Beijing for remaining in “close communication with relevant parties to call for ceasefire and restoration of peace,” while sneering that Israel “doesn’t care about the U.N. Security Council” because it has “absolute support” from the United States.
This is an especially cheeky take, given China’s constant use of its Security Council vote to protect human rights violators, including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
In fact, China joined Russia in vetoing a U.S. motion at the Security Council on October 25 to call for precisely the kind of cease-fire the Global Times is presently moaning about because the U.S. motion also asserted Israel’s right to defend itself and demanded China’s terrorist-supporting partners in Iran stop supplying weapons to militant groups. The U.S. motion for a cease-fire would have passed without China’s veto.
The Global Times editorial ended with a bizarre acknowledgment that the IDF is on the verge of a decisive victory against Hamas, despite China’s best efforts to protect the terrorists, and the Israelis will hopefully come to regret their victory:
Chinese analysts said the conflict will continue, and if Hamas receives no meaningful support from outside or no new conflict breaks out in other areas that could effectively trouble Israel, it will be just a matter of time before it realizes its military occupation of Gaza and Hamas will lose control in the region. But after about 11,000 people having been killed, maybe more in the future, how Israel will be able to handle a Gaza Strip full of hatred and tears will raise a new question.
The Washington Post observed on Tuesday that while Chinese state media thumps its chest about humanitarian concerns and looks to score cheap shots against the U.S. for supporting Israel, the actual Chinese policy toward the Gaza war has been remarkably “cautious” and “curious,” especially when compared to the aggressively pro-Hamas stance taken by China’s partner Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
China’s decision to be more “circumspect” than Putin could be because Beijing has worked hard to nourish its “lightweight” but “growing” influence in the Middle East, and is not ready to go all-in for Hamas. Instead, the Chinese think a more nuanced strategy could pay off better without risking the Middle Eastern credibility it has developed:
Now, though, the conflict threatens to expand along well-worn fault lines: Pro-Iranian proxies are escalating actions against U.S. and Israeli interests, while a U.S.-engineered process of Arab normalization with Israel is in deep freeze. In all this, China appears more interested in discursive posturing than actual diplomatic effort. It’s expending little to none of its leverage over Iran to curb the Islamic republic’s activities or rein in its proxies.
Instead, it’s cultivating an “anti-Western neutrality,” as Ahmed Aboudoh of Britain’s Chatham House think tank explained — that is, “neutrality that stops short of condemning any country or force that undermines Western centrality in the global order (rather than explicitly lending support to Hamas).” This has clear rhetorical ends given the groundswell of anger in the Middle East and much of the Global South over the perceived double standards in play as the West has enabled Israel’s disproportionate onslaught on Gaza.
This approach allows “opportunistic” China to score points with its Muslim and Arab contacts, while the U.S. takes all of the heat for standing beside Israel against terrorism. This approach has the advantage of not giving China’s Muslim clients any uncomfortable reminders about what Beijing does to Muslims it perceives as a security threat.
The Washington Post quoted Chatham House analyst Ahmed Aboudoh suggesting China is “pleased to see the U.S. again drawn into a conflict in the region,” while risk-averse Beijing keeps its distance.
“Chinese experts believe the more strategic non-East Asian theaters that require Washington’s attention, the more time and space China gains to assert its strategic domination in the Indo-Pacific,” Aboudoh wrote.
Indian commentator Brahma Chellaney added that Chinese dictator Xi Jinping is probably delighted to see so much of America’s expensive military stockpile disappear into Ukraine and Gaza, while China continues building its own arsenal.
“For Xi, who has called Taiwan’s incorporation into the People’s Republic a ‘historic mission,’ the longer these wars continue, the better,” Chellaney suggested ominously.