China has notified several foreign missions in Beijing not to display “politicized propaganda” on their buildings, diplomats said, adding that the request appeared aimed at Ukrainian flags they have displayed since Russia’s invasion.
Several foreign missions in China raised the Ukrainian flag, or displayed its image in posters and lights, following Russia’s invasion in February last year, which sparked international condemnation of Moscow, a close ally of Beijing.
“We and others got a letter calling on embassies and representative offices to refrain from using the outer walls of their buildings for ‘politicized propaganda,’” said one diplomat, whose embassy is displaying a Ukraine flag image.
The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the mission did not intend to comply with the notification.
Three other Beijing-based diplomats confirmed that there had been a notification, adding that while it did not directly mention the Ukraine flag it was clearly aimed at that.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Weeks after Russia launched what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, a poster of a Ukrainian flag on the exterior wall of the Canadian embassy in Beijing was defaced with anti-NATO graffiti, a Reuters witness said.
The missions of the EU, Britain, Germany and Poland in Beijing have also displayed images of Ukrainian flags.
They did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
China has called for peace in Ukraine, but has refrained from condemning its ally Russia, leading to criticism from Western countries.
Some embassies in Beijing are also displaying rainbow flags in support of the LGBT community, to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia yesterday, and LGBT Pride Month next month.
It was not immediately clear if China, which has faced criticism from rights groups for stifling LGBT activism in the past few years, objected to such displays.
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