People are sharing a post by Li Guangman on what China should worry about the Russia-Ukraine War.
Take a look at the viral post, and find out what the facts really are!
Li Guangman : What China Should Worry About Russia-Ukraine War!
Chinese and pro-China netizens have been sharing this post by Chinese blogger Li Guangman on what lessons China should learn from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It’s a very long post, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts…
PS. I have no idea who Li Guangman is, but apparently, some Community Party folks think he’s important, and have been sharing his posts.
Li Guangman Is Wrong About China + Russia-Ukraine War
I have no idea if Li Guangman actually wrote that post, but one thing is for sure – it is full of misinformation.
I’m not going to focus on what lessons China should learn from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but I will show you what can be easily and factually proven false in that viral post.
Fact #1 : Corporations Did Not Sanction Russia
Li Guangman falsely claimed (intentionally?) that Internet service providers and social media platforms announced sanctions against Russia. That never happened, because corporations don’t issue sanctions.
Those corporations only decided to stop working with Russia, after Western countries announced sanctions against Russia.
- Cogent Communications, which is the second-largest Internet connectivity provider in Russia, terminated their contracts there on 4 March 2022 to comply with EU Regulation 2022/350.
- Lumen terminated their services in Russia on 8 March 2022, to comply with sanction requirements.
Fact #2 : Corporations Chose To Stop Doing Business In Russia
Many corporations decided to stop doing business in Russia, mainly because they are public-listed companies that are answerable to their shareholders, and their customers worldwide.
For many, the limited Russian business they conduct is not worth risking their worldwide business, especially when the rest of the world is stridently against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Automotive : Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and Nissan
- Aviation : Boeing and Airbus
- Finance : Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, Western Union, Moody’s, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup
- F&B : Burger King, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nestle, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Yum Brands (KFC and Pizza Hut)
- Energy : BP, Exxon, Shell, Equinox
- Big Tech : Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Nintendo, Sony, Spotify, TikTok
- Hotels : Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott
There is also the issue of sanctions – Western sanctions may also prohibit them from selling their products and services to Russia and/or Belarus.
Fact #3 : US Did Not Launch “Disconnection Action” Against Russia
Li Guangman also falsely claimed (intentionally?) that the US launched disconnection action against Russia. There is no evidence of such an action.
The easiest way to do that would be to get ICANN to remove Russian domains from the Internet, which would prevent anyone from accessing any server in Russia.
However, the United States never made such a request. Only Ukraine asked ICANN to do this, but ICANN refused that request.
It is also a very silly claim to make, because it actually benefits the US and Western nations to maintain Internet connectivity to Russia, which allows them to reach out to Russian citizens with the truth.
Fact #4 : Russia Blocked Western Social Media
In fact, Li Guangman (intentionally?) left out the fact that the Russian government itself blocked or restricted access to Western social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The truth is – it does not benefit Russia to let their citizens access uncensored information about their invasion of Ukraine. That’s why they blocked access to Western social media platforms.
This is where Russia is attempting to mimic China in its control of what information citizens can access.
Fact #5 : Russia Prepared To Cut Itself Off The Internet
Li Guangman also (intentionally?) left out the fact that Russia is more than prepared to cut itself from the Internet.
The Russians started working on the ability to cut themselves from the Internet in the early 2010s, testing that ability in 2019 and in subsequent years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also signed into law, a set of 2019 amendments called the Sovereign Internet Law (Закон о «суверенном интернете»), that lets the government cut Russia off the rest of the Internet.
This is different from how China restricts Internet access, which does not (yet) apparently include the ability to cut itself off the Internet.
Fact #6 : SWIFT Is Controlled By EU, Not US
SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) messaging network is not American, but Belgian, based in La Hulpe, Belgium.
As a cooperative society under Belgian law, SWIFT is owned by its members – financial institutions, not countries. In fact, its current chairman is Yawar Shah of Pakistan, while its CEO is Javier Pérez-Tasso of Spain.
Li Guangman (intentionally?) forgot to point out that the United States and Britain had been pushing for Russia to be banned from SWIFT, but EU nations refused earlier.
In the end, the European Union agreed to remove seven Russian banks from SWIFT, instead of the entire country.
The EU also excluded Sberbank (largest bank in Russia) and Gazprombank from the SWIFT removal, so they could still buy oil from Russia.
All proof that SWIFT is controlled by the EU, not the US.
Fact #7 : SWIFT Is Just A Messaging Service
SWIFT is a messaging system that securely transfers “messages containing the payment instructions between financial institutions involved in a transaction“.
It is not a payment system, and therefore, does not hold any funds. Neither does it perform cleaning or settlement services.
After a payment instruction has been initiated through SWIFT, the corresponding financial institutions must then “settle” the transaction through a payment system, like TARGET2 in Europe.
Fact #8 : SWIFT Removal Is Only An Inconvenience
While removal from SWIFT is a big deal, it is not the end of the world for those seven Russian banks, because it is merely a messaging system.
Banks can use alternative methods like faxes (yes, they still exist!) or alternative messaging systems like Russia’s own SPFS, China’s CIPS and India’s SFMS.
- VEB is largely focused on domestic projects, and uses SPFS for overseas transactions
- Sovcombank says that other sanctions already block it from making overseas payments, so the SWIFT removal has no impact
- Promsvyazbank said that it had prepared for SWIFT removal, so it will not have a significant impact
- VTB and Otkritie said that they would not be impacted
So Li Guangman’s claim that SWIFT removal is a weapon of war is… absurd and melodramatic.
Fact #9 : No One Ever Said Satellites Are Safe From Attacks
Li Guangman also falsely claimed (intentionally?) that Western nations had earlier claimed that “satellites are safe and will not be attacked“.
No country ever said that. In fact, the United States Space Force was formed, in part, to protect US satellite communications.
The US Space Force Vice Chief of Space Operations, General David Thompson even shared in November 2021 that :
Li Guangman seems incredibly naive and ignorant about daily attacks on satellites, because the alternative explanation would be that he knew but intentionally chose to mislead you.
Fact #10 : Anonymous Is Not A Government Organisation
Li Guangman falsely claimed (intentionally?) that Anonymous is “some government organisations”.
- Anonymous is a decentralised collective of anonymous hactivists… hence, its name.
- It is not a government organisation.
- It has previously attacked several Western governments, including the United States
- Dozens of people associated with Anonymous cyberattacks have been arrested in the US, UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, India and Turkey.
This is common knowledge, so it is peculiar that Li Guangman is so ignorant about Anonymous… or believes that people are stupid enough to believe him.
Fact #11 : Anonymous Did Not Hack Russian Space Agency
They never shut down the Russian space control centre, or took any Russian satellite out of control. All those are lies that Li Guangman apparently concocted.
Roscosmos Chief Executive, Dmitry Rogozin also denied the claim, saying that “The information of these scammers and petty swindlers is not true. All our space activity control centers are operating normally.‘
So you have to ask yourself – why would Li Guangman lie about this? These are all on public record. Does he believe that you are so gullible that you would believe everything he says?
Fact #12 : Sanctioned Assets Were Frozen, Not Seized
Li Guangman falsely claimed (intentionally?) that the assets of Russian government and private individuals were looted (stolen) by Western banks / governments.
As part of sanctions against the Russian government, Western countries also sanctioned certain Russian individuals, including the super-rich Russian oligarchs.
However, their assets were frozen, not seized. At least, not yet.
All individuals sanctioned by the US Treasury Department, for example, will have their assets frozen. Those assets would be locked up, and cannot be sold or accessed in any way.
The owner has to get a licence from the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to do anything – even to just pay property taxes, or fix a leaking roof.
That’s different from the government actually seizing the frozen assets – this requires the government to first prove that they are linked to a crime. Until that happens, the assets have not been “looted”.
According to Michael Parker, head of the anti-money laundering and sanctions practice at Ferrari & Associates :
Fact #13 : Only Assets Of Sanctioned Individuals Were Frozen
Li Guangman also falsely claimed (intentionally?) that ALL assets belonging to the Russian government and private individuals were stolen by Western banks / government.
Not only were they not stolen, only assets belonging to sanctioned individuals and the Russian government were frozen. The assets of other Russian individuals were not affected.
Chinese netizens need not be overly concerned about their money stashed in Western banks.
Even if China decides to do something similarly evil like Russia, and invade another country, Western banks will only be forced to freeze the assets of those in power, like Chinese President Xi Jinping, for example.
Fact #14 : Less Than US$1 Trillion Frozen So Far
Li Guangman also falsely claimed (intentionally?) that Western countries froze US$8 trillion worth of assets.
On 5 March, UK Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted a chart that showed the value of Russian bank assets that were being sanctioned. That was actually criticised as being overly optimistic, but let’s assume it’s true.
That’s a total of £537.6 billion pounds, or US$703.7 billion. Even if you add US$15 billion of assets targeted by sanctioning seven Russian oligarchs, the total is still under US$719 billion.
So Li Guangman overstated the amount of sanctioned Russian assets by some 11X… if not more.
The City of London leads the way in the effects of sanctioning Russian banks. pic.twitter.com/WAgFV64ghy
— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) March 5, 2022
Fact #15 : Switzerland Only Adopts Military Neutrality
Li Guangman appears to be confused by the concept of “Swiss neutrality”, which refers to military neutrality – Switzerland will not be involved in armed or political conflicts between other states.
Switzerland, however, pursues an active foreign policy, and is frequently involved in peace-building processes globally.
Fact #16 : Switzerland Has Adopted EU Sanctions Since 1998
Li Guangman appears to be living in the past, claiming that Switzerland abandoned its neutrality to sanction Russia.
While Switzerland declined to be part of EU, it has been adopting EU-only sanctions for the past 24 years!
- 1998 : EU sanctions against Yugoslavia
- 2000 : EU sanctions against Myanmar
- 2002 : EU sanctions against Zimbabwe
- 2006 : EU sanctions against Uzbekistan and Belarus
- 2022 : EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus
Fact #17 : Tech Companies Have To Comply With Sanctions
Li Guangman appears to be surprised that tech companies are complying with sanctions.
Of course, tech companies have to comply with sanctions. If they don’t, they would be legally liable and punished with fines and other legal actions.
In fact, both Russia and China have announced sanctions against US individuals and/or organisations. Did he expect companies to only comply with Russian and Chinese sanctions, but not those from Western countries?
Fact #18 : Russia Started The Conflict
Li Guangman claimed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is “a real all-out war waged by the entire Western bloc against Russia“. What utter nonsense.
Western nations have repeatedly warned the world that Russia was planning to invade Ukraine since November 2021. As early as December 2021, US President Joe Biden even warned Russia of sweeping Western economic sanctions if it invaded Ukraine.
Russia repeatedly denied it was going to invade Ukraine, dismissing those warnings as “hysteria”. But they were lying, and ultimately invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
So let me be clear to Li Guangman and his supporters – this was a war that Russia actively chose to initiate.
This was not a war “waged by the entire Western bloc against Russia“. This was a war that Russia waged against Ukraine.
Until today, the United States and NATO have repeatedly refused to directly defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion. So to call it an “all-out war” is also ludicrous.
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