The Chinese government has sent a notice to multiple embassies and international organizations, asking them to remove inappropriate signs from their premises, a Japanese news agency reported on Tuesday. The request most likely refers to pro-Ukraine posters displayed by embassies of Canada, Poland and Germany.
The memorandum asked foreign missions not to use the outer walls of their buildings for “political propaganda” and to “avoid causing conflicts between states,” according to Kyodo News. It was reportedly sent by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on May 10.
The notice also informed recipients that they are “obligated to follow Chinese laws and regulations.” However, there was no indication China would renege on the principle of diplomatic immunity, established under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Multiple Western embassies have put up posters declaring they “Stand With Ukraine,” in Chinese and English. The Canadian display in particular has drawn the attention of news photographers. Some embassies have also displayed the “rainbow progress” flag in support of LGBT causes.
Beijing’s request has reportedly “triggered a backlash” at Western embassies, according to Kyodo. One European diplomat said there was “no reasonable justification” for the request and that their embassy will not comply. None of the signs have come down yet.
The government in Beijing has resisted the pressure from the US and its allies to side with the West against Russia, urging a peaceful end to the hostilities that escalated in February 2022. At the daily press briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the US should “reflect on its responsibility on the Ukraine issue and stop coercing other countries to pick sides and smearing others.”
“We believe that most countries would like to see a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis instead of more arms sales and actions that fuel the flames, such as what the US has been doing,” Wang added.