Pekingese in Ukraine: “I have two battlefields”. From March 6th to 7th, the WeChat Moments of Wang Jixian, a Beijing native in Ukraine, were uncharacteristically silent. It was only later that he learned that the functions of his WeChat Moments and group chats had been restricted, on the grounds that it was “suspected of spreading malicious rumors and illegal content.” This is not the first time his WeChat function has been restricted. On March 2, his WeChat likes and comments were restricted.
“I now have two battlefields”
On February 24, after Russia invaded Ukraine, Wang Jixian, a programmer living in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa, became a citizen journalist. He posted videos on social platforms such as WeChat and Youtube, recording the war in Ukraine in real time, and publicly criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive behavior.
Pekingese in Ukraine: “I have two battlefields”
On February 24, he posted as many as 33 videos. His videos include footage of Russian fighter jets being shot down, Russian pilots captured, footage of ordinary Ukrainian civilians making incendiary bombs, and the corpses of bloody Ukrainian civilians killed by the bombing…
For this reason, his WeChat Moments were blocked and his videos were also blocked. It is also for this reason that he suffers from cyber violence by Chinese “little pinks” who support the Russian invasion. For example, he was scolded as “garbage”, “betrayed national interests” and “unworthy of being Chinese”. Someone threatened him that he would be “sentenced” when he returned to China, and someone directly threatened him with death.
After March 1, in addition to posting real-time battle situations in Wang Jixian’s videos, many of them “repulse” those who support Putin and Russia’s invasion in China. In the face of those who questioned his identity and thought he was an “actor”, he posted his Chinese passport and Ukrainian resident ID card. He told China’s “little pinks” that in Ukraine, which was bombed by Russia, there are Chinese people and “your embassy in Kyiv”.
To those who thought Russia was waging a “self-defense” war, he countered: “That country’s self-defense war was fought in other people’s capitals?” He also told those people, “The Russians are not so supportive of Putin, you are more than Russians still support Putin?”
Facing those who accused him of taking American money, he said, “I might die tomorrow, I care about that money?! I donated money to the garrison today, and those people are defending my life!”
“I have two battlefields now,” Wang Jixian said in an interview with VOA. “The front one is scary. It has tanks, but I can see it, I can touch it. I can dodge it too. The latter one The battlefield is scarier, I can’t fucking see it, but it’s there. I don’t even know who he is, he said he wanted to kill me.”
He said he was no longer afraid. “My life is gone, I’m still afraid that you will go back to find me for tea? Really, come and catch me, you dare to come? Can you come here alive? I admire you! Can you cross the line of fire to catch me?”
On March 8, Wang Jixian’s Weibo Moments were unblocked. He can speak again. According to Wang Jixian’s own words, he has changed from a “person’s name” to a “celebrity”. On his Youtube channel, “Jixian in Ukraine”, some videos have more than 50,000 hits. Beneath the videos, some wished him peace, others praised him for his bravery, and others thanked him for bringing real information.
‘I refuse to be a refugee’
On March 7, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi briefed on the evacuation of Chinese citizens from Ukraine at the press conference of the Chinese National People’s Congress. He said that China has proved the strength of the motherland with its actions. He also said, “General Secretary Xi Jinping has personally cared about and asked many times to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has activated the consular protection emergency mechanism, maintained diplomatic communication with Ukraine, Russia and neighboring countries, and issued a safety message to compatriots in Ukraine. Warnings and Reminders”.
But Wang Jixian’s video and the evacuation he described in an interview with VOA is a different story.
Wang Jixian said he learned of the need to evacuate only 20 hours before Russia invaded Ukraine. He told VOA: “I have to correct one of your words. We didn’t get the notification, we looked up that website, we kept refreshing the app for that website to see if it had a notification. I mean, we’re only at this time. Seeing that notification, who notified us?”
Compared with Western countries, China has been slow to evacuate its citizens. In mid-February, when more than 100,000 Russian troops assembled on the border of Ukraine, many countries including the United Kingdom and the United States closed their embassies in Ukraine and urged their citizens to leave Ukraine as soon as possible, but China has not issued relevant reminders to its personnel in Ukraine. Instead, China has accused the United States and European allies of hyping up the risk of war.
On February 24, after the war broke out, the Chinese embassy in Uzbekistan reminded that “Chinese citizens can affix the Chinese flag on their vehicles.” However, in the early morning of February 26, the embassy changed its words again, “Don’t reveal your identity and display identifying signs at will.”
In the video on March 1, Wang Jixian spent more than 5 minutes explaining why he did not leave Ukraine.
He said he could actually pull out of Ukraine two or three days after the war broke out, but he had few options, either to Belarus, or to Poland or Moldova. He explained that Belarus is visa-free for China, but he does not want to go there, where the Russians who invaded Ukraine are stationed there. Going to Poland or Moldova, he fears that he will be forced to hand over his passport and become a refugee in a refugee camp.
He said: “Refugee (refugee) has nothing to do with me. I refuse to be a refugee. Refugee has never been an option for me. So I stay here.” He emphasized that he did not want to use his Chinese passport for a refugee certificate.
Wang Jixian’s message may be wrong. Some international students told VOA that foreigners holding Ukrainian temporary residence permits can enter Romania and surrounding countries and stay there for 90 days.
He also talked about another reason in an interview with VOA. He said: “I don’t want to abandon my colleagues. I have to be a fucking human being. I’m a legal resident here. I live here, this is my home. … I don’t want to see the people around me die, I don’t want to see People die. That’s really the reason. Saying I was for money, the money has been frozen and gone.”
Wang Jixian, born in 1985, is a Chinese executive of an American artificial intelligence technology company. In June 2021, he moved from Macedonia to Odessa to work and just finished moving in November. He said that before he came to Ukraine, he knew that there was war in the Donbass on the border, and the Ukrainian government also warned them not to go to the eastern border, but he never thought that the capital Kyiv and the tourist city of Odessa would encounter wars.
Wang Jixian said that his friend who lives in Kharkiv, Ukraine, received a notice to evacuate the Chinese from the embassy on March 1, and asked them to meet in Kyiv, the capital. At that time, in order to prevent intruders, the surrounding bridges and roads had been blocked by Ukraine. The defenders blew up and the airfield was damaged as early as the first day of the air raid. On March 1, Russia also began bombing Kharkiv.
He said: “I have a friend who actually lives in Kharkiv, the Azov camp. Look at what’s going on there? Can the tanks hold up? Arrange vehicles? You dig a tunnel, the subway, that’s safe.” .
Wang Jixian said he doesn’t complain, he doesn’t even blame the Chinese embassy staff, he feels they have done their best. He left “last words” in the video. He stressed it was his own decision to stay. Once something unfortunate happens to me, I don’t want to put pressure on my parents in China.
“No matter what you say, I’m against war”
Wang Jixian ended up staying in Odessa with his friends and neighbors. He said his Ukrainian neighbor went to war, the man went to the front with a gun, and the female neighbor, a model, was learning how to make incendiary bombs. Together with the child’s grandparents, he helped take care of the neighbor’s little daughter, and he was doing his best to protect his home.
Wang Jixian once forwarded an article in his WeChat Moments with the title “No matter what you say, I am against war”. This article “cannot be displayed due to violation of regulations”.
This article should have been written by well-known Taiwanese writer Long Yingtai in October 2020. At that time, because of the constant harassment of Taiwan by Chinese military planes, the tension between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait continued to rise. Long Yingtai felt this and posted this article on his Facebook. The article said: “Can war use the people as bargaining chips and gamble? Can war be used as a variety show to chat casually after dinner?” She said: “Why do I see the destruction of all the details of civilization?”
In his videos and interviews, Wang Jixian kept calling for “stop the killing, stop the war”. He said that he wants his voice to be heard, and he doesn’t mind copyright, and everyone can send his videos and texts to let more people know the truth. “There are humanitarian disasters everywhere.”
He told VOA: “I don’t care who is from the country, first of all I am a person. I respect life, people have the right to live. No cowardice. We are not afraid, we are angry. I work hard and live my life. Fuck. The missile came over, right next to my office.”
On WeChat Moments, and on Youtube, Wang Jixian said: “No matter which side you support, I hope you stand on the side of life. The common people don’t want to fight. Those defenders, he is my colleague, he is a programmer, he It’s my lawyer, teacher, he’s got to be mobilized now to defend his mother, his kids, he’s defending this with a gun, not to mention the land, he’s defending their house, which he bought with money , passed it on to him by his grandfather. Why was it bombed by you. It’s as simple as that. It has nothing to do with NATO. It’s just as long as the common people can live.”
He said that some of his Chinese friends took up guns with the Ukrainians, and some of his Chinese friends have been killed by Russian gunfire.
He also said the war made it difficult for him to get along with colleagues and friends.
He said: “Before the war, my colleagues were Russians. We had a good relationship. That was one of my technical backbones. You fought the war and made our colleagues and friends impossible. Half of my colleagues It’s Russian, half from here.”
Wang Jixian said he was against using war and killing to solve any political problem. “I don’t care which sect these people are. I’ll ask you, why the hell did he die? Do you know who he is? Some I know who he is. He was a barber and a cook before, but you killed him.” He stressed that he had no political demands, just wanted these people to survive.
Wang Jixian said that he is a programmer, and he does not have the ability to directly kill the enemy on the battlefield. He wants to do what he can for the Ukrainians. For example, helping Ukrainians take care of their children; for example, helping Ukrainians repair their mobile phones that may be infiltrated by the enemy.
Some of Wang Jixian’s videos are also about the lives of ordinary people. In his words, “As long as you don’t die, life has to go on.” Sometimes he shoots videos of him going to the supermarket to buy things, and the local supermarkets are still plentiful and prices haven’t risen. Sometimes, he would watch the smoke and artillery fire from the balcony, lamenting that he had “lived another day”.