The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to devastating destruction and casualties in the latter, with thousands killed and millions displaced by the ongoing conflict.

The war will have a lasting impact on Sino-Russian relations (dubbed in some quarters a “friendship without limits”), as well as — by extension — Sino-European and Sino-American relations. In making sense of China’s stance on the matter, it is imperative that we investigate thoroughly the origins and manifestations of the Chinese public’s views on the matter.

The Carter Center China Focus-RIWI joint project — with findings published on April 19 — conducted a survey of nearly 5,000 Chinese internet users between March 28 and April 5, seeking to establish a fuller picture of Chinese public opinion on the Russian invasion. The survey was first-of-its-kind in its sample size, breadth of questions offered and access to a comparatively robust sample of netizens in the country (though, of course, noninternet users might well have been excluded in virtue of the survey design). The survey yielded three important sets of findings which will be explored in conjunction with possible explanations and existing literature.