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But this time, he says, he saw a backlash. “It’s fine, I just blocked them,” he says. “Some of my friends unfriended me because they hold different views. But what I can do? I believe I’m doing a right thing. I want to be a role model for my daughter.”

It’s a sign of hope for Ukrainians like Vita Golod, who want to influence Chinese opinion. She was in Kyiv when the war broke out and decided to use her fluency in Mandarin to translate Ukrainian news into Chinese so she could share it on social media.

“We wanted to let people know the truth about this war, because we knew at the time there were no Ukrainian media agencies or outlets in China,” she told the BBC on a visit to Beijing. She is now the chairwoman of the Ukrainian Association of Sinologists.

“It was tough emotionally to be honest, and it took a lot of time,” she says. A team of about 100 people translated official news, President Zelensky’s speeches, and the stories of ordinary Ukrainians caught in the war zone, she added.

She says she is hoping to arrange a visit to Ukraine for Chinese scholars so they can see the destruction for themselves, and eventually help exert pressure on Russia. She realises this is an ambitious goal, but wants to try. Her brother is on the front line and her parents are still living in their hometown near Bucha.



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