October 21, 2023 | Flash Brief

China Fails to Condemn Hamas Terrorism

October 21, 2023 | Flash Brief

China Fails to Condemn Hamas Terrorism

Latest Developments

Chinese diplomats arrived in Qatar on October 19 to kick off their own efforts to resolve the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Beijing’s Middle East envoy Zhai Jun met with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov and Qatari officials in Doha, where they called for an immediate cease-fire while failing to condemn Hamas’s terrorist actions or holding of civilian hostages.

In a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, Zhai said, “Beijing and Moscow share the same position on the Palestine issue. The fundamental reason for the current conflict situation is that the Palestinian nation’s legitimate rights have not been guaranteed.”

Expert Analysis

“China’s response reflects its self-centered approach to international politics. It only acts in the best interests of China and does not take a broader global leadership role. Because Chinese interests are wrapped in the development of their relationships with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, Beijing will not condemn the terrorist actions of Hamas. China wants to be seen as a world power but, as this weak response to clear terrorist actions demonstrates, it consistently fails to act like one.” Mark Montgomery, FDD Senior Fellow and Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation

“China and Russia are exploiting the Israel-Hamas conflict, not out of genuine concern but self-interest, namely to deepen their regional influence and undercut U.S. leadership. This strategy may yield long-term diplomatic dividends, although it will absolutely come at the cost of their relations with Israel.” — Craig Singleton, FDD Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of FDD’s China Program

Beijing Blames Israel

Chinese leader Xi Jinping broke his silence on the conflict on October 19 during a Belt and Road Forum, where Russian President Vladimir Putin was a guest of honor and sat next to Xi at the opening ceremony. Xi refrained from condemning Hamas, instead calling for an immediate cease-fire, adding that an independent Palestinian state is the “fundamental way out” of the conflict.

In a meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on October 14, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Israel’s targeting of Hamas in Gaza had “gone beyond self-defense.” Meanwhile, Chinese state-controlled media outlets Xinhua and China Daily attributed the current conflict to U.S. efforts to negotiate an Israel-Saudi peace plan, supposedly at the expense of a potential two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israel.

China Maintains Economic Ties with Palestinian Authority and Iran

In June 2023, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas finalized a “strategic partnership” in which Beijing pledged to increase cooperation with and funding to the Palestinian Authority. China has also expanded its ties to Iran, Hamas’s chief supporter, serving as the largest customer for Iran’s illegal oil exports. In March, China brokered an agreement to restore diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which had been severed since 2016.

Beijing Refuses to Condemn Hamas, Steps Up Criticism of Israel,” by Craig Singleton

Will China-Russia summit impact Israel’s war with Iran-backed Hamas?” by Seth J. Frantzman

China, Palestinian Authority Sign’ Strategic Partnership’ Agreement,” FDD Flash Brief

Iran Becomes Full Member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” FDD Flash Brief


China Gulf States Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Politics and Economy Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics Russia