FirstFT: Beijing silent as West condemns Russian atrocities

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China has reacted silently to allegations that Russian troops committed atrocities against civilians in Ukraine as Beijing tries to balance its support for Moscow with the growing fallout from the invasion.

As governments around the world condemned Russia after photos and videos were published of unarmed people, some with their hands tied behind their backs, who were apparently shot dead in Bucha near kyiv after Russian forces withdrew, the Chinese government remained silent yesterday.

The United States and France, meanwhile, have joined the EU in a chorus of Western condemnations of Russia. Both nations have called for a significant escalation in sanctions, with Emmanuel Macron calling for a ban on Russian oil and coal imports and Joe Biden proposing a war crimes trial.

“There are very clear indications of war crimes,” the French president said in an interview with France Inter radio. “What happened in Bucha requires a new round of sanctions and very clear measures, so we will coordinate with our European partners, especially with Germany.”

He added: “I think that on oil and coal we should be able to move forward. We should certainly move forward on sanctions. . . We cannot accept this.

Follow the conflict with the Financial Times visual guide to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a series of maps and infographics.

Learn more about Ukraine:

  • Energy: Berlin has taken control of Gazprom Germania, the subsidiary of the Russian group operating some of the largest natural gas storage facilities in Germany.

  • Superyacht: A vessel worth nearly half a billion dollars, believed to be owned by Roman Abramovich, has left a Turkish marina after the FT reported advice from lawyers that the UK-listed port operator United was in danger of violating the sanctions.

  • Business: Small businesses and multinationals are devising creative solutions to keep money flowing in and out of Russia when they have to decide to completely suspend their activities in the country.

  • NATO: Just four months ago, the idea of ​​Finland joining NATO this year would have seemed far-fetched. Now the prospect seems almost inevitable.

  • Demography: Asked what keeps him awake at night, Vladimir Putin identified Russia’s declining population and the threat it poses to the economy.

  • Opinion: Viktor Orban’s electoral victory in Hungary will be greeted with joy in Moscow, Beijing and Mar-a-Lago – and with dismay in Brussels and kyiv, writes Gideon Rachman.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here’s the rest of today’s news — Emily

1. Lam will not seek a second term as Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, chief executive of Hong Kong, said yesterday she would not seek a second five-year term, marking the end of her tumultuous tenure. The city’s second-highest-ranking official, John Lee, will likely join the race to succeed Lam, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Carrie Lam leaves the podium after announcing on Monday that she would not seek a second term as Hong Kong's chief executive in order to spend more time with her family

Carrie Lam leaves the podium after announcing on Monday that she would not seek a second term as chief executive of Hong Kong in order to spend more time with her family © Vincent Yu/Pool/Reuters

2. Musk becomes Twitter’s largest shareholder A filing leaked by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Elon Musk, chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, took a 9.2% passive stake in Twitter, worth 2.9 billions of dollars. Last week, he posted on the platform saying he was seriously considering starting a new social media business.

3. UN Global Warming Report Delayed by Major Polluters Tense negotiations involving the United States and China have delayed a landmark UN report concluding that the narrow window to limit global warming will require the phasing out of fossil fuels, an electrified energy system, carbon storage and a reduction of methane emissions.

4. Australian projects record export earnings Soaring coal and gas prices are set to push Australia’s natural resource export earnings to a record high, new government figures show, as pandemic and war-induced supply constraints Russia in Ukraine are disrupting global commodity markets.

5. Turkish inflation hits 20-year high Turkey’s consumer price index rose 61% year on year in March, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute, up from 54% in February and leaving it at the highest level since March 2002. energy and food aggravate the economic challenges facing Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey.

The day ahead

RBA monetary policy meeting The Reserve Bank of Australia will announce its interest rate decision today as it remains under pressure to tighten monetary policy. (Bloomberg)

Inflation in South Korea The country will release inflation figures for the month of March. Stay up to date with our global inflation tracker.

Japan bans luxury exports to Russia The country will start enforcing its ban on exporting high-end cars and other luxury goods to Russia. (Reuters)

What else we read

Spotlight on money laundering A survey of Star Entertainment Group’s Sydney casino found that around A$900 million ($674 million) in transactions were processed at the group’s casinos using China UnionPay by players. Using the payment network for gambling violates both Australian anti-money laundering rules and Chinese capital outflow laws.

Why are the first 100 days of a leader so important? Are the first 100 action-packed days a good idea? Not necessarily, say leaders who have experienced them. It all depends on the state of the organization you take. And either way, they say, your labor begins even before your first 100 days.

  • Opinion: Being a manager matters more than ever. Poor management leads, at best, to unnecessary misery for staff, and at worst, as two extreme cases suggest, to disaster and death.

The reforms should stop the Spacs in their tracks The mania for special purpose acquisition companies was always going to end in tears, writes Brooke Masters. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 1,000 of these companies have floated on global stock exchanges, but US regulators are now planning to toughen the rules governing these investment vehicles.

Shanghai lockdown is testing the limits of Xi Jinping’s zero Covid policy 26mn City is facing a rise in Omicron cases, but there are signs of growing public anger at the tough measures Beijing has introduced to control the outbreak.

Chart showing mainland China is now experiencing its worst pandemic outbreak and, like Hong Kong, has a large number of unvaccinated elderly people

Books

Today we begin our search for the best business book of the year. Now in its 18th year, previous winners of the award include Sarah Frier’s No filter on the rise of Instagram and John Carreyrou Bad bloodwhose reporting exposed the Theranos scandal.

To work Find out what’s turning the world of work upside down with our latest newsletter, Working It, from Editor-in-Chief Isabel Berwick.

troubled times — Your essential FT newsletter on the changes in business and the economy between Covid and conflict. register here

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