A Chinese video blogger has been sentenced by Ukraine for sharing videos of war crimes.
In October, Chinese social media personality Wang Jixian disappeared from his online presence. However, he surprised his 258,000 followers this week on X (formerly known as Twitter) with a post declaring, “I am now labeled as a war criminal! I stand with Ukraine and believe that violence and killing are always wrong, regardless of my own experiences. I do not want to witness any more loss of life in war.”
Wang, 38, a software engineer from Beijing who lives in Odesa and works for an American company, made the post just days after a Ukrainian court found him guilty of publishing videos that could harm the country’s national security.
The court ruled that Wang’s social media videos documented the air defense system in Odesa and provided commentary on the location and timing of the footage, the sound quality, the successful target hit, and the resulting impact.
The court ruled that the videos posted were in violation of Ukrainian law as they allowed individuals, including those from the Russian intelligence and other agencies, to gain knowledge about Odesa’s defense situation.
According to a report by Ukrainian news source Patriots of Ukraine, Wang was given a five-year prison sentence but was ultimately released on probation after one year.
After being taken from his home, Wang was released by Ukrainian security agents on November 29th, seven weeks later.
Dasha Zakopaylo, the spouse of Wang, told VOA Mandarin that Wang is currently on probation and unable to give an interview. However, she mentioned that he did not intend any harm and stands behind Ukraine’s defense. In an email response, she expressed their surprise and lack of knowledge about the new law.
Zakopaylo, a Ukrainian, suspects that a Chinese individual informed the Ukrainian police about her husband’s video posts as they were all in Chinese. She expressed that most Ukrainians do not speak Chinese and questioned the reason behind the Ukrainian police monitoring Chinese videos on social media.
Wang’s social media comments on China’s current affairs, usually the opposite of China’s government rhetoric, have also made him a target of Chinese police.
In a July video, Wang reported that his parents, residing in Beijing, were approached by law enforcement. He calmly speaks to the Beijing police in the video and requests them to refrain from harassing his parents, expressing his willingness to directly communicate with them.
Wang became known globally as a vlogger, creating and sharing videos in Mandarin discussing the daily threat of bombings faced by Ukrainians following Russia’s invasion in 2022.
Multiple Ukrainian individuals have also been convicted for uploading videos related to air defense activities in Kyiv, following the invasion of Russia.
Following his release, Wang modified his profile on X and changed his username to “hellojixian.”
“The old Wang Jixian is dead,” he posted. “I’m a ‘new person’ now. I hope for peace and no more wars. I will not talk about wars or politics anymore. I just want to be an ordinary good husband and spend all the time with my wife.”