On March 26, Mr. Carlson was quoted on China’s flagship nightly news broadcast, averring that “it turns out our government has for some time funded biolabs in Ukraine.” The next day, the English language channel, CGTN, repeated a Russian claim tying the labs to the laptops of Hunter Biden, the American president’s son.
Russian and Chinese state media have also increasingly drawn on the opinions of the same group of internet celebrities, pundits and influencers, featuring them on their shows as well as in YouTube videos. One of them, Benjamin Norton, is a journalist who claimed that a coup sponsored by the United States government took place in Ukraine in 2014 and that U.S. officials had installed the leaders of the current Ukrainian government.
He first explained the conspiracy theory on RT, although it was later picked up by Chinese state media and tweeted by accounts like Frontline. In a March interview with Mr. Norton, which China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, trumpeted as an exclusive, he said the United States, not Russia, was to blame for Russia’s invasion.
“Regarding the current situation in Ukraine, Benjamin said that this is not a war caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but a war planned and provoked by the United States as early as 2014,” said an unnamed CCTV narrator.