On Oct. 16, 2023, a user on X named Matt Wallace (@MattWallace888) created a post that began, "BREAKING NEWS: China sides with Hamas and calls for Israel to back down saying, 'Israel's actions have gone beyond self-defense.'"
As of Oct. 16, China had not specifically announced in any public statements that it sided with Hamas – an Islamist group that's considered to be a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, the European Union and other Western countries.
In fact, China had yet to mention Hamas by name following the group's surprise attack in Israel on Oct. 7. The attack led to a new war with the numbers of dead and injured Israeli and Palestinian civilians reportedly rising every day.
In an Oct. 13 call with China, Israel's foreign ministry expressed "deep disappointment" regarding the absence of any such condemnation of Hamas.
Meanwhile, ABC News reported that China was using the war in Israel and Gaza in order to ensure its own interests were met, according to at least one researcher in Tel Aviv:
Tuvia Gering, a researcher at the Israel-China Policy Center at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, described Beijing's position as “pro-Palestine neutrality,” much like its position on Russia's invasion of Ukraine has signaled support for the Kremlin.
“You cannot be neutral in something like this. Silence is acquiescence,” Gering said. “The problem, I think, the biggest one we have, is that China, instead of being the responsible major power that it claims to be, it is exploiting this conflict for geopolitical benefits.”
He said China was looking to win the support of Arab countries on contentious issues such as Beijing’s treatment of the Muslim ethnic Uyghurs in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Axios also cited other sources who said much the same about China looking to secure its own interests.
As for the second part of the supposed "breaking news" in the X post, it was true that a high-ranking Chinese government official had reportedly criticized Israel's self-defense actions. The remark was said to have occurred during an Oct. 14 call between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
In a summary of the call that was published on the website for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yi spoke out against harm being brought to civilians, but again, did not mention Hamas by name:
Wang Yi said that China opposes and condemns all actions that harm civilians because they violate basic human conscience and basic norms of international law. Israel's actions have gone beyond the scope of self-defense, and it should seriously listen to the calls of the international community and the United Nations Secretary-General to stop collective punishment of the people of Gaza. All parties should not take any action to escalate the situation and should return to the negotiating table as soon as possible. China is communicating intensively with all parties to promote a ceasefire and an end to the war. The top priority is to make every effort to ensure the safety of civilians, open humanitarian relief channels as soon as possible, and safeguard the basic needs of the people of Gaza. China believes that the historical injustice against Palestine has lasted for more than half a century and cannot continue. All peace-loving and justice-loving countries should speak out and clearly demand the implementation of the "two-state solution" as soon as possible. China is willing to work with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to continue to support Palestine's just cause of restoring national rights and push the Palestinian issue back on the right track of the "two-state solution" to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution.
Yi's remarks were similar to those previously issued by China days earlier.
This story will be updated if more details come to light.