China's state-run Global Times counted only two mentions of China in the speech, neither of them terribly confrontational (Biden added a third in the remarks as delivered). The Chinese paper dismissed Biden's address as a weak imitation of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's famed “Iron Curtain” speech that unsuccessfully sought to use Russia's invasion of Ukraine to rally the divided American political parties behind Biden's presidency.
US President Joe Biden finally made his delayed State of the Union address local time Tuesday night, devoting a significant portion of the speech to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and mentioning China twice to boost fragile unity between the two parties. https://t.co/R4Mg6oNZpo
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 2, 2022
The Global Times quoted Fudan University professor Shen Yi mocking Biden's claims of leadership against Russia:
“If the US has been prepared for Russia's military operation in Ukraine, why is Washington still discussing with other countries on how to sanction Russia on SWIFT? If US intelligence agencies can make correct early-warnings about Russia's operation, but the White House failed to fully prepare for sanctions, the US' capability and national strength are in trouble,” Shen said.
Biden said in his speech that “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO Allies.” But Shen said this is another pointless line that shows Biden's weakness. “This means the US will leave Ukraine alone even though Kiev pinned high hopes on Washington. To defend NATO? Did Russia say it wants to invade NATO?”
Other Chinese commentators told the Global Times Biden's failure to mention China was a sign he feared to “provoke” Beijing while his administration is overwhelmed by the Ukraine crisis.
“He probably forgets that it's never a good bet when the U.S. bets against Chinese people, and the latest example was the trade war launched by his predecessor with a heavy price upon American customers and the U.S. economy, and sadly, he fails to correct these mistakes therefore his country and people will keep suffering,” taunted an unnamed Beijing-based “expert on international relations.”
Unlike Biden, the Global Times made sure to mention Afghanistan, arguing the president's approval ratings began sinking last summer with that disaster and taking the tepid SOTU as a sign they would never recover.
A few other Global Times editorials built off comparisons to the Cold War, Iron Curtain, and Berlin Wall, charging Biden with using the Ukraine crisis to build an ersatz replica of America's glory days as the great adversary of the Soviet Union in a bipolar world.
The Global Times predicted the Biden administration's effort to isolate Russia was doomed to failure – in part because the new dominant superpower, China, would never get behind it.
China's major “news” network, Xinhua, found Biden's address insignificant compared to speeches delivered by Beijing overlord Xi Jinping on the same day.
Xinhua mentioned SOTU only in passing, when reporting Biden's announcement that U.S. airspace would be closed to Russian planes, following the lead set by Europe and Canada last weekend. Later on Wednesday afternoon, Xinhua published a short piece on Biden's remarks about inflation, quoting little from the speech except Biden saying inflation was bad.
China Daily put more effort into complaining about the U.S. delegation visiting Taiwan on Tuesday than covering Biden's SOTU address.