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CHINA WATCH

China’s Activities in the South Caucasus Issue 39, 7.03.2022 – 13.03.2022

ავტორი: Medea Ivaniadze

The digest covers China’s political, diplomatic, economic and other activities in the South Caucasus region and relations between China and the South Caucasus countries. It relies on a wide variety of sources, including the Chinese media. It is worth noting that the Chinese media is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (according to the World Press Freedom Index China is nearly at the bottom of the list and ranks 177th out of 180 countries)

  • Xi Jinping says he attaches great importance to the development of China-Armenia relations
  • China’s disinformation on “US military biological labs” in Georgia
  • Armenian Ambassador to China tries to whitewash China’s genocidal policies in Xinjiang
  • Reportedly, China’s state media’s pro-Russian propaganda targets users in Azerbaijan
  • Articles opposing NATO expansion published in Chinese state media

 

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Xi Jinping attaches great importance to the development of China-Armenia relations

Vahagn Khachaturyan, Xi Jinping. Source: IlhkaNewsweek.

The Chairman of the CCP Xi Jinping congratulated Vahagn Khachaturyan on his election as President of Armenia, Chinese media Xinhua reported on March 9.

Xi said that he attached great importance to the development of China-Armenia relations, and was willing to work with Khachaturyan to promote “a sustainable, healthy and stable development of bilateral ties so as to benefit the two countries and their people”.

Xi Jinping noted that China and Armenia were partners with “traditional friendship”.

He also said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the development of bilateral relations between the two countries has enjoyed “a sound momentum, and their cooperation in various fields has seen remarkable achievements”.

 

China’s disinformation on “US military biological labs” in Georgia

On March 11, Chinese state-controlled media Global Times published an editorial entitled “US owes world an answer on bio lab”. The article contained disinformation about Georgia: “Over the years, however, there have been deadly leaks linked to US military biological labs in Ukraine, South Korea, Kazakhstan and Georgia. But angry protests in those countries were simply crushed by the US manipulating public opinion”.

 

Armenian Ambassador to China tries to whitewash China’s genocidal policies in Xinjiang

Sergey Manassarian. Source: fangtan.china.com.cn

On March 11, the Armenian Ambassador to China Sergey Manassarian gave an interview to China.com.cn where he tried to whitewash China’s genocidal policies in Xinjiang. The journalist asked him about the West’s accusation about Xinjiang. The Ambassador had prepared a text on the definition of genocide, which he read saying: “Look at Xinjiang. During the last 50 years, the Uyghur population went up twice. What about we are speaking? Ridiculous”.

Regarding violations of human rights and forced labor, he said the following: “Cotton is one of the main products of the province or maybe one of the most popular and well-known trademarks of the region of Xinjiang. So, of course, every year during the harvest time a lot of workers are replaced from their villages or cities and start to work by the contracts, by the salaries, etc. We have the same situation in different other parts of the world. For example, look at South Europe. During the grape, olive, and orange harvest time a lot of seasonal workers start to work. The same situation but nobody wants to think about the labor force. Now, this is some politicians, some political parties started to accuse China of the violation of human rights, etc”.

He said the first time he visited Xinjiang was 12 years ago and he characterized Urumqi city as a “regular, gray provincial city, nothing special”, but the last time he visited Xinjiang at the end of the year 2021, he said it was impossible even to compare - “The ultramodern megapolis…”

The Ambassador said that in Xinjiang he had visited the homes of families and added: “They are very calm, they are happy…Everything is normal”.

 

Reportedly, China’s state media’s pro-Russian propaganda targets users in Azerbaijan

On March 9, Axios reported that Chinese state-controlled media CGTN were running ads on Meta’s Facebook targeting users globally “with pro-Russian talking points” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to Axios, ads also targeted users in Azerbaijan.

“Per a search, some of the ads are targeted at users in Hong Kong, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan,” the Axios report by Ashley Gold said.

 

Articles opposing NATO expansion published in Chinese state media

Articles opposing NATO expansion continue to appear in the Chinese state media. On March 9, Chinese state-controlled media outlet China Daily published an article entitled “NATO expansion bid triggered conflicts between Russia, Ukraine” by Francis A. Boyle, reportedly, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois. “Toward that end, Biden must publicly announce that NATO will not expand eastward, and Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova will not be made NATO members,” the article said.

Another Chinese state-controlled website People’s Daily Online published comments of Azza Radwan Sedky, reportedly an Egyptian professor and writer. “Writer highlights Western ‘double standards’ on Russia-Ukraine conflict,” the material was entitled. The report said: “‘Due to Ukraine’s proximity to Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin sees such moves as an existential threat’, Sedky said, quoting the Russian president as saying that Georgia and Ukraine becoming part of NATO is a direct threat to Russia”.

 

Chinese Ambassador discussed China-Azerbaijan relations in an interview

Guo Min. Source: Sia

On March 8, the Chinese Ambassador to Azerbaijan Guo Min gave an interview to Sia, where among other topics she discussed China-Azerbaijan relations.

According to the Ambassador, the two countries are “continuously deepening political mutual trust, interacting strongly in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and increasingly strengthening international cooperation”. Guo Min said that both sides “firmly supported” each other on matters relating to core interests and key issues, and “firmly defended” fundamental interests of the two countries.

On the trade relations, Guo Min said that the turnover between the two countries was steadily growing: “Its volume has exceeded a record $2 billion. China remains Azerbaijan’s fourth-largest trading partner and third-largest source of imported products”.

She also mentioned that ten China-Europe freight trains were operating from China directly to Azerbaijan and through Azerbaijan to Europe, “so the commodity trade between the two countries became more diversified in terms of types of products”.

On the Belt and Road Initiative, she once again mentioned that the National Development Strategy Revival of the Great Silk Road of Azerbaijan is highly compatible with the Chinese concept of joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative.

 

Confucius Institute in Azerbaijan held another event

Photo from the event. Source: Azertac

To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, the Confucius Institute at the Azerbaijan University of Languages held an event “The Role of Contemporary Chinese Women”.

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