By Frank Ching
China’s relationship with Russia has strengthened in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, despite Moscow’s clear violation of the Chinese principle of noninterference in other countries’ internal affairs.
Thus, the Sino-Russian relationship, described as a ��comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination,�� is being deepened and is putting even greater emphasis on strategic coordination. This was reflected in the visit last week to Sochi by Premier Li Keqiang, who met his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, for the 18th annual meeting of prime ministers of the two countries.
But even before Premier Li’s arrival in Russia, preparatory talks, led by Vice Premier Wang Yang, paved the way for closer strategic coordination. Mr. Wang told the Russians that China strongly opposed western sanctions against Russia. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the Chinese official also told his Russian associates, in remarks unpublicized by the controlled Chinese media but reported by the Russians, that ��some western nations are now supporting the opposition parties of Hong Kong and their goal is to launch a so-called ‘color revolution’ in Hong Kong.�� That is to say, the Hong Kong demonstrations are not just a student-led protest for democracy but an attempt to overthrow the government, not only in Hong Kong but, ultimately, in China. While Chinese officials are telling Russians about their concerns, they apparently are refusing to talk to the United States about Hong Kong, maintaining that it is a Chinese internal affair and Washington should simply keep its nose out of it. However, if the Chinese are worried about what the Americans and Europeans may or may not be doing in Hong Kong, they are going about it the wrong way. Instead of refusing to talk, they should confront the issue head-on and make public their allegations of Western interference in Hong Kong and what evidence they have to back up such charges. This is what U.S. President Barack Obama did last year on the issue of Chinese cyberattacks. The United States made clear its grave concern over the stealing of intellectual property by Chinese hackers and announced that this topic was on the top of their agenda. China, of course, denied that it was doing this, but at least the two sides talked about the issue and set up a committee to continue such discussions. Now that Chinese and American officials are meeting to prepare for President Obama’s Beijing trip next month, they should agree to put Hong Kong on the agenda.