Fake News Alert: Chinese “Patriots” Don’t Want To Retake Russia’s Far East
The only reason why Jeff Pao and his bosses at Asia Times would amplify these fringe views in Chinese online media at this particular point in time is to mislead their targeted audience about China’s grand strategic intentions vis-à-vis Russia after President Xi’s trip to Moscow. By extending false credence to the unrealistic scenario of China retaking parts of Russia’s Far East, Pao is also implying that President Putin is irresponsibly ignoring a latent national security threat of the highest proportions. Neither of his narratives, however, have any factual basis.
President Xi’s trip to Moscow to solidify the Sino-Russo Entente was the trigger event for prompting preplanned propaganda attacks aimed at driving a wedge between these two multipolar Great Powers. The latest one was carried out by Asia Times’ Jeff Pao in his article about how “China eyes Russia’s Far East resources, ‘patriots’ want more”, which reported on ultra-fringe commentary in Chinese online media agitating for their country to retake parts of Russia’s Far East.
The only reason why he and his outlet would amplify those views at this particular point in time is to mislead their targeted audience about China’s grand strategic intentions vis-à-vis Russia after President Xi’s trip to Moscow. By extending false credence to the unrealistic scenario of China retaking parts of Russia’s Far East, Pao is also implying that President Putin is irresponsibly ignoring a latent national security threat of the highest proportions. Neither of his narratives, however, have any factual basis.
Online commentary isn’t a reliable indicator for predicting any country’s future foreign policy, and Pao himself acknowledges in his agitprop piece that “In 1994, then-Chinese president Jiang Zemin and then-Russian president Boris Yeltsin signed an agreement to settle the sovereignty disputes.” Nevertheless, he still hinted that China’s recent directive referring to its former regions in that part of Russia by their traditional names suggests that it might eventually turn this into a territorial issue.
Pao is maliciously misinterpreting that development for information warfare purposes since he’s deliberately ignoring that all countries have the sovereign right to refer to anything however they want, especially if it’s a return to traditional names. While it’s true that in some contexts such a move could precede official claims to foreign territory, that’s not the case in Russian-Chinese relations, which remain rock-solid and have further strengthened as a result of President Xi’s trip to Moscow.
This information warfare agent even mentioned in his article that Russia is encouraging China to scale up its investments in the Far East, even going as far as to set up special economic regions there to facilitate that. He deserves credit for reporting on that fact, but it goes to show that he has ulterior motives in amplifying ultra-fringe commentary demanding that China retake parts of that region. There’s no reason for it to do so either since China already has access to whatever resources it wants there.
Those who speculate that it might countenance this scenario for “living space” are ignoring China’s declining birth rate and the “Heihe–Tengchong Line”, which shows that around 96% of its population resides in the 36% of the country’s eastern territory. Considering that there’s more than enough “living space” already within its own borders, its birth rate is declining, and it has access to whatever resources it wants from Russia, there’s no reason for China to think about retaking parts of the Far East.
These objectively existing and easily verifiable facts expose Pao as the propagandist that he is, who either produced his agitprop under orders from Asia Times’ editors or did so on his own initiative, but in either case he’s someone whose pieces about Russian-Chinese relations can’t be trusted. His agenda is to mislead to people into thinking that China is about to stab Russia in the back while President Putin remains oblivious to this treachery, which isn’t true at all and shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone.