Chinese bloggers hit out at Russia as Xi visits Moscow

Last Updated: Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 16:04

Beijing: While China`s new President Xi Jinping seeks to strike a new relationship with Russia, making it his first foreign stopover, Russian embassy here faced an upsurge in Chinese nationalism with web users asking Moscow to return the territories it retained under a border agreement.

A senior Russian diplomat called for greater understanding by Chinese in response to a barrage of negative comments made by web users on the Russian embassy`s Weibo microblog accounts, coinciding with Xi`s current visit to Moscow.

"We noticed some negative comments left by some Weibo users, and we have said that the embassy`s gate is open for talk," Evgeny Tomikhin, the embassy`s minister counsellor, told state-run Global Times here.

According to the daily, more than 1,400 comments were posted on the Russian embassy`s newly-opened microblog account on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, with nearly a quarter demanding Moscow return territory allegedly seized from China.

"We want our land back, take away your Marxism-Leninism ideology!," said one comment alleging the boundary settlement favoured Russian claims.

The reference to Marxism- Leninism relates to the influence the former Soviet Communist Party held over the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) before its founder Mao Zedong struck his own line charting a new course.

Tomikhin said that China and Russia had resolved their territorial disputes when both sides signed a 2004 agreement that saw Moscow transfer most of the Heixiazi Islands, known as Bolshoi Ussuriysky in Russia, to China.

The islands were seized by the former Soviet Union in 1929.

Tomikhin said some web users who left negative comments might not be familiar with the treaty, or had overlooked significant development of cooperation between the two countries.

Zhang Yao, an expert on Russian studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said the resolving of Sino-Russian territorial disputes reflected the depth of cooperation between the two sides.

"A small minority of people might still feel dissatisfied with the Heixiazi Islands treaty, but that does not represent the opinion of the government and mainstream public," Zhang told the Global Times adding that such online slander wouldn`t affect Russia`s image in China or non-governmental exchanges.

The postings came as China is looking to improve its relations with Russia with a host of energy and defence deals during the current visit of Xi.

Sending a strong signal of China`s desire to improve ties, Xi chose to visit Russia first to send a strong message to improve relations with Moscow.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 16:04

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