Sochi 2014: China’s view – West doesn’t miss opportunity for Russophobic orgy

West sees muck even in gold

The first attendance by a Chinese president at a major overseas sports event

China Daily (Feb. 10) – THE attempts of the West to discredit the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games were evident much before the opening ceremony on Friday. The Sochi Olympics is a sports event, but the West has used it as a political tool against Russia, much like it used the Beijing 2008 Summer Games to criticize China, says a Xinhua commentary.

The West’s rhetoric is old-fashioned: alleged corruption, overrunning costs and human rights infringements. Even opinion polls favourable to Russia, especially the one by Gallup that said “Russians see gold in Sochi Olympic Games”, could not change the West’s attitude.

The run-up to the Beijing Olympics, too, had seen the Western media reveling in negative coverage, primarily because of ideological and political differences between the West and China.

No Olympics has been free of problems; Beijing had its share, so did London. Sochi has its troubles, so does Rio de Janeiro, which will host 2016 Summer Games. But the West should know that unnecessarily magnifying the problems is not what the Olympic Games are about.

“The Olympics are about building bridges to bring people together,” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said at the opening ceremony in Sochi. “They are not about erecting walls to keep people apart. Embrace human diversity and unity.”

Such was the spirit that President Xi Jinping carried to Sochi. He said it is customary for the Chinese people to congratulate their neighbors on their joyous occasions.

China supports Russia for hosting the Sochi Games, manifesting its respect for sportsmanship and the Olympic spirit, and giving the vote of confidence to a close neighbour and friend. This principle, as part of China’s “new type of relationship between major powers”, should apply to other international affairs too.

That many Western leaders decided not to attend the Sochi Games opening ceremony shows that they were swayed by politics rather than humanity. Many media outlets, including The Economist, have stoked the memory of 1980, when almost all the Western countries boycotted the Moscow Summer Olympics.

But against the wishes of the West, the Sochi Games has begun on spectacular note, prompting an editorial in The Wall Street Journal on Feb 7 to say: “Soon enough, attention will turn to the athletes and competition, as it should.” Perhaps the paper has realized its earlier criticism of the Sochi Games was inappropriate.

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Sochi Games consolidate Sino-Russian ties

Global Times (Feb. 6) – CHINESE President Xi Jinping has arrived at Sochi, Russia, on invitation for the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games slated for tomorrow. This is the first time for China’s leader to attend a large-scale sports event overseas and also for Xi to pay an official visit to a foreign country this year. While most world leaders, notably those from the US, the UK, France and Germany, will not go to Sochi amid a specter of censure, Xi’s presence makes close Sino-Russian ties even more prominent.

The Sochi Games have been politicized by Western public opinion and Russia is facing the same scenario as China in 2008. Despite the March 14 Lhasa Riots, the US and French presidents, George Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy, finally made it to Beijing for the opening ceremony of the 28th Summer Olympics, and UK prime minister Gordon Brown attended the closing ceremony. Russia has seen no serious events in the past couple of years, but Western countries still keep attacking the nation.

Though Russia has generally accepted the Western political system with a multi-party institution and democratic election, the West has long been carping about it, which is indeed chilling. It is estimated that as of now, there have been a multitude of news reports criticizing the Sochi Games by revealing corruption cases, bureaucracy, abuses of public power, pessimistic human rights, a degraded environment, media censorship, anti-gay laws, unfair treatment to economic migrants, ethnic conflicts and other social quandaries in Russia.

The first warning Sochi 2014 has rendered China is that implementation of “Western-style democracy” will not help reach a mood of détente with Western nations, which adopt attitudes toward big powers like China and Russia in line with their geopolitical interests.

Xi’s attendance at the Games in no way implies that China is in confrontation with the West. In actuality, the aggregate power of both Beijing and Moscow is still far less than that of the Western world.

Nevertheless, bilateral cooperation between Beijing and Moscow is highly resilient. Political dynamics determines that the two global strategic powers are unlikely to be isolated, so it is doomed to fail when the West attempts to separate China from Russia.

Xi’s presence at the 2014 Sochi Games constitutes an unconventional protocol in China’s diplomatic endeavors, but this is also anticipated by strategic analysts. This represents Beijing’s support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, reflecting a certain feature of Sino-Russian relations.

The bilateral ties are enjoying the best time ever in history though they have embarked on different paths of political development. Meanwhile, China’s relations with Vietnam and North Korea are far more sensitive, fully showcasing that state-to-state relations are so intricate that it is naïve to view them from the perspective of ideology.

The Sino-Russian friendship is a significant pillar of world peace and balanced global power, which is further proved by the Sochi Winter Games.

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Interview: Xi’s Sochi visit shows reinforcement of Sino-Russian ties: experts

By Marzia De Giuli

Xinhua News Agency (Feb. 7) ROME: Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games highlights strengthening of Sino-Russian ties in a globalized world where China plays a growing role, Italian experts told Xinhua on Friday.

“Xi’s presence in Sochi should be especially evaluated considering some evident absences,” said Aldo Ferrari, director of the Caucasus and Central Asia Program at Milan-based Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI).

Ferrari noted that several heads of Western states were missing there while the Chinese president was attending the ceremony.

The visit of the Chinese president to Russia, his first foreign destination of a year for the second time and also the first attendance by a Chinese president at a major overseas sports event, underlined that Sino-Russian ties and reciprocal support were going through a “positive stage,” Ferrari said.

Ferrari said the two countries shared some “common aspects” in their foreign policies, starting from “the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs.”

He believed that cooperation between China and Russia, two global powers, “will continue in the next decades.”

Lucio Caracciolo, director of Italian influential geopolitical magazine Limes, said the relations between China and Russia, though amid cultural differences, have strengthened over the past couple of years, “with the political intention to overcome ancient prejudices and stereotypes.”

“At the global level, China needs Russia and Russia needs China,” Caracciolo said.

The two countries especially share the same idea of “national sovereignty,” or the supreme power by which an independent state is governed, Caracciolo added, agreeing with Ferrari that both the countries believe in the principle of “non-interference.”

Valdo Ferretti, professor of East Asia History at Sapienza University of Rome, underlined that Sochi was an important occasion for China to improve its image as a pacific and fast developing country in the world.

He called Xi’s presence in Sochi “a notable step” to reassure neighboring countries that China’s economic development and friendly foreign policy are also for the goodness of other powers in the world.

“I believe that China can play a role to keep stability in East Asia and be a reference point for balance at the global level,” Ferretti said.

While preserving its own economic interests, he added, “China can also help other countries in the world to improve their conditions and pursue common development and peace.”

Russian, Chinese Leaders to meet five times in 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (R)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (L) © RIA Novosti. Aleksei Nikolskii

BOCHAROV RUCHEI, February 6 (RIA Novosti) – The leaders of Russia and China are scheduled to meet five times this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Sochi on Thursday.

Annual trade between Russia and China currently stands at $87 billion and is expected to hit $100 billion in the coming years, according to the Russian leader.

“Our bilateral ties get better and better, although it might seem that everything is good to the point when there is little room left for improvement,” Putin said.

“We have five top-level meetings scheduled for this year,” he said.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists later that Putin will pay two visits to China in 2014.

The first visit, to Shanghai, is due in May and the second, to Beijing, will be held in the run-up to the G20 summit in Brisbane in mid-November.

Putin also praised security and military cooperation between Moscow and Beijing, notably participation in the Syrian chemical disarmament program.

“Russia and China make a substantial contribution to global development and security,” he said.

Putin and Jinping met in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where the Winter Olympic Games are set to open Friday.

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