Stable devt of China-Russia ties beneficial to world peace, prosperity: Global Times editorial

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet the press on May 16 in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet the press on May 16 in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

On May 16, Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is in China on a state visit, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The two heads of state jointly met the press, signed and issued the Joint Statement of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on Deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era in the Context of the 75th Anniversary of China-Russia Diplomatic Relations (hereinafter referred to as the “Statement”). Under the strategic guidance of the two leaders, China and Russia have consistently developed their bilateral relations based on the principles of non-alignment, non-confrontation, and not targeting any third party, setting an example of peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation between major powers. This not only aligns with the fundamental interests of both countries and their peoples but also contributes to regional and global peace, stability, and prosperity.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. Summarizing the notable progress in China-Russia relations over the past 75 years, President Xi said that it is attributable to the two countries’ commitment to five principles. First, China and Russia are committed to mutual respect as the fundamental principle of relations, and always render support for each other’s core interests. Second, China and Russia are committed to win-win cooperation as the driving force of relations, and work to foster a new paradigm of mutual benefit. Third, China and Russia are committed to lasting friendship as the foundation of relations, and carry forward the torch of Sino-Russian friendship. Fourth, China and Russia are committed to strategic coordination as an underpinning of relations, and steer global governance in the right direction. Fifth, China and Russia are committed to fairness and justice as the purpose of relations, and dedicated to the political settlement of hotspots. These “five principles” set an exemplary model for relations between neighboring major powers and will continue to guide China-Russia relations toward new successes.

The relationship between China and Russia, two major powers, is unique in the history of modern international relations. The two countries are not military-political allies, but rather represent a new model of major power relations characterized by non-alignment, non-confrontation, and not targeting any third country. The development of their relationship has its own internal logic and driving force. It is not a threat to any country, nor is it subject to any interference or discord sown by any third party. This is a summary of the extraordinary 75-year development history of China-Russia relations. Both countries respect each other’s national sovereignty, security, and development interests, as well as their own chosen development path, which is the “secret” to why their relationship has become a model for the development of partnerships between major powers and neighboring countries. As President Xi said, this is not only the correct way for China and Russia to get along, but also the direction that major-country relations should strive for in the 21st century.

The close cooperation between China and Russia is a driving force for stability in the international landscape. This year, Russia assumes the rotating presidency of the BRICS countries, and China will also take over the rotating presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization within the year. The two countries work together to promote regional stability and development, strengthen the alignment between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, and jointly promote cooperation among the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS mechanism, and countries in the Global South. Both countries uphold multilateralism, oppose hegemony and unilateralism in international organizations such as the United Nations and the G20, effectively promoting the democratization and multipolarization of the global order, as well as firmly upholding international fairness and justice.

Currently, some countries are using “national security” as a pretext to promote deglobalization and group politics, kidnapping allies to push for “decoupling” and build “small yard, high fence.” This has increased the complexity and uncertainty of regional and global security situations. As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia share similar security views and maintain effective strategic communication. They jointly oppose zero-sum games and Cold War mentality, group politics, confrontational blocs, dividing the world based on ideology and political systems, and confrontational policies and interference in other countries’ internal affairs. This is a positive asset for the world. In the Statement, China and Russia propose that, given the current geopolitical context, it is necessary to explore the establishment of a sustainable security system in the Eurasian space based on the principles of equal and indivisible security, outlining a blueprint for achieving genuine regional common security.

In recent years, with Russia’s focus on “turning to the East” in foreign economic cooperation, China-Russia economic and trade cooperation has developed rapidly. China has been Russia’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years, accounting for 32 percent of Russia’s foreign trade. Russia became China’s fourth largest trading partner in 2023. These achievements are not easy and have been achieved by both countries overcoming various external challenges and unfavorable factors, highlighting the solid foundation of the China-Russia relationship. This year also marks the “China-Russia Years of Culture.” The two countries and their people have a strong driving force to enhance mutual understanding and continue lasting friendship through deepening cultural exchanges.

A mountain is formed by accumulation of soil and an ocean is formed by accumulation of water. After 75 years of solid accumulation, lasting friendship and all-round cooperation between China and Russia provide a strong impetus for the two countries to forge ahead despite wind and rain. In the future, guided by head-of-state diplomacy, the two countries, standing at a new historical starting point, will jointly promote the all-round development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era, create more benefits for their peoples and make a due contribution to global security and stability.

We want peace, prosperity with China, not a war: former Philippine intelligence director

Editor’s Note:

As the former director of the Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies in the Philippines, Rommel C. Banlaoi, the Chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence, and Terrorism Research, has a deep understanding of Philippine foreign policy and US-Philippine defense cooperation. He was assigned to help advise the president on security matters in 2022, as a deputy national security adviser, but his connections with China were questioned as posing a “security risk” to the Philippines. His nomination was later revoked, local media reported. His experience has seen the Philippine government shift from neutrality to a bias toward the US in diplomacy and defense. 

Recently, Banlaoi (Banlaoi) expressed strong dissatisfaction with the current diplomatic and military policies of the Philippines in an interview with Global Times (GT) reporters Hu Yuwei, Fan Wei and Zou Zhidong in Manila. In his view, the diplomatic policy pursued by the current Philippine government and its confrontational measures in the South China Sea not only loses important trading partners like China, but also risks marginalizing the Philippines in the ASEAN.

Rommel C. Banlaoi, Chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence, and Terrorism Research Photo: Hu Yuwei/Global Times

Rommel C. Banlaoi, Chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence, and Terrorism Research Photo: Hu Yuwei/Global Times

GT: Since the current Philippine government took office, the South China Sea issue has once again become a focal point in China-Philippines relations and the Philippine government has taken a series of measures that have gradually worsened the situation. How do you evaluate the direction of China-Philippines relations over the last year and a half?

Banlaoi: It is a pity that under the presidency of Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr, the relationship between the Philippines and China has gone so bad because of the issue of the South China Sea.

And also, because of the decision of the current government to increase American military presence in the Philippines, I am dismayed that the Philippines is not balancing the relationship between China and the US, but is exerting more pro-Americanism in foreign policy. The current Marcos administration is creating a lot of difficulties for the improvement and strengthening of Philippines-China relationship.

I consider those unilateral actions by the Philippine government as being counterproductive for the peaceful settlement of disputes with China. In fact, the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) discourages all parties from conducting such kinds of unilateral activities that are hostile to other parties. I don’t consider those kinds of unilateral actions from our government to be beneficial to the peaceful settlement of disputes.

So, what we need is to provide a conducive environment for peaceful negotiations. And the only way to have a peaceful and conducive environment for negotiations is to improve the friendly relationship between the two countries, as if there is no friendship, there’s no mutual understanding.

GT: We have seen from news reports that the Philippine government has a plan to recruit fisherfolk militias to further confront China in the South China Sea. Will this further militarize the South China Sea? Is this a part of US-Philippines military cooperation?

Banlaoi: I think it’s part of the advice given by the US to pursue such an action, especially in the context of what they call an “offensive transparency strategy” in the South China Sea. What we need now is to sustain the process of direct negotiation, to sustain the process of direct consultation and direct dialogue to manage our differences.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte has initiated the bilateral consultative mechanism [with China] in the South China Sea and it has achieved a lot of gains. For example, in 2017, they formed several working groups to promote joint fishery cooperation. That’s what we need in the area. We need fishery cooperation. They also decided to cooperate politically and in security, which would promote marine environmental protection, marine environmental research, search and rescue operations, as well as the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

But these efforts have not been sustained under the current government. What we need is to take stock of what we achieved in the past and pursue these achievements and move on to improve our relationship. 

So, from the golden age of our relationship, to the current rock bottom of our relationship, I feel bad about that because our countries have enjoyed a fruitful, friendly relationship for a long while. We need that kind of relationship again and the key is to well manage our differences.

If you increase maritime militias in the South China Sea, you are in fact increasing the risk of violence. Let the fisherman be fishermen. If we want to protect our interests in the area, I think that needs all maritime authorities to negotiate an arrangement on how to maintain peace and maritime security in the area.

In order to promote maritime safety in the South China Sea, we need cooperation not competition. The China Coast Guard has demonstrated that it can be involved in the rescue of Filipino fishermen. We have mutual interest and we need to talk about them, instead of the differences.

GT: Is it possible that this militia plan in the Philippines has received financial support from the US, or some other form of support?

Banlaoi: That’s possible. They have a way of offering such kinds of support to the Philippines. For example, as a result of the current Philippine President’s decision to be closer to the US, the US decided to provide more military assistance funding to the Philippines and the Philippine military can use these funds to train anybody to protect our interests in the South China Sea.

In the past, the US has assisted the Philippines, the Philippine military, and the Philippine militia to fight against terrorism, to fight against Al Qaeda, and to fight against ISIS. They have done that in the past. The US has that kind of track record in supporting our military and our militias in their fight against threats. So, it’s possible.

Filipino activists hold a protest against the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Manila, Philippines, on March 19, 2024. Photo: IC

Filipino activists hold a protest against the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Manila, Philippines, on March 19, 2024. Photo: IC

GT: Are these aggressive measures taken by the Philippine government controversial domestically in the Philippines?

Banlaoi: There are people opposing those decisions and I am one of them. I have expressed my opposition against increased American military presence in the Philippines because it is a military rising. 

It increases the risks of the Philippines getting involved in an armed conflict that is not beneficial to Philippine national interests. And I hope when that situation comes, China will exercise more patience.

We don’t want to take sides between the US and China, but we will side with our interests. Due to the decision by the current president to be closer to the US, we are becoming isolated from the ASEAN.

Many ASEAN member states do not like what we are doing because it is running counter to the principle of the ASEAN of promoting the region as a zone of peace, freedom, and neutrality. The Philippines is no longer neutral because the Philippines has decided to become part of the American strategy in the pacific. The way we handle things is with an American approach, not the ASEAN approach.

GT: What sorts of efforts can we make to restore China-Philippines relationship?

Banlaoi: There are more opportunities coming up to improve the relationship. We will be having a midterm election in 2025. I hope we will be able to elect the right leaders who can better understand the relationship between the Philippines and China and the relationship between the Philippines and the US. We hope to elect leaders in 2025 like senators and congressmen that will have a better understanding of geopolitics and the importance of a friendly Philippines-China relationship.

In my understanding, China has no problem with the Philippines having a good relationship with the US. But the only concern that China has is not to have this relationship used against it. And I admire the foreign policy of former president Duterte, because he initiated the process of decolonization from the US; he even said that he would like to separate from the US, and I think that’s the right step. The Philippines cannot be a truly proud, independent nation if we continue to rely on the US.

Our current government is heavily reliant on the US to advance our position in the South China Sea and that kind of reliance is truly hurting Philippines-China relations and is making it difficult to settle our disputes in the South China Sea.

The US, Japan and the Philippines stage a trilateral Coast Guard drill on June 6, 2023. Photo: VCG

The US, Japan and the Philippines stage a trilateral Coast Guard drill on June 6, 2023. Photo: VCG

GT: During our days in the Philippines, we hardly felt any hostility from the locals toward Chinese people due to the South China Sea dispute. In contrast, local newspapers were sensationalizing the dispute. Do you think the Filipino people really believe the media’s narrative? What are the issues that they truly care about?

Banlaoi: This issue on the South China Sea is only found in the papers in the Philippines that are dominated by Western narratives. But if you go around the country, you’ll see that the common people care more about peace in the South China Sea. They don’t want war. 

They care more about fighting inflation and economic hardship. They care more about making commodities more affordable to them. They care more about having jobs. They care more about having good transportation. We need trains, roads, and bridges that China can provide, and we need more trade with China. It’s a pity that many of the narratives in the media are controlled by this Western narrative of anti-China sentiment. 

But if you really look around the country, the conflict in South China Sea is the least of their worries. The only thing that they care about is for the fishermen not to lose their livelihoods.

That’s why I feel bad that the Philippine government canceled Philippine participation in the projects of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And I traveled around and learned that the railways and bridges will no longer be built. They feel bad about it. Ordinary people here care more about economic development.

We want peace and common development with China and don’t want a war with China.

GT investigates: How anti-China forces launch a cognitive warfare against Hong Kong, demonize Article 23 legislation

Editor’s Note:

“Cognitive Warfare” has become a new form of confrontation between states, and a new security threat. With new technological means, it sets agendas and spreads disinformation, to change people’s perceptions and thus alter their self-identity. Launching cognitive warfare against China is an important means for Western anti-China forces to attack and discredit the country. 

Some politicians and media outlets have publicly smeared China’s image by propagating false narratives in an attempt to incite and provoke dissatisfaction with China among people in certain countries. These means all serve the seemingly peaceful evolution of the US strategy to contain China’s rise and maintain its hegemony. The Global Times is publishing a series of articles to reveal the intrigues of the US-led West’s China-targeted cognitive warfare, and expose its lies and vicious intentions. 

In the 12th installment in the series, the Global Times looks into the tricks that some external forces and anti-China elements used to launch a cognitive warfare against Hong Kong and how the newly passed Safeguarding National Security Ordinance can punish and deter them.

Hong Kong, China Photo: VCG

Hong Kong, China Photo: VCG

The Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, a piece of legislation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law Article 23 that took effect recently after being unanimously passed by local lawmakers, is another solid legal basis for maintaining stability and prosperity in the city after the implementation of national security law for Hong Kong. The bill is expected to play an essential role in preventing the US-led West’s subversion, infiltration, incitement, and espionage activities in Hong Kong.

Days before the bill was passed on March 19, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) strongly condemned a joint statement by anti-China group “Hong Kong Watch” and 16 signatories that smeared the Basic Law Article 23 legislation. 

“Not only is ‘Hong Kong Watch’ an anti-China organization, but also many of its members are anti-China forces in the front line,” said a spokesman for the regional government.

A main subversion target of foreign forces that attempt to undermine China’s national security and social stability, Hong Kong has been plagued by Western-led cognitive warfare. Colluding with a few local secessionists, anti-China forces in the West have been hyping up false narratives to demonize the management of the central government and the HKSAR government.

Experts in Hong Kong affairs pointed out that from the “China collapse theory” to the “Hong Kong collapse theory,” these clichés are nothing, but some “deluded clown scripts” with the aim of misleading Hong Kong residents and whitewashing the former British colony’s rule.

A view of the Legislative Council chamber as the 2nd reading of the Article 23 security law continues, in Hong Kong, on March 19, 2024. Photo: VCG

A view of the Legislative Council chamber as the 2nd reading of the Article 23 of the Basic Law continues, in Hong Kong, on March 19, 2024. Photo: VCG

Tumors to Hong Kong’s stability

Anti-China organization “Hong Kong Watch,” together with 16 co-signatories, released a statement last month, which deliberately smeared the requirement of “disclosure of commission by others of the offense of treason” in the Basic Law Article 23 legislation of targeting religions, in an attempt to provoke discontent among religious leaders and followers. 

Responding to this statement full of loopholes, the HKSAR government expressed strong condemnation in a press release it published online on March 14.

The offenses of treason and misprision of treason, whether in Hong Kong or other common law jurisdictions, have existed for a long time; they do not target religious leaders or followers, and have nothing to do with freedom of religion, said a government spokesperson in the press release. 

“‘Hong Kong Watch’ and the co-signatories have not mentioned the relevant provisions in the countries concerned before groundlessly attacking the HKSAR Government’s legislative work on safeguarding national security under the guise of religious freedom. It is a blatant, shameless, and barbaric intervention, and is also a typical example of double standards,” the spokesperson noted.

Based in London, “Hong Kong Watch” was founded by Benedict Rogers, deputy chairman of the British Conservative Party’s human rights commission who had participated in drafting the so-called “Hong Kong Autonomy Act” and pressed the US to pass the bill.

In 2017, Rogers was denied entry by the HKSAR government when he planned to visit imprisoned separatists Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Nathan Law Kwun-chung, reported Hong Kong media outlet Ta Kung Pao.

“Hong Kong Watch” is an unmitigated “concentration camp” for overseas forces and anti-China elements disrupting Hong Kong. One of its sponsors, Britain’s last governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten, is an infamous anti-China politician who had attempted to disrupt the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, and had even tried to turn Hong Kong into a semi-independent political entity.

Along with other secessionist groups, “Hong Kong Watch” is a tumor that threatens Hong Kong’s social stability. As early as March 2022, the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force issued a warning to the group, pointing out that it had violated Article 29 of the national security law for Hong Kong
  “collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security” and demanded the removal of the group’s website content within 72 hours. 

Scanning the “Hong Kong Watch” statement, the 16 co-signatories displayed at the bottom are also notorious overseas anti-China organizations and individuals.

Co-signatory Freedom House, for instance, was initially created in the 1940s to oppose communism in Europe. It later worked as a think tank for the US Department of Defense. With a long-term habit of interfering in China’s internal affairs, Freedom House was sanctioned by China in December 2019 for its role in that year’s unrest in Hong Kong.

Another co-signatory ChinaAid is a so-called nonprofit group that tries to infiltrate China through smearing the country’s religious policies. On its website, ChinaAid lists the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US government’s main “white gloves” and the mastermind behind many separatist riots globally, as its major partner.

Hong Kong residents and tourists visit the Golden Bauhinia Square on March 23, 2024. Photo: VCG

Hong Kong residents and tourists visit the Golden Bauhinia Square on March 23, 2024. Photo: VCG

Major cognitive warfare tricks

Looking into the cognitive warfare tricks by external forces and anti-China elements disrupting Hong Kong, they attack the management of the central government and the HKSAR government mainly by using the excuse of “human rights, religious freedom violation” and badmouthing Hong Kong’s economy, the Global Times found. 

ChinaAid, as mentioned above, is a US-based group established in 2002 by anti-China pastor “Bob” Fu Xiqiu. The group has long supported underground Christian churches within China and their illegal activities, according to several Chinese scholars and government officials reached by the Global Times.

In previous years, ChinaAid has fostered and trained its Chinese members outside the Chinese mainland, said Zhou Shan (pseudonym), a former grassroots-level official in East China’s Zhejiang Province who had been participating in religion management in rural areas in Zhejiang for years.

A usual trick employed by ChinaAid in interfering with and smearing China’s religious policies is opening unregistered religious venues and organizing illegal activities. They would hype up “religious persecution” if the local government prohibits these activities in accordance with the law, Zhou told the Global Times. 

In short, ChinaAid usually intentionally misrepresented China’s ban on unlawful activities as a crackdown on religious freedom or human rights. 

Badmouthing Hong Kong’s economic performance is another main trick of their cognitive warfare against the city. 

Hong Kong lawmaker Stanley Ng Chau-pei cited three examples. The first is the claim that Hong Kong’s economic status would be “replaced” by another country or city, such as Shanghai, Macao, or its main “competitor” Singapore. The second is hyping up disinformation that “the central government ‘mainlandized’ Hong Kong,” trying to create panic by spreading the rumor that Hong Kong will no longer enjoy SAR “special treatment” in trade and finance. The third is amplifying a pessimistic outlook with eye-grabbing claims, such as calling Hong Kong the “ruins of the international financial center.”

“Behind these claims is their purposes to undermine Hong Kong’s confidence in its own development, and the confidence of global investors and talents in Hong Kong,” Ng noted.

And these claims are laughably ridiculous in the face of Hong Kong’s robust economic performance. 

A survey released by the HKSAR government in December 2023 showed that, the city saw the opening of 9,039 companies with parent companies outside Hong Kong in 2023, a recovery to pre-pandemic high levels. 

Start-ups in Hong Kong also continued to flourish with the number of start-ups reaching a record high of 4,257, up 272 from 2023.

These data are undoubtedly a powerful counter-narrative against these stigmatization, and fully prove that Hong Kong’s investment attractiveness remains, Ng said.

Hong Kong residents gather on June 30, 2020, to express support to the decision of Chinese lawmakers to adopt the Law on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong. Photo: VCG

Hong Kong residents gather on June 30, 2020, to express support to the decision of Chinese lawmakers to adopt the national security law for Hong Kong. Photo: VCG

The will of the people in Hong Kong

There was a great round of applause at the Legislative Council of the HKSAR on March 19, when the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance was unanimously passed.

The day was a historic moment for Hong Kong, a proud moment when the HKSAR jointly wrote a glorious history, HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said after the vote.

The bill is the will of the people in Hong Kong. Public consultation results showed that, about 99 percent of the 13,147 submissions had spoken in support of the legislation, said local authorities in March.

Legal experts based in Hong Kong pointed out that the ordinance and the national security law for Hong Kong can, together, pose effective penalties, restrictions, and deterrence to the infiltration activities of anti-China forces and separatists, including their dirty cognitive warfare tricks.

The two are organically linked and complement each other. They can regulate criminals who engage in activities and acts that endanger national security outside the territory of Hong Kong, Willy Fu, a law professor who is also the director of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times.

The Safeguarding National Security Ordinance came into force in Hong Kong on March 23. The law listed a series of offences and penalties including offences such as treason, insurrection, acts with seditious intention, external interference and theft of state secrets and espionage.

The heads of website platforms that published seditious content have legal and social responsibilities to immediately remove propaganda or illegal information that endangers national security, Fu said. 

He explained that, if the Commissioner of Police has reasonable grounds to suspect that electronic information published on an electronic platform is likely to constitute an offense endangering national security, or is likely to lead to the occurrence of such an offense, they may, with the approval of the Secretary for Security, authorize designated police personnel to require the relevant publishers, platform service providers, hosting service providers, and (or) network service providers to remove the information that endangers national security; restrict or halt anyone from accessing that information; or restrict or halt anyone from accessing that platform or relevant parts thereof.

“Hong Kong is a society governed by the rule of law, where laws must be followed and violators will be prosecuted,” Fu remarked.