China portrays Xi’s Russia trip as bid for leadership of non-Western world

15:07 22.03.2023 •

Newspapers in Beijing show Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Photo: AFP

For audiences in China, Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia this week was a show of strength and a testament to Beijing’s bid for global leadership, writes “The Washington Post” reviewing the Chinese press about the visit.

“This visit will clearly tell the Americans that China is not to be intimidated. As a major power, it is our right and freedom to visit any country we want to visit,” wrote Feng Sheng, a researcher at a think tank affiliated with the Beijing-based consultancy Warming Hi-Tech, in an article popular on WeChat.

What other countries will see is that China is not afraid of American hegemony… What we Chinese see is that our head of state has such strategic courage and wisdom — in a word — strength!”

Under Xi, Beijing has deployed an increasingly assertive foreign policy focused on countering what it sees as U.S. efforts to contain China’s rise as a major power. Beijing’s friendship with Moscow is a key part of its strategy to establish an alternative world order that challenges U.S. leadership and looks to China for inspiration.

In an article published in Russian and Chinese state media on Monday, Xi wrote that “there is no country in the world that is superior to others,” adding that there is no governance model that is “universally applicable and there is no international order in which one country has the final say.”

On Tuesday, images of Xi heartily shaking hands with Putin took up the front page of most state-run newspapers as they hailed the “mature and tenacious” Sino-Russian relationship.

“During this important visit, we have four ‘no’s’ to the United States,” read the headline of an article rejecting U.S. criticism of Xi’s “no limits” partnership with Russia as well as China’s efforts to call for peace talks in Ukraine. The Guangming Daily wrote on Tuesday that Xi’s visit would bring more “understanding and support” for China’s “independent and peace-loving foreign policy.”


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