China's hunger for others' land knows no limits. It's latest target is Russia

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 03, 2020, 10.50 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

China Russia friendship Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Russia is among the worst hit countries by the novel coronavirus, but has not blamed China.

One would think a country like China -- beset by challenges and facing unprecendented global anger over the coronavirus outbreak -- would do everything to keep its friends close. Friends like Russia, which have stood up for Beijing, when everyone slammed it. 

Russia is among the worst hit countries by the novel coronavirus, but has not blamed China.

It hasn't censured China on Hong Kong, and hasn't spoken a word against Huawei. 

And how has China paid back?

By claiming ownership of a Russian city. You read that right. 

It's incredible how insatiable China's appetite for territory is. 

The city in question is Vladivostok -- a Russian city that once upon a time belonged to the Qing dynasty.

Russia took control after China's defeat in the second opium war. China ceded the region to Russia under a treaty it signed in 1860. 

Since then, Vladivostok has lawfully belonged to Russia. But Beijing dismisses treaties that don't suit it.

It has mastered the art of distorting history and disobeying rules.

So now, China's wolf warriors have started a campaign against Russia. 

After all, Russia has had Vladivostok for 160 years. The trigger was a social media post by the Russian embassy in China.

A video about Vladivostok on the Chinese micro-blogging site -- Weibo. The video was meant to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the founding of Vladivostok. 

What followed was a backlash from China.

China's wolf warriors across the world posted messages.
 
A certain Shen Shiwei -- a journalist at the state-run CGTN said, "This tweet of russian embassy to china isn't so welcome on Weibo. The history of Vladivostok is far from 1860 when Russia built a military harbour. The city was Hai Shen Wai as Chinese land -- before Russia annexed it."

This statement was echoed by several chinese diplomats -- who clearly forgot their own government's land grab. And the social media was quick to remind them. 

So they tried some damage control. Shen Shiwei posted again -- this time, taking aim at the Indian media.

"Please be professional... No twist!!... Some Indian media!!... Russian embassy's celebration on vladivostok recalled bitter memories of those humiliated days in the 1860 for Chinese..... Nothing related to land claims since border treaty was signed...."

Now, China complaining about humiliation and land claims seems a bit odd. Bcause the speed and scale of its own land grab is unprecedented.

China is pushing its borders -- and swallowing land in at least 21 countries.

In the Philippines, China claims parts of the spratly islands. It doesn't matter that the International Court of Justice has rejected it. But China is known to not abide by orders....

In Indonesia, China claims fishing rights in waters near Indonesian islands.

China is also engaged in a dispute with Malaysia. 

In Laos, China claims large areas of laos on historical precedent.

In Cambodia, China claims parts again on historical precedent.

In Thailand, China has been dredging on the Mekong river since 2001.

Vietnam has stood its ground against China's territorial claims on several islands.

In the East China sea, Beijing is engaged in a land dispute with Japan. The Senkaku and Ryu Kya islands are the big flashpoints.

In North Korea, China has a continuing dispute over Mount Pek-tu and the Tuman river.

In South Korea, China claims islands in the country's exclusive economic zone. And this is on good days. On bad days, China claims entire South Korea on historical grounds. 

China also has an ongoing dispute with Tajikistan which dates back to 1884. China also lays claim to over 34,000 sq km of land in Kazakhstan.

In Kyrgyzstan, China says the entire territory should be a part of the chinese mainland. In 1999, it forced Kyrgyzstan to hand over 1,250 square km of land.

This brings us to Russia. China claims atleast 160,000 sq km of its land despite signing several agreements. Vladivostok is just the tip of the iceberg.

These were 13 in number. There are seven more -- India, Nepal, Bhutan, Taiwan, Brunei, Mongolia and Singapore.

China has also targetted Japanese naval ships. It has encroached Indonesian fisheries. It conducts unwarranted drills near Taiwan. It has deployed exploration vessels near Indonesia. It has given chinese names to disputed islands.

In a nutshell, China has a dangerous hunger for land that belongs to others. And it doesn't matter who the others are.

China's expansionism has no filters. Not even for Vladimir Putin's Russia.