Russian newspaper aids Western propaganda efforts

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/7 22:53:39

Western media has long been fond of finding fault with the China-led Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Now a Russian daily newspaper has joined in on the act. Nezavisimaya Gazeta recently ran an article claiming the more Beijing invests in promoting BRI for Central Asia, the more local people oppose China.

The comment was music to the Western media's ears. It was quickly discovered and quoted extensively by Voice of America (VOA) Chinese, which later argued that BRI was jeopardizing the ecological environment of Central Asia and breeding corruption as Chinese people liked to handle problems with cash envelopes.

But why were these alleged problems not mentioned by the local countries themselves? Why are they only being hyped by Nezavisimaya Gazeta and VOA?

With China, VOA retains a Cold War mindset. The service quoted an expert saying China and Russia compete for spheres of influence in Central Asia, wherein the BRI and Moscow-initiated Eurasian Economic Union are incompatible. Western media has not tired of such clichés. But does the Russian media also think this way?

Challenges are predictable with BRI. Given Central Asia's complicated security, political instability and ethnic tensions, it is only to be expected. Yet quite a few foreign media have overlooked the positive side of BRI.

For example, China has set up an innovation center in Bangkok to promote scientific and technological cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

It has also set up observation and research stations with neighboring countries in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. These measures will boost technical collaboration along the route.

In Central Asia, the BRI provides more opportunities to improve construction of highways and railways. Regional nations have also used China's funds and technologies to develop clean energies.

Collaboration in drug control, cyber security and the crackdown on transnational organized crime have also maintained regional security and stability.

Western media are used to treating BRI with a geopolitical perspective. Why would Russian media follow suit?

Washington hopes other regions can stay in a state of turbulence so that it can maintain its global presence and poke its nose into other's affairs at will.

Central Asia is in need of development, which Nezavisimaya Gazeta must recognize. The Russian media is welcome to discuss those problems with China, instead of badmouthing it like VOA. As a matter of fact, some Russian media have started to seriously discuss how Moscow can cooperate on the BRI. This is worth encouraging.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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