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China says it will ‘promote real democracy’ with Russia

China's President Xi Jinping, left, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Mikhail Metzel/Tass/Abaca Press/TNS)
June 02, 2022

During the China-Russia think tank summit on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China is ready to work with Russia to promote “real democracy” in the world.

“China is willing to work together with Russia and the global community to promote real democracy based on nations’ own conditions,” Wang said, according to a translation of his remarks by Bloomberg.

In another set of remarks, Wang said, “All countries should uphold and practice the correct concept of democracy, development, security and order, and promote the development of the global governance system in a more just and reasonable direction.”

Wang also warned against countries “monopolizing the definition of democracy” and said “imposing values and interfering in other countries’ internal affairs under the guise of democracy and human rights are unpopular and will not succeed.”

Wang’s comments about countries interfering in the internal affairs of countries appear to be in reference to the U.S. highlighting that China is committing human rights abuses against its Uyghur population in its western Xinjiang region. The comment could also reference the U.S. providing weapons to Taiwan, which governs itself as an independent nation despite Chinese claims of sovereignty over the island.

Wang went on to define “real democracy,” the “correct concept of democracy” and “genuine democracy” as a system that “conforms to the national conditions and public opinion of each country.”

Wang said China and Russia have continued to work towards promoting this “real democracy” and have cooperated to achieve “shared benefits.”

“Under the guidance of the two heads of state, China and Russia have continuously deepened comprehensive strategic coordination, setting a model for the relationship between major powers today and safeguarding international fairness and justice,” Wang said. “The Chinese side is willing to work with the Russian side to continue to implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, carry forward the democratic concept of people first, openness and inclusiveness, uphold the development concept of balance, coordination, universal benefits and win-win results, and adhere to the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept.”

Wang said the hope of China and Russia’s cooperation is to “make the world more peaceful, safer and more prosperous.”

Wang made no specific reference in his remarks to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a months-long violent conflict that has led to thousands of deaths, numerous claims of war crimes and has displaced millions of people.

According to Bloomberg, China has issued statements supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and sharing concern about the civilian costs of the conflict, but has avoided blaming Russia for the conflict. China has also avoided calling the ongoing conflict an “invasion” by Russia, but has blamed the U.S. for provoking the conflict.

Wang did appear to make critical references to recent expansions of the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), sanctions against Russia and new U.S.-led security and economic pacts in the Pacific. Wang said global security should not be achieved through “strengthening military groups” and “fragmenting supply chains.”