Author: Medea Ivaniadze

The digest covers China’s political, diplomatic, economic and other activities in the South Caucasus region and relations between China and the South Caucasus countries. It relies on a wide variety of sources, including the Chinese media. It is worth noting that the Chinese media is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (according to the World Press Freedom Index China is nearly at the bottom of the list and ranks 177th out of 180 countries)

  • Georgia’s Rose Revolution in Chinese MFA report and Chinese state media
  • In 2016, Armenia deported 78 Taiwanese to the PRC – Safeguard Defenders report
  • Chinese Ambassador decided to meet with occupied Abkhazia’s so-called Ambassador
  • The opening of the Zangezur corridor may reduce transportation time from China to Europe – Azerbaijan’s Baku International Sea Trade Port
  • The first regular freight train from China is heading to Georgia
  • Armenian Ambassador comments positively on Xinjiang and 2022 Beijing Olympics
  • China appreciates Russia’s efforts to promote regional peace and stability, China’s MFA says on Armenia and Azerbaijan
  • A conference was held on the BRI cooperation between China and Armenia


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29.11.2021 – 6.12.2021

Georgia’s Rose Revolution in Chinese MFA report, “The State of Democracy in the United States”

On December 5, Chinese state media outlet Global Times published a report by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The State of Democracy in the United States”, where in the section entitled “The ‘color revolutions’ undermine regional and national stability”, the Ministry mentioned Georgia’s Rose Revolution:

“Since 2003, Eastern Europe and Central Asia have seen the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia, the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine, and the “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan. The US State Department openly admitted playing a “central role” in these “regime changes”.

It also said that “in recent history, the US has pushed for the neo-Monroe Doctrine in Latin America under the pretext of “promoting democracy”, incited ”color revolution” in Eurasia, and remotely controlled the “Arab Spring” in West Asia and North Africa”.

The Ministry claimed that these “moves have brought chaos and disasters to many countries, gravely undermining world peace, stability and development”.

It once again wrote that the color revolutions “undermined” regional and national stability.

The Chinese MFA also wrote the following:

“The US has developed a system of strategies and tactics for “peaceful evolution”. It would start with “cultural exchanges”, economic assistance, and then public opinion shaping to foster an atmosphere for “color revolution”. It would exaggerate the mistakes and flaws of incumbent governments to foment public grievances and anti-government sentiments. In the meantime, it would brainwash local people with American values and make them identify with America’s economic model and political system. It would also cultivate pro-US NGOs and provide all-round training to opposition leaders. It would seize the opportunity of major elections or emergencies to overthrow targeted governments through instigating street political activities”.


In 2016, Armenia deported 78 Taiwanese to the PRC: Safeguard Defenders report

On November 30, Safeguard Defenders published an investigative report, China’s Hunt for Taiwanese Overseas – The PRC’s use of extradition and deportation to undermine Taiwanese sovereignty.

The table of extraditions and deportations of Taiwanese to the People’s Republic of China included a September 2016 report about 78 Taiwanese deported from Armenia of suspected telecom fraud to China. The report said that China’s Public Security Ministry sent a team to Armenia to deal with the issue on August 26, 2016. Taiwan’s government protested.

Safeguard Defenders documented that between 2016 and 2019, there had been over 600 cases of Taiwan nationals abroad being deported or extradited to China. Armenia and the Philippines had the highest number of deportations of Taiwanese to the PRC.

Safeguard Defenders is a human rights NGO that is a registered foundation in the European Union (Spain), under the name Fundacion Safeguard Defenders.


The first regular freight train from China is heading to Georgia

Photo from the ceremony. Source: Diplomatic Representations of Georgia

On December 4, Diplomatic Representations of Georgia reported that the first regular freight train from China was heading to Georgia.

The Ambassador of Georgia to China Archil Kalandia met with Zhang Jinggang, Vice Governor of Gansu Province, and took part in the ceremony of the first regular rail-container train departure to Georgia, the Embassy of Georgia to China reported. The final destination of the freight train was Tbilisi, to arrive in 10-12 days.

The Embassy reported that the rail-container shipments from China would be regular to Georgia and other European countries. The Secretary-General of the Gansu Provincial Ruling Party, the Mayor of Wuwei and “other honored guests” attended the meeting.

“In his speech, the Ambassador emphasized the strategic importance of the project, which will contribute to the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor and the positioning of Georgia as a regional trade, transport and logistics hub. The Vice Governor noted the growing role of Georgia in the Global Belt and Road Initiative, which is facilitated by the implementation of similar projects,” the Georgian Embassy wrote.

Kalandia said in a video speech that he was sure that with this project Georgia would play more active role in the Belt and Road Initiative.

“It can be said that today is a historic day for Georgian-Chinese relations,” the Ambassador said.

Georgia’s Partnership Fund, which cooperates with the Wuwei Logistics Center, was actively involved in the negotiation process.


A conference was held on the Belt and Road cooperation between China and Armenia

Photo from the conference. Source: YSU

On December 2, Yerevan State University reported that an online conference China and Armenia: Governance and High-quality Cooperation on Belt and Road Initiative was held. The conference was organized by the Institute of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Yerevan State University’s (YSU) Center of Chinese language and Culture.

YSU Acting Rector Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, YSU Vice-Rector Artur Israyelyan, Ambassador of China to Armenia Fan Yong, Ambassador of Armenia to China Sergey Manassarian, and representatives of YSU teaching staff attended the event.

Acting Rector of YSU Hovhannes Hovhannisyan said that YSU cooperated with a number of Chinese universities and institutes and took practical steps to establish new partnerships between countries. He also noted that these ties would contribute to the development of Armenian-Chinese relations, as well as to the academic and scientific communication between the two countries.

According to the report, the two sides stressed the need to hold such conferences, noting that such initiatives allow the parties to further develop the already established scientific and academic relations.


China’s MFA on Armenia and Azerbaijan: China appreciates Russia’s efforts to promote regional peace and stability

On November 30, China’s Hubei Media Group asked China’s Foreign Ministry Speaker Zhao Lijian for comment about the Sochi meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Zhao Lijian answered that China appreciated Russia’s efforts “to promote regional peace and stability”.

“Both Azerbaijan and Armenia are China’s friendly cooperative partners. China sincerely hopes that both countries will meet each other halfway, resolve disputes and differences through dialogue and consultation, and jointly maintain peace, stability and the tranquil life of people in the region,” he said.


III Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia Conference was held in Armenia

Mher Sahakyan and Fan Yong. Source: China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research

On December 3-4, III Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia Conference was held at the Russian-Armenian University in Armenia. The conference was organized by the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia and Russian-Armenian University, Armenia with support from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.

It included numerous presentations from various individuals and institute representatives about China and South Caucasus as well as other issues related to China.

At the opening ceremony China’s Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong talked about the PRC, the CCP’s foreign policy, its vision, the BRI, “community with shared future for mankind”, “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and others.

While discussing Armenia-China relations Fan Yong noted the CCP Chairman Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative and said that China welcomed Armenia’s participation in it.

During his lecture, the Ambassador also shared his view on the idea of democracy:

“When we talk about the issue of democracy, national issues verify. The ways to achieve democracy are completely different from each other. Democracy is the common value of humanity and the right of all people, not to single patterns of one or a few counties. If one country determines whether another one is democratic or not, it is actually anti-democracy”.

It is noteworthy that in the face of the United States President Joe Biden’s hosted Summit for Democracy, the Chinese government and its controlled media have published a lot of content about China’s “democracy” and its so-called advantages compared to the democracy in the US.

Zheng Wei, General Secretary of the Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, also took part in the opening ceremony by video-lecture.

She discussed China-related issues, including China’s relations with the Eurasian region. While discussing the BRI, Zhang Wei noted the construction of the North-South highway in Armenia in which the Chinese Power China company participated.

She also shared a word about “democracy” and said that it was not “a patent of a single country”.

“It is the right of the people of all countries. The situation in Afghanistan once again proves that external military intervention and the so-called democratic makeover brings nothing more than a catastrophe,” she added.

According to Zhang Wei, China’s “success proves” that there “cannot be only one correct developmental path or the only one correct political system”.


China is the 15th export destination for Azerbaijan’s oil

In January-October 2021, China was the 15th export destination for Azerbaijan’s oil. The country exported 277 516.67 tons of oil worth $102 592.36 thousand to China, APA reported on December 4.


Georgian analyst commented on “China’s democracy”

On December 5, Chinese state media Xinhua published news entitled “The Chinese democracy guarantees the rights of a happy life for all people – People from many countries positively commented on the white paper ‘China’s Democracy’”.

Xinhua reported comments of individuals about China’s State Council’s white paper. It claimed that “people from many countries think that Chinese democracy guarantees the rights of a happy life for all people and promotes China’s fast development”.

The report included the comment of Zaal Anjaparidze, referred to as a “Georgian political scientist”.

“Zaal Anjaparidze believes that China’s democratic practice makes clear to the world that there is no single model of democracy. China’s democratic system is full of Chinese wisdom and enriches the connotation of world democracy,” Xinhua reported.

Zaal Anjaparidze is International Center on Conflict & Negotiations (ICCN) coordinator of Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) annual Caucasian Dialogue programme. Myth Detector names Zaal Anjaparidze as a Georgian Government-affiliated analyst.


The Confucius Institute in Armenia held a contest  

The Confucius Institute at the Brusov State University in Yerevan, Armenia held the preliminary contest of the first translation tournament of Chinese writers’ works, the university reported on November 29. 


7.11.2021 – 12.12.2021

Chinese Ambassador decided to meet with occupied Abkhazia’s so-called Ambassador

Bagrat Khutaba and Feng Biao. Source: The so-called Foreign Ministry of the occupied Abkhazia region

On December 8, the so-called foreign ministry of the occupied Abkhazia region reported comments of the newly appointed Russia-backed so-called minister of foreign affairs of the occupied Abkhazia region, Inal Ardzinba, about the December 6 meeting between the so-called ambassador of the occupied Abkhazia region of Georgia to Syria Bagrat Khutaba and the Ambassador of China to Syria Feng Biao at the Chinese Embassy in Damascus.

“Our states, acting as a united front in support of the Syrian Arab Republic, will be able to begin fruitful work to establish humanitarian, trade and economic relations. We welcome the People’s Republic of China’s foreign policy approach that is based on fairness, respect for the partners’ interests and aimed at positive results,” Ardzinba said.

He also mentioned that “equal partnership and strategic interaction” between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China was “the foundation for the formation of a fairer polycentric world order”, where according to Ardzinba, the rights of all peoples would be “respected and appreciated”.

Ardzinba said that China, as one of the key world powers, chose for itself the role of a “constructive participant in international relations, firmly relying in its activities on the recognized norms of international law, the goals and principles of the UN Charter”. He added that China had consistently made its contribution to the establishment of “peace and stability in the Middle East and in other regions by participating in securing the humanitarian and economic security of countries and their citizens”.

According to him, the role of China in promoting the economic development of “their friendly” Syria will be key along with the role of Russia and Iran.


Chinese Ambassador describes Damascus meeting as “misunderstanding” and continues inquiring

On December 9, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia reported that it had spoken with the Ambassador of China to Georgia, Li Yan, “regarding the meeting that allegedly took place on 6 December, in Damascus, between the so-called Abkhaz Ambassador Bagrat Khutaba and the Chinese Ambassador to Syria, Feng Biao”.

According to Georgia’s MFA, Li Yan describes it as a misunderstanding and notes that in the capital they were enquiring on the details and clarifications that would be provided to Georgia as soon as possible. The Chinese side did not comment about the case independently.

The two sides agreed that the Chinese Foreign Ministry would once again instruct its Embassies abroad to abstain from any such contacts, the Georgian MFA reported.

According to the Georgian MFA, “the Ambassador highlighted that the Government of the People’s Republic of China respects Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and will continue to do so in the future”.

As the report says, Li Yan thanked the Georgian Government for “strictly adhering” to the One-China Principle stressing that such approach of the parties was an essential prerequisite to “friendly and partner” relations between the two countries. 

On December 7, the Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia met with the Head of Europe and Central Asia Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry where the Chinese side “reaffirmed China’s unequivocal support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”, the Georgian MFA wrote.


Armenian Ambassador comments positively on Xinjiang and 2022 Beijing Olympics

Sergey Manassarian. Source: China Daily

On December 7, Armenian Ambassador to China, Sergey Manassarian gave an interview to China Daily. The Ambassador spoke positively on China’s Xinjiang region, the planned 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and other topics. 

While talking about Xinjiang he said that when he first visited it, approximately 15-16 years ago, his impression was not good, because, after Beijing and Shanghai, Urumqi was nothing special. But the second time he visited Xinjiang it was after he had become Ambassador and his assessment was the following: “The great difference, the fantastic changes. This is a modern megapolis and the most important – the smiles [on the] faces”.

Regarding the planned 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics he noted that the Armenian delegation would not be big due to winter sports not being very popular in Armenia, but stressed that they would participate “of course”.

“This is a very important event… I am sure that China’s organizing Olympic Games will be very successful,” he said.

On China-Armenia relations, the Ambassador noted that China had become the second main trade partner for Armenia. “Even during the pandemic [there was] 50% growth of exports to China,” he said. 

The Ambassador commented on Chinese language teaching in Armenia noting that 10-15 years ago knowledge of the Chinese language was something exotic for Armenia but now it has become normal. He noted that the Confucius Institute in Armenia was working successfully, “besides, we have a Chinese school, very good level of teaching the Chinese language. And we have the main specialization in linguistics… for the Chinese language. So, we already have a full circle for education and we are not only speaking about the language but teaching the history, literature, traditions, customs, etc.”

About cooperation with China in the pandemic, Manassarian said that “even during a not easy period of the pandemic in China, China’s government and Chinese people are ready to help other countries also. Now for my country the number one vaccine is a Chinese product.”


Azerbaijan’s Baku International Sea Trade Port: The opening of the Zangezur corridor may reduce transportation time from China to Europe

On December 7, the Head of the Strategic Planning and Development Department of Azerbaijan’s Baku International Sea Trade Port, Khudayar Hasanli said that the transportation time from China to Europe may be reduced up to 12 days “thanks to Azerbaijan’s Zangezur corridor”.

He noted that the opening of the Zangezur corridor would allow Azerbaijan create logistics centers in the Zangezur corridor, and also in the direction of Nakhchivan, to coordinate goods.

Hasanli said that the corridor would allow Azerbaijan to transport containers and trucks through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, and “This may include cargoes along the China-Europe route”.


Georgia’s Rose Revolution referred to in Chinese state media outlet

Chinese state media outlet Global Times in a series of articles about China’s vision of “democracy”, published an article “Whose development does US democracy serve?” where the author Xin Ping mentioned Georgia’s Rose Revolution.

“Regime changes often flared up in the former Soviet republics. The “Rose Revolution” in Georgia, “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan, “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine, among others, were stirred up by external forces such as the US State Department, which was frank about its central role in fulfilling its president’s pledge to spread democracy and end “tyranny” worldwide,” the December 9 article states.

The author also published another article “Taiwan is not a laboratory for foreign interference” at Chinese State media outlet CGNT where the author criticized a member of European Parliament Raphael Glucksmann who had recently visited Taiwan. In an article the author mentioned that former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili “came to power through the US supported” color revolution.

“In fact, Taiwan is not the only laboratory for Glucksmann’s interference in other nations’ internal affairs under the pretext of democracy and freedom. He also overreached and meddled in Georgia and Ukraine, when he worked as adviser of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, both of whom came to power through U.S.-supported color revolutions,” Xin Ping wrote.

In another content “GT Investigates: US wages global color revolutions to topple govts for the sake of American control” by Global Times staff reporters, it was claimed that “Whether it is the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia in 2003, the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine in 2004, the “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan in 2005, or the “Arab Spring” in Asia and Africa in 2011, the past decades have seen the US plan and implement “color revolutions,” or wars without gunpowder in many places around the world, frantically exporting “American values.”


Journalist from Azerbaijan discusses “democracy” with Chinese media

On December 11, the Director of a Baku-based news agency, Turan Information Agency, Mehman Aliyev in an interview with China Youth Daily discussed “democracy”.

Mehman Aliyev said that he had always advocated the spirit of democracy and the development of democracy, but this “does not mean that he endorses the democratic system practice currently promoted by the United States domestically and the spirit of American democracy promoted internationally”.

He believes that there should not be only one democracy in the world. 

“We saw that under the leadership of the people-oriented Communist Party of China, China now does not stop developing and rising, its national strength is becoming increasingly powerful, the people’s living standards are improving increasingly and China’s democratic conditions have also made progress and achievement,” the report said.


Chinese media published an Azerbaijani article about the US democracy summit

On December 10, Azernews published an article – Democracy Summit or How US Divides World Into “Friends” and “Aliens”. On the same day, the article was cited by China News.

The article says that by what criteria the list of invitees was made was still a topical issue: “The list does not include, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and other Turkic-speaking countries, the vast majority of Muslim countries, as well as China and Russia”.


Georgian Revenue Service media seminar was held within the cooperation of Georgian and Chinese governments

At the initiative of the Revenue Service of Georgia and within the framework of economic and technical cooperation between the Government of Georgia and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, a media seminar was held for journalists, Interpressnews reported on December 11.

The head of the Revenue Service Levan Kakava addressed the participants of the seminar and informed the media representatives about the reforms implemented in the agency in 2021.


The Confucius Institute in Azerbaijan held a seminar

On December 7, the Confucius Institute at the Azerbaijan University of Languages held a “Chinese Performing Arts” student seminar and discussed the traditional form of Chinese comedy performance cross-talk, Azertac reported on December 9.