China’s Activities in the South Caucasus

Issue 71, 17.10.2022 – 23.10.2022

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 175th out of 180 countries)

  • Pro-Beijing article by a Georgian Dream party MP published in China’s state-controlled People’s Daily
  • Georgia’s Rose Revolution targeted in Chinese media
  • Central Bank of Azerbaijan and China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission sign MOU
  • Representatives of Communist Party of Armenia and Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party met with Chinese Ambassador
  • Georgia’s Economy Minister: In 2022, the freight turnover in the Middle Corridor increased by 30%


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Pro-Beijing article by Georgian Dream party MP published in China’s state-controlled People’s Daily

On October 20, an article by Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream party MP and the Head of the Georgia-China Parliamentary Friendship Group Giorgi Amilakhvari was published in China’s state-controlled outlet People’s Daily. In the article, Amilakhvari praised the Chinese Communist Party and discussed Georgia-China relations.

“The secret to the success of the Communist Party of China is to always maintain the flesh and blood ties with the people, to take the people’s yearning for a better life as the objective of struggle and to regard the support and backing of the people as the most reliable source of power,” he wrote.

Amilakhvari wrote that socialism with Chinese characteristics had entered a new era and that China was playing a more important role in promoting development of the global economy.

“The Communist Party of China has always been devoted to contributing to human peace and development, leading China to become an important power in maintaining world peace and promoting shared development,” the Georgian MP claimed.

Giorgi Amilakhvari wrote that China was firmly pursuing “an independent peaceful foreign policy”, firmly opposing “all forms of hegemonism and power politics”, sticking to developing friendly cooperation with other countries based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and promoting establishing “a community with a shared future for mankind”.

The Georgian MP said that Georgia attached great importance to its relations with China: “It is believed that the friendly relations between Georgia and China will be further deepened and continuously benefit both countries and both peoples”.


Georgia’s Rose Revolution targeted in Chinese media

On October 18, Chinese media once again spread disinformation about Georgia’s democratic revolution of 2003 with an article entitled “Manipulating the ‘double standard of human rights’, the United States creates turmoil in the whole world”, published by China News. The article said the following: “Behind the ‘color revolutions’ instigated and planned by the United States, such as the ‘Rose Revolution’ in Georgia, the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine, the ‘Arab Spring’, there is also a silhouette of the CIA and its funded National Endowment for Democracy”.


Central Bank of Azerbaijan and China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission sign MOU

Source: CBAR

The Central Bank of the Republic of Azerbaijan (CBA) and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (the Commission) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation to create a legal basis for cooperation between the two institutions, strengthen relations and expand the exchange of information and experience in the financial sector, CBA reported on October 20.

“The Memorandum envisages exchange of experience and information, organization of training and seminars, provision of consulting services between the CBA and the Commission in the banking and insurance sector,” the report said.

Reportedly, the Memorandum was to ensure cooperation between supervisory authorities, provide technical support, exchange experience on global regulation approaches, expand cooperation at the international level and contribute to the development of the banking and insurance systems of both countries.

The two sides are also to exchange information and opinions on the economic and financial processes taking place in China and Azerbaijan, as well as on control issues.


In January-September 2022, China was Georgia’s third-biggest trading partner

In January-September 2022, China was Georgia’s third-biggest trading partner with a $1 404.1 million turnover, which amounted to 10.3% of the total Georgian trade, the National Statistics Office of Georgia reported on October 19.

China was Georgia’s top trading partner by exports with $574.8 million, which was 14% of total exports – compared to the same period in 2021 that was a 20.2% growth.

China was the third-biggest import partner of Georgia with $829.3 million, which was 8.7% of total imports. Compared to January-September 2021, that was a 38.2% growth.


Comments by Georgian PM appear in highlights of foreign congratulatory messages at the 20th CCP National Congress

On October 18, China’s state-controlled People’s Daily published highlights of foreign congratulatory messages at the 20th CCP National Congress including comments by the Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

The 20th CCP National Congress will review achievements and make plans for the future and the decisions to be made at the congress will vigorously promote sustainable development in all areas of endeavors of the CCP and China, said Irakli Garibashvili according to People’s Daily.


“China is the future”, says representative of the Armenian Chamber of Commerce & Industry in China

Rami Khali. Source: Screenshot/China Daily

On October 19, China Daily published a material entitled “China, a place to fulfill my dream” where a resident representative of the Armenian Chamber of Commerce & Industry in China and a professor at the Sichuan International Studies University, Rami Khalil, shared his views on China.

“China is the future… Before we had something like Western Dream, Go West, now it’s Go East, that’s why I decided to invest in my future, that’s why I came here to China” he said.

He said they had established a very good and significant relationship with the People’s Republic of China: “I’m so honored to be representing the Armenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the entire China”.

He also announced that now they were signing a sistership agreement between Chongqing and Yerevan.


Georgia’s Economy Minister: In 2022, the freight turnover in the Middle Corridor increased by 30%

A photo from the meeting. Source: Agenda

Georgia’s Minister of Economy Levan Davitashvili said the freight turnover in the Middle Corridor increased by 30% this year, Agenda reported on October 21.

“The importance of the Middle Corridor is particularly noteworthy in the current geopolitical situation when cargo traffic in the corridor has increased, and the interest of international carriers is growing every year”, Davitashvili said and noted that it was important for the Middle Corridor to “maintain long-term competitiveness”.

According to Davitashvili, Georgian officials believe that with improved transport infrastructure, including administration, they would be able to sustain freight in the Middle Corridor in the long term.

Reportedly, the meeting of the Trans-Caspian international route was held for the second time in Georgia and involved officials from railway companies of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey – the states involved in the project.


Representatives of Communist Party of Armenia and Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party met with Chinese Ambassador


Ishkhan Saghatelyan and Fan Yong. Source: Chinese Ambassador to Armenia; Yerjanik Ghazaryan and Fan Yong. Source: Chinese Ambassador to Armenia

On October 20, the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong met with the first secretary of the Communist Party of Armenia Yerjanik Ghazaryan, the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia reported. On the same day, Fan Yong also met with the representative of the supreme body of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party, Ishkhan Saghatelyan.

According to the Chinese Embassy report, China is willing to work with friendly political parties in various countries, including with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation party and the Communist Party of Armenia to strengthen dialogue and cooperation, and actively unfold exchanges of experience in managing state affairs and promoting common development.

The Embassy report said that on behalf of their parties they “warmly congratulated the successful convening of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party” and said that “under the strong leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, China’s economic and social development gained achievements that attracted worldwide attention”.

Reportedly, the two parties are willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party, “deepen the traditional friendship between China and Armenia, further enhance people’s friendship and help push forward bilateral relations to a new phase”.


Politicians from the South Caucasus countries join congratulatory messages at 20th CCP National Congress

On October 20, China Daily published a material entitled “Highlights of foreign congratulatory messages on 20th CPC National Congress”. It included comments from the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia and a member of Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream party, Shalva Papuashvili. According to Papuashvili, the 20th CCP National Congress will have a profound influence on China’s development in the next five years and beyond.

Reportedly, those who also sent congratulatory messages included the leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party, Gagik Tsarukyan, and the Deputy Chairman and the Head of the Central Office of the New Azerbaijan Party, Tahir Budagov.


China Research Center at Azerbaijan’s Khazar University launched

A photo from the event. Source: China Daily

The opening ceremony of the “China Research Center of Khazar University” was held online on October 21. According to China’s state-controlled China Daily, the center is jointly sponsored by the World Sinology Center of Beijing Language and Culture University and the Khazar University of Azerbaijan.

China’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Guo Min, said that the Chinese Embassy in Azerbaijan would also fully support development of the center, “hoping that the center can make contributions to building a shared future for mankind, as well as promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the two countries”.

The Azerbaijani Ambassador to China Akram Zeynalli said that the educational exchanges between China and Azerbaijan developed rapidly with the support of Beijing Language and Culture University. Zeynalli expressed hope that the center would serve as a channel where experts from around the world would be able to better understand China and tell its stories.

“As a Sinologist myself, I am very happy to see the launch of the center, the establishment of the center will provide courses to open up a new horizon of research and bring traditional Chinese culture to the world, which is vital to the sustainable development of sinology,” the Director of the Department of Azerbaijani Language at Beijing Foreign Studies University, Agshin Aliyev said.

The Dean of the Belt and Road Research Institute of Beijing Language and Culture University and director of the World Sinology Center, Xu Baofeng, noted that the World Sinology Center was connected with nearly 5,000 Sinologists from more than 100 countries speaking 67 languages.


Armenia-China Parliamentary friendship group MP comments positively about CCP

On October 19, a member of the Armenian Parliament and Armenia-China Parliamentary Friendship Group, Hayk Mamijanyan, gave an interview to Chinese CGTN about the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

“The role of the CCP in leading the country’s development cannot be underestimated. When we talk about the biggest achievement in the last five years we have to mention China’s triumph in the fight against Covid-19 and the success of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics,” Mamijanyan said. Reportedly, he said that the CCP had a strong ability to organize society and to put the interests of the majority above those of the individual without infringing upon them.


Azerbaijani Professor awarded by CCP department for the article “The Chinese Communist Party in a New Era”

A lecturer at the Azerbaijan University of Languages and the Director of the Confucius Institute of the Azerbaijan University of Languages from the Azerbaijani side, Rafiq Abbasov, was awarded the first prize in the Eurasian competition of articles on the topic: “The Chinese Communist Party in a New Era”, organized by the International Relations Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, the Azerbaijan University of Languages reported on October 17.


Journalists from the South Caucasus countries comment positively at the CCP National Congress


Liana Jorjoliani. Source: People’s Daily

Journalists from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia commented positively at the CCP National Congress. On October 17, China’s tabloid outlet Global Times published content entitled “CCP charts course for modern socialist China in all respects”, which contained comments from foreign journalists, including Albina Abdurakhmannova, a journalist from the CBC TV of Azerbaijan.

She told the Global Times that the congress was not just important for China, “but also for many other countries around the world too”. The Global Times wrote that the most impressive part for her was that she learned the CCP had done so much for China and the Chinese people in just the past five to 10 years, and she considered that it was important for her to report this to the people of her country.

Albina Abdurakhmannova also told Chinese CGNT: “Xi Jinping has mentioned the importance of Azerbaijan in the Belt and Road Initiative several times. Azerbaijan’s location at the intersection of North and South and East and West makes our country more attractive. We all know that the main goal of China’s foreign policy is to promote world peace and the common development of mankind. I think we, as the media, should send this signal to the world faster and better.”

A reporter from Armenpress, Varvara Hayrapetyan, told CGNT the following: “You have people saying the future belongs to technology. I see the future will belong to technologies in China.”

Liana Jorjoliani, a journalist from Geoecohub appeared on the Chinese state-controlled People’s Daily. After attending the opening session of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, she said:

“It is the first time for me to report on the CCP National Congress live and I feel so privileged. The organization work of the congress is excellent. The Chinese side invited a lot of foreign reporters, which shows China’s open attitude and that the country is willing to share its successful experience and reform results with the world”.

Jorjoliani expressed her belief that the 20th CCP National Congress was not only an event of great political significance for China but that it also had global significance.

She also said that she was deeply impressed by the anti-corruption and ecological conservation mentioned in the report delivered to the National Congress. Jorjoliani noted that China had made a lot of efforts in upgrading and transforming industries, pollution prevention and control, and responding to climate change over the past several years.

She said she was confident that the plans outlined in the report would not only be implemented smoothly but would exceed people’s expectations.


Editor-in-chief of Baku Tribune published a pro-Beijing article in the Chinese media

On October 21, Seymur Mammadov, the director of the international expert club EurAsiaAz and editor-in-chief of Azerbaijan news agency Baku Tribune, published an article in the Chinese state-controlled China Daily.

In a pro-Beijing article entitled “China’s modernization path sets the direction for the world”, he discussed CCP Chairman Xi Jinping’s speech at the 20th National Congress of the CCP. He wrote:

“Xi Jinping also touched upon the fundamental points of China’s policy and development. Of particular interest was the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind. This is a concept that presupposes peace, the general development of states, and their relationships based on common interests. That is, Beijing promotes the idea of humanity as a single society”.

Mammadov noted that one of the strongest branches of the concept was the Belt and Road Initiative, which had “already found a wide response in the world. Today it is a solid platform of cooperation, which the countries of the continent continue to join”.

He also wrote that China developed its own concept that did not follow anyone else’s path, and that China’s approach indicated there were different ways for development, and “not just one promoted by the West”.

Mammadov claimed that China’s path can serve as an example for other countries: “Chinese modernization is modernization without revolutions, conflicts, wars and violence”.


Georgia’s IBSU university held international Silk Road conference

The International Black Sea University hosted the 17th international Silk Road conference, IBSU reported on October 21. Reportedly, the main speaker of the conference was a visiting professor of International Law and International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, China, Prof. Dr. Marcus Vinicius De Freitas whose speaking topic was  “Pandemics and Wars: Watersheds in International Relations”.

In 2021, the Brazilian Professor also delivered a lecture at IBSU entitled “A New World Order with Chinese Characteristics”.

The China Foreign Affairs University says that it is the only institution of higher learning under the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.


An event dedicated to the founding of PRC held in Armenian school

The Chinese Ambassador to Armenia, Fan Yong, took part in the event for the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the People’s republic of China, organized by Armenia’s Anton Chekhov School, the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia reported on October 21.