For audiences in China, Xi Jinping's visit to Russia this week was a show of strength and a testament to Beijing's bid for global leadership.
On the second day of Xi's trip to Moscow, Chinese media was awash with coverage of the visit as evidence of China's mettle when it comes to standing up to Washington. Xi on Tuesday continued talks with senior Russian officials and invited his counterpart Vladimir Putin to visit China, even as the Russian leader comes under mounting criticism, including an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, Washington Post reported.
"This visit will clearly tell the Americans that China is not to be intimidated. As a major power, it is our right and freedom to visit any country we want to visit," wrote Feng Sheng, a researcher at a think tank affiliated with the Beijing-based consultancy Warming Hi-Tech, in an article popular on WeChat, Washington Post reported.
"What other countries will see is that China is not afraid of American hegemony. ... What we Chinese see is that our head of state has such strategic courage and wisdom -- in a word -- strength!"
Under Xi, Beijing has deployed an increasingly assertive foreign policy focused on countering what it sees as US efforts to contain China's rise as a major power. Beijing's friendship with Moscow is a key part of its strategy to establish an alternative world order that challenges US leadership and looks to China for inspiration.
In an article published in Russian and Chinese state media on Monday, Xi wrote that "there is no country in the world that is superior to others," adding that there is no governance model that is "universally applicable and there is no international order in which one country has the final say."
The official news agency Xinhua, in a page dedicated to the visit with coverage in nine languages from Russian to Portuguese, hailed those remarks by Xi as an inspiration to the international community. An article that included praise from analysts in countries from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Pakistan to Iran and Russia described Xi's concepts for peaceful international relations as possibly "the most powerful and pertinent idea in this century."
On Tuesday, images of Xi heartily shaking hands with Putin took up the front page of most state-run newspapers as they hailed the "mature and tenacious" Sino-Russian relationship.
"During this important visit, we have four 'no's' to the United States," read the headline of an article rejecting US criticism of Xi's "no limits" partnership with Russia as well as China's efforts to call for peace talks in Ukraine. The Guangming Daily wrote on Tuesday that Xi's visit would bring more "understanding and support" for China's "independent and peace-loving foreign policy."
Ahead of the visit, Chinese media ramped up coverage of friendly China-Russia ties by counting the number of times Xi and Putin have met in person, at least 40 times. (ANI)