Cracks in Russia-China Relations

In a recent incident, Russian Border Guards denied (July 29, 2023) entry to five Chinese citizens who tried to cross the Russia-Kazakhstan border by car. Their tourist visas were cancelled and they were interrogated for nearly four hours. The Chinese Embassy in Moscow took immediate note of the incident and in a sharply worded statement said that the “incident seriously violated the legitimate rights of Chinese citizens, and was totally out of line of the currently amicable relationship between China and Russia, and the growing trend of closer exchange of personnel between our two countries”. It also demanded Russia to immediately investigate the incident. The Russian side tried to downplay the incident and described it an isolated case. But the refusal of Russian Border Guards to let the five Chinese citizens into the country underlined the continuing security concerns despite the hype around “friendship without limits”.

2.      Chinese authorities had strongly reacted in 2009 when Russian security agencies had shut down Cherkizovo market near Moscow where Chinese businessmen had illegal operations.

3.      In July 2023, the Chinese Consulate General in Odessa was damaged in a Russian air strike on the city. Russia once again tried to explain away the incidents by referring to ostensibly close relations between the two countries. 4.      Earlier, Alexander Shiplyuk, head of a top Russian science institute Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in Siberia, along with two other hypersonic missile technology experts were accused of betraying secrets to China. They were accused of handing over classified material at a scientific conference in China.