Special Forum

On July 3 Hu Xijin of Huanxiu Shibao inserted a needle in the bubble of Sino-Russian harmony, which some may be tempted to equate to Mao Zedong’s response to the 20th Party Congress in 1956.1 He was reacting to a Weibo (blog) in Chinese sent from the Russian embassy in Beijing celebrating the 160th anniversary of the founding of Vladivostok in 1860, which mentioned the meaning of the city’s name, translated as “tongzhi Dongfang” or “rule of the East.”  Hu wrote that this offense to the public’s emotions has “aroused the disgust of many Chinese netizens.” He added that Chinese refuse to use that name for the city, calling it Haishenwei, and reject calls by Russia to remove that earlier name. This incident is one of the first real signs that not only is the territorial dispute not dead but that Sinocentrism is becoming a problem in this relationship.

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