On March 11, 2021, the Ministry of Resorts and Tourism of Crimea reported that “delegates from China assessed the tourism potential” of the peninsula. In various sources, the Chinese delegation was called either “official” or simply “representative”. Pro-Kremlin media talk about new prospects for Crimean-Chinese economic cooperation, but in China itself, nothing has been heard about the delegation’s visit. Probably because Crimea was actually visited by entrepreneurs from Moscow wholesale markets, and not from China.
“We were visited by an official delegation from China, representatives of Chinese business. This was the first visit of a foreign delegation after our country and the whole world began to slowly get out of the conditions of a covid reality, ” Vladislav Ganzhara, director of the Crimean State Fund for Entrepreneurship Support , told Sputnik radio correspondents ; he met with the delegation.
Representatives of China, according to a press release from the Crimean Ministry of Tourism, visited wineries and resorts, and also took part in a round table with members of the peninsula’s government: Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea and Finance Minister Irina Kiviko and Deputy Minister of Resorts and Tourism Yulia Martynenko. The Chinese guests were especially interested in the supplies from Crimea of chicken legs, which are considered a delicacy in China, Ksenia Slutskaya, Acting Director of the Southern Regional Export Support Center , told Vesti-Crimea. https://www.youtube.com/embed/hG3AsJsyIk4?feature=oembed&iv_load_policy=3&showinfo=0&color=white”Vesti-Crimea” report on the visit of the “Chinese delegation”Vesti Crimea
The Chinese delegation visited Crimea in early March 2021, but the federal media drew attention to it only on March 15 in connection with the statement of the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada from the pro-Russian Ukrainian party “Opposition Platform – For Life” Vadim Rabinovich. On his Facebook page, Rabinovich wrote that the visit of the Chinese to Crimea could be a retaliatory move by China “in connection with Ukraine’s position on Motor Sich.”
On March 15, a RIA Novosti correspondent asked the speaker of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian to comment on Rabinovich’s post. The diplomat replied that China’s position on Crimea is unchanged , and asked “not to politicize the business activity of Chinese companies.” Although the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China did not mention the delegation in Crimea in his reply, the visit of Chinese businessmen to the peninsula was linked to the situation around Motor Sich and in the report of Russia-24, where three Chinese businessmen were called an “export-import commission.”
However, there is no information in Chinese sources about the visit of a business delegation from China to Crimea – neither in the reports of the Xinhua news agency, nor in the official newspaper of the Communist Party, People’s Daily, nor in the official accounts of Chinese government departments and the media on social networks.
“The delegation from the PRC included the deputy head of the Association of Russian-Chinese Friendship” Chen Shanwen, the general director of the Beijing export-import trading company “Kai Sheng” Zhao Kai and the chairman of the board of directors of JSC “Hao Lan” Chen Yong, “the Crimean Ministry of Tourism reported.
As Meduza found out, both Chen Shanwen and another member of the delegation, Chen Yong, are co-owners (33% each) of the Hao Lan company, registered in the city of Ruian in the eastern province of Zhejiang. The company is listed in the register as a small business engaged in the production of leather, fur and feather products and the sale of footwear.
The Association of Russian-Chinese Friendship, whose deputy head is named Chen Shanwen, is found only in the news about the visit of the Chinese delegation to Crimea. Probably what is really meant is the Association for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China in Russia, an organization that, among other things, is engaged in patriotic work among the Chinese community in Russia, and also maintains ties between the Chinese business diaspora and the PRC embassy. Chen Shanwen is listed on the association’s website as one of the representatives of the community of immigrants from Zhejiang province. The association did not answer Meduza’s question whether Mr. Chen Shanwen was authorized to represent her during her trip to Crimea.
Nor is the “Beijing Export-Import Trading Company” in the Chinese register of legal entities, which, according to a press release from the Crimean Ministry of Tourism, was represented in this delegation by Zhao Kai.
In fact, all three members of the delegation to Crimea have been living in Moscow for many years and doing business here, a representative of the Moscow Chinese diaspora told Meduza. From photo and video reports about the visit of the Chinese delegation to Crimea, representatives of the Chinese business diaspora in Moscow identified their acquaintances. Chen Shanwen, Chen Yong and Zhao Kai, according to sources of “Meduza”, are closely related to each other, they sell light industry goods in the wholesale and retail markets “Moscow” and “Gardener”.
Meduza’s interlocutors learned about the visit of the Chinese to Crimea from a reporter, noting that there was no information about this on the Chinese social network WeChat, from which they receive news.
The Ministry of Resorts and Tourism of Crimea, which published a press release about the round table of republican officials and Chinese businessmen, recommended that Meduza seek comments on the visit of the Chinese delegation to the organizer of this meeting, the Southern Regional Export Support Center. Meduza sent its questions there, but received no answers at the time of publication of this material.