i) South China Morning Post (July 2) reported that after the Russian embassy posted a video on Weibo of a party held on July 2, to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the founding of the city, whose name means “ruler of the east” in Russian, it prompted an online backlash. Shen Shiwei, a journalist for state-owned broadcaster CGTN, tweeted that the post “recalled people’s memories [of] those humiliated days in the 1860s”. Zhang Heqing, a Chinese diplomat working in the embassy in Pakistan, commented: “isn’t this what in the past was our Haishenwai?” -- the Chinese name for the area before its annexation. One Weibo user posted: “Today we can only endure, but the Chinese people will remember, and one generation after another will continue to remember!” and another wrote, “We must believe that this ancestral land will return home in the future!”

ii) The US-based Duowei News on July 4, published an article on the controversy regarding Vladivostok triggered by a Weibo post by the Russian Embassy on July 2, 2020. It said after having first emphasised that its Russian name "Vladivostok" means "ruling the East", the Embassy quietly revised and removed the words "ruling the east". Use of the words, it said, caused widespread dissatisfaction among Chinese netizens, perhaps including Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times. It revealed that the following day, Hu Xijin made a public statement saying: (i) he "opposes the sending of this microblog by the Russian embassy," because it is "not an expression of respect for the Chinese public"; (ii) the territorial old account cannot be overturned as it would mean war, so "we Chinese need to accept it"; and (iii) those who hold the "restoration theory" are either unrealistic or intentional who seek to "divide Sino-Russian relations." However, Hu Xijin's "patriotism" subsequently caused greater controversy. The article said to put it in Hu Xijin's words, the Chinese need to accept the reality of losing their native land, but whether they should also accept such a "quasi-allied relationship" of unequal dignity.

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