Russian space scientist Vladimir Lapygin was sentenced earlier this month to seven years in prison on charges of state treason, according to Western media outlets. He allegedly provided aerospace technology intelligence to an Asian country, which media outlets claimed is China.
According to reports, Lapygin worked for the Central Research Institute of Machine Building under the Roscosmos space agency and taught at Moscow's Bauman State Technical Institute.
As top secrets were involved, coverage of this case inevitably has been tinged by speculation. Some Chinese scholars told the Global Times that the Western media is keen on reporting spy cases between China and Russia, often with exaggerated and even fake content.
Certain pro-Western forces in both Chinese and Russian society are also keen on finding fault with the Sino-Russian relationship.
Scholars point out that there is no reason to make a fuss even if there is espionage between the two countries, as every nation, especially major powers, has a need for intelligence. China and Russia have managed the related affairs well. Espionage is not an obstacle for the two sides to deepen their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.
In comparison, the scandal over the US Prism system caused rifts between the US and its allies, which protested strongly over US bugging of their state leaders. China and Russia have never openly accused each other of espionage since President Vladimir Putin took office for his first term.
Russia has put more efforts, including tightening laws, into safeguarding its national secrets in recent years. Some Russian scientists who are active in foreign exchanges may feel they can't adapt to the changes. Some Western media outlets criticize the Kremlin for its strengthened internal governance and even politicize it, but Chinese public opinion has never hyped the issue.
China and Russia have seen expanding cooperation and thus more frequent communications in the science sector recently, including joint research in aerospace and other areas. Official information exchanges remain the mainstream in bilateral relations. China "stealing" Russia's technology, and Russia shielding its technological secrets from China is not happening between the two countries.
Beijing and Moscow are stable strategic partners. Neither country attempts to steal intelligence to subvert or contain the other. The intelligence agencies of the two countries have friendly, not confrontational, relations.
Bilateral ties between the US and Russia, and between the US and China, are constantly soured by spy-related conflicts. Mutual respect between Beijing and Moscow thus stands out.
The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is a pillar of global strategic balance. Both countries should be careful not to be misled by Western reports which are constantly released to derail Sino-Russian relations deliberately.