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China’s leader warns of turbulence and “colourful revolutions”

China’s Xi Jinping said that the world had entered a new period of turbulence and that partners such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Central Asian leaders should prevent foreign powers from instigating “colour revolutions”. Xi, on his first trip outside China since early 2020, told a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the ancient Uzbek Silk Road city of Samarkand that they should support each other to deter foreign meddling.

“The world has entered a new period of turbulent change, we must grasp the trend of the times, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and promote the construction of a closer community of destiny with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” Xi said.

“We should support each other’s efforts to safeguard security and development interests, prevent external forces from staging colour revolutions, and jointly oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries under any pretext,” he added.

Putin, Russia’s paramount leader since 1999, has repeatedly said that the United States is plotting so-called “colour revolutions” similar to those which swept established elites from power in places such as Ukraine.

China’s stability-obsessed Communist Party, which is next month likely to give Xi a third leadership term and cement his place as the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, has in the past warned against so-called “colour revolutions”.

At Thursday’s meeting, Putin said he understood that Xi had questions and concerns about the situation in Ukraine but praised China’s leader for what he said was a “balanced” position on the conflict. But there was no sign from Xi that his support for Putin was weakening. In his statement, China’s leader did not mention the war in Ukraine.

Xi and Putin last met face-to-face at the opening of the Winter Olympics, when they declared a “no limits” partnership, backing each other over standoffs on Ukraine and Taiwan with a promise to collaborate more against the West.

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