Russian Defense Promotional Film Shows Military Plane Blowing Up Chinese Warship

Authored by Jessica Mao and Olivia Li via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Russia used to be the dominant player at China’s biennial air show. However, at the recent 14th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, Russia kept a low profile, and its two air show teams were absent this year. Moreover, a Russian defense company showed a publicity film in which a Russian military plane blew up a Chinese warship.

A Chinese J-20 stealth fighter of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) performs at the Airshow China 2022 in Zhuhai, in southern China's Guangdong Province, on Nov. 8, 2022. (CNS/AFP via Getty Images)
A Chinese J-20 stealth fighter of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) performs at the Airshow China 2022 in Zhuhai, in southern China's Guangdong Province, on Nov. 8, 2022. (CNS/AFP via Getty Images)

The six-day exhibition, which kicked off on Nov. 8 in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, attracted public attention amid the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war.

State-run media Global Times reported on Nov. 10 that the booth of Rosoboronexport—the only state organization in Russia that exports the entire range of military, dual-use products, services, and technologies—was much smaller than before, which had “a video display to showcase the Russian developed Su-57E stealth fighter, Su-35 super maneuverable fighter, Su-34E fighter-bomber, etc.”

The Russian Knights and Swifts aerobatic demonstration team of the Russian air force, which used to be the most eye-catching performers at the Zhuhai air show, did not participate this year. China’s People’s Liberation Army air force was the only flight demonstration performer at the show.

At the 11th Zhuhai air show in 2016, Russia had a larger presence. Chinese state media made a big fanfare even before the air show began on Nov. 1 that year.

According to China’s Xinhua News Agency, 49 Russian defense industry and dual-use companies participated in the show, with more than 220 pieces of military equipment on display.

Russian Su-27 and MiG-29 jet fighters fly over Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on May 9, 2016.
Russian Su-27 and MiG-29 jet fighters fly over Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on May 9, 2016. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)

The Russian Knights aerobatic demonstration team, formed in April 1991, made its first trip to China at the country’s second air show in 1998 and has since participated in 2000, 2006, 2012, 2014, and 2016. The Swifts aerobatic demonstration team, formed in May 1991, has joined the Knights in China’s airshow since 2004.

The two teams had a mixed formation show at the 2016 Zhuhai air show, their first one outside Russia.

Analyst: Russian Air Force Damaged in Ukraine War

U.S.-based Chinese current affairs commentator Chen Baokong analyzed the reasons behind Russia’s low-key participation in his YouTube program on Nov. 13.

He said the international community ridiculed Russia’s fighter planes and air force strength because of their poor performance in the Ukraine war. Therefore, Russia did not have the confidence it had before to show off its military strength at China’s air show.

Russian fighter planes were exterminated in large numbers by Ukraine forces, so Russia feels humiliated,” Chen said. “Moreover, Russia’s air force has been struggling on the Ukraine battlefield; it certainly does not have the capacity to participate in the Zhuhai air show. In other words, the actual reason behind Russia’s low-profile participation in the air show is that it was hit hard in the Russo-Ukrainian War.”

China’s air force showed off its J-16 and J-20 stealth fighter jets. Some analysts commented that this indicates China is surpassing Russia in military strength.

However, Chen pointed out that in the past, the Chinese regime was reluctant to showcase its military aircraft because its J-16 fighter is an imitation of Russia’s Su-30 fighter. China was afraid of getting into intellectual property disputes with Russian engineers, he said.

Video: Russian Plane Bombs Chinese Warship

In a video shown by the Russian exhibitor at the Zhuhai air show, a Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jet launched an anti-ship missile attack on a Chinese warship, which instantly burst into flames.

A Chinese online military media outlet commented on the video, “At first glance, it was just an ordinary computer-generated publicity video, but when you take a closer look at the bombed ‘enemy ship,’ why does it look so familiar? It turned out that the warship being bombed was China’s 052D destroyer.”

This scene is too awkward indeed. After all, China and Russia [are] strategic partners,” the article said.

The author claimed that India was involved in the film. “Some say … the Russian exhibitor outsourced the publicity filmmaking to an Indian company. In other words, the Indian side deliberately replaced the target ship of the Russian fighter jet attack with a China-made warship.”

However, the Indian newspaper Eurasia Times denied the claim in a Nov. 11 report, saying that the scene in the video was a mistake made by the Russian exhibitor and had nothing to do with India.

In this regard, Chen commented that it was impossible that the Russian company did not review the promotional video before the exhibition.

“But here is what Russia means,” he said. “Russia has made it clear in the film that the real enemy it wants to destroy is the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party claims its 052D is a first-class warship, but Moscow implies it is no match for the Russian war effort.”

According to Chen, Russia deliberately played the video at the air show to send the Chinese regime a message: first, Russia is not happy with China copying its technology; second, Russia is letting the international community know that its real enemy is not the United States or Ukraine, but the Chinese Communist Party.

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