Russian media reports on China have changed gradually during the past three decades and reflect the achievements China has made since it adopted the reform and opening-up policy, a senior Russian international relations expert said.
"China's reform and opening-up policy was implemented successfully, which lifted the country's international influence and changed the media's attitude toward China as well," said Alexander Lukin, director of the Center for Eastern Asian and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Studies of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, in a recent interview with Xinhua.
When China launched the historical endeavor in the late 1970s, severe news censorship in the then Soviet Union restricted reports about the nation that was to turn a new page in its history, Lukin said.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Russian media reports on China were divided into mostly two kinds of stories: skeptical ones that focused on China's poverty and positive ones that hailed its reform while comparing that to the painful transformation in Russia.
"At that time, gas release in coal mines, collapse of school buildings and illegal hunting in China were frequent headlines. However, such stories have now been substituted by more objective articles with thorough analysis as China's status was lifted on the world arena," he said.
The national congress of the Communist Party of China, the Russian-Chinese summits and the meetings of the SCO, in which Russia and China played key roles, occupied more and more magazine covers and newspaper and TV reports with a larger audience, he said.
During the Year of Russia in China and Year of China in Russia from 2006 to 2007 and the Beijing Olympic Games this summer, Russian media published or broadcast a large amount of news reports that helped the Russians better understand the current China, he said.
According to polls during the reciprocal national theme years, the Chinese people regarded Russia as the most friendly country and more than half of Russians hailed their country's friendship with China.
"Indeed, when I first visited China in 1983, there's very few style or color on the clothes the Chinese wore and nearly no cars on the streets. The monthly salary for a Chinese professor was only 40 yuan (5.85 U.S. dollars)," Lukin said.
"What's happening now? There are varieties of sedans, vans and limousines causing traffic jams in China's major cities, new buildings erected daily as well as five-star hotels. By the way, Chinese professors now earn two times more than their Russian colleagues," he said.
"Everything of these is because China has explored a road of development that fits itself and is good as well, if not better, as the models of other countries," he noted.