I love the undertow here:
China’s real interests in Syria can actually be quantified as follows
The volume of bilateral trade between China and Arab countries surpassed US$100 billion in 2010, and the two-way investment was higher than US$5.5 billion, according to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. Of this, the trade volume between China and Syria was merely US$2.48 billion, compared with US$43.18 billion in trade with Saudi Arabia and US$9.86 billion trade with Iraq which has not yet pulled itself out of war. China’s trade with the US, meanwhile, was nearly US$500 billion. By the end of 2010, China’s outstanding FDI in Syria’s non-financial sector stood at US$16.81 million, while the aggregated engineering and labor contract value secured by Chinese companies in Syria was US$1.82 billion and US$4.82 million, respectively. The total number of Chinese firms now operating in Syria is less than 30. Before Western sanctions, Syria exported 380,000 barrels of oil per day, with 95 per cent going to France, Italy, Holland, Austria and some other European countries, and without a single drop going to China.
...I mean by that the way in which prof Li emphasises the economic unimportance of Syria to China while parading the economic importance of China to the wider Middle East. That Iraq jab's gotta hurt, too.
The actual principle being enunciated here is support for all actually existing governments everywhere. I'm not sure that this actually qualifies as a principle, but it surely qualifies as a spread bet, especialy if you can extend it into support of the successor regime, as with Iraq.