Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Need For Peaceful Civilizational And Socio-Economic Interchange In The Southern Provinces Of The Russian Far East And Chinese Outer Manchuria

... "Whatever the basis of the love-in between Putin and Chinese President Jintao, the Russian and Chinese people on the whole hate and mistrust each other.

The 5 million Russians who live in Russia's provinces bordering China's northeast (population 107 million) are nervous and frightened. The Treaty of Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation that the two leaders signed in 2001 and the "final resolution" of the centuries-old border dispute earlier this year have done nothing to assuage that hatred and fear. Measures taken by the leaders do not have the support of either the people of northeast China or the people of Russia's border provinces.

Chinese people are taught in school that the Russian provinces on the other side of the 4300-km border, or Outer Manchuria, are Chinese. They were "stolen" from China in two unequal treaties that the Russian czar forced on a weak China in 1858 and 1860 at the beginning of the Hundred Years of Humiliation. Not only their textbooks but all of their leaders up to Hu Jintao have told them that these provinces will return to China one day, just as Hong Kong and Macau did.

The Russians in the southern provinces of Far East Russia also are angry about the 2001 treaty, and about one in 2006. They believe the treaties give too much away to the Chinese.

The Chinese are living in the past they say: Territories that the Russians colonized in the 19th century were of no interest to the Chinese; the Chinese made no effort to occupy and develop the area, which only technically came under Chinese sovereignty in another unequal treaty that the strong Manchu emperor forced upon a weak czar, with the help of the Jesuits, in 1648.

In the province I am currently visiting, Primorsky Krai, Chinese and Russians lived in harmony, under conditions set by 19th-century treaties, until the 1930s. Chinese made up between 30 and 40 percent of the province's population. The hostility of Stalinist Russia toward the Chinese ended this. Today nobody knows how many Chinese are in the province, but even the wildest estimates give a figure of less than 5 percent. There is marked tension between the two groups....

The hatred between local Chinese and Russians is palpable. Russians are moving out of this province and others that make up Russia's Far East as fast as they can; Chinese are moving in -- far more than officially admitted. Not a basis for long-term tranquillity and happiness."

David Wall " Chinese reoccupying Russia" The Japan Times Friday, May 5, 2006

Satellite picture of Primorsky Krai, the Russian Federation. May 10, 2006

Image credit: Primorsky Krai directorate of Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental monitoring. With thanks. art_eng.asp?id=7


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