Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Russian Expats Becoming Part of Greater China, Beijing Paper Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 6 – Russians from Siberia and elsewhere are flocking to China where salaries are three to five times higher than they are in the Russian Federation (newizv.ru/news/society/23-07-2018/sibirskie-uchitelya-vyrvalis-iz-nischety-v-kitay), and join other Russians to become “part of our Greater China,” a Beijing newspaper says.

            Russians have been living in China since before Soviet times, and many of them, Toutiao reports, have become an ethnic minority within the family of nationalities which form the population of China (toutiao.com/a6577580769818968590/; translated into Russian are inosmi.ru/social/20180804/242828091.html).

            The older Russian minority in China now numbers “fewer than 20,000 people,” the paper says. “They speak Russian and still use the Cyrillic alphabet.” But they have become very loyal Chinese as well, defending the country when needed and supporting China even against Russia, Toutiao says.

            When asked what they think about Russia, the ethnic Russian minority of China gives an answer that makes all Chinese proud: “’We are Chinese,’” its members say.  And despite the fact that they look and act in other ways like their co-ethnics in China, they insist that “they are not foreigners but Chinese.”

            This is obviously not a trend the Russia of Vladimir Putin is interested in highlighting not only because it shows that linguistic and cultural survival does not mean the retention of political loyalties but also because is indicates that even China with its radically different culture can win the loyalty of ethnic Russians on its territory.  

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