History of Sino-Russian relations
Prior to the 1600s China and Russia were on opposite ends of Siberia, which was populated by independent nomads. By about 1640 Russian settlers had traversed most of Siberia and founded settlements in the Amur River basin. From 1652 to 1689, China's armies drove the Russian settlers out, but after 1689 China and Russia made peace and established trade agreements. By the mid-1800s China's economy and military lagged far behind the colonial powers, so it signed unequal treaties with Western countries and Russia, through which Russia annexed the Amur basin and Vladivostok. The Russian Empire and Western powers exacted many other concessions from China, among which were indemnities for anti-Western riots, control over China's tariffs, and extraterritorial agreements including legal immunity for foreigners and foreign businesses. That happened at a time when Russian culture and society itself and especially the elite was westernized. During this time, the ruler of Russia officially was no longer called tsar, but emperor, which was imported from the European model. Contracts which only affected Russia and China mainly included questions about the Russian-Chinese border as Russia was, unlike the Western countries, a direct neighbor of China. Many Chinese people felt humiliated by China's submission to these foreign interests, and this contributed to widespread hostility towards the emperor of China. In 1911 public anger led to a revolution, which marked the beginning of the Republic of China. However, China's new regime (known as the Beiyang government) was forced to sign further unequal treaties with Western countries, and Russia. In recent years Russia and China signed a border agreement.
In late 1917, Moscow and Petrograd were taken over by a communist group called the Bolsheviks, through October Revolution. This caused a civil war in Russia between the Bolshevik Red Army and the anti-communist White forces. China's Beiyang government sided with the Whites, and along with most of the colonial powers, sent troops to fight against the Reds. In 1922 the Reds won the civil war and established a new country: the Soviet Union, or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). From 1923 onward the USSR provided aid and support to the Kuomintang, a Chinese faction opposed to the Beiyang government. In alliance with the small Communist Party of China (CCP), the Kuomintang seized power in 1928 and the two countries established diplomatic ties. Sino-Soviet relations remained fractious, and they fought two wars in the next ten years. Nevertheless, the USSR under Joseph Stalin gave help to Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang government against Imperial Japan. Stalin told the CCP's leader Mao Zedong to cooperate with China's Kuomintang regime. Mao attacked the Kuomintang anyway, but the CCP failed to overthrow Chiang's Nationalist government. In 1937 the Kuomintang and the CCP formed a new alliance to oppose the Japanese invasion of China, but they resumed fighting each other in 1942. After Japan had been defeated in 1945, the two Chinese factions signed a truce, but the Chinese Civil War soon erupted again between them. In 1949, with Soviet support, the CCP won the Chinese Civil War and established the People's Republic of China, which made an alliance with the USSR. Mao became the PRC's first leader. Mao's most radical supporters, who became known as 'the Gang of Four', gradually eliminated most of Mao's rivals throughout his twenty-seven years in power.
Ideological tension between the two countries emerged after Stalin's death in 1953. Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin's crimes in 1956, and the two regimes started to criticise each other. At first the criticism was indirect and muted, but in 1961 Mao accused the Soviet leadership of revisionism and the alliance ended. The two countries competed for control over foreign communist states and political movements, and in many countries there were two rival communist parties that concentrated their fire on each other. In 1969 there was a brief border war between the two countries. Khrushchev was replaced by Leonid Brezhnev in the 1964, and during Brezhnev's rule the USSR abandoned many of the reforms that Mao had objected to, but China's anti-Soviet rhetoric intensified under the influence of Mao's closest supporters, the Gang of Four. Mao Zedong died in 1976, and the Gang of Four lost power in 1978. After a period of instability, Deng Xiaoping became the new leader of China. Thereafter the philosophical difference between the two countries lessened somewhat, because China's new leadership abandoned anti-revisionism.
China's internal reforms did not bring an immediate end to conflict with the USSR. In 1979 China invaded Vietnam, which was an ally of the USSR. China also sent aid to the anti-Soviet Mujehadeen in the USSR's war in Afghanistan. In 1982 Brezhnev made a speech offering reconciliation with the PRC, and Deng agreed to restore diplomatic relations. In 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev became President of the USSR, he reduced the Soviet garrisons at the Sino-Soviet border and in Mongolia, resumed trade, and dropped the border-demarcation matter which had caused the war between the two nations sixteen years prior. In 1989 he withdrew Soviet support from the communist government of Afghanistan. Sino-Russian rapprochement accelerated after the USSR was superseded by the Russian Federation in 1991, and relations between China and Russia are currently close and cordial. They maintain a strong geopolitical and regional alliance, and significant levels of trade.
- 1 First contact
- 1.1 South to the Amur (1640–1689)
- 1.2 Russian expansion eastward along the southern edge of Siberia
- 1.3 Early contacts
- 1.4 Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689)
- 1.5 Treaty of Kyakhta (1729)
- 1.6 Turkestan
- 1.7 1755–1917
- 1.8 Meeting in Central Asia
- 1.9 Russian encroachment
- 1.10 The Great Game and the 1870s Xinjiang border Dispute
- 1.11 Alliance in 1890s
- 1.12 Russo-Japanese War
- 1.13 Revolutions
- 2 Soviet Union, Republic of China, People's Republic of China
- 2.1 Russian Civil War and Mongolia
- 2.2 KMT, CPC, and the Chinese Civil War
- 2.3 Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II
- 2.4 Joint-victory over Imperial Japan
- 2.5 Independence of Mongolia
- 2.6 War of Liberation and the People's Republic of China
- 2.7 From camaraderie to the Sino-Soviet Split
- 2.8 Post-Mao era and stabilizing relations
- 2.9 Dissolution of the Soviet Union
- 2.10 China and the Russian Federation
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 Further reading
Lying at opposite ends of Eurasia, the two countries had little contact before about 1640. Both had to deal with the steppe nomads, Russia from the south and China from the northwest. Both were ruled by the Mongols (Golden Horde in Russia (1240–1480), and Yuan dynasty in China (1271–1368)), but this led to little contact. Russia became a northern neighbor of China when in 1582–1643 Russian adventurers made themselves masters of the Siberian forests. There were three points of contact: 1) south to the Amur River basin (early), 2) east along the southern edge of Siberia toward Peking (the main axis) and 3) in Turkestan (late).
South to the Amur (1640–1689)Edit
About 1640 Siberian cossacks spilled over the Stanovoy Mountains to the Amur River basin. This land was claimed by the Manchus who at this time were just beginning their conquest of China (Qing dynasty). By 1689 the Russians were driven back over the mountains and the Stanovoy Mountains remained the Russo-Chinese frontier from the Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689) to the Treaty of Aigun in 1859. For a full account see Sino-Russian border conflicts.
Russian expansion eastward along the southern edge of SiberiaEdit
Russian expansion in Siberia was confined to the forested area because the Cossacks were skilled in forest travel and were seeking furs while the forest natives were weak and the steppe nomads warlike. In the west, Siberia borders on the Kazakh steppe. North of what is now Mongolia, there are mountains, Lake Baikal and more mountains until the Argun River separates Trans-Baikalia from Manchuria. West of Siberia, Russia slowly expanded down the Volga, around the southern Urals and out into the Kazakh steppe.
From the time of Kievan Rus' there was trade (fur, slaves) down the Volga to the Caspian Sea and Persia. Later trade extended southeast to the main Asian trade routes at Bukhara. Under the Mongol Yoke, Russian princes would regularly travel to Sarai for investiture. When Marco Polo returned from China he mentioned Russia as an obscure country in the far north. In 1466/73 Afanasy Nikitin made a journey southeast to India and left an interesting account. After the English reached the White Sea, Anthony Jenkinson travelled through Muscovy to Bukhara. In 1608 the Voivode of Tomsk tried and failed to reach China via the Altan Khan in western Mongolia. In 1616 a second attempt got as far as the Khan (Vasilly Tyumenets and Ivan Petrov). The first Russian to reach Peking was probably Ivan Petlin in 1618/19.
After the Russians reached Trans-Baikalia in the 1640s, some trade developed, but it is poorly documented. At this point there were three routes: 1) Irtysh River and east across Dzungaria and Mongolia, 2) Lake Baikal, Selenga River and southeast (the shortest) and 3) Lake Baikal, east to Nerchinsk, and south (slow but safe).
Early Russo-Chinese relations were difficult for three reasons: mutual ignorance, lack of a common language and the Chinese wish to treat the Russians as tributary barbarians, something that the Russians would not accept and did not fully understand. The language problem was solved when the Russians started sending Latin-speaking westerners who could speak to the Jesuit missionaries in Beijing.
In 1654 Fyodor Baykov was sent as the first ambassador, but his mission failed because he was unwilling to comply with the rules of Chinese diplomacy. Setkul Ablin, a Central Asian in the Russian service travelled to Peking in 1655,1658 and 1668. It was apparently on his third trip that the Manchus realized that these people from the west were the same as those who were raiding the Amur. In 1670 the Nerchinsk voyvode sent Ignatiy Milovanov to Beijing (he was probably the first Russian to cross Manchuria). The next ambassador, Nicholae Milescu (1675–78) was also unsuccessful. After months of fruitless arguments, he was given a blunt lecture about the proper behavior of tributary barbarians and sent home. After the capture of Albazin in 1685, a few Russians, commonly referred to as Albazinians, settled in Beijing where they founded the Chinese Orthodox Church.
Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689)Edit
After their first victory at Albazin in 1685, the Manchus sent two letters to the Tsar (in Latin) suggesting peace and demanding that Russian freebooters leave the Amur. The resulting negotiations led the Treaty of Nerchinsk. The Russians gave up the Amur valley but kept the land between Lake Baikal and the Argun River. The treaty said nothing about what is now Mongolia since that area was then controlled by the Oirat Zunghar Khanate.
After Nerchinsk regular caravans started running from Nerchinsk south to Peking. Some of the traders were Central Asians. The round trip took from ten to twelve months. The trade was apparently profitable to the Russians but less so to the Chinese. The Chinese were also disenchanted by the drunken brawls of the traders. In 1690 the Qing defeated the Oirats at the Great Wall and gained complete control over the Khalka Mongols in Inner Mongolia. In 1696 the Oirats were defeated and driven back to the Altai Mountains (Kangxi Emperor in person with 80,000 troops in a battle near Ulan Bator). This opened the possibility of trade from Baikal southeastward and raised the problem of the northern border of Outer Mongolia. In March 1692 Eberhard Isbrand Ides, a Dane in the Russian service, was sent from Nerchinsk as ambassador. The Manchus raised the question of the border west of the Argun. Ides returned to Moscow January 1695. From this time it was decided that the China trade would be a state monopoly. Four state caravans travelled from Moscow to Peking between 1697 and 1702. The fourth returned via Selenginsk (near Lake Baikal) in 90 days and bore a letter from the Li-Fan Yuan suggesting that future trade use this route.
In 1712 Tulishen became the first Manchu or Chinese official to visit Russia (not counting earlier visits to Nerchinsk). He was mainly interested in the Kalmyks along the Caspian Sea and how they might be used to deal with their cousins, the Oirats. He left Peking in June 1712 and reached Tobolsk in August 1713. Here he learned that he could not see the Tsar because of the Swedish wars. He went to Saratov and down the Volga to visit Ayuka Khan of the Kalmyks. He returned to Peking in April 1715. His report, 'Yiyilu' of 'Record of Strange Regions' was long the main source of Chinese knowledge of Russia.
About this time the Kangxi Emperor began to put pressure on Saint Petersburg to delineate the Mongolian border west of the Argun, and several Russian caravans were held up. In July 1719 Lev Izmailov was sent as ambassador to Peking where he dealt with Tulishen, but the Chinese would not deal with the trade problem until the border was dealt with. Izmailov returned to Moscow in January 1722. Lorents Lange was left as consul in Peking, but was expelled in July 1722. He returned to Selenginsk and sent reports to Petersburg.
Treaty of Kyakhta (1729)Edit
Just before his death, Peter the Great decided to deal with the border problem. The result was the Treaty of Kyakhta. This defined the northern border of what is now Mongolia (except for Tuva) and opened up the Kyakhta caravan trade southeast to Peking.
The treaties of Nerchinsk and Kyakhta were the basis of Russo-Chinese relations until the Treaty of Aigun in 1858. The fixed border helped the Chinese to gain full control of Outer Mongolia and annex Xinjiang by about 1755. Russo-Chinese trade shifted from Nerchinsk to Kyakhta and the Nerchensk trade died out by about 1750. (Local trade in this area shifted east to a border town called Tsurukhaitu on the Argun River)
Having reached Tobolsk in 1585, it was natural to continue up the Irtysh River to the Kazakh steppes north of Lake Balkhash to Dzungaria and western Mongolia. This was the route used by Fyodor Baykov to reach China. In 1714 Peter the Great sent Ivan Bukholts with 1,500 troops including Swedish miners who were prisoners of war up the Irtysh to Lake Zaysan to search for gold. Next year he ascended the river again with 3,000 workers to build a fort. Tsewang Rabtan (or Tseren-Donduk) of the Zunghar Khanate attacked them and drove them back to Omsk. In 1720 an expedition under Ivan Likharev ascended the river and founded a permanent settlement at Ust-Kamenogorsk just west of the lake. At just this time the Zunghars were severely defeated by the Manchus and driven out of Tibet. In 1721/23 Peter sent Ivan Unkovsky to discuss an alliance, but this failed. A major reason was that Lorents Lange at Selenginsk had turned over a number of Mongol refugees to the Manchus as part of the buildup to the Treaty of Kyakhta. In 1755 the Qing destroyed the remnants of the Zunghar Khanate, creating a Russo-Chinese border in Xinjiang.
This area did not become active again until the Russian conquest of Turkestan.
Meeting in Central AsiaEdit
As the Chinese Empire established its control over Xinjiang in the 1750s, and the Russian Empire expanded into Kazakhstan in the early and mid-19th century, the two empires' areas of control met in what is today eastern Kazakhstan and Western Xinjiang. The 1851 Treaty of Kulja legalized trade between the two countries in this region.
In 1858, during the Second Opium War, China grew increasingly weaker as the "Sick man of Asia", while Russia strengthened, eventually annexing the north bank of the Amur River and the coast down to the Korean border in the "Unequal Treaties" of Treaty of Aigun (1858) and the Convention of Peking of 1860. See Amur Annexation. Russia and Japan gained control of Sakhalin Island.
The Manza War in 1868 was the first attempt by Russia to expel Chinese from territory it controlled. Hostilities broke out around Peter the Great Gulf, Vladivostok when the Russians tried to shut off gold mining operations and expel Chinese workers there. The Chinese resisted a Russian attempt to take Askold Island and in response, 2 Russian military stations and 3 Russian towns were attacked by the Chinese, and the Russians failed to oust the Chinese.
The Great Game and the 1870s Xinjiang border DisputeEdit
The British observer Demetrius Charles de Kavanagh Boulger suggested a British-Chinese alliance to check Russian expansion in Central Asia.
During the Ili crisis when Qing China threatened to go to war against Russia over the Russian occupation of Ili, the British officer Charles George Gordon was sent to China by Britain to advise China on military options against Russia should a potential war break out between China and Russia.
The Russians occupied the city of Kuldja in Xinjiang during the Dungan revolt (1862–1877). After General Zuo Zongtang and his Xiang Army crushed the rebels, they demanded Russia return the occupied regions.
General Zuo Zongtang was outspoken in calling for war against Russia, hoping to settle the matter by attacking Russian forces in Xinjiang with his Xiang army. In 1878, tension increased in Xinjiang, Zuo massed Chinese troops toward the Russian occupied Kuldja. Chinese forces also fired on Russian expeditionary forces originating from Yart Vernaic, expelling them, resulting in a Russian retreat.
The Russians observed the Chinese building up their arsenal of modern weapons during the Ili crisis, the Chinese bought thousands of rifles from Germany. In 1880 massive amounts of military equipment and rifles were shipped via boats to China from Antwerp as China purchased torpedoes, artillery, and 260,260 modern rifles from Europe.
The Russian military observer D. V. Putiatia visited China in 1888 and found that in Northeastern China (Manchuria) along the Chinese-Russian border,the Chinese soldiers were potentially able to become adept at "European tactics" under certain circumstances, and the Chinese soldiers were armed with modern weapons like Krupp artillery, Winchester carbines, and Mauser rifles.
Compared to Russian controlled areas, more benefits were given to the Muslim Kirghiz on the Chinese controlled areas. Russian settlers fought against the Muslim nomadic Kirghiz, which led the Russians to believe that the Kirghiz would be a liability in any conflict against China. The Muslim Kirghiz were sure that in an upcoming war, that China would defeat Russia.
The Qing dynasty forced Russia to hand over disputed territory in the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1881), in what was widely seen by the west as a diplomatic victory for the Qing. Russia acknowledged that Qing China potentially posed a serious military threat. Mass media in the west during this era portrayed China as a rising military power due to its modernization programs and as a major threat to the western world, invoking fears that China would successfully conquer western colonies like Australia.
Russian sinologists, the Russian media, threat of internal rebellion, the pariah status inflicted by the Congress of Berlin, the negative state of the Russian economy all led Russia to concede and negotiate with China in St Petersburg, and return most of Ili to China.
Historians have judged the Qing dynasty's vulnerability and weakness to foreign imperialism in the 19th century to be based mainly on its maritime naval weakness while it achieved military success against westerners on land, the historian Edward L. Dreyer said that "China's nineteenth-century humiliations were strongly related to her weakness and failure at sea. At the start of the Opium War, China had no unified navy and no sense of how vulnerable she was to attack from the sea; British forces sailed and steamed wherever they wanted to go. ... In the Arrow War (1856–60), the Chinese had no way to prevent the Anglo-French expedition of 1860 from sailing into the Gulf of Zhili and landing as near as possible to Beijing. Meanwhile, new but not exactly modern Chinese armies suppressed the midcentury rebellions, bluffed Russia into a peaceful settlement of disputed frontiers in Central Asia, and defeated the French forces on land in the Sino-French War (1884-85). But the defeat of the fleet, and the resulting threat to steamship traffic to Taiwan, forced China to conclude peace on unfavorable terms."
According to Henry Hugh Peter Deasy in 1901 on the people of Xinjiang: "insurrection is about the last course to which the natives would of their own accord resort. Any riots and disturbances which occur are got up by the officials for the purpose of inflicting injury on foreigners. The population have no fighting courage, no arms, no leaders, are totally incapable of combined action, and, so far as the government of their own country is concerned. may be regarded as of no account. They have been squeezed to the utmost, but would prefer to remain under the dominion of China. If they are questioned, they say 'The Chinese plunder us, but they do not drive and hustle us, and we can do as we please.' This opinion agrees with that of the Andijanis, or natives of Russian Turkestan, who assert that Russian rule is much disliked among them, owing to the harassing administration to which they are subjected."
Alliance in 1890sEdit
Russian finance minister Sergei Witte controlled East Asian policy in the 1890s. His goal was peaceful expansion of trade, and increasing Russian influence over China. Japan, with its greatly expanded and modernized military easily defeated the antiquated Chinese forces in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–95). Russia now faced the choice of collaborating with Japan (with which relations had been fairly good for some years) or acting as protector of China against Japan. Witte chose the second policy and in 1894 Russia joined Britain and France in forcing Japan to soften the peace terms it imposed on China. Japan was forced to return the Liaodong Peninsula and Port Arthur (both territories were located in south-eastern Manchuria, a Chinese province) back to China. This new Russian role angered Tokyo, which decided Russia was the main enemy in its quest to control Manchuria, Korea and China. Witte underestimated Japan's growing economic and military power while exaggerating Russia's military prowess.
Russia concluded an alliance with China in 1896 by the Li–Lobanov Treaty, with China a junior partner and practically a protectorate of China. It led in 1898 to an occupation and administration (by Russian personnel and police) of the entire Liaodong Peninsula and to a fortification of the ice-free Port Arthur. At a time when Russia was receiving large-loans from France, Witte used some of the funds to establish the Russo-Chinese Bank. It provided 100 million rubles for China to fund the reparations it owed Japan. Along with the International Commercial Bank of St-Petersburg, it became the conduit through which Russian capital was funneled into East Asia. Furthermore, the Russo-Chinese Bank also bankrolled the Russian government’s policies towards Manchuria and Korea. The enormous leverage allowed Russia to make strategic leases of key military ports and defense stations. The Chinese government ceded the concession rights for building and owning the new Chinese Eastern Railway which was to cross northern Manchuria from west to east, linking Siberia with Vladivostok and greatly strengthening the military capabilities of the Russian forces in the Far East. It was built in 1898-1903 and operated by the Russo-Chinese Bank. It allowed Russia to become economically dominant in Manchuria, which was stuill under nominal control by Peking.
In 1899 the Boxer Rebellion broke out with Chinese nativist attacks on all foreigners. A large coalition of eleven major Western powers, led by Russia and Japan, sent an army to relieve their diplomatic missions in Peking and take control of the Chinese capital. The Russian government used this as an opportunity to bring a substantial army into Manchuria. As a consequence, Manchuria became a fully incorporated outpost of the Russian Empire in 1900, and Japan made ready to fight Russia over Korea and Manchuria .
Chinese Honghuzi bandits were nomads who came from China and roamed the area around Manchuria and the Russo-Chinese border. They raided Russian settlers in the far east region during the 1870–1920 era.
Both countries saw their monarchies abolished during the second decade of the Twentieth century, the Qing dynasty in 1912, following the Xinhai Revolution, and the Russian Tsarist dynasty in 1917, following the February Revolution.
Soviet Union, Republic of China, People's Republic of ChinaEdit
Russian Civil War and MongoliaEdit
The Beiyang government in north China joined the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. They sent forces numbering 2,300 in Siberia and North Russia beginning in 1918, after the Chinese community in the area requested it.
Mongolia and Tuva became contested territories. After being occupied by the Chinese General Xu Shuzheng in 1919, and then by the Russian White Guard General turned independent warlord, Ungern von Sternberg in 1920, Soviet troops with support of Mongolian guerrillas led by Damdin Sükhbaatar, defeated the White warlord and established a new pro-Soviet Mongolian client state, which by 1924 became the Mongolian People's Republic.
KMT, CPC, and the Chinese Civil WarEdit
Soviet Foreign Minister Georgy Chicherin played a major role in establishing formal relations with China in 1924, and in designing the Kremlin's China policy. He focused on the Chinese Eastern Railway, Manchuria, and the Mongolian issue. In 1921, the Soviet Union began supporting the Kuomintang, and in 1923, the Comintern instructed the Communist Party of China to sign a military treaty with the KMT. But in 1926, KMT leader, Chiang Kai-shek abruptly dismissed his Soviet advisers, and imposed restrictions on CCP participation in the government. By 1927, when the Northern Expedition was nearly concluded, Chiang purged the CCP from the KMT-CCP alliance, resulting in the Chinese Civil War which was to last until 1950, a few months after the People's Republic of China, led by Mao Zedong, was proclaimed. During the war, some Soviet support was given to the CPC, who in 1934 were dealt a crushing blow when the KMT brought an end to the Chinese Soviet Republic, beginning the CPC's Long March to Shaanxi.
Second Sino-Japanese War and World War IIEdit
In 1931, the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria and created the puppet state of Manchukuo (1932), which signalled the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War. In 1937, a month after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, the Soviet Union established a non-aggression pact with the Republic of China. During the World War II-period, the two countries suffered more losses than any other country, with China (in the Second Sino-Japanese war) losing over 35 million and the Soviet Union 27 million people.
Joint-victory over Imperial JapanEdit
On August 8, 1945, three months after Nazi Germany surrendered, and on the week of the American Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6 and 9), the Soviet Union launched the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, a massive military operation mobilizing 1.5 million soldiers against one million Kwantung Army troops, the last remaining Japanese military presence. Soviet forces won a decisive victory while the Kwantung suffered massive casualties, with 700,000 having surrendered. The Soviet Union distributed some of the weapons of the captured Kwantung Army to the CCP, who would go on to battle the KMT in the Chinese Civil War.
Independence of MongoliaEdit
China, Soviet Union: Treaty of Friendship and Alliance was signed by Soviet and ROC, which stated the possible Independence of Mongolia in the premise of Soviet not supporting the Communist China.
War of Liberation and the People's Republic of ChinaEdit
Between 1946 and 1950, the CCP was increasingly enjoying massive support from the Chinese people in the "War of Liberation," effectively implementing a People's war, while the KMT became increasingly isolated, only belatedly attempting to stem corruption and introduce popular reforms. On October 1, 1949 the People's Republic of China was proclaimed by Mao Zedong, and by May 1950 the Civil War was brought to an end in the Battle of Kuningtou, which saw the KMT expelled from Mainland China but in control of Taiwan. With the creation of the People's Republic of China, the supreme political authority in the two countries became centered in two communist parties, both espousing revolutionary, Marxist-Leninist ideology: the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
In 1951, Chinese Muslim General Bai Chongxi on Taiwan made a speech to the entire Muslim world calling for a war against Russia, and Bai also called upon Muslims to avoid the Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, accusing him of being blind to Soviet imperialism.
From camaraderie to the Sino-Soviet SplitEdit
Thus, in the immediate years after the PRC was proclaimed, the Soviet Union became its closest ally. Soviet design, equipment and skilled labour was set out to help industrialize and modernize the PRC. But the extent of actual support, while not insignificant, fell well below Chinese expectations. In the 1960s, relations became deeply strained following the Sino-Soviet Split, culminating in the Sino-Soviet border conflict.
Border crossings came under heavy restriction or were closed, while border defences were strengthened. For the next twenty years or more, 1965–88, the Sino-Soviet border, including in the Tumen River area, became a highly militarized and fortified zone. This included a large concentration of tactical nuclear-armed missile sites on both sides. Until 1991, foreigners, consulates and non-residents were not permitted in Vladivostok after 1948, or in Yanbian or the border areas of Heilongjiang Province after 1965. Political, social and economic conditions deteriorated further as the Cultural Revolution disrupted life and institutions on the Chinese side from 1966 to 1972. Periods of extreme tension in 1968–70 along the eastern Sino-Soviet border (with Primorsky) resulted in border skirmishes on the Ussuri River in 1969, and again during 1979–80, when Vietnam invaded Cambodia, and China retaliated with a border war with Vietnam. These skirmishes led to the intensification of border fortifications and the mobilization of the civilian populations on both sides.
Increasingly, the PRC began to consider the Soviet Union, which it viewed as Social imperialist, as the greatest threat it faced, more so than even the leading capitalist power, the United States. In turn, overtures were made between the PRC and the US, such as in the Ping Pong Diplomacy and the 1972 Nixon visit to China.
Chinese Muslims say that the Soviet Union was worse in regards to its treatment of Islam than China during the "ten black years" (of the Cultural Revolution).
Post-Mao era and stabilizing relationsEdit
In September 1976, Mao died. A month later, the Gang of Four were overthrown by his successor, Chairman Hua Guofeng, with the support of Deng Xiaoping, who was to soon implement pro-market economic reform. With the PRC no longer espousing the anti-revisionist notion of the antagonistic contradiction between classes, relations between the two countries became gradually normalized. In 1979, however, the PRC launched the Sino-Vietnamese War, an invasion of Vietnam (a Soviet ally) in response to Vietnam's invasion and subsequent occupation of Cambodia which overthrew the Dengist government-backed Khmer Rouge from power. Even though Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev went on to criticize the post-Maoist CCP when it allowed for PRC millionaires as having lost the socialist path, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 90s, Russia itself turned to privatization.
Dissolution of the Soviet UnionEdit
But unlike in the PRC, this was a much more extreme, highly unregulated form of privatization during the Presidency of Boris Yeltsin, which resulted in asset grabs by Russians in a highly unregulated fashion, resulting in deep socio-economic inequalities within Russia and the collapse of the economy as well as various Russian institutions. Thus, in the post-Cold War period, the PRC emerged in a far more favourable and stable financial position. The PRC is currently seeing the fastest rate of economic growth of any large economy, several points higher than Russia which has been growing at an annualized rate of some 5–6%. Russia's economy in the early 2000s was largely driven by demand for export of natural resources to Europe and Asia, with a gradual move up the value-added chain as Russian aluminum and steel mills upgrade to international standards. China is the growth market, and with the ESPO pipeline, Russia will increasingly diversify energy exports away from Europe and towards Asia.
China and the Russian FederationEdit
China and Russia have generally had good relations since 1991.
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- John Bell, (Travels from St Petersburg in Russia to diverse parts of Asia, Edinburgh,1808 and OCR reprint) has a record of this journey
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Probably the first clash between the Russians and Chinese occurred in 1868. It was called the Manza War, Manzovskaia voina. "Manzy" was the Russian name for the Chinese population in those years. In 1868, the local Russian government decided to close down goldfields near Vladivostok, in the Gulf of Peter the Great, where 1,000 Chinese were employed. The Chinese decided that they did not want to go back, and resisted. The first clash occurred when the Chinese were removed from Askold Island,
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in the Gulf of Peter the Great. They organized themselves and raided three Russian villages and two military posts. For the first time, this attempt to drive the Chinese out was unsuccessful.
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Then there occurred another story which has become traumatic, this one for the Russian nationalist psyche. At the end of the year 1918, after the Russian Revolution, the Chinese merchants in the Russian Far East demanded the Chinese government to send troops for their protection, and Chinese troops were sent to Vladivostok to protect the Chinese community: about 1600 soldiers and 700 support personnel.
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