Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Gambian citizens flee ahead of Barrow inauguration

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trump will still tweet from personal Twitter account as President

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Population studies: France's 'ethnicity' taboo

Read more

THE DEBATE

Brexit's Biggest Fan: Trump weighs in ahead of Theresa May speech (Part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Brexit's Biggest Fan: Trump weighs in ahead of Theresa May speech (Part 2)

Read more

ENCORE!

Posy Simmonds: 'French women have good handbags, English women have udders'

Read more

FOCUS

Security stepped up in Italy amid terror threat

Read more

ENCORE!

Music producer Uppermost: From the courthouse to the club

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Bulgarian president-elect hopes for lifting of Russia sanctions

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

Latest update : 2012-10-01

Is Siberia becoming Chinese?

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, more and more Chinese citizens have settled in Siberia, looking for new opportunities. France 24's reporters went to Blagoveshchensk, where one of the oldest Chinese communities in Russia is well-established, but where some Russians are very much uneasy with the Chinese presence.

The Siberian city of Blagoveshchensk is located over 8,000 kilometres from Moscow, but barely 800 metres from China. The two countries are only separated by the Amur river. In winter, when it freezes over, the Amur can be crossed on foot.

Until 1989, “Blago”, as the locals call it, was a closed city, off-limits to foreigners. These days it symbolises the growing Chinese influence in Russia’s Far East. Large parts of the economy have been taken over by the Chinese. Farmlands - abandoned former collective farms - are mostly run by Chinese migrants. Mixed marriages are common, and Chinese is the most popular foreign language, taught from school up to university.

The two communities live side by side in relative harmony, although some Russians are not so happy about this Chinese “invasion”. Some find themselves shut out of the labour market due to competition from Chinese workers, who are paid considerably less. These Russian workers complain of a “yellow peril”.

Despite these xenophobic remarks, the Russians in Blagoveshchensk need the Chinese. The locals here remember that not so long ago, Chinese products helped them to cope with the post-Soviet Union transition. These days, it’s thanks to Chinese entrepreneurs - like those we interviewed in our report - that the Russian economy is continuing its modernisation.

For the Russian authorities, there's no question of turning their back on their big neighbour. Indeed, a new bridge will soon be built over the Amur to connect the two countries.

By Xavier LUIZET , Ksenia BOLCHAKOVA

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-01-13 USA

Video: Meeting Trump voters in Wisconsin

On January 20, Donald Trump will be sworn in as 45th president of the United States. With his promise of radical change in American politics, he won several states that until...

Read more

2017-01-05 Africa

Dadaab: Growing up in the world’s largest refugee camp

Located in eastern Kenya, near the Somali border, is Dadaab. This sprawling refugee camp is home to some 280,000 people, most of them from Somalia. Over the past 25 years, a...

Read more

2016-12-26 Middle East

Exclusive: Embedded with Iraqi special forces in Mosul

For more than two months, Iraqi forces have fought to retake Mosul from Islamic State group militants. A quarter of the city has been recaptured but the jihadists are still...

Read more

2016-12-23 migrants

Ferrette: The French village giving hope to migrants

It’s been almost a year since Ferrette, a tiny village in France’s Alsace region, transformed one of its old army barracks into a reception centre for refugees seeking asylum....

Read more

2016-12-15 Asia-pacific

Video: The Philippines’ ruthless war on drugs

Since Rodrigo Duterte took office in the Philippines in June, rarely does a night go by without dozens of bullet-riddled bodies being discovered in the streets of Manila. The new...

Read more