Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

TV series 'Top of the Lake: China Girl' screened at Cannes

Read more

FOCUS

A lifeline for women facing domestic violence in Pakistan

Read more

ACCESS ASIA

Afghanistan's new TV channel by and for women

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Former minister accused of role in murder of two UN investigators in DR Congo

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Murder in Manchester': Press reacts to Arena terror attack

Read more

ENCORE!

Cannes 2017: Naomi Campbell hosts 'Fashion For Relief'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trump's visit to Israel in key images

Read more

THE DEBATE

Peacemaker? After Saudi Arabia, Trump visits Israel

Read more

ENCORE!

Cannes 2017: Nicole Kidman stars in 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer'

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. Or you can catch it online from 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

2017-05-18 Asia-pacific

Video: India's battle against 'superbugs'

It’s the gravest healthcare threat facing humanity. The World Health Organization has estimated that antibiotic resistance, or ‘superbugs’ as these bacteria have come to be...

Read more

2017-05-12 Middle East

How natural gas could be a geopolitical game-changer in the Mideast

It's a discovery that could easily shake up the geopolitical order in the Middle East. Deep under the eastern Mediterranean lies the largest natural gas basin ever found on...

Read more

2017-05-04 Asia-pacific

Forced into exile: The plight of the Rohingyas

There are more than 1.3 million Rohingya people in the world. Although they have lived in Burma for more than two centuries, this Muslim minority is not among those officially...

Read more

2017-04-28 Spain

The booming business of cannabis in Spain

In Spain, thanks to the success of the "clubs" that have cropped up since 2011, cannabis has become a gold mine. From by-products such as cannabis lollipops and drinks, to...

Read more

2017-04-21 France

Battle to stop nuclear waste being buried in a French village

The village of Bure, in eastern France, has become a battleground for environmentalists. It has been chosen as a site to bury radioactive waste, 500 metres underground. An...

Read more