Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ferguson riots: Pressure mounts on Obama

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

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

2014-08-08 WWI centenary

WWI: The Somme, Land of Remembrance

Every year in France, more than 200,000 visitors walk across the battlefields of the Somme. They come from Great Britain, Canada or even from Australia and New Zealand with one...

Read more

2014-08-01 France

The Depths of Hell: 1914-1918

100 years ago, on August 3rd, 1914, Germany declared war on France. Europe was thrown into chaos, and the world plunged into total war. Machine guns, tanks, toxic gas, planes,...

Read more

2014-07-25 Islam

Halal tourism on the rise

The race to corner France’s Muslim market, which has already seen the development of such products as halal candy, cosmetics and clothing, has extended to holiday packages.

Read more

2014-07-18 Hong Kong

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

In 1997 Hong Kong was proud to re-establish its Chinese identity after more than 150 years under British colonisation. But the atmosphere has changed and Hong Kong is now in open...

Read more

2014-07-11 Pakistan

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

In the wake of the 9/11 terror attack, questions have been asked about the tactics used in former US president George W. Bush's "War on Terror". Extraordinary rendition saw many...

Read more