- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
362

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVI. Russia in the east. The yellow question

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THROUGH SIBERIA
was not a supply of labour which seemed desirable
for these important provinces, and here again there has
been a change in recent years ; no more convicts are
to be sent there.
But side by side with the Russian colonization, a
steadily increasing immigration of yellow men has been
going on, especially of Koreans and Chinese, and to a
less extent of Japanese. The immigration of Koreans
began after the country became Russian ; they have
crossed the frontier since 1860. The reason was the
periodical recurrence of bad years in the Korean border
provinces, through which the people fell into the most
frightful destitution. Arable land had also become
scarce in their native country owing to exhaustive
farming ; but perhaps not the least of the causes was
the shameless extortion of the Korean official class.
In 1869 especially, there was a wholesale immigration
of Koreans to the Ussuri country ; on account of heavy
rains northern Korea had suffered so severely that there
was a complete famine, and 7000 Koreans crossed the
frontier in a miserable condition. At first, the Russian
authorities did not adopt an unfriendly attitude to
this immigration. As the Koreans are capable farmers,
they contributed to improve the condition of the Ussuri
country and to make living cheaper there. A number
of Koreans were even transferred to the Amiir district.
But when this immigration increased still further,
anxiety began to be felt, and a possible national danger
was seen in this large increase of the non-Russian popu
lation. In 1882, an edict was issued according to which
only Russian subjects could acquire land in Siberia ;
only in exceptional cases might the Governor-General
give foreigners permission to do so. An agreement
was also entered into with the Korean Government,
whereby the Koreans who had immigrated before 1884
362

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