- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
368

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
exploitation of its great natural wealth, its agriculture
and its mines, demands a large supply of labour, which
it is at present impossible to provide without the help
of the yellow men. But there is the additional cir
cumstance that the yellow labourer, Chinese or Korean,
is superior in competition with the European, and one
often hears it asserted by Russians that without him it
would be impossible to live there.
The frugality of the Chinese is well known, and it
enables him to work for so much lower wages than the
European labourer. In addition to this he is on the
whole more capable. It is true that I often heard it
asserted that a Russian navvy could do more work
in a day than a Korean, and probably more than a
Chinese ; but he required higher wages, because his
way of living was so much more expensive. But a
comparison of this sort is not altogether just; it over
looks the fact that the Chinese and the Korean are not
nearly so well nourished as the Russian. If they were
all put on the same diet, it is unlikely that the Russian
labourer would perform more or better work than the
yellow ones. Besides this, the Chinese and Koreans
are industrious and steady workers, which is not always
the case with the Russians out here.
Then there is the fact already alluded to, that the
yellow men are elever craftsmen, who carry on a num
ber of handicrafts and have therefore become almost
indispensable in many places. That a Chinese business
man is everywhere the successful rival of a Russian
or European, is well known. And these qualities, as the
Russian writer Bolkhovitinov puts it, are more dangerous
than either the Chinese army or navy.
One can understand the alarm of the Russian
authorities at the danger that seems to threaten here ;
and the employment of Chinese labourers is now for^
368

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