- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
371

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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RUSSIA IN THE EAST
371
—the capital of the country is increased in the form of
newly cultivated land, which yields a return in interest
in each succeeding year. If there is to be a hope in any
near future of seeing these frontier provinces so developed
and so thickly populated as to be of real value to the
position of Russia in the East, then this is only to be
done with the aid of yellow labour. If this development
is to wait until it can be carried out by Russian immi
gration and Russian labour alone, it will take too long,
and in the meantime the still thinly occupied provinces
may fall into foreign hands, and all the men, all the
labour and all the money will have been sacrificed
for the benefit of a foreign Power.
I have also heard it maintained by well-informed
and eminent Russians that the hostile policy towards
the Chinese and the harsh treatment to which they are
often exposed are unwise ; it is making enemies of them
unnecessarily and driving them over to the side of
the Japanese. Formerly the Chinese looked upon
the Japanese as their natural enemies, while on the
whole their feelings towards the Russians were not
unfriendly ; in fact, it is asserted that the latter under
stand far better than the Japanese how to treat them ;
a Russian, even of high position, is never so insulting
and overbearing in his behaviour to the Chinese as a
highly placed Japanese.
But it must be admitted that in recent years things
have happened which have somewhat changed this
state of affairs, most of all, perhaps, the unfortunate
events of 1900. During the Boxer rising in China in
that year, the Chinese suddenly attacked some Russian
steamboats plying on the Amiir, and stopped them.
Hostile bands of Chinese also assembled on the Amiir,
immediately opposite Blagovéshchensk. At that time
there were between 10,000 and 15,000 Chinese living

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