A special view on the great neighbor: perception of China and the Chinese in Southern Pacific Russia

A special view on the great neighbor:
perception of China and the Chinese in Southern Pacific Russia

Larin V.L.,

Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology of the Peoples of the Far East, Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok, Russia, victorlar@mail.ru

elibrary_id: 71403 | ORCID: 0000-0002-2825-8391 | RESEARCHER_ID: AAT-7416-2020

Larina L.L.,

Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology of the Peoples of the Far East, Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok, Russia, lilylar25@mail.ru

elibrary_id: 966494 | ORCID: 0000-0002-5040-3671 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2022.02.13
Rubric: Russia today

For citation:

Larin V.L., Larina L.L. A special view on the great neighbor: perception of China and the Chinese in Southern Pacific Russia. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No. 2. P. 174-191. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2022.02.13


The article analyzes the perceptions of China and the Chinese among residents of the Far Eastern Federal District border territories, as reflected during the field studies conducted by the Laboratory for Public Opinion Research of the Institute of History of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in the summer of 2019. The results of this study are compared with the materials of previous surveys of the named laboratory, as well as the assessments of Russian and foreign research centers devoted to similar problems. According to the authors, despite the fact that the attitude towards China in the border territories of Russia fits into the mainstream all-Russian positive trends (China is a friendly country that does not pose a threat to Russia), the nature of these perceptions is different. The overwhelming majority of Russians construct their views of China on the base of abstract foreign policy ideas and fragmentaryтknowledge about this distant country as well as based on the image of China created by official propaganda. The perceptions of residents of the borderlands predominantly come from their own economic and social experiences, and their personal contacts with China and the Chinese. Feeling the real benefits of economic and humanitarian interactions with China, people in Pacific Russia actively advocate economic cooperation with it and give it priority over other countries. Despite the existence of linguistic and cultural barriers, as well as warnings about the “Chinese threat” that have been circulated for a long time in the media, most of them are tolerant of the Chinese and successfully interact with them. However, the subjective (to a large extent subconscious) factors of perception – socio-demographic and psychological – continue to play an important role in the perception of China, and therefore the views of the citizens of the Far East on this country are not integral and are quite contradictory. Approximately one fifth of the population is opposed to China and is categorically against an expansion of the Chinese economic and demographic presence in Russia. About half of the residents do not have deep-rooted views on China, and any negative processes in bilateral relations can easily turn public sentiment in the other direction. 

China, Chinese, Pacific Russia, trans-border territories, public opinion.

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Content No. 2, 2022

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Bezvikonnaya Ye.V.,
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Rutland P.,
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Bernays E.L.,
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Lukin A.V.,
Russia and China in Greater Eurasia. – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No5

Klimova S.G., Yakusheva T.V.,
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