Skip to comments.Where Russia Meets China (Russian migrants from Siberia flood into neighboring Chinese city)
Posted on 06/23/2012 7:46:37 PM PDT by Zhang Fei
SUIFENHE, ChinaIn 1989, the opening of the border between Russia and China raised Russian fears of a "yellow peril": millions of Chinese citizens flooding north into relatively unpopulated, but richly endowed, Siberia. Some contrarian publications even went so far as to suggest that Russia should just accept the inevitable and sell the whole territory to China.
Demographically, it makes sense that Chinese people would flock to Russia. Look at it in economic terms, though: China's economy is booming, and its prospects seem limitless. Meanwhile, Russia is highly dependent on uncertain oil and natural gas reserves. Professionals already make more money in China than they do in Russia, and as China's economy grows, blue-collar wages will likely outpace Russian pay. So, rather than Chinese people moving to Russia, isn't it more likely that Russians would move to China?
I asked this question of many Russians in the Far East, and I usually got the same answer: It's already happening. Thus far, the Russian migration to China seems to be only a trickle. But it's not hard to imagine that this is just the start.
The energy in Suifenhe, a relative backwater, is so much greater than in Vladivostoka city three times the sizethat taking the four-hour bus trip across the border is like switching from black-and-white to color. The road from Vladivostok becomes progressively worse the closer you get to the border, and the land is almost empty of people. As soon as you cross the border into China, there is a massive shopping mall with red cupolas, an apparent nod to Russian architecture, and an international-standard Holiday Inn.
The mall is part of what was supposed to be a joint Chinese-Russian free-trade zone... ... all Russia has built on its side of the border is a church...
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
Also strange that they (China) have built these ‘ghost towns’. Is this in preparation for a ‘world financial collapse’ that has been orchestrated?
That’s central planning run amok. The provinces were given orders for a certain amount of growth, so to create economic activity, they built cities. Which are now deteriorating. The same blind obedience is shown by the local officials hiding the slow down from Beijing.
As a non-Chinese amateur outside observer who collects information about China the way I used to about the Soviets during the Cold War era, I have no special insight into the country. However, I have read from English language sources that in China, local government officials - all appointed by the central government - are promoted and paid bonuses based on GDP growth in their localities. It is said that many of them try to game the numbers. One instrument they use is the power of eminent domain, which they use to to seize property from local residents, who were granted no charge, zero property tax, leaseholds for 70 years starting with the economic reforms of 1979 (meaning they start to expire in 2049). Another instrument is the pledging of local property as collateral for loans from banks to invest in real estate ventures fronted by private developers.
Bottom line is that the ghost towns are, in some cases, ways of fiddling the stats so government officials can get promoted and obtain bigger bonuses. In other cases, they are part of a property bubble that has gone out of control.
However, the heart of Chinese industrial growth is real. The products from China that we use on a day-to-day basis, ranging from the keyboard I am using to type this reply, the toaster oven I used to prepare dinner to the assembled-in-China exercise machine on which I work out every day are real. Some products are sub-standard, but the vast majority are just fine, which is why manufacturers continue to flock over there, in spite of the fact that Chinese wages are now well into the top half of global wages and poised to move into the top third. Indian wages rates are less than half Chinese levels, and India's population is roughly the same as China's but foreign manufacturers in China are mostly staying put, mainly because manufacturing in India (and a lot of other lower wage locations outside of China) come with much bigger problems of government interference, grabbiness and, in some cases, a high risk of expropriation.
Utter insanity. What a waste.
I found out from a friendly camera store owner that they mostly brought in catches of fish and sea food to trade for hard currency. It is quite natural that people from economically disadvantaged areas will take their raw material type trade goods to economically better off areas and use them to buy goods of better quality or difficult availability at home.
It holds true without regard to which side is more populous. It is just where the trade is better.
Doesn't matter if it is Chinese going to Hong Kong, Russians going to China, Canadians buying booze and cigarettes in America or Californians going to Las Vegas cathouses to get laid.
Chinese understand capitalism better than most Americans. Put them anywhere in the world outside the yoke of Communism and they prosper-- Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and, of course, America.
Put your other average third worlder in America (Mexicans, Somalis, you name it) and their natural instinct is to organize to plunder their hosts with more gimme programs and eventually turn their American communities into the same type of sh*thole which they fled.
That ain't racism, that's just fact and observation.
I'd argue that it's not a complete waste. Chinese apartment buildings are concrete and brick structures both outside and inside. Apart from the windows, the buildings are unfinished, and it's up to the homeowner who will eventually live there to spend the money to put in carpeting, tiles or wood flooring, bathroom fixtures, sinks, appliances, A/C, heating and so on. But the basic structures are pretty low maintenance, from the perspective of the investor who is merely looking to resell. The fact that many of them are 20- to 30-story apartment buildings instead of sprawling developments across thousands of acres makes them relatively cheap to guard. Overall, I wouldn't expect the kind of stripping of property that we've seen with abandoned foreclosures stateside, especially given that economic crimes are occasionally punished with death sentences in China, if the amounts involved are significant.
I think the curious thing about the Russian influx into China is that they are going for jobs. Bartering goods is a longstanding tradition the world over, but attracting foreign migrants is something China hasn’t been able to do for hundreds of years. In antiquity, China used to be a real mecca for foreigners, e.g. Canton was apparently once a city with a substantial population of Muslim traders (Arab, Persian, etc), and people of all nationalities from its neighbors used to flood into the country to seek their fortunes there. In other worlds, China was the Far Eastern equivalent of ancient Rome. The fact that it is starting to attract Russian migrants seems to indicate that its growth isn’t all hype, even though it is nowhere near as prosperous as many of its Asian neighbors.
Thousands of wealthy Chinese families are moving to Canada, buying million dollar homes with all cash. These are not economic migrants. These successful Chinese want to get out of China. So why would a Russian, who doesn't even speak Mandarin, want in? ... a slightly better wage? I am sceptical about this story, which the author acknowledges to be second hand.
The article quotes a Russian businessman to the effect that there is “less corruption and bureaucracy” in China. That is mainly why wealthy Chinese are moving to Canada. This is counter-intuitive.
Lots of wealthy people move from Europe and Japan to the US every year. And this is despite the rough parity in wages. I suspect that for a lot of these Chinese, it's a fear of future political turmoil, rather an economic slowdown. In some cases, it's corruptly obtained funds being laundered abroad - note that Bo Xilai's son was driving a Ferrari/Porsche that could not possibly have been afforded on Chinese government wages. Obscenely rich people have all kinds of reasons why they move abroad. People of moderate resources move for one main reason - the grass is greener...
Not really. These things are relative. Corruption-wise, Canada < China < Russia. For a person who is simultaneously not wealthy and not a refugee in certain pre-defined categories, getting into Canada is not easy. China is right across border from Russia and apparently welcomes Russians. Despite flashes of xenophobia, China has absorbed and assimilated, by conquest as well as via in-migration, huge numbers of people of different ethnicities and races since the Qin emperor unified, after great slaughter, the major kingdoms of Northeast Asia 2200 years ago. It's not a big surprise that they would welcome Russians in small (or even large) numbers.
One friend was of German ancestry and even though his people had been Russians since Catherine the Great Days; they were still ethnic Germans and second class citizens, couldn't ever get a good job, move up. Main reason my friend moved to Alaska. Funny thing is he still thinks Russkie Hockey is better than North American Hockey though.
Things like this help out with things. Quite common in the PRC. Watched it myself in ShangHai and Beijing.
There are American migrants in Mexico as well for some reason, including people who are working there. The truth is there are hundred times more Chinese immigrants flooding Russia.
Russian average income is still twice higher than average Chinese following burger index and even much higher in real money, let alone it is extremely disproportional in China ranging from a dollar per day for some areas.
In terms of freedoms and liberties Russia is still light years ahead too.
If I could choose between two I could choose Russia any day.
The problem is Russia stagnating while China is cathing up.
Yep, BS. An author of this artile is trying to set up a tendency out of an isolated facts. In a central Russian city of Yekaterinburg 5 time zones West from Vladivostok you can see scores of Chinese and Vietnamese people doing dirty jobs or running small businesses, most lacking any legal status.
China is a big growing power but in terms of living quality it is yet to catch with Mexico, let alone any of Eastern European nations.
They still have hundreds million people living for a dollar a day and I’m not sure if improving it can make any better to Chinese economy built on a cheap workforce.
I think what the author is alluding to is that there are no jobs in Russia for certain fields, whereas the Chinese are hiring. And the average income in Russia might be distorted by the number of Russian billionaires, whose number is roughly the same as China's, despite having 1/10 the population. Note that Brazil, which has roughly the same GDP per capita as Russia, has less than half as many billionaires.
C’mon. Check your facts. Brazil is closer to China than Russia in terms of GDP (PPP).
Russia has 70th place on list which is a lower end for developed nations, Brazil is 101th and China is 120th.
I've used nominal GDP since I don't think comparable baskets of goods exist, for PPP to be anything but a SWAG. Besides, someone who tries to buy gasoline with inflated PPP dollars is going to be sorely disappointed.