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Russia and China: "She loves me, she loves me not"



Paul Simon says: "For a much better history of Russia in Manchuria in those years, including detailed accounts of Chinese resentment, Chinese spying for the Japanese, and Chinese partisans fighting for the Japanese, read The Tide at Sunrise by Dennis and Peggy Warner.

Don't think the Chinese in Manchuria don't remember the Russians stripping their equpment 1in 1945. Almost every official I ever met in Liaoning, Jilin or Heilongjiang provinces told me the tales of the Russians painting a white stripe on what they didn't want to steal--because they wanted to steal more than they didn't want to, this was easier than marking the loot itself.

The Chinese in Manchuria hate the Japanese for the most part. To this day, the resentment is palpable (at least the thousands I talked to always did--saying we'll take their investment but we really dislike them. Their favorite saying was "Huan Tang, bu huan yao" (they have changed the broth but not the drug in it"). But they don't like the Russians one bit. It's not an either-or situation, and never was.

It was always a "we prefer neither" and "will throw ourselves behind whomever is delivering swag or protection at the moment". The current Russo-Chinese lukewarm friendship can be seen in that light. The Russians get billions of dollars for military hardware sales, the Chinese get new equipment for the PLA. Both get a little more political leverage. It's a marriage of convenience, not a long term romance. More a marriage made in Harlem than a marriage made in heaven".

Ronald Hilton - 3/11/02


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