Sixty-Four Villages East of the River

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Sixty-Four Villages East of the River
China USSR E 88.jpg
The Sixty-Four Villages East of the River are opposite of Heihe, China and Blagoveshchensk, Russia, in the red area next to the rightward shaded area on the map.
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 江東六十四屯
Simplified Chinese 江东六十四屯
Russian name
Russian Шестьдесят четыре деревни к востоку от реки Амур
or
Зазейский район

Coordinates: 50°06′N 127°41′E / 50.100°N 127.683°E / 50.100; 127.683

The Sixty-Four Villages East of the River were a group of Manchu-inhabited villages located on the left (north) bank of the Amur River opposite to Heihe, and on the east bank of Zeya River opposite to Blagoveshchensk.[1] Their area totalled 3,600 square kilometres (1,400 sq mi).[2]

Among Russian historians, the district occupied by the villages is sometimes referred as Zazeysky rayon (the "Trans-Zeya District" or "The district beyond the Zeya"), because it was separated by the Zeya from the regional capital, Blagoveshchensk.[3]

History[edit]

In the summer of 1857, the Russian Empire offered monetary compensation to China's Qing dynasty government if they would remove the Manchu residents from the area; however, their offer was rebuffed.[4] The following year, in the 1858 Treaty of Aigun, the Qing ceded the north bank of the Amur to Russia.[2] However, Qing subjects residing north of the Amur River were permitted to "retain their domiciles in perpetuity under the authority of the Manchu government".[1]

The earliest known Russian estimate (1859) gives the population of Qing subjects in the "Trans-Zeya District" as 3,000, without breakdown by ethnicity; the next one (1870) gives it as 10,646, including 5,400 (Han) Chinese, 4,500 Manchus and 1,000 Daurs.[5] The estimates published between the late 1870s and early 1890s varied between 12,000 and 16,000, peaking in 1894, at 16,102 (including 9,119 Han Chinese, 5,783 Manchus, and 1,200 Daurs).[5] After that, reported numbers went down (7,000 to 7,500 residents reported each year from 1895 to 1899);[5] by that time, however, the Trans-Zeya villagers constituted only a minority of the Chinese present in the region. For example, besides the Trans-Zeya villagers, in 1898 statistics reported 12,199 Chinese otkhodniki (migrant workers)[6] and 5,400 Chinese miners[7] in the Amur Oblast as it existed at the time,[8] as well as 4,008 Chinese urban residents in Blagoveshchensk[9] and probably elsewhere.

During the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, Qing forces attempted to blockade Russian boat traffic on the Amur near Aigun, starting from 16 July, and attacked Blagoveshchensk along with Chinese Honghuzi bandits.,[10] the military governor of the Amur region, Lieutenant-General Konstantin Nikolaevich Gribskii, ordered the expulsion of all Qing subjects who remained north of the river.[1] This included not just the residents of the villages, but also Chinese traders and workers who lived in Blagoveshchensk proper, where they numbered anywhere between one-sixth and one-half of the local population of 30,000.[1][2] They were taken by the local police and driven into the river; most did not know how to swim. Thousands drowned as a result.[1][11]

The massacre angered the Chinese, and had ramifications for the future: the Chinese Honghuzi fought a guerilla war against Russian occupation and assisted the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese war against the Russians in revenge. Louis Livingston Seaman mentioned the massacre as being the reason for the Chinese Honghuzi hatred towards the Russians.: "The Chinaman, be he Hung-hutze or peasant, in his relation to the Russians in this conflict with Japan has not forgotten the terrible treatment accorded him since the Muscovite occupation of Manchuria. He still remembers the massacre at Blagovestchensk when nearly 8,000 unarmed men, women, and children were driven at the point of the bayonet into the raging Amur, until—as one of the Russian officers who participated in that brutal murder told me at Chin-Wang-Tao in 1900—" the execution of my orders made me almost sick, for it seemed as though I could have walked across the river on the bodies of the floating dead." Not a Chinaman escaped, except forty who were employed by a leading foreign merchant who ransomed their lives at a thousand roubles each. These, and many even worse, atrocities are remembered and now is their moment for revenge. So it was easy for Japan to enlist the sympathy of these men, especially when emphasized by liberal pay, as is now the case. It is believed that more than 10,000 of these bandits, divided into companies of from 200 to 300 each and led by Japanese officers, are now in the pay of Japan."[12]

Ongoing dispute[edit]

The Republic of China (ROC), the successor of the Qing Empire, has never recognized the Russian occupation as legitimate.[2] In the 1991 Sino-Russian Border Agreement, the People's Republic of China (PRC) renounced sovereignty of the 64 Villages.[11] However, the Republic of China now based in Taiwan never renounced sovereignty of the area nor does it recognize any border agreements signed by the People's Republic of China with any other countries due to the restrictions imposed by Article 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of China and Section 5 of Article 4 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China.[2] Therefore, the area still appears as Chinese territory in many maps of China published in Taiwan even though it is now administered as a part of Amur Oblast, Russia.[11][13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Paine 1996, pp. 213–214
  2. ^ a b c d e Yan 2005
  3. ^ Timofeyev 2003b
  4. ^ Paine 1996, p. 68
  5. ^ a b c Timofeyev 2003b, Table 11
  6. ^ Timofeyev 2003b, Tables 2 and 3; the 1898 number, however, is about 50% higher than in other years
  7. ^ Timofeyev 2003b, Table 4
  8. ^ The Amur Oblast of the Russian Empire did not have the same borders as today's Amur Oblast, but it included the same core area near the confluence of the Amur and the Zeya. See this map for a comparison.
  9. ^ Timofeyev 2003a
  10. ^ Joana Breidenbach (2005). Pál Nyíri, Joana Breidenbach, ed. China inside out: contemporary Chinese nationalism and transnationalism (illustrated ed.). Central European University Press. p. 90. ISBN 963-7326-14-6. Retrieved 18 March 2012. The political component of Chinese banditism emerged only in the year 1900. For the first time, Khunkhuzy attacked the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk. It ended in the drowning of about 3,000 Chinese near Blagoveshchensk (called Hailanbao in Chinese). When during the Boxer Uprising Boxers and khunkhuzy assaulted Russian positions nearby, Cossacks stationed there decided to drive the Chinese from the Russian bank of the river back onto the Chinese bank. People were simply pushed into the river, and many of them drowned. Even Vladimir Lenin personally criticized the Russian tsarist government for its brutality. 
  11. ^ a b c Maxwell 2007, p. 56
  12. ^ Louis Livingston Seaman (1904). From Tokio through Manchuria with the Japanese. PRINTED AT THE APPLETON PRESS, NEW YORK, U.S.A.: S. Appleton. p. 170. Retrieved 18 March 2012. ant, in his relation to the Russians in this conflict with Japan has not forgotten the terrible treatment accorded him since the Muscovite occupation of Manchuria. He still remembers the massacre at Blagovestchensk when nearly 8,000 unarmed men, women, and children were driven at the point of the bayonet into the raging Amur, until—as one of the Russian officers who participated in that brutal murder told me at Chin-Wang-Tao in 1900—" the execution of my orders made me almost sick, for it seemed as though I could have walked across the river on the bodies of the floating dead." Not a Chinaman escaped, except forty who were employed by a leading foreign merchant who ransomed their lives at a thousand roubles each. These, and many even worse, atrocities are remembered and now is their moment for revenge. So it was easy for Japan to enlist the sympathy of these men, especially when emphasized by liberal pay, as is now the case. It is believed that more than 10,000 of these bandits, divided into companies of from 200 to 300 each and led by Japanese officers, are now in the pay of Japan. LONDON SIDNEY APPLETON COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY Original from the University of California Digitized Nov 21, 2007
  13. ^ E.g., on a 1947 ROC map

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Yang, Chuang; Gao, Fei; Feng (September 2006), "海兰泡和江东六十四屯惨案 (The Tragic Case of Blagoveshchensk/Hailanpao and the Sixty-Four Villages East of the River)", 百年中俄关系 (A Century of China-Russia Relations), Beijing: World Affairs Press, ISBN 7-5012-2876-0 

External links[edit]

  • A map of Aihun Ting from a 1911 Heilongjiang atlas. This is the district centered on Aihun on the Chinese side of the river, but also including (according to the cartographer) the "Sixty-Four Villages" on the Russian side. (Chinese)