China in The Mirror of the Historiography and Source Study

Victor L. Larin

Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology of the Peoples of the Far East, FEB RAS, Vladivostok, Russia.

Pacific Russia Researchers on China Politics and Development in the Second Decade of 21st Century

The article is an analytical review of the main areas and directions of research that are devoted to the development of China and Russian-Chinese relations in the last decade of the 21st century and prepared by the scientists who live and work in Pacific Russia. The author begins with a survey of main scientific publications in which these works have been published, goes on to characterize the most interesting articles and books, which reflect the trends in the PRC’s internal development, some aspects of Chinese domestic and foreign policies, the trends in particular regions’ (primarily North-East China) development, and finally analyzes publications on Chinese policy towards Russia and Russian-Chinese relations. The author concludes that the Far Eastern scholars’ vision of China and its policies may not look as fundamental as the approach of sinologists who present the metropolitan science, but it is more pragmatic, practical and concrete. In studying a number of aspects of modern China, scientists from Pacific Russia are among the leaders not only in Russian but in the world Sinology also. This remark concerns a study of Russian-Chinese cross-border relations, Russian public opinion about China, the development of the northeastern provinces of PRC, as well as Beijing interests and policies in Arctic.

Keywords: China studies, Chinese policy, China development, Russia-China relations, Pacific Russia.

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Sergei A. Ivanov

Winners do not Make Excuses: Sources on the Genesis and Initial Stage of Chinese Reforms

The article provides a critical analysis of historical materials on the first decade of reforms in the People’s Republic of China (the late 1970s—1980s). This source study aims to assess historical science’s ability to go beyond the official history of the PRC, which offers a simplified understanding of successful economic transformations. The author analyses four categories of historical materials: archival materials, official collections of archival documents, memoirs, and oral history. Each of them was seriously affected by state ideology. The archives in the PRC are mostly closed for in-depth historical study. The production of other types of sources is controlled by the state, which determines the style and key narratives in the published materials. Official compilations of archival documents are subject to corrections, which, although insignificant in volume, can fundamentally change the understanding of historical figures’ views and actions. Memoirs and oral history materials published in the PRC merge into a common political narrative about the reforms’ total success under the wise party leadership. A recourse to sources of foreign archives, memoirs, and oral history about reforms in the PRC that do not pass the censorship filter allows us to understand historical processes better. However, it is barely able to become a full-fledged alternative. In that perspective, only a careful and thorough study of the maximum possible number of sources about the phenomenon in the initial period of reforms, understanding of their weaknesses, taking into account narratives imposed by ideology, can minimize the influence of official history and allows for productive historical research.

Keywords: historical source, reforms, China, memoirs, oral history.

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Ivan Yu. Zuenko

Central-Local Relations in Contemporary China: Sources and Historiography

The article focuses in the Central-local relations in contemporary China — the topic that seems to be one of the crucially important for understanding the essence of current economic and political processes in PRC. The author aims to overview historiography of the topic and his own experience of working with sources in the conditions of official archives inaccessibility. The paper examines existing literature on Russian, English and Chinese as well as existing sources with open access for researchers (digital archives and public libraries): official documents, speeches, notes and memoirs of political leaders. The author concludes that the historiography lacks balance due to the inaccessibility of Chinese official archives and the difference of motivation of researchers who represent different ideological paradigm. Western scholars as a rule view the Central-local relations in China through the lens of searching the evidence of decentralization and democratization of Chinese authoritarian partocracy regime. Chinese researchers who couldn’t be too critical to the essence of the state usually follow the official mainstream position towards the topic. Their Russian colleagues with rare exception focus on the problems of Chinese political system in general ignoring the processes in regions.

Key words: China, Center-periphery relations, regional policy, regions, reforms.

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Ivan V. Stavrov

China’s Minority Nationalities Policy in the Mirror of Sources

The presented article is devoted to a review of historical sources on minority nationalities politics and interethnic relations in the PRC. The most significant traditionally are written sources: documentary and narrative, which are identified in archives and libraries. The proposed work summarizes the author’s experience in the formation of a database on the study of ethnopolitics of the PRC. Sources on ethnopolitics and interethnic relations of the PRC are varied and are not limited solely to official documents (materials of congresses of the CPC, decisions of plenary sessions of the CPC Central Committee, keynote speeches of the general secretaries of the CPC Central Committee, government decrees, plans for socio-economic development), legislation (primarily the PRC constitution and the law on district national autonomy) and statistics (censuses, current statistics), although their value is extremely high. These groups of materials allow you to study minority nationalities policy “from above”, in terms of state strategy. However, various notes of travelers, memoirs, as well as fiction (poetry and prose of non-Han authors and Han people, telling about interethnic relations in the PRC) allow us to see the issue more clearly, “from below”, to reveal the perception of measures implemented by the state on the part of the non-Han peoples of the PRC.

Keywords: ethnopolitics, “national question”, interethnic relations, historical sources, source studies, PRC, PRC legislation, normative acts.

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Gennady P. Beloglazov

Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology of the Peoples of the Far East, FEB RAS, Vladivostok, Russia.

The Agrarian System and the Peasantry of Manchuria in the Works of Russian Orientalist Scientists of Harbin and Chinese Researchers (20—30s of the 20th Century)

The theory and practice of economic reform in China and Russia has become one of the areas of research of Russian agricultural historians in recent decades. The article analyzes the scientific works of agricultural scientists of the first third of the 20th century, who made a significant contribution to the theory and practice of agriculture in Manchuria and the study of the processes of agricultural modernization. Within this discourse, the authors highlight theoretical works and assess the ideas and theoretical views of the famous economist of agrarian E.E. Yashnov which fixed the position of the agricultural sector and the socio-economic situation in a Chinese village, and based on critical and comparative analysis and representative database of field statistical surveys of farms of China, Manchuria and the Russian Far East have made theoretical insights and strategic forecasts, wore a conceptual nature. The analysis of Chinese historiography on the agrarian and peasant problem of Manchuria and China in this period is presented by the works of the most famous Chinese authors Chen Hansheng, Feng Hefa, Yu Shengxu, and others.

The relevance of this research is that in the modern conditions of reforming the agricultural complex of Russia and China and searching for ways of its optimal development, the study of various agricultural concepts in the history of the two countries is of particular interest, since it allows us to take a new look at the historical processes of agricultural transformations, mutual influence and interaction of both States on cross-border territories.

The research was carried out using a system-synergistic approach to the study of traditional Asian peasant societies in their historical development, which allows us to assess the transformation of the agrarian system of Manchuria, its dynamics, variability and possible models that are formed peasant associations and communities in this peculiar region of China.

This article is based on the analyzed works, as well as the author’s materials contained in publications on agricultural issues and the social structure of the Chinese village in the North-Eastern region of China.

Keywords: historiography, Manchuria, peasantry, agrarian problems, agricultural history.

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Galina V. Kondratenko

Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology of the Peoples of the Far East, FEB RAS, Vladivostok, Russia.

The Discussion on the Creation of a Social Support System in the Prc in the 1980s and 1990s in English Literature

The article analyzes the discussion around the problem of creating and transforming the social security system in the PRC in the initial period of reforms in the English literature. The research tradition focuses on the study of China’s social policy within the framework of the paradigm of economic reforms that determine the social development of the country. The key object of research is the social insurance system. The focus is on two areas of reform — pension reform related to the reform of state-owned enterprises and the reform of the health care system, which was destroyed in the village in the 1980s. It is worth noting that in almost all works, the impact of economic reforms on the social security system of China is considered, and the political mechanism, partly determining regional differences in the normative support of social development in China, is not sufficiently specific in many works. In General, this tradition emphasizes that two key characteristics are important for understanding the specifics of social policy in the PRC — the structure of social security and the combination of incentives and powers of Central and local authorities. In the initial period of social security reform, the main issues were the size of insurance payments and benefits, the breadth of coverage of the support system, and stratification, which reflects the inequality in the amount of preferences received by different groups of the population. These three dimensions relate differently to specific conditions and determine the degree of uniqueness of the local social security system.

Keywords: social development, social insurance system, paradigm of economic reforms, bureaucratic paradigm, regional inequality.

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Sergey Yu. Vradiy

Chinese Manuscripts Collection at the Central Scientific Library Far-Eastern Branch Russian Academy of Sciences

The article is devoted to the collection of Chinese books preserved now at the Central Scientific Library Russian Academy of Sciences Far-Eastern Branch, which are remnants of the Oriental Institute library in Vladivostok. Particular attention is paid to the history of higher education in Russia Far East, to the formation of Chinese rare books collection, and contribution of professor-sinologists A.V. Rudakov, P.P. Shmidt, E.G. Spalvin, and others to the creation of library book holdings, which played a significant role in teaching students of the Oriental Institute and Far-Eastern State University, as well as in studies of Oriental countries. The paper highlights the historical issues of the library acquisition; the initial composition of the collection is briefly described also. Xylogarphic library fund of the Central Scientific Library Russian Academy of Sciences Far-Eastern Branch — is the oldest and scientifically valuable Chinese book collection in the Far East of Russia. This fund is numerically significant collection of old books outside of China, it requires careful attitude and preservation for future generations of researchers.

Key words: Oriental Institute in Vladivostok, library, Chinese rare books collection, A.V. Rudakov, P.P. Schmidt, E.G. Spalvin, Russian Oriental Studies.

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International Processes in the Pacific

Sergey K. Pestsov

Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology of the Peoples of the Far East, FEB RAS, Vladivostok, Russia.

Strategic Partnership of Russia and China: Place and Role of Humanitarian Cooperation

Article is devoted to a general review of the content of humanitarian cooperation between the Russian Federation and China as an important component of the overall process of forming a strong strategic partnership between them. Humanitarian cooperation is considered as one of the priorities of bilateral cooperation. Without the real involvement of most citizens in this cooperation at the simplest human level, without the development of a common language in the literal and figurative sense, any ambitious and ambitious plans can remain. Its first part provides a brief overview of the work of Russian researchers on the subject. The second section is devoted to the characterization of the legal and organizational infrastructure of Russian-Chinese humanitarian interactions. The third part analyses the content of the main directions of humanitarian contacts in relations between Russia and China, based on recent practice and activities. In conclusion, general results are summarized, and some conclusions are proposed. The analysis shows that Russian-Chinese relations in the humanitarian sphere, especially in recent years, are distinguished by obvious positive dynamics. Nevertheless, some dissatisfaction present on both sides indicates that the potential of bilateral humanitarian contacts is far from exhausted. The cultural ties between the two countries remain largely episodic, and the system channels of humanitarian interactions do not fully work. Humanitarian interactions between Russia and China remain predominantly state-organized, formal, and largely superficial. As a product of bureaucratic activity, the number of events does not at all guarantee their necessary quality and desired result.

Keywords: Russia, China, international cooperation, strategic partnership, humanitarian interactions, cultural contacts.

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Galina N. Romanova

Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology of the Peoples of the Far East, FEB RAS, Vladivostok, Russia.

Economic Relations of the USSR with North-Eastern China During its Japanese Occupation and Civil War in the Country (1932—1949)

Article is devoted to consideration of economic relations of the USSR and North-East China during the 30—40s taking into account influence of external factors — respectively, the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union and the Anti-Japanese war in China. Historical processes reveal on the basis of archive materials, a wide range of a domestic historiography and also Chinese literature. Granting in the late thirties of the USSR to China of loans happened on much more favorable conditions, than the credits the leading capitalist powers. The conclusion of the Soviet-Chinese contracts 1939 and 1945 of created a legal basis for expansion of economic relations of the USSR and China. In article the research of concrete events, the facts and statistics allowed to draw the following conclusions: economic relations of the USSR with North-East China in the 30—40s which were actually expressed in the economic help of the USSR to China were considerable support to it in fight against the Japanese aggression; in the second half of the 40s trade of the USSR first of all with Liberated regions of North-East China extended; on structure and volume the commercial relations of the USSR with China, first of all with the North-East, represented in essence trade of the industrial state with the agricultural country; in spite of the fact that in the USSR there were closed society and a command system, and in China there was a mixed economy in the 40s in North-East China the “I.Ya. Churin and Co” joint-stock company which had a great influence on the Soviet-Chinese commercial relations, domestic trade and a financial system of the region was created; the Soviet-Chinese economic cooperation broke off the actual international isolation of China.

Keywords: USSR, Far East, China, North-East China, Manchuria, Great Patriotic war, Anti-Japanese war, japanese occupation, civil war, treaty, trade, loans, Chinеse Eastern railway.

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History and Culture of Japan

Vladimir V. Kozhevnikov

Japanese Belief in “Vengeous Spirits”: the Post-Death Assignment of the Emperor’s Title

The article analyzes the process of transferring the capital of Japan, Heijokyo (Nara), first to Nagaoka, and then to Heiankyo (Kyoto). This makes it possible to analyze the characteristics of the Japanese mentality, and, in particular, motivating factors in the behavior of the Japanese. Very often, historians look for the causes of specific actions of historical personalities, of various events exclusively in the material sphere, ignoring the subjective spiritual world. But in antiquity and in the Middle Ages, the main motivating factors were often religious beliefs, one or another belief. At that time, precisely such beliefs were the most important stimulating factor in the behavior of people. This fully applies to Japan. There are many events in her story that are very difficult to explain with formal logic. These are the constant transfers of capitals to the 6—7 centuries, and the construction of the largest Buddha statue in the world (at that time), etc. When we talk specifically about Japan, it is important to consider such a factor as people’s faith in onryo (revengeful spirits). And very often it was this faith that was the main motive for certain actions of the country’s political leaders, including emperors. The article discusses the decision-making process on the transfer of the capital of Japan from Nara to Kyoto and the posthumous assignment of the title of emperor to Prince Savara, which was an unprecedented case in the history of Japan.

Keywords: Japan, transfer of capitals, Nara, Kyoto, prince of Savara, onyo, emperor Kammu, traditional beliefs of Japan.

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