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The Yellow Threat as a Social Myth

How to be friends with the southern neighbor - the third essay by Leonid Blyakher

The Yellow Threat as a Social Myth

Leonid Blyakher

Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Culturology of the Pacific State University, Doctor of Philosophy
Myth is a paradoxical thing. The statement that the "yellow threat" is a myth does not at all mean that it is a lie, or a delusion. I see a myth and I know that it is not true, only from the outside. Let's say I am an anthropologist, who observes a ritual of an exotic tribe. I know that all that my beloved aborigines are doing is based on delusion. But for the participants of the ritual, their myth is the basis for understanding and understanding oneself in the world. Their myth simply does not need proof. It is the truth simply because it is so.

Something similar happens with the myth of the "Chinese threat". If a person is sure that she is, then it is wiser to just close this page and open the next one. But if there are doubts in the fatality of the threat from the south, then it is worth reading the text. I am far from thinking that having read it, my fellow countryman or a resident of another region will be convinced of the opposite. It will be enough if he just thinks about it. What is the threat? Let's figure it out.

Indeed, the population of the border areas of China exceeds the population of the Far East of Russia by more than an order of magnitude. Is this a threat? It's difficult to say. But the myth says unequivocally - is. What if she's moved here? Of course, one hundred percent guarantee the impossibility of this scenario is difficult. There can be some kind of natural catastrophe, and exactly from that - not our side of the Amur. There may be an epidemic or something else, from which the population of the northern provinces of the PRC rants to Russia. But in modern conditions, such a massive resettlement is very unlikely. North China - actively subsidized by the central government of the territory with a sufficiently high standard of living, a mass of jobs and so on. Yes, one of the citizens of the Middle Kingdom is starting business on Russian territory. But the number of this group is negligible.

Even if it is entirely theoretical to imagine that China (I do not know why) is occupied by the Far East, the picture will be extremely unhappy for China. It automatically falls to the task of creating an infrastructure where it does not exist, social support where it is not enough, maintaining an elementary order. Delivery of food and human resources. In order to somehow use the territory, it will be necessary to radically reconstruct the Transsib, to finish the BAM. That is, to solve all the tasks that the Russian state is solving or trying to solve today. In the conditions of a gigantic territory, this means not just costs, but costs, almost completely devaluing the possession of the territory. For rational China, this would be a very strange decision.

Rather, it can be said that territories from the south to the Far East of Russia are adjacent to a huge number of potential consumers. It is clear that making potential consumers real is not at all easy. To do this, we need not so much forums and exhibitions (probably, they are also needed, but in the third place), how much careful monitoring of all movements in the markets of neighboring provinces of the PRC. For example, China introduced a provision that caused a decline in metallurgy. So, it's worth selling metal to neighbors. To create conditions in the region for cheaper production and easier transportation. The same and with any other breach that can be filled with Russian products. This is not as large and pathetic as the protocols of intentions, signed under the light of soffits and flashes of cameras. But this is real integration, not paper. This is how the Far East integrated into post-catastrophic 90-s.

But is this only a threat? - the astute reader will ask - After all, they seize us not so much politically as economically. They already "bought everything". 

I think that "everyone bought up" is a very strong exaggeration. Direct Chinese investment in the region is less than 1%. Although, of course, there are also no direct ones. Let's remember about the Chinese farmers, which do not become less.  

Indeed, Chinese vegetables fill the markets of Far Eastern cities, even when domestic producers do not ripen products due to some kind of climatic cataclysm. "Their vegetables" are different. Not so smell, not that taste.

Is it a threat? In principle, no. Once and in the Russian Far East, there were centers where they brought out varieties of vegetables adapted to our uneasy climate. Today, the experimental fields are built up by cottage villages, and the research structures themselves have disappeared or languish in miserable existence. In China, they continue to develop successfully, create varieties of vegetables particularly resistant to colds and pests. Chinese tenants of the Far Eastern lands use them. Because - with the harvest. 

Yes, any advantage has a reverse side: a larger strawberry is sour, more resistant tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes are not so tasty. There is already need to choose: more tasty, but rotten in the beds, or less tasty, but on the shelves. And they are to blame for the fact that the Chinese have more harvest, and it is more profitable to hand over the land to them, not the Chinese, but those who destroyed the agronomic science in the region built up the experimental fields. And it's not the Chinese that did it.

Chinese farmers play by the rules that exist, and not which are written on paper. Do not you like these rules? Ask others. In fact, it is difficult for a Russian farmer to compete with his Chinese counterpart. In Russia, it is more difficult to obtain a loan, and the interest on the loan is much higher, it is more difficult here with both the seed fund and the sales market. Do you want to equalize the conditions? Do you think that the domestic producer will cope with the task of supplying the population of the region with food? No problems. There is a migration policy, there are tax instruments. It is necessary only that they are not even in rigid, but simply in able hands.

The same with tourists from the PRC. Here two myths are fighting. The first is that Chinese tourists are a salvation for the region. They will give impetus to the development of local business, for the emergence of new jobs and so on. The second - Chinese tourists spoil the environment, buy gold and give nothing to the budget or business. The first exists in the bowels of Minvostokrazvitiya, the second - in the media, at round tables and in kitchen conversations. 

The problem seems to be that the first myth generates the second. Instead of looking at and understanding why tourists from the Middle Kingdom are traveling, what they can offer, where to make money, there is an expectation that rich Chinese will now come running to give their heavier yuan to the Far East. Alas, they will not come running. They need something to do with this. And something very important. Such that the Chinese travel company can not offer. Otherwise, it does not.

Myth is an extremely important cultural phenomenon. But under certain conditions he starts to interfere with his chances and opportunities. This is happening today with the myth of the "Chinese threat". He prevents seeing real chances, real opportunities for the Russian Far East. And not only for the Far East. But no less problems create the reverse myth - about the Chinese brothers who invest, invest, help, because we are geopolitical partners.

They will not invest, they will not help, even products to Russia from their territory will not be allowed, if it is not profitable for them. China's economy is much more dependent on relations with Europe or the US, even from relations with Kazakhstan or Iran, than from relations with Russia. Economic success is extremely important for the government of the country, which has decided on difficult and unpopular reforms. From geopolitical considerations, one can only hold a forum or a conference, but do not invest money. 

So everything is bad? There is no threat, but the chances of interaction are not visible? Not at all. It's just necessary to see the benefits without the pink or black glasses, to combine them with the benefits of the partner. And then everything will turn out. And we, and they have.
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