A Conflict of Interest, the Chinese Railway

The Soviet and the Chinese clashed over the issue of control over a piece of the Chinese Eastern Railroad (CER).  Moving forward with the five-year plan, the expansion of the railways was a good chance to expand the Russian economy.  The portion that brought about the conflict was located in Manchuria, and through previous political agreements was lawfully owed by the Soviets.  The Chinese, who recently overthrew the Communist party in China led by Chiang Kai Shek.  Shek disestablished all relationships and ties with Russia after this.  Shek wanted to expand his influence within the region of Manchuria, hence the issue with the railroad and the reason for the Russian’s feelings of unease.

The Chinese raided along the railways, and captured and detained around 80 Russians along the way.  Even with the Russian leadership decrying these events, the Chinese continued until they seized control of all of the CER in Manchuria. The Chinese authorities within the region ignored the pleas to stop the violence and seizures.  The beginning of anti-Soviet policy was starting to become a reality within Manchuria.  The Russian consulate was one of the targets hit, and all the people inside arrested.  Even those citizens who went to visit their consulate were arrest on the spot.  The Chinese claimed to seize documents from the consulate about being anti-Chinese, but in fact these were fabricated pieces of literature in an attempt to gain ground for their anti-Soviet campaign.

Here we can see a group picture of the arrested Soviets, forced into the sitting room of the Consulate.

Outraged, the Red Army (with an assortment of tanks and planes) routed the Chinese and regained control of their portion of the CER.  This event is what was known as the “Chinese Eastern Railroad Incident.”  This event had a lasting effect on the status between the relationship of Russia and China.  The Russians wouldn’t stand for Chinese who simply invaded a consulate and arrested many of their citizens.

 

Sources:

Xenia Joukoff Eudin and Robert M. Slusser, eds., Soviet Foreign Policy, 1928-1934; Documents and Materials (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1967), pp. 190-193.

 

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