The Russian Minorities were late arrivals in China and only began moving to China from Tsarist Russia after the construction of the China Far East Railway in 1897 AD. Later in Time more followed, entering various parts of Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and HeilongJiang through and after the 19th century. With the Russian October Revolution of 1917 AD and the ongoing Civil War in the homeland immigration of Russians increased. In the years after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 AD, migration of Russians was reversed. Due to political frictions between the two Communist Nations at the Time and even Threat of War, Russian Ethnic Minorities were unwanted and many were repatriated to the Soviet Union. Another group of Russians, if able, emigrated from China through to Australia only.
Currently only a small portion of the original Russian Immigrants remained behind in China.
Traditionally Russians were either City dwellers engaged in trade, handicrafts or transportation or peasants living in the countryside. The latter group with its caracteristics can still be found today among Russian Ethnic Minorities in China.
Villages are small, composed of around 12 households engaged in farming, pasturing and gardening. Animals are kept on the side.
The Russians living in urban areas in China now work mainly in industry, transport, finance, trade and medicine and are fully integrated with Chinese Han Culture and Society. Among them are many intellectuals.
Todays Russian cultural features of this small minority group are their Russian styled dishes and the Christian Orthodox Faith. Thus Major Festivals for the Russian Minority are Easter and Christmas. The traditional clothes worn until recently have mostly been exchanged for a modern attire.
Although the Russian ethnic group in China has a small population, it has deputies to the National People's Congress and the regional People's Congress. They take an active part in running state and regional affairs.
Yabaolu Market (on Yabao Road, ChaoYang District) in Beijing, China, is unofficially named Russia town. In History this small section of Beijing was settled primarily by Russian traders from Siberia. Like many ethnic enclaves, it has its own unique culture imported by its residents. The focal point of the district is a large market. Business signs are mostly in Russian and written in the Cyrillic alphabet, a surprise to many tourists. With the growing affluence in current day Russia and lively ongoing trade the Russian Section of Beijing once more is vibrant and thriving.
"Europeans" - Ethnic Minorities of European Descent in China :
The Tajiks, together with the small group of Ethnic Russians are the Chinese Minorities of European Origin. The Tajiks have been roaming the extenses of Central Asia for countless generations becoming a distinct ethnic group of their own. However, according to research their origins mainly derive from Persia. The Pamir mountain tribes, including the Tajik are classified as Homo-Sapiens Alpinus, a distinct branch of the Human Tree all by themselves. Beyond this, scientific opinions conflict. The 19Th Century European explorer (Sir) Marcus Aurel Stein (and others) in his books referred to them simply as Sarikoli. Languages spoken in the area suggest there were originally multiple tribes, at least the Shugni and the Wakhi. Robert Shaw observed mainly Sarikolis and Wakhis, referring to the Tajiks collectively as Ghalchah.
The Tajiks of today are Muslims, but distinct from adjacent tribes are of Shi'ite Denomination. Accordingly they have different traditions and mainly pray on Holidays. The Tajiks follow the Ismaili Sect of Islam. They also hold animalistic beliefs, such as in the Mountain Eagle.
This page was last updated on: May 27, 2017
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As for the Tatars, they are a small Muslim group almost exclusively found in Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region in Western China. The ancestors of the Chinese Tatars are Volga Tatar tradesmen who settled in China. Thus, the Tatars have a tradition in commerce and trade.
Chinese Tatars have their own spoken and written language. They speak an archaic variant of the Tatar language, free from loanwords introduced in later Times and it uses an Arabic variant of the Tatar alphabet, not in use in the Former Soviet Union since the 1930s. The Tatars also use Uygur, the main trading language in Xinjiang, or Kazakh language.
The European Culture aspects of the Tatars are reflected in their music and the Furniture in their Housing. Traditional Tatar houses also have their own distinct architecture with separate houses and fire-places inside for cooking and heating. The Tatars usually still prefer spoons over chopsticks for eating purposes.
Tatar music and dance is very popular in Xinjiang today. Every wedding or festival regardless of ethnic group features Tatar Dance and Song. The Muslim festivals of the Tatars are similar to the other Muslim Groups in the Area. A special place is held for the plowshare festival, which usually is held in June. The plowshare festival is a celebration of Nationality for the Tatars and all come out in traditional tatar wear and engage in horse-tugging, horse racing or manly wrestling matches. The plowshare festival is the highpoint of
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According to the Year 2000 AD Census the total population of Chinese Tajiks numbered around 41.000. In 1949 the Tajik Population measured just about 7,000 when Xinjiang brought under Chinese Central Government. Today in 2008 AD the majority of Chinese Tajiks, some 26.000 live in Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region in the Pamir Mountains on the border with Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistani Controlled Kashmir in the so called Wakhan Corridor. Others live in small communities scattered throughout Southern Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region.