By Paul Goble
The Chinese government’s decision to rescind its one-child policy and allow Chinese parents to have two children has attracted attention around the world; its concurrent decision reported this weekend to allow Chinese living in regions bordering Russia to have three children is likely to attract even more attention in that country.
Today, South China Insight, a Russian-language portal featuring news from China, reported that Beijing has decided to allow couples living in regions along the Russian border to have three children and not just two as is the case with some exceptions in the rest of the People’s Republic (south-insight.com/node/218173).
If that leads to a population boom in these border areas either because Chinese already there decide to have three children or other Chinese move in to take advantage of this exception, some in Russia are likely to view this as yet another demographic threat from China, whose population density in border areas is already far higher than in the Russian Federation.
Obviously, this is a long-term challenge given that few of those born under this new Beijing policy would come of age before 2040; but even that will be enough to raise questions in Russian minds about China’s intentions toward Siberia and the Russian Far East and about Vladimir Putin’s tilt away from Europe and toward China.