The Truth About “The Sixty-Four Villages East of the River and the Hailanpao Massacre”

The Sixty-Four Villages East of the River (hereinafter referred to as Sixty-four Villages) is located on the north bank of Heilongjiang River and the east bank of Jieya River, across from Heihe and Hailanpao (modern Blagoveshchensk) respectively. The total of the area is about 3,600 square kilometers and the land is rich and fertile.

In the early years before the Russian’s presence, there were more than 14,000 Han, Manchu and Daur people lived here, mainly engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, gold mining and commerce.In May 1858, the Qing government signed the Treaty of Aigun with Russia, which retained the permanent residency rights of Chinese residents in the Sixty-four Villages and Qing government’s jurisdiction rights over the locals.However, after 1882, due to the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, a large number of immigrants from the European part of Russia move to the Far East, which led to an increase in the demand for arable land in the region. Among them, the agricultural reclamation area with excellent conditions in the Sixty-four Villages became the object of Tsarist Russia’s covetousness and encroachment. Later in the years, the Russian Empire authorities launched a series of military offensive against the Qing Dynasty in order to snatch more lands, which eventually led to the Hailanpao and the 64 river-east massacres (also known as 1900 Amur Anti-Chinese pogroms).

From June to July 1900, Russia began to systematically occupy Hailanpao and slaughter the local Chinese residents, by blocking the Heilongjiang, detaining all the ferries, and dispersing the Chinese refugees gathered at the crossing. At that time, a large number of local residents were arrested by the Russian military and police and was beaten, stabbed, slashed, shot or being thrown into the river and drown.

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