Ambitious Chinese farmhands are hitting their pay dirt on arable yet sparsely-populated land in Russia, generating benefits and concerns at the same time. From Andrew E. Kramer at The New York Times:
For years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, both countries have struggled to convert these complementary strengths into real business opportunities. A few mining ventures are succeeding. And state companies have struck big oil, coal and timber deals that form the backbone of the economic relationship.
[…] As food prices spiked five years ago, before the financial crisis, the Chinese government opened talks on investing in Russian farmland. The program came to fruition this year with a $1 billion contribution by the China Investment Corporation in a joint Russian-Chinese fund investing in agriculture and timber in Russia and other former Soviet states, such as Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
[…] Unfolding from her stoop over a tomato bed, Li Hunlao, a farmer from near the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin, explained, through an interpreter, why she ventured so far from home: “I came for the money, what do you think?” Salaries of about $650 a month are five times the salaries of field hands in China, she said.
[…] Russians also harbor fears that broadening economic cooperation will lead to a wave of Chinese immigrants taking over sparsely populated territories, a concern heard in this village, too.
See also “China, Russia Deepen Ties” via CDT