Friendship of people and friendship of peoples in Hunchun, China

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The China–Russia–North Korea border town of Hunchun is an intriguing place to research the idea of “friendship” for two reasons. Firstly, the town and its surroundings have a long history of in- and out-migration in a generally rough-and-ready social “frontier” setting which has made horizontal or non-kin ties between strangers a salient potential relationship. More hierarchical “lineage”-based ties such as are common in other parts of China are less seen in such migratory settings. This is the kind of social and natural ecology where both individual and collective friendships develop among multiethnic settlers to mediate frictions and hardships of frontier life. The second reason that intercultural friendship is salient in Hunchun is because it is the official relationship promoted both between the three states which converge here, and among the vast multiethnic populations of the PRC and former-Soviet Union. China, Russia and North Korea all remain linked by eminently socialist-style treaties of “Friendship” (Ch. youyi, Rus. druzhba, Kor. chinsŏn), a fact which is celebrated in Hunchun at regular song and dance shows, ceremonial conferences, sports matches, and artistic festivals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRussia and its East Asian neighbors
Subtitle of host publicationRegions and people beyond borders
EditorsGeorgy Buntilov, Svetlana Paichadze
Place of PublicationSapporo
PublisherHokkaido University, Research Faculty of Media and Communication
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9784600007249
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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