- 北海道大学スラブ・ユーラシア研究センター内 境界研究ユニット
- 境界研究 (ISSN:21856117)
- vol.10, pp.45-69, 2020
Academica Histrica (ROC) published a series of source books on Chinese repatriation from all over the world after WWII. One of the volumes has sources of Academica Histrica and an explanation on the return of Chinese from Southern Sakhalin after the Soviet–Japanese War. However, the explanation lacks references to other official documents of other archives and media sources. In addition, the author of the explanation failed to weigh the information in official documents from the view of Karafuto/Sakhalin history.
This paper clarified the following points on Chinese in Karafuto/ Southern Sakhalin using official documents of Academica Histrica, Archive of Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica (ROC), The Second Historical Archive of China (PRC) and Archive of Shanghai-city (PRC), in addition, newspapers and magazine articles published in China.
Chinese in Southern Sakhalin contacted diplomatic establishments of the ROC in the USSR and returned to China in 1947 under the scheme for overseas Chinese repatriation established by the ROC - the same as other Chinese in the USSR. One hundred and sixty-one persons left Sakhalin for Shanghai, ROC as a Chinese returnee group and at least 4 Chinese remained in Sakhalin. It is estimated that the returnee group consisted of around 120 Chinese and around 40 Japanese families. Anxiety over regime change caused their return. They were not purged under the socialist regime in Sakhalin though they had stood by the Wang Jingwei regime under the Japanese Empire. However, socialization of the economic system and an increase of Soviet citizens damaged their lives because most of them had been engaged in commerce.
The government of Shanghai-city shouldered the most important role for supporting these returnees from Southern Sakhalin. The Shanghai branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC made every effort to accommodate them just after their arrival; however, the branch and the central government did not have a budget to support them. Not only these returnees from Southern Sakhalin but also returnees from other areas of the USSR and domestic refugees generated by the Chinese Civil War had flowed into Shanghai. Discharge of these populations was an urgent issue for Shanghai-city. Shanghai-city planned to settle these returnees and refugees on uncultivated lands in Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces as relief works. However, it emerged that those lands were not suitable for agriculture and the returnees from Southern Sakhalin had no intention to move to those lands though some of them came from those provinces.
One-third of the returnees from Southern Sakhalin had desired to move from Shanghai to Taiwan just after the return and that rate rose to three-fourths in a month, though there was no one among them from Taiwan. Some of the domestic refugees also desired to move from Shanghai to Taiwan. The Chinese Civil War had already proceeded and these refugees regarded Taiwan as one of the safe areas in China.
The reasons specific to returnees from Southern Sakhalin desiring to move to Taiwan were the linguistic barrier in Shanghai, linguistic advantage in Taiwan and reunion of family in Japan. Shanghai and the surrounding areas had a variety of Chinese dialects and there were few people among the returnees from these areas. As an official document stated, it was very difficult for them to get a job there. On the contrary, many people came from Fujian province and spoke Fujian dialects, which was one of major dialects in Taiwan; moreover, it is natural that they expected that they could communicate in Japanese there because Taiwan was a colony of the Japanese Empire the same as Karafuto. In addition, an example of reunion of family in Japan via Taiwan has been known. The colonial government of Karafuto launched the evacuation during the Soviet-Japanese War and many women, children and senior citizens moved to Hokkaido. The Soviet army sealed off La Perouse Strait and many families were separated.
The return of Chinese from Southern Sakhalin was a kind of unwilling displacement of citizens of the victorious nations generated by a series of border shifts after WWII, such as the return of the USSR citizens from China to the USSR. For their fatherlands, the victory of the war meant the liberation or the restoration of independence; however, for them, whether victory or defeat, border shifts derived from the war meant the disorganization of the order which they had help build as foreigners.