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Video: The land of demons: Russia through the eyes of the Chinese
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
Hello everyone, dear readers. My name is Oksana, I have been living in China for several years, teaching foreign languages and doing translations. I am not a professional translator, I am an orientalist-Sinologist by education, but sometimes for entertainment and a small income I take translations from Chinese into Russian. I especially like to perform translations on cultural issuesso I can learn something new about China.
I recently started translating a summary classic chinese novels in the wuxia genre(fantasy novels about martial arts masters). What surprised me in one of the retellings was the mention of Russia.
To begin with, I came across a word that I translated literally as " Land of demons"Such names are not uncommon in Wuxia novels, after all, they are fantasy. The hero could really go to the land of demons, fight one of them, and then it would turn out that the demon is his real father. China and India may well compete in plot twists.
But then I came across the word Moscowreferred to as the capital of the "Land of Demons". Then I decided to sit down well at the dictionaries and found an unexpected detail for myself.
The word, which I initially mistakenly translated, was actually called Russia in the 17th century by consonance: the land of demons - "losha" (the Chinese cannot pronounce P, so in fact it is Rocha).
But the Chinese call it the same word demons devouring people - rakshas.
So why did the Chinese dislike us so much? This is not only a matter of consonance.
Since the 17th century, the Russians began to penetrate into Eastern Siberia and the Far East, where they met with the Chinese, and the latter were amazed fierce appearance of a white man with a beard. According to Chinese sources, they thought that the Russians were some kind of wonderful Mongol khans.
Those who came to the Far Eastern lands, which the Chinese considered theirs, Russians levied local taxes, hunted, hunted robbery, robbery and even, as the Chinese say, with the arrival of cold weather for lack of food, have tasted chinese meat.
Why it was necessary, if in those parts it was quite possible to hunt, the Chinese sources are silent.
Therefore, the Chinese called the newcomers Russian demons
The Qing dynasty was busy with domestic politics and therefore did not have time to keep track of the borders, at this time the Russians built their fortresses and "appropriated the lands."
Conflicts continued until signing Nerchinsk Treatyand then Aygunsky, according to which both parties entered into an agreement and set boundaries"forever."
After the conclusion of a peace treaty, as well as with the development of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the name of Russia also changed. Now it is Elos, the Chinese have forgotten about the "Land of Demons".
However, they did not forget about border conflicts and still many argue that Siberian and Far Eastern lands "primordially Chinese", especially in this regard, they like to mention Lake Baikal.
It is difficult to convince the Chinese of the opposite, and why - the territories are still legally Russian. Thank you for not calling us demons anymore.
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