In Why China Will Reclaim Siberia, Frank Jacobs explains how vulnerable Russia’s northeastern territory is to eventual annexation by the awakened dragon to the south. What if China were to—à la Putin in Crimea—”hand out passports to sympathizers in contested areas, then move in militarily to ‘protect its citizens’ “? Certainly, that scenario is still far off, but large numbers of (rather successful) Chinese businesspeople have already emigrated there. An excerpt from Jacobs’ essay:
Siberia – the Asian part of Russia, east of the Ural Mountains – is immense. It takes up three-quarters of Russia’s land mass, the equivalent of the entire U.S. and India put together. It’s hard to imagine such a vast area changing hands. But like love, a border is real only if both sides believe in it. And on both sides of the Sino-Russian border, that belief is wavering.
The border, all 2,738 miles of it, is the legacy of the Convention of Peking of 1860 and other unequal pacts between a strong, expanding Russia and a weakened China after the Second Opium War. (Other European powers similarly encroached upon China, but from the south. Hence the former British foothold in Hong Kong, for example.)