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N 49° 37′ 12′′, E 117° 22′ 25′′
671 MASL
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View of the Sino–Russian border crossing at Manzhouli from the Chinese side of the border. As China’s largest inland port of entry, Manzhouli Port received nearly 70% of all of China’s trade to and from Russia in 2019. The Harbin–Manzhouli Railway, which was the former western branch of the Chinese Eastern Railway (CER) built in the late 19th century, is presently a double-track electrified trunk railway connecting to the Trans–Siberian Railway via Manzhouli–Zabaikalsk.

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At the center of Manzhouli Mastryoshka Square, a 30-meter-tall mastryoshka doll-shaped building features paintings of girls from China, Russia, and Mongolia on its façade. It is surrounded by 30 exquisite Easter eggs and 200 small mastryoshka dolls symbolizing different countries and regions around the globe. In recent years, the booming tourism industry of Manzhouli capitalized on the region’s multiculturality shaped by Chinese, Russian, and Mongolian influences.

1858: Greater Manchuria, homeland of the Manchus, became the center of imperial competition in Northeast Asia in the late 17th century. The 1858 Treaty of Aigun reversed the 1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk by transferring the land between the Stanovoy Range and Amur River from Qing China to Tsarist Russia, making the Argun River the Sino–Russian border.


1881: After Qing China and Tsarist Russia signed the 1881 Treaty of St. Petersburg (or the Treaty of Ili in Chinese sources), Russia extended its influence further to inner Manchuria under Qing rule to counter the increasing Japanese influence in the region.


1896: Tsar Nicholas II negotiated an agreement with the Qing court and obtained permission to construct a branch of the Trans–Siberian Railway through Manchuria, namely, the Chinese Eastern Railway (CER).


1901: Manzhouli was established as a western terminus station on the CER in 1901 and became a vibrant cargo transit point. The T-shaped CER ran from Manzhouli to Suifenhe and from Harbin to Port Arthur (Port Lüshun) at the tip of the Liaodong Peninsula.


1902: The 2,500-km CER was built quickly in the span of five years and completed in 1902. Despite signing a convention confirming Chinese authority in Manchuria, Russia continued to gain territorial and commercial advantages in the region until its defeat in the Russo–Japanese War (1904–1905).


1905: The Russo–Japanese War formally ended with the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth in September. Three months later, Japan and China entered into a treaty recognizing arrangements made in the Treaty of Portsmouth. Additionally, Japan required China to open 16 towns and cities in the northeast, including Manzhouli, for international trade.


1911: After the collapse of the Qing dynasty, Mongolia declared independence and occupied Manzhouli.


1920: Chinese control over Manzhouli was restored in 1914, but local Mongolians rebelled in 1920. Manzhouli attained some measure of local autonomy after the 1921 Mongolian Revolution.


1931: Manzhouli came under Japanese control and became part of the Empire of Manchuria (Manchukuo; 1932–1945), which was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan.

1946: At the end of the Second Sino–Japanese War, the Sino–Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance was signed. The Republic of China (ROC) agreed to recognize Mongolia’s independence, and Manzhouli became part of Inner Mongolia of the ROC.


1949: Civil war in China flared up once again shortly after the end of WWII. Manzhouli was a major point of entry through which Soviet supplies reached the Communist Party of China. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with anticommunist sentiments, Manzhouli Port continued operations as a major port, where aid from the Soviet Union entered China.


1966: Aid from the Soviet Union ceased when Sino–Soviet economic ties ended in 1960. By 1966, Manzhouli Port was open only for Moscow–Beijing trains.


1988: Accompanied by a gradual thaw in relations between China and the Soviet Union, trade across the Sino–Soviet border resumed. Manzhouli Port reopened in 1988, and Manzhouli was designated as an experimental zone in China’s Reform and Opening Up.


1992: The Manzhouli Border Economic Cooperation Zone was established and rated as a national 4A-level scenic spot by the China National Tourism Administration.


2002: Manzhouli Port was listed among 13 ports with national development priority.


2005: Manzhouli Xijiao International Airport, which was one of the major development projects between 2001 and 2005, was opened in 2005.


2012: The Manzhouli Key Development and Open Pilot Zone was established.


2013: The eastern route of the China Railway Express through Manzhouli–Zabaykalsk began operations.

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