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Violence and Control in the Chinese-North Korean Border Region, 1945-present
March 13, 2019 - 13:15-15:00
The Chinese Communist Party has long been engaged in a struggle to control and consolidate the Sino-Korean border region. This paper describes how the areas abutting the Yalu and Tumen Rivers were initially used by the Northeast Bureau of the CCP during the Chinese civil war (1945-1950) as base areas and as a anchor points for reciprocal relationships with Kim Il-sung and the Korean Workers’ Party. Less structured anti-Japanese and anti-collaborator violence continued among ethnic Koreans in the border areas well into 1946, while the carnage of the Korean War brought North Korean refugees, wounded soldiers, and cultural delegations into China, followed by DPRK state scholar-bureaucrats seeking evidence for the foundations of Kim Il-sung’s guerrilla years and personality cult. The presentation concludes with a look at the Party’s overall controls and strategy presently along the border, with an emphasis on plans for emergency and ‘contingency’ scenarios in the event of a North Korean collapse or war, using open-source Chinese documents and fieldwork along the border to illustrate key points.