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What does a witness to the China-Soviet border conflict think of the current Russia-Ukraine war?

On the bank of the Amur River across from Russia, Wang Xuzhen sat scrubbing some shoes on a sunny afternoon.

She has lived for decades within sight of Russia on China’s northeastern fringe, but she has never felt moved to take the short ferry ride to see Blagoveshchensk. She recalls how frightening the fortified border was before exchanges began in the 1980s. She tells her grandchildren not to forget a Russian massacre of Chinese residents over a century ago. Near the water, a sign urges vigilance against spies.

Wang is clear where she stands. When it comes down to it, she says, Russia and China are on the same team, resisting what she sees as America’s global meddling. She says Ukraine should have accepted its place in Russia’s sphere of influence instead of courting the U.S. and NATO.

“I support Russia,” she said. “Two neighbors must stick together so they aren’t bullied.”

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