FROM THE HISTORY OF POLISH-CHINESE RELATIONS (UNTIL 1945)
The aim of this article is to outline Chinese – Polish relations from their beginnings to the end of World War II. The sketch is perfunctory because official diplomatic relations between Poland and China were only established in the late 1920s. Geographical distance and Chinese international policy based on tributary diplomacy and Chinese autarky were primary reasons for rare mutual contact. Until the 20th century, Chinese – Polish relations was the one-way phenomenon. There are many trails of Polish travelers in China but there is little proof of Chinese in the Polish Kingdom.
It is possible to divide Polish travelers in China and Chinese – Polish relations into the following periods:
- 13th–17th century – Polish missionaries in China. The most important representative of this period is Michal Boym – a Jesuit missionary, scientist and diplomat. Edward Kajdanski – Boym`s biographer – emphasizes his scientific achievements and names him the first Polish Sinologist.
- 17th – 19th century – Polish travelers to China, Polish refugees from Russian slavery, scientists and diplomats.
- The turn of 19th century – Polish colony in Manchuria. The history of Harbin (at present the capital of Helongjiang province), its foundation and development are closely connected with Polish engineers – builders of the Russian East – Chinese Railway. It is estimated that within 50 years of the railway workers` arrival, 10–20 thousand Poles were living in Manchuria. After Poland regained independence in 1918, as a result of repatriation actions, the Polish population in Manchuria gradually decreased. The last representative of the Polish colony left Harbin in 1963.
The other subject is diplomatic relations between Poland and Republic of China 1918–1945. Official relations were established in 1933. The complicated international situation during World War II, mainly Polish – Japanese contact, had an adverse impact on Polish–Chinese relations. 5th July 1945 Chinese authority withdrew his recognition for Polish government in exile and established diplomatic relations with Polish government in Warsaw.