The period from the 1950s to the 1960s witnessed a significant change in the relationship between China and the Soviet Union, which evolved from that of a friendly partnership to one of antagonistic rivalry. This change also plunged Chinese students in different Soviet universities and research institutes into a more complex situation. As Sino–Soviet relations soured over time, these young students had to follow instructions from their homeland and adjust their roles and standpoints accordingly. While they were supposed to stand for the friendship between the two countries and as representatives of the driving force dedicated to socialist construction, they were, however, torn between their own studies and the political priorities of the state. In most cases, they had no choice but to give up hitherto relatively unconstrained lives and fight against revisionism, like frontline soldiers, based on their belief in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their motherland. This in turn immediately put them under direct pressure and made them targets of tit-for-tat policies from Soviet authorities. As they were committed to prioritizing their political work rather than their own studies, they became integrated into the Chinese state as major players and witnessed the worsening trend in Sino–Soviet relations that eventually resulted in a complete breakdown.


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pp. 11-37
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