1858, Tianjin - Russia



            His Majesty the Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, and His Majesty the Emperor of China, believing that it is urgent to clarify relations between Russia and China, and to lay down new rules in the interests of both states, have named the following as their Plenipotentiaries:

            The aide-de-camp-general of the Empire of the Russias, Vice-Admiral Count Euphimius Putiatin, who is imperial commissioner in China and chief of the Pacific fleet;

            And the Da-hio-chi of the eastern section of the Empire of China, head of the Court of Criminal Justice, Kuei Liang; and the chief of the Inspection Court, and divisional chief of the Infantry of the Bordered Blue Banner, Huashana.

            These plenipotentiaries, invested with powers by their states, agreed on this:

Article I

            This Treaty confirms once again the peace and friendship existing for many years now between the Emperor of Russia and the Emperor of China, and between their subjects.

            Russian subjects living in China and Chinese subjects living in Russia will always have the protection of the governments of the two Empires, for their persons and for their property.

Article II

            (In the Russian version: The right of Russia, already established, to send envoys to Beijing whenever the Russian government thinks it necessary, is hereby confirmed anew.)

            Communications between the Supreme Russian Government and the Supreme Chinese government will no longer be carried on as they have been—by the Senate on the one side and the Li Fan Yuan Tribunal on the other.  Now, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Russia will communicate with the senior member of the State Council, or with the Prime Minister, in Beijing.  They will be equal.

            Correspondence between them will pass by the border authorities.  Highly important communications  will be brought to the capital by an employee named ad hoc, who may explain things verbally to the Council and the Prime Minister.  On arriving, he will hand over his despatches through the Li Pu, or the Head of the Court of Rites.

            Equality will be respected in the letters and the interviews of Envoys and Plenipotentiaries of Russia, equality with their interlocutors the State Council, the ministers of the Court of Beijing, and the governors-general of distant and maritime provinces.  It will also be respected in the relations of governors-general and the border officials of both states.

            If the Russian government fells it necessary to name a Plenipotentiary to live in one of the open ports of China, this plenipotentiary will deal with Chinese local authorities and Beijing officials in his personal contacts and letters, in line with rules accepted nowadays by all foreign states.

            Russian envoys may go to Beijing through Kiakhta and Urga, either by Taku at the mouth of the Peiho, or by any other city or port that is open in China.  After receiving prior notice, the Chinese government must organize arrangements for the Envoy’s voyage and his group’s, so that they are comfortable.  His reception in the capital must be surrounded by due honors, and housing and furnishings supplied.

            All expenses of the sending of diplomatic missions from Russia to China will be handled by the Russian government.  Never will the Chinese government have to bear them.

Article III

            Henceforward, trade between Russia and China may be carried out not only at the agreed frontier points, but by sea.  Russian merchant vessels may enter the following ports: Shanghai, Ningpo,  Fuchow-fu, Amoy, Canton, Taiwan-fu (on the Isle of Formosa), Khioung-Cheou-fu (on the Isle of Hainan).

Article IV

            (In the Russian: In the overland trade, in future, there shall be no limit to the number of persons who may engage in it, to the amount of goods imported, nor to the amount of capital employed.)

            In the future, there will be no limitation laid down by the two governments as to the number of traders and captains employed in commerce.

            In sea trade, and in all details of maritime activity, such as declarations on imported goods, the payment of anchorage rights and duties by the tariff scale, etc., Russian subjects will obey the general rules on foreign trade in Chinese ports.

            All illicit commerce conducted by Russians will be punished by confiscation of the illegal goods, which go to the Chinese treasury.

Article V

            The Russian government is free to name Consuls to the ports opened to trade.

            There may be warships sent to maintain order among Russian subjects and to support the Consul.

            The relations between the Consul and local authorities; the concession of a lot for the building of churches, stores and houses; the purchase of Chinese lands by Russians; and all transactions which come under the Consul, will be done by the rules which the Chinese have laid down for all dealings with foreigners.

Article VI

            If a warship or a merchant ship from Russia were to sink along the coast, Chinese authorities would carry aid immediately to its crew, and would attempt to save the ship and its cargo.  They would also assist in taking crew and cargo to the nearest port with a Russian Consul in it, or a port with an agent of a nation that is friends with Russia.  Or to the border, if the sinking happens near the border.

            The Russian government will pay for this.

            In cases where war or merchant ships from Russia need repairs, or need to take on water or fresh provisions, they can enter non-trading ports along the way.  There they can buy what they need at informally negotiated prices without official interference.

Article VII

            Any dispute between Russian and Chinese subjects in ports and cities open to commerce, will be investigated by Chinese officers in conjunction with the Russian Consul or the agent who represents Russia in that place.  Russian subjects guilty of a crime will be judged by Russian laws.

            Similarly, Chinese subjects guilty of crimes or offences against the lief or property of a Russian will be judged and punished by the laws of their country.

            Russian subjects who will have penetrated into central China and committed a crime or offence there, will be taken to the border, or to a port where a Russian Consul resides, to be judged and punished by Russian laws.

Article VIII

            The Chinese government recognizes that the Christian doctrine aids in the keeping of order and concord among men.  It promises not to persecute its Christian subjects because they practice their religion.  These will enjoy the protection given to all who practice other faiths tolerated in the Empire.

            The Chinese government considers Christian missionaries as good men who do not seek material advantages, and will allow them to propagate Christianity among its subjects.  It will not bar them from circulating in the Empire.  A fixed number of missionaries setting out from open towns and ports will bear passports issued by Russia.

Article IX

            The parts of the border between China and Russia which are not yet determined must be examined soon, on the spot.

            The two governments will name delegates for this, who will fix the demarcation line and negotiate a convention which will be annexed to the Treaty as a Separate Article.

            Maps and detailed descriptions will then be drawn up and will be the uncontested documents of the future.

Article X

            No longer will there be a limited term for the stay of the Russian ecclesiastical mission in Beijing.  The members may now, as authorized by their government, return home at any time.  The vacancy may be filled by another ecclesiastic.

            The Chinese government will no longer have to pay any of the upkeep of this mission; all will be on the Russian government.

            Travelling expenses of the church mission, costs of couriers and others the Russians send from Kiakhta and the opened ports of China to Beijing, and vice versa, will be paid by the Russian government.  But the local authorities must take care that the priests travel quickly and comfortably.

Article XI

            A postal service will be set up between Kiakhta and Beijing for communications between the two governments, and for the needs of the Russian ecclesiastical mission in Beijing.

            Chinese letters by courier will be sent on a fixed day once a month from Beijing to Kiakhta.  This courier must bring official letters and packets through to destination in fifteen days.

            Further, every three months, or four times a year, a convoy will go from Kiakhta to Beijing and vice versa to carry any type of message or effect.  The convey must make it within a month.  All costs of these communications will be paid half-and-half by the two governments.

Article XII

            All the political, commercial or other privileges which those States most favored by the Chinese may acquire, will immediately be extended to Russia, without negotiations being necessary.

            This treaty will immediately be ratified by the Emperor of China, and when the Emperor of Russia has ratified it, the two ratifications will be exchanged in Beijing in a year, or earlier if possible.

            Copies in Russian, Manchu, and Chinese, with signatures and seals of the Plenipotentiaries of the two states, will be exchanged now.  The Manchu text will be the basis for interpretations of all articles, which will all be respected by all, inviolably.

            Signed at Tianjin on 1/13 June, 1858 after the Birth of Jesus Christ, Fourth Year of Alexander II.