Putin visits China’s top university HIT in Harbin, which has been sanctioned by the US government. Despite the enthusiasm of some students, the visit also creates uneasiness due to increased security measures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his two-day state visit to China this Friday in Harbin, northern China. The Kremlin chief is scheduled to visit, among other things, a Russian-Chinese trade fair and the Polytechnic University. Putin’s first trip abroad after the start of his fifth term in office ends there.

Harbin has a Russian past, which can still be seen in the cityscape today, for example through the former Russian Orthodox church. The industrial city is located in China’s northernmost province of Heilongjiang, which borders Russia, and is known among the Chinese for its ice festival in winter.

According to a BBC report, Putin is attending the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), one of China’s leading scientific and technical colleges, which was founded in 1920 and at the time offered all courses in Russian, based on the Russian educational model. Today, HIT is known as “China’s MIT” and the country’s “cradle of engineers.” It is one of the “Seven Sons of National Defense” – these are institutions for students who want to enter the defense industry.

According to the British broadcaster, the HIT was sanctioned and blacklisted by the US government in 2020, in the middle of the US-China technology war.

On social media, many HIT students share their excitement about Putin’s visit, while others criticize the increased security measures on campus. “I want to see him but my building has been locked down,” one student wrote on Xiaohongshu, an Instagram-like platform. Another complained: “My lunch order just got rejected.”

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