What is the connection between class and race? Socialist revolutionaries in early twentieth-century Russia engaged with this question in their political essays. The imperial partition of China and the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway made the China question one of the most topical issues in Russia. This article examines Lenin’s essays on China in which he criticizes racist ideas popular in Russia and Europe. By comparing his essays with other Russian political commentaries on China, this article argues that Lenin views racism as a matter of political economy and global class politics. On the one hand, the myth of racial rivalry and clash of civilizations veils class struggle. On the other, racial and ethnic issues complicate class politics. Lenin’s critique of racism elaborated in the discussion of wars and revolutions in China is not a dogmatic extension of Marx, but directly addresses the transnational migration, geopolitical tension, and intellectual network.

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