The influence of public opinion in a country about the conduct of foreign policy, be it the perceptions of the mass public or the beliefs of the political and academic elite, has been a legitimate and important branch of the study of foreign relations since the time of Walter Lippmann.1

Mutual perceptions play an especially important role in bilateral relations between neighbours with long and complicated histories, and Russia and China surely belong to this category. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent political changes in Russia make an understanding of perceptions even more important because democratisation has given the mass public, and especially various elites, an opportunity to express their views-including those on foreign policy-through such means as elections, lobbying and the mass media.