In a situation similar to that of the Uighurs, Mongolians react, sometimes with violence.
An April '08 article by Ola Wong of the Far Eastern Economic Review brought into focus the renewed anti-Chinese sentiment in Mongolia. Introducing "Blue Mongolia", an ultra-nationalist group of thugs whose solution to the growing influx of Chinese into Mongolia is to beat up people, not just the Chinese but people suspected of associating with them or even cab-drivers who pick up Chinese passengers. Blue Mongol leaders have disclaimed responsibility for the attacks on foreign citizens, claiming their name was used by opportunistic street gangs to intimidate and extort money from foreigners.
Their leader, B. Enkhbat was sentenced to death for the murder of his daughter's boyfriend, a student in Inner Mongolia, China whose patriotism he questioned.
To say that most Mongolians' feelings towards China borders on racism and hatred would not be an overstatement. And I believe that the Chinese do not help mend the fence any better by claiming that Inner Mongolians are happy being a part of China and that Mongolia should come join the party, in both senses of the word.
I do not believe there is a solution to this problem. I do not see how the Chinese government in the foreseeable future will allow free and objective press coverage of Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia regions. I do not see the Chinese government changing its education curriculum to include accurate and truthful history lessons instead of the propaganda fed to most Chinese today. And as long as the Chinese government continues to encourage the Chinese supremacist attitude towards Mongolia and China's Inner Mongolia region, the fear of and hatred towards the Chinese will continue to flourish in Mongolia.
One user commented on the Far Eastern Economic Review's article thus: “The life of people living in Inner Mongolia is improving further and further beyond that of the people living in Mongolia. They also love China and they call themselves Chinese!”
80% of Inner Mongolia is Han Chinese, thanks to Mao's social engineering.
I believe they call themselves Chinese because they are Chinese; 80% of Inner Mongolia is Han Chinese, thanks to Mao's social engineering. You know the world's tallest man in the world from Inner Mongolia? Hardly Mongolian, the dude has a Chinese name. Granted, most Inner Mongolians are forced to adopt a Chinese name since Mongolian names are too difficult for most other people to pronounce, and Inner Mongolians must defer to the Han Chinese in their region.
Walking the line of bad neighbourliness
Many Inner Mongolians are adopting Mandarin as a first language, while many on the other hand are coming to Mongolia to learn the modern Mongolian accent. There is a cunning commercial reason behind this. Many Inner Mongolian mass media students are sent by the Chinese administrators to Mongolia to improve their Mongolian. Upon their return to China, they become newscasters in TV stations, which sell programming (now comprehensible to the Mongolians, thanks to their newly trained staff) to cable TV networks in Mongolia.
All the animosity and the "Blue Mongol" element aside, China is Mongolia's biggest trading partner and Mongolia's economic growth owes much to China's booming economy. As much as I hate to say it, but the economic and social invasion of Mongolia by the Chinese is inevitable if Mongolia remains on its current economic course. Can Mongolia protect itself without restricting its economic ties with China?
The post was originally published on Asian Gypsy in June 2008.