Han Chinese in Mongolia

The Chinese in Mongolia have not been very well-documented. Mongolia's 1956 census counted ethnic Chinese as 1.9% of the population; the United States government estimated their proportion to be 2% in 1987, or roughly 40,000 people.
The 2000 census showed 1,323 permanent residents of Chinese descent;
this figure does not include naturalised citizens, temporary residents,
nor illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants from China were estimated at 10,000 in the 1990s; some use Mongolia as a transit point into Russia.


History of settlement

Historically, the Gobi served as a barrier to large-scale Chinese settlement in what was, before 1921, called Outer Mongolia; the unsuitability of most of the territory for agriculture
made settlement less attractive. Some Chinese settlements in Mongolia
were founded in 1725, when farmers moved there by decree of the Qing Dynasty to grow food for soldiers fighting the Dzungars. They were established in the Orkhon and Tuul river basins, and in 1762, in the Khovd region.

Although the Qing officially closed off Mongolia to Chinese immigration, and occasionally evicted Chinese merchants, Chinese trade firms continually penetrated the country, concentrating mainly in Ikh Khüree, Uliastai, Khovd and Kyakhta.
Their trade practices and the lifestyle of the Mongolian nobility lead
to an ever-increasing indebtedness of the banners, nobles, and ordinary
people, and Chinese businesses became a target of public discontent as
early as Chingünjav's rebellion in 1756. The spill-over from the Dungan rebellions
of the 1870s into Mongolia also saw a number of Chinese businesses in
Khovd and Uliastai destroyed. Many of the Chinese merchants lived in
Mongolia only seasonally or until they had made enough money to return
to China. Others took Mongolian wives, at least for the time of being
in Mongolia.

In 1906, the Qing Dynasty
began to implement policies aimed at a Han-Chinese colonization of
Outer Mongolia along the lines of those in Inner Mongolia, but these
policies never took full effect because the Dynasty collapsed and
Mongolia declared independence in 1912. The total Han Chinese
population at that time, mainly consisting of traders and artisans, but
also of some colonists, can be estimated to have been at some ten

After Mongolia's independence

Upon Mongolia's declaration of independence, many Chinese became victims of atrocities, particularly in Khovd.
However, after 1912, Chinese businesses were able to continue their
operations, incl. collection of debts, largely unimpeded. It was only
the establishment of communism that meant an end to Chinese trade in
Mongolia. Ever-increasing obstacles to commerce were created, and the
closure of the border to China for imports in 1928 meant an end for
Chinese enterprise in the country.

With the PRC
development aid projects of the 1950s, another wave of Han Chinese
entered Mongolia. However, most of them left the country when relations
between Mongolia and China got sour in the mid 1960s. In the early
1980s, Ulaanbaatar was reported to have a small Chinese community, which
published a Chinese-language newspaper
and which looked to the Chinese embassy there for moral support.
However, in 1983, Mongolia systematically began expelling some of the
remaining 7,000 Chinese contract workers in Mongolia to China. They
were accused of "preferring an idle, parasitic way of life" to honest
labor on the state farms.
At the same time, ethnic Chinese who had become naturalized citizens
were reported to be unaffected. Because the presence and the status of
Chinese residents in Mongolia were politically sensitive subjects,
Mongolian sources usually avoided mentioning the Chinese at all.

After the introduction of democracy, another wave of Chinese
immigrants has entered the country. Many of the immigrants work in the
construction sector, others run small or medium enterprises. Negative
sentiments against Chinese immigrants remain; China is seen as a
potential threat to Mongolia's security and cultural identity.

See also


This page was last modified 19:23, 27 June 2007.All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Chinese_in_Mongolia

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