Weed”, a type of herbal grass that uniquely exists on
Mongolian grasslands, grows intertwined with roots of other
grasses. The herb looks so much alike human hair, hence the
name. The Chinese name of the herb, “fa cai”, is homonymic to
the Chinese word for “earning a fortune” – also “fa cai”.
Because the Chinese commonly believe that using hair-weed
would bring “good fortune”, the herb became largely popular
among the Chinese, most notably in relatively rich and
developed coastal province of Canton (Guangdong). In some
areas, the market price for hair-weed is up to hundreds of
dollars in Chinese currency, renminbi. So going to Mongolian
grassland to dig out hair-weeds became an extremely popular
way of making fortune among the Chinese peasants from Gansu
and Ningxia provinces.
the fact that hair-weed grows tightly connected to the roots
of other grasses, digging of each piece of the herb would ruin
a bunch of forage grasses altogether and consequently destroys
the grassland. The worst victim of these activities, Alashan
Banner of western Inner Mongolia, witnesses every spring the
arrival of a lot of Chinese peasants from Gansu, Ningxia and
other provinces of China Proper with no required documents.
The “hair-weed army” of the Chinese peasants, from arriving in
groups of a handful during the 1980s, expanded to the size of
thousands coming on trucks and tractors, and even with the
protection of armed personnel during the 1990s.
arriving in the grassland in pursuant of their “hair-weed
dreams”, these Chinese peasants not only ruthlessly dig and
destroy the grassland, often time they also rob the Mongolian
herders of their livestock to kill and eat, in addition to
stealing properties of the Mongols. These lead to serious
clashes between the Mongol herders and the intruding Chinese
peasants from time to time. According to incomplete
statistics, between 1990 and 1998, number of Chinese peasants
entering Inner Mongolian grassland yearly is nearly 10,000;
size of destroyed grassland 3,000 mu (about 495 acres or
20,000 ares); number of killed, robbed and stolen livestock
2,000 head; and the total loss is beyond estimation.
struggle of the Mongols protecting their ancestral pastoral
grassland remains helpless in front of the fully armed troops
of “hair-weed army” of Chinese peasants. Grassland continues
to lose her shape, being left with holes and bruises on her
face, increasingly turns to desert day by day.
Chinese “hair-weed army” gets the reward in building of
stories of houses using its profit from the hair-weed sale.
“Hair-weed dream” gets fulfilled!