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Ethnic Mongols from China See Ally in Japan

April 19, 2006
By Katsuhiko Shimizu
The Asahi Shimbun

When it comes to standing up to China, it appears Japan is the place to be. The Inner Mongolian People's Party (IMPP) thinks so, at least. Last month, the international political organization, which works to protect the rights of the ethnic Mongol minority in China, moved its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Tokyo.

"Japan can say 'no' to China," said IMPP chairman Temtsiltu Shobtsood, 49. "Therefore, it is a trustworthy country for us."

In addition, more people are starting to move to Japan from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, home to about 4 million ethnic Mongols.

"About 5,000 students, who have come from the autonomous region, are now living in Japan, " said Temtsiltu. "The figure is incomparably larger than 500 in North America and 300 in Europe."

The IMPP, which last month marked the ninth anniversary of its founding, is also tackling the issue of grassland desertification in the autonomous region.

Beijing claims that the desertification is caused by excessive grazing by animals that accompany nomads, many of whom are ethnic Mongols. Temtsiltu takes issue with this argument.

"Under the Chinese government's long-time agricultural policy, people of the mainstream Han have moved to the autonomous region as farmers and have deprived the nomads of their grazing lands," he said.

"As a result, nomads have been forced to be engaged in excessive grazing activities." Temtsiltu himself knows firsthand the difficulty of standing up to the Chinese government.

Born in Hohhot, the capital of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, he has been under surveillance ever since he first took part in a student movement.

In 1991, fearing he would be arrested, he fled to Germany.

He was not even able to return to China when his parents died.(IHT/Asahi: April 19,2006)





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Close to Eden (Urga): France, Soviet Union, directed by Nikita Mikhilkov

Beyond Great WallsBeyond Great Walls: Environment, Identity, and Development on the Chinese Grasslands of Inner Mongolia

The Mongols at China's EdgeThe Mongols at China's Edge: History and the Politics of National Unity

China's Pastoral RegionChina's Pastoral Region: Sheep and Wool, Minority Nationalities, Rangeland Degradation and Sustainable Development

Changing Inner MongoliaChanging Inner Mongolia: Pastoral Mongolian Society and the Chinese State (Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Grasslands and Grassland Science in Northern ChinaGrasslands and Grassland Science in Northern China: A Report of the Committee on Scholarly Communication With the People's Republic of China

The Ordos Plateau of ChinaThe Ordos Plateau of China: An Endangered Environment (Unu Studies on Critical Environmental Regions)
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