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  Open letter from the Darhad Mongols


Dear leaders, comrades and fellow Mongols:

We are the Darhad Mongols of Ordos. For generations, we have been the caretakers of the mausoleum of Chinggis Khan who was the founder of our Mongol nation. Ever since Chinggis Khan’s mausoleum was established in Ordos, our ancestors, at the price of their lives and blood, have been fulfilling the mission of taking care of as well as preserving the mausoleum and the surrounding area.

In 1696, at the request of Mongol leagues, banners and jasags of both Northern (Outer) and Southern (Inner) Mongolia following their discussion, the Manchu court designated 500 Mongol households as the Darhad. A Darhad Aimag (League) was established and the Darhad were freed from all taxes and duties other than to look after the mausoleum of Chinggis Khan generation after generation. This became a tradition which was honored by governments during the nationalist period as well as after the establishment of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR).

In 1938, following the Japanese invasion of Guisui and Buguut, in order to win the support of the Mongols in the war against Japan, both the government of Republic of China (ROC) and the central committee of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) supported the call of Shagdarzav, the Prince of Yekhe Juu, , and decided to transfer the mausoleum to the west. On 10 June, 1939, over ten thousand Mongols, old and young, after paying respect to the mausoleum one last time, bid farewell to the mausoleum with tears in their eyes. The scene was very moving. When the team passed by Yülin and Hsi’an, a memorial ceremony was held and over 100,000 people from all walks of life came to participate. When they passed by Yen’an, both Chairman Mao and Commander-in-Chief Zhu presented floral wreathes. On July 10, the mausoleum arrived at Yüchung County in Kansu Province, and was relocated to the Monastery of Great Buddha (Ta Fo Tien) at the Hsinglung Mountain.

In 1953, at the request of the Mongols of Yekhe Juu, the government of IMAR agreed to honor the tradition by allowing the Darhad to look after as well as to hold the ceremonies at the mausoleum.

In 1964, the Mausoleum of Chinggis Khan was announced to be a major cultural relic of Inner Mongolia by the government of IMAR and was announced to be among second rank cultural relics of People’s Republic of China by the Department of State. On the basis of former Bureau of Management of Chinggis Khan Mausoleum whose members consisted mainly of the Darhad, the name and rank of the management was changed several times:

  • 1982, Center for Relics Preservation and Management of Chinggis Khan Mausoleum;

  • 1991, (Upgraded and changed name to) Bureau of Relics Preservation and Management of Chinggis Khan Mausoleum;

  • 1998, Bureau of Management of Chinggis Khan Mausoleum;

  • 2001, Bureau of Management of Chinggis Khan Mausoleum of Ordos.

For many years, both the Party leadership and the government have been showing great respect toward historical relics and the customs of the Mongols, particularly the Darhad Mongols. The leadership as well as the ordinary staff members of the management bureau has always consisted of the Darhad. This guaranteed the preservation and continuity of the age-long tradition of relics and ceremony of Chinggis Khan’s mausoleum.

During the Cultural Revolution, the mausoleum of Chinggis Khan witnessed a disaster like never before. The Darhad as well suffered from persecution. Among the few thousand Darhad, not one was left free from persecution, and many of them lost their lives. Because of being the guardians of the mausoleum of Chinggis Khan, they were automatically labeled as members of either the so called anti-party and traitor group of Ulaanhuu, or of the imaginary “Inner Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party”.

After the Cultural Revolution, the Darhad were given a second life as were the people of the whole country. From 1976 onwards, Bureau of Cultural Relics and the Committee of Nationality Affairs of central government and governments of both IMAR and Yekhe Juu League had raised funds and contributed a great amount in the reconstruction of the mausoleum. Eventually at the 50th anniversary of IMAR, the mausoleum was built to today’s size and style.

Chinggis Khan, the “Son of the Heaven”, was known to be the greatest man of the second millennium and his great contribution was known by all the people of the world. He not only is the ancestor of the Mongols but he is also the pride of the people of the East. Therefore, the mausoleum of Chinggis Khan is a cultural heritage of both the Mongols and the world. It must not become the private property of certain individuals or organization. Any disrespect and damage to the mausoleum should also be considered damage and disrespect not only to the Darhad, but also to the Ordos Mongols and to the world Mongol community. It is an insult as well as disrespect to a world cultural heritage.

As a state level cultural relic establishment, the mausoleum of Chinggis Khan was selected as one of the 40 best tourist attractions in China in 1991. It was also appointed as a tourist model in recent years. In 2001, it was rated as an AA grade tourist attraction. The annual profit that the mausoleum brought in was increased from several hundred thousand to millions and even billions of yuan. Being motivated by the economic profit, certain people have been attempting to dominate this cultural entity as a source of wealth to serve their own selfish needs. Dong Lian Company which was established to “reform the mausoleum of Chinggis Khan” is one example.

Dong Lian Company is a private business company. The owner, Mr. Hou, has unusually close relationship with certain local politicians. This is commonly known in the local community. Dong Lian not only occupied several thousand mu of land surrounding the mausoleum through various methods and excuses, they also started constructing large compound of buildings and named it Chinggis Khan’s Second Mausoleum. They also removed the inscription with the handwriting of Comrade Ulaanhuu and re-inscribed it on the main pillar of the so-called second mausoleum. Something most unacceptable is that they printed the name of Chinggis Khan, ancestor of our Mongol nation, on tourist slippers. This is an ill-motivated action and through which they intend to let the thousands and tens of thousands of tourists to tread on the name of Chinggis Khan and we Mongols. They also intend, through this action, to show their own arrogance as conquerors. Dong Lian not only is the developer but also is the manager. The real owner behind the committee of Chinggis Khan Mausoleum is Mr. Hou now. With the help of some people in the Municipal Government, Mr. Hou’s Dong Lian Company has already taken over the Bureau of Management of Chinggis Khan’s Mausoleum. They are also planning to demolish all buildings inside the courtyard of the mausoleum which has been there for many years. Under such circumstances, we Darhad Mongols have no choice but to appeal to your attention for a just resolution on the matter. We have the following requests:

1.      We would like leaders concerned to send out an investigation group to go into the Darhad community to find out about the abuse of rights by Dong Lian Company.

2.      The Darhad are the lawful caretakers of the Mausoleum of Chinggis Khan. We would like you to respect this age-old tradition of us Mongols. The right of holding ceremonies at the mausoleum has always been in the hands of the Darhad for centuries. No organization or individual should be allowed to abuse this right.

3.      According to UN regulation of protection of cultural relics and Act of protecting Cultural Relics of China, the original shape of cultural relics should be protected as much as possible. The reform of Chinggis Khan’s Mausoleum should go through the process of recognition and approval by the State Bureau of Cultural Relics and professional organizations. Otherwise, illegally constructed buildings should be demolished. According to our findings, the plans of the so-called second mausoleum were not evaluated or approved by any experts or cultural relic organization. Therefore it should be demolished immediately.

4.      Dong Lian has wantonly removed the hand-writing of Comrade Ulaanhuu and re-inscribed it elsewhere improperly. This not only is a serious copyright abuse but also is disrespect to Comrade Ulaanhuu. They should immediately end the copyright abuse and apologize to the public.

5.      Dong Lian’s action of printing Chinggis Khan’s name on slippers is a very serious insult to all Mongols. According to law, such insulting actions is punishable by law and the wrongdoers should be investigated for their culpability. We would like to offer our cooperation in finding the ones who are responsible and to have them hand over their products.

6.      We hope the higher authorities will carefully handle the relationship between a cultural relic organization and tourism. Millions of Mongols worldwide do place their respect and affection for their ancestors on the Chinggis Khan’s Mausoleum. We will not tolerate anyone to view and use the relic as a tool for themselves to get rich. We will not let anyone insult the soul of our ancestor and we would rather remove it to elsewhere.

7.      According to the land law, change of ownership to land must be approved either at village congresses or by having 2/3 or above number of villagers agree. Hou occupied thousands of mu of land all through improper channels, against the will of most Darhad Mongols. It is illegal occupation. Therefore the entire land should be returned.

8.      Dong Lian and Mr. Hou are not just illegally occupying our grazing land and forcing us out of living, they also sullied the honor of our ancestor and disturbed his soul. Apart from requesting the government to investigate his responsibility in this matter, we would like to emphasize that such people are not welcome in our land. We want them to leave as soon as possible and leave us Darhad Mongols in peace.


Darhad Mongols who are the caretakers of Mausoleum of Chinggis Khan of Ordos


(List of names of Darhad who signed on this letter attached.)


----- English translation by SMHRIC



If you would like to add your name to a petition drive opposing the sale of the Chinggis Khan mausoleum and lands to a commercial enterprise and support the continued role of the Darhad Mongols, please send an email to with your name and address. Please continue to check this website for further updates.







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