Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The inside of the outside

I won't give away too much, but The Outcast includes among its cast of characters an ethnic Mongolian, born in the 'autonomous region' of Inner Mongolia.  The tension between his ethnic background and his Chinese citizenship is one of the springboards for the book's plot. 

With that fresh in my mind, I was struck by this very interesting article from the Kansas City Star which discusses the increasing dilution of the Mongolian identify in the region.  Wang Huiming, the vice director of the local ethnic affairs commission, states that Inner Mongolia is "recognized by the central government as a model autonomous region" with "very stable" social and political conditions.  On the other hand, one local ethnic Mongolian says: "We used to be the hosts here. Now we feel like the guests in our own land."

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