Friday, 15 October 2010

secret liaison in Beijing

Shh, don't tell anyone but we are sneaking off to Beijing this weekend. As I write we are preparing to flit by moonlight. The reason for being covert? There is serious history between Mongolia and China. Ever since the Chinese overthrew the Mongolian empire and held control for several hundred years the Mongolians have resented them and vice versa (Chinggis & Co had trashed the previously unbeatable Chinese empire). The Russians may have kicked the Chinese out in the 1920's and subsequently killed some 25% of the Mongolian population whilst razing all important buildings to the ground but they are revered. They kicked the Chinese out. The feeling remains strong today. Stories abound in Ulaanbaatar about the Chinese being a sick race riddled with worms, about shoddy Chinese goods that will fall apart as soon as you touch them. A Mongolian friend who studied for his PhD in the US caught me reading a guidebook on Beijing earlier this week, he hasn't spoken to me since. Similarly the Chinese detest a country they view as their poor neighbour suddenly having the fastest growth economy in Asia. Particularly given the growth has resulted from the myriad of gold, copper and coal mines that are dotted along the Mongolia-China border on the side that favours Chinggis' descendents. How he must be smirking...

Mongolian of the day:- how are you? :: yu baina ve?