Many Chinese nationals still in fact regard all of Mongolia – including the sovereign nation to the north of Beijing – as being historically Chinese. Yet the reverse is true. While Mongolia was subsumed by the Han, it was the Mongols who were long the masters of the Steppes, creating under successive Khans an empire that stretched across Eastern Europe, Russia, most of Central Asia, China, Tibet and parts of India.
Faced also with the new, massive wealth that Mongolia’s numerous mining projects will bring, the GDP growth rate and per capita income will see Mongolia outstrip its southern neighbor in just a few years. Mongolia’s per capita income by 2015 is expected to reach US$10,000, higher than that of Inner Mongolia and even surpassing the Shanghainese. For a nation of “backward, dirty, unsophisticated peasants” (as was described to me by one Han Chinese recently) its seems that maybe after all, the nomadic lifestyle and attention to detail as regards natural sustainability may be the way forward.
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