China: July 31, 2001

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China is making a virtue of a necessity, sending surplus coastal populations to Tibet (culturally a separate country) and oil-rich Sinkiang (populated by Turkic peoples of the Uighir and Kazakh tribes). Indeed, Han Chinese are now 51% of the population of Sinkiang. Entire towns in Russian Siberia are composed of illegal Chinese immigrants who have simply walked across the border in the last decade. Astonishingly, however, the same thing may be happening in Burma (which now calls itself Myanmar). The repressive military government does not allow foreign reporters to move around the country, so the situation is virtually unknown, but apparently one price of Chinese political and military support for Myanmar is virtually unrestricted Chinese immigration. In Mandalay, most signs are in Chinese and ethnic Chinese are the majority. Recent arrivals from China have virtually turned the city into a Chinese one.--Stephen V Cole

 

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