CHAPTER 18

Inner Mongolia: The Soot Road

From Datong, Gustaf Mannerheim crossed the Great Wall of China into Inner Mongolia and a grassland steppe that was traditionally dominated by Mongol tribes. However, in 1908, the military governor of Inner Mongolia was being put on trial for a lucrative scheme to colonize these wild pasture lands with Han Chinese farmers. It was the beginning of a mass Chinese migration into Mongol territories.

Nowadays, Inner Mongolia, and especially its regional capital Hohhot, hardly even seem Mongolian. Only 17 percent of the region is ethnic Mongol. In the course of a century, Chinese farmers have destroyed the grasslands, which now create horrendous dust storms in Northern China. Although farming is in retreat, the Chinese are now mining Inner Mongolia’s rich coal deposits. I visited Inner Mongolia during an energy and construction boom.

Route Map

Click on features to view details of my journey from Wutai Shan to Hohhot and Genghis Khan’s Mausoleum in Ordos.


View Horse That Leaps – Eric Enno Tamm in a larger map

Interactive Map: The Soot Road

Click on map below to go to an interactive map showing my route across China, major oil and gas pipelines and urban air pollution in major cities. I’ve dubbed this China’s new Soot Road.
The Soot Road

Photo Map

Click on the icons to view photos of my journey through Inner Mongolia.

Slideshow


Resources

For more information about Inner Mongolia, check out these links:
Genghis Khan on Wikipedia
Baku on Wikipedia
Inner Mongolia People’s Party
Inner Mongolia University
World Bank Report (PDF): Cost of Pollution in China.