Does Mongolia Need China?
4:00 PM, Jul 7, 2008 • By JENNIFER CHOU
Chinese media have been enthusiastically quoting Russian press reports attributing last week's post-election violence in Ulan Bator to a U.S.-engineered "color revolution" aimed at countering Russian and Chinese influence in resource-rich Mongolia.
A commentary widely circulated in Chinese cyberspace, including the website of People's Daily, asks with obvious sarcasm whether the unrest in Mongolia resulting from "electoral chaos" constitutes a "millennium challenge":
According to the article, the U.S.-Mongolian joint venture Eagle TV has been force-feeding the Mongolians ideas such as democracy and free elections. However, the piece continues, while both the ruling party and the opposition are well acquainted with these "fashionable words," it is difficult for an "ancient, semi-feudal, and semi-nomadic" people to fully absorb and integrate these concepts into their own culture.
To drive home the point, readers are reminded that China long ago replaced Russia as Mongolia's largest trading partner, that 90 percent of the consumer goods sold in Mongolia are Chinese made, and that having invested $1.181 billion in 3,769 projects, China is Mongolia's biggest investor, creating more than 50,000 jobs in the landlocked country of three million people. Moreover, during the five-year period from 2003 to 2007 alone, Beijing provided Ulan Bator with more than three billion RMB (about $428 million) in loans and grants.
Between 1991 and 2008, U.S. aid to Mongolia totaled a mere $174.5 million.