Staunton, January 23 – Russians like many people around the world know about China’s repressive, even genocidal policies against the Muslim nations of Xinjiang and the Tibetans. But most are not familiar with the genocide Mao carried out during the Great Leap Forward against the Inner Mongolians.
That gap stands to be rectified thanks to the appearance of a Russian translation of Yan Haining’s Tragedy of the Steppe: Inner Mongolia under Mao. The Testimonies of Witnesses. Prepared by a Mongol who now teaches in Japan, the book appeared in English in 2017 and Chinese shortly thereafter.
Now, it has been published in Russian and is available in an online version at tuva.asia/lib/books_regions/9431-cogtu.html. Given the interests of the Buryats, who are part of the Mongol super-ethnos, and the Tuvans who share many links with Inner Mongolia, the appearance of this book in Russian will exacerbate anti-Chinese attitudes among those peoples.
But the appearance of the Russian-language version of this book is likely to have a broader impact. It may serve as a model for other victims of genocide inside the Russian Federation on how to develop a record that cannot be easily dismissed or challenged even when politics change.