Study on the Administrative Divisions in China’s Border Areas from the Perspective of Nation-state Building --- Changes to the Administrative Divisions in Inner Mongolia in the 20th Century

  •  Sun Jing    


From the end of the Yuan Dynasty to the early Qing Dynasty, when Inner Mongolia was still a special administrative region of the Qing Empire, the Mongolian nomad's territory went through numerous significant changes. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the administrative divisions in Inner Mongolia underwent three major changes and after continuous integration they were incorporated into the administrative territory of the People's Republic of China in a manner that was compatible with the behavior of a modern nation-state. Such changes can neither be ascribed to the natural process of national development and it’s accompanying fissions nor to the sinocization of Inner Mongolian initiated by Han migrants. Instead, it is derived from the game of power played in the region by various forces, from the Manchu and Han peoples, to the Mongolians, Russians and Japanese, and the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party in the period of surging modern nationalism. This is evidenced by the changes of division in Hulunbuir in particular. This case is enough to demonstrate that the issues of China’s border and nations are not simply equivalent to the binary opposition between Central Plains and border areas, between Han and ethnic minorities, but a process teeming with complex and diverse points of contention, political wrestling matches and other interactions.

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