National Geographic : 1962 Mar
They have long memories, too. China once filled Mongolia with sharp traders who out witted the Mongolians and exploited them. "In those days, a pound of tea cost an arat one sheep or goat," a professor in Ulan Bator told me. "Silk for a del would cost six, seven, or eight sheep or goats. After a period of years, the Chinese owned most of the livestock, and Mongolians worked for their overlords." "What about early Russian traders?" I asked. "Oh, they were here too. But they were not as avaricious as the Chinese." Mongolia Broke Chinese Hold Then I asked, "What about Chinese mer chants today?" I knew that formerly the Chi nese had a virtual monopoly on restaurants and shops. "We told the Chinese restaurant owner he could not get food for his restaurant unless he joined a cooperative," the professor said. "And so the restaurants became co-op affairs." "And the shops?" I asked. "Same thing," was the reply. "All retail stores are state owned or outlets of co-ops." A few Chinese teachers serve on the faculty at the university in Ulan Bator, but they teach mostly their own language. As I have said, Communist Chinese brigades are active in construction work. Peking aid built a brick and tile factory, a paper mill, a glass factory, and a woolen textile mill. Yet it appeared to me that Chinese leverage on the Mongolian economy has been largely eliminated. Mon golians - while by no means disdainful of this aid- look to Russia for guidance. A rough measure of their reliance on Soviet skills is 342 Factory-built gers, standing like old-fashioned beehives, lie almost within the shadow of a new flour mill in Ulan Bator. Laundry and a hide (left) dry against the canvas covers. Hoppers drop grain, cleaned and crushed, for reduction to flour. Operator works in mill above.