Building New China, Colonizing Kokonor

Resettlement to Qinghai in the 1950s

By (author) Gregory Rohlf

Publication date:

04 March 2016

Length of book:

308 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9781498519526

Building New China, Colonizing Kokonor: Resettlement to Amdo and Qinghai in the 1950s examines rural resettlement to the Sino-Tibetan cultural borderlands in the 1950s. More than 100,000 eastern Han and Hui Chinese were sent to Qinghai province—known in Mongolian as Kokonor and Amdo to Tibetans—to plow up new fields in areas that were being incorporated into the Chinese state for the first time. The settlers were to bring their skilled labor, literacy, and modern thinking to “backward” Qinghai to fully exploit its natural resources of oil, natural gas, gold, and empty lands for the benefit of the industrializing nation. The book is a social and political history of resettlement, focusing on the people who were moved and the overall impact the program had on the province. It is a frontier history, but it also narrates a story of state building in modern China that spans the twentieth century and the opening years of the twenty-first.
In the 1950s, more than rustication was a systematic migration of a rural resettlement from across China to what is modern Qinghai province. Historian Rohlf examines a western region that remains a frontier project in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands; indeed, in the 1950s, two waves of migration also triggered an ethnic tension—both intra-Hui and intra-Han—that collectivized the system while mediating the foundation for socialist control. In sending more than 100,000 Chinese to Qinghai (Kokonor in Mongolian), the new central state solidified an enormous state-building project to lift Qinghai from backwardness to exploit the region’s natural resources while indoctrinating a generation of youth in the industrial initiative....Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, faculty.