Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A run in with local government

He sat there near the bridge, red faced, wiry yet with a small potbelly. Sweat dripped from his brow, no doubt caused by the copious amounts of alcohol imbibed. Bottles were lobbed indiscriminately everywhere among the boulders of the shallow river. Plastic bags and wrappers from the prolonged picnic littered this otherwise pristine slice of Inner Mongolia.

He was the local CCP boss called Mr Ho and was surrounded by a number of slobbering deputies and a couple of SUVs. His demeanour and attitude immediately smelt as much as trouble as the potent baiju being necked down.

We were there to track down China’s last hunter gathering society, a somewhat fruitless task as, by and large, the Orochen people have been assimilated into the Han Chinese majority way of life. He was there to be a little Hitler.

Hunting might have been banned since 1993, but that hadn’t stopped Mr Ho and his acolytes wolfing down deer meat. With a wave of his hand he told us in no uncertain terms that we didn’t have a permit to be here so we had to leave right away or else. We bade him a hasty farewell and left him in the late afternoon sunshine surrounded appropriately by carcasses.

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