Photo by Flickr user bartpogoda
It looks like India’s not the only neighbor with a bizzare growing component of Neo-Nazi groups and sympathizers, Mongolia Neo-Nazis are on the rise too… and their main target isn’t the Jews, it’s the Chinese.
From the Guardian comes an amazing story of the growth of Neo-Nazi groups in Mongolia, which focus on protecting the 3-million or so “pure Mongolians” from the evils of “foreign crime, rampant inequality, political indifference and corruption,” all in the name of Hitler’s ideals.
Though Tsagaan Khass (White Swastika) leaders say they do not support violence, they are self-proclaimed Nazis. “Adolf Hitler was someone we respect. He taught us how to preserve national identity,” said the 41-year-old co-founder, who calls himself Big Brother.
“We don’t agree with his extremism and starting the second world war. We are against all those killings, but we support his ideology. We support nationalism rather than fascism.”
“We have to make sure that as a nation our blood is pure. That’s about our independence,” said 23-year-old Battur, pointing out that the population is under three million.
“If we start mixing with Chinese, they will slowly swallow us up. Mongolian society is not very rich. Foreigners come with a lot of money and might start taking our women.”
It’s not the first time Mongolia’s Neo-Nazis have been put in the spotlight. Last year, Time Magazine featured them and some of their leaders as well.
Fifty-year-old Zagas Erdenebileg is the leader of Dayar Mongol (All Mongolia), the most prominent of the neo-Nazi groups. “If our blood mixes with foreigners’, we’ll be destroyed immediately,” says Erdenebileg, who has run unsuccessfully for parliament four times. He loathes the Chinese — whom he accuses of involvement in prostitution and drug-trafficking — and reveres Genghis Khan, who he says influenced Adolf Hitler. I ask him if he considers his adoption of the beliefs of a regime that singled out and executed people with Mongol features from among Soviet prisoners of war to be in any way ironic. “It doesn’t matter,” he shrugs. “We share the same policies.”
If Erdenebileg is the elder statesman of Mongolia’s neo-Nazis, Shari Mungun-Erdene, the 23-year-old leader of the roughly 200-strong Mongolian National Union (MNU), is the new kid on the block and sports a swastika tattoo on his chest. The MNU takes vigilante action against law-breaking outsiders, Mungun-Erdene says, mainly Chinese. When I ask what kind of action, he replies, “Whatever it takes so that they don’t live here.” At other times, though, he comes across as an overzealous adolescent. He opens his laptop to show photos of his neo-Nazi buddies. But beside the folders entitled “Guns” and “Skinheads” are others with names like “My Car” and “Mom in Japan.”
While the adoption of Hitler’s ideologies and the bullying of both interracial couples and anyone associated with the Chinese is very, very terrible, at the same time it’s hard to say the fear of Chinese imperialism isn’t founded in some sort of reality.
One of the reasons for the riots last year in Xinjiang was because of anger towards what Uyghurs felt was the suppression of own identity. Policies in the area had restricted religious practice, phased the Uyghur language out of schools and given more opportunities to Han businesspeople and migrant workers. It echoed similar complaints that had been coming out of Tibet of Sinicization (or, if you want to use a more incendiary term, “cultural genocide”).
Heck, the Chinese government’s not even above doing it to members of the Han majority – making this into, perhaps, more of an issue of controlling culture rather than just Han dominance: Speakers of Cantonese recently staged large protests all over Guangzhou over efforts to “phase out Cantonese in official settings in favor of Mandarin.”
It’s hard to say if changes to the heavy handed approach to propagating its version of Chinese culture would make a subset of Mongolians hate the Chinese government less – after all, they’re still poor, they’re still uneducated, the political system in Mongolia still isn’t super and Neo-Nazis seem to be rising all over the world. But with things like this, you can’t help thinking that there wasn’t some kind of cause.