Explaining Dashdawa Daily Life
This video is about the life experience of two extended families of the Dashdawa Mongols in Chengde: Zhao and Du. Du Jinsheng’s grandfather was called Du Batu and was a member of the Bordered Blue Banner (镶蓝旗). Zhao Zhixun says his ancestors worked as tomb guards (看堆子). Both of them were sent to Inner Mongolia to work at the newly built Baotou steel industry in 1957. They recall that when they were children, all the monasteries in Chengde were open to them; they only needed to say that ‘we are from the Mongol Camp (蒙古营的)’. Nowadays, however, they do not have any privilege to go into any monasteries. Besides, they say that there are no Dashdawa Mongol lamas. Most of the Mongol lamas are from Inner Mongolia. They also say that they are Mongols on ID cards only, because they are no different from the Han Chinese in terms of language and culture. Mixed marriages are also normal, because they do not distinguish Mongolians, Manchu or Han Chinese anymore. They have some misgivings about the government demolition of their home in the Mongol Camp. They think the government did it for the purpose of carrying out their campaign called ‘Big Change in Three Years’ (三年大变样). They recall that about 52 trucks came to the spot along with an ambulance in case anyone would get hurt in protect. In the end, the government made a contract with the people who lived in the Mongol Camp. It contained a clause promising that the residents could move into a new building within 22 months. However, they say that they have already lived in rented houses for six years, and the government provides them only 2,000 yuan per year per family as subsidies. They are pessimistic that they will ever live in new apartments, because the government no longer allows construction of new residential buildings in Chengde since it is now designated as a tourist city.