China’s New Sorrow: Water-Management Policies, Environmental Degradation, and Salar-Tibetan Minority Relations in Qinghai Province, 1862–1978

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This article analyzes the effect of post-1949 policies on minority peoples in China’s watershed—Qinghai province. Salar and Tibetan peoples had lived in relative harmony for centuries in Xunhua County. Access to the Tibetan highlands and a monopoly on wool production had provided Tibetan herders with an upper hand. New policies that encouraged agricultural production over the course of the twentieth century not only brought radical changes to these long-standing relationships but also initiated new strains on the local environment. The Mao era saw a particularly rapid expansion of new water projects designed to tame the Yellow River. The resulting environmental catastrophe is a major contributing factor to the river’s current inability to flow to the Yellow Sea.


This article was originally published in Twentieth-Century China. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Twentieth-Century China