Postcard: Inner Mongolia

Among the Oroqen people of northern China, an ancient way of life is being lost in a flurry of assimilation. China's last hunters face an uncertain future

Timothy O’Rourke / Sinopix

The Orogen's hunting traditions, unchanged for centuries, are disappearing.

Hunting is good. It's good for the body," says Baiyaertu, 83, his hazel eyes twinkling as he smokes a cigarette from a long plastic holder. "After you come back with something, you feel really happy." A member of the Oroqen, an ethnic group from China's northeast, he first pursued game in the wilderness as a child with his parents. It has been decades since he last hunted, but his memories are strong.

For most Oroqen, memories of hunting are all they have. As with many of its dozens of other ethnic minorities, China has moved aggressively to assimilate this small group...

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