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Genghis Khan tomb find may anger Mongols

The Straits Times, 17 September 2000

Chinese archaeologists say it lies within China

BEIJING -- Chinese archaeologists claimed to have discovered the tomb of legendary conqueror Genghis Khan, in a move likely to anger the people in Outer Mongolia who revere him.

The final resting place of the Great Khan has been a subject of speculation for centuries, but while most Mongolians believe that he lies hidden beneath the Khentii mountain range to the north-east of Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital, the Chinese now place him inside north-west China.

This is the real tomb of Genghis Khan, said Mr Zhang Hui, a research fellow at the Xinjiang Museum in Urumqi, capital of China's largest Muslim region.

He pinpointed a recently discovered tomb in Qinghe county in northern Xinjiang, close to the Mongolian border and the Altai mountains where Chinese historians have long debated Genghis' possible presence.

The conqueror passed through Altai on several occasions as he forced Central Asia under the Mongol yoke.

When he died in 1227, from injuries sustained falling from his beloved steed, his generals went to customary extremes to keep secret the grave's location.

Once hundreds of horses had trampled the ground above the tomb to obscure its whereabouts, the 2,000 people who had attended his funeral were massacred by 800 soldiers, who were also killed.

After Outer Mongolia secured de facto independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, Japanese and US expeditions have spent millions of US dollars in vain attempts to locate the tomb.

All of them have promised the Mongolian government not to disturb the tomb if they prove successful. --Independent Newspapers