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SE Asia and returning Chinese contract labour migrants who have been working on government organised contracts offshore.

(C) International migrants to China

Most foreigners come to China as tourists and this means that they cannot stay for long or work legally. Most cross-border mobility recorded in the Chinese literature is related to trading and tourist travel, involving relatively short periods of stay. Reliable data regarding this mobility are scarce. Age and sex structures, as well as occupations, of the populations are not clear but it is known, as a general rule, that there are more men in these populations. The following information was mainly collected from journal articles, personal communications and other unofficial sources.

(a) Mongolia to China

It was reported that more than 220,000 person/trips were made across the border each year from Mongolia to China before 2000 (Aorenqi, 2000), and the number was possibly as high as 300,000 in 2003. This includes visitors from Mongolia, Russia, and other East European countries (Yang and Tumen, 2003).

It is clear that most Mongolian visitors come to China through the trading port in Inner Mongolia to do their trading business, and most of them stay for only a short time. According to the Yearbook of China Tourism, the two border cities of Manzhouli and Erlianhaut received 91% of cross border visitors in Inner Mongolia. Most visitors were from Mongolia and the second largest group was from Russia (China Tourism, 2002).

Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS

There is a plan to build a free trading zone around Erlianhaut and Zamiin-Uud, as well as a new Trading Mall in Erlianhaut. Therefore, an increase in cross-border activity between Inner Mongolia and Mongolia is most likely to happen in the future. Casual sexual encounters increase the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission.

(b) Russia to China

Most Russians come to China as tourists and Heilongjiang is the province that receives most: 612,300 person/visits in 2001 (China Tourism, 2002). It was reported that 35,400 person/trips crossed a single port of entry (Heihe) in 2001, most of them for a one-day tour in Heilongjiang.

However, it is observed that some of them stayed longer than they were permitted and had a paid job — for example, there are Russian waitresses in some Harbin restaurants. Since such a stay is ‘illegal’, the exact number of them will never be known. There is a trend for more Russian travel to northern provinces other than Heilongjiang. For example, they were found in Beijing, Shanxi, and Shandong (Communication with Wang Binyou at Harbin Medical University).

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