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Impacts of Roads on the Ethnic Dulong Communities in Southwest China and Their Coping and Adopting Strategies
Dulong people are one of the smallest ethnic groups officially recognized as one of the 56 ethnic groups in China. They are well-known in China as the face tattoo people. The history of the Dulong is not well documented, because they have been living isolated in the Dulong Valley which sits in the mountains bordering Tibet and Yunnan, one of the most remote regions of China. With the construction of a 96.2-kilometer long mud road in 1999, the Dulong people ended its history without roads and its isolation with the outside world. Then on April 10, 2014, a tunnel was completed that connects the beautiful valley with the outside world more closely. The construction of this road has huge impacts on the ethnic Dulong community in the valley. The road not just allows for trafficking of people and goods, but also brings in new ideas, beliefs and lifestyles. This paper will discuss the history of the road construction in the Dulong River Valley; road and development; road and mobility and solidarity; road and socio-cultural changes of the Dulong people; and how the Dulong people cope and adopt to these changes.