A sediment core from Hulun Lake, Inner Mongolia was analyzed for species assemblages and shell chemistry of ostracodes to investigate changes in the hydrology and climate of the East Asian summer monsoon margin during the Holocene. Darwinula stevensoni was abundant, Ilyocypris spp. scarce, littoral ostracodes absent and Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca and δ18O were low 11,100 to 8300 yr ago, indicating high lake levels and cool/fresh waters. Darwinula stevensoni declined largely, Ilyocypris spp. throve, littoral ostracodes were rare and chemical indicators remained in low values 8300 to 6200 yr ago, suggesting that the lake continued high stands but water became warm. The lake then contracted and water became cool/brackish 6200 to 4300 yr ago. Littoral ostracodes flourished 4300 to 3350 yr ago, marking the lowest lake levels of the entire Holocene. The lake level recovered and water salinity decreased 3350 to 1900 yr ago. From 1900 to 500 yr ago, the lake maintained the preceding status albeit lowered stands and increased salinities 1100 to 800 yr ago. During the recent 500 yr, the lake expanded and water salinity decreased. The data imply that the East Asian summer monsoon did not intensify until 8300 yr ago and weakened dramatically 4300 to 3350 yr ago.