April 12, 2017
Photo Courtesy of: Southern Mongolian Human Rights/AP 2011
On 10 April 2017, Chinese police cracked down on protestors in Southern Mongolia as they demanded compensation for land grabs and environmental destruction caused by large-scale state-run development projects. The protest took place in front of a local government building in Southern Mongolia’s Horchin Right Front Banner county. The government responded by sending out nearly 1,000 riot police. The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) reports that many people were beaten and dragged by the police officers, while at least 30 Mongolians were arrested.
Below is a press release by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC):
3,000 Mongolians take to the streets, 30 arrested, protest continues
April 12, 2017
On April 10, 2017, more than 3,000 Mongolians from eastern Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Horchin Right Front Banner took to the streets and staged a protest in front of the local government building. They demanded that the local government make an immediate and full payment to the local Mongolians whose lands were either taken away or laid waste due to various state-run projects and newly adopted polices.
Around noon, tension escalated, and a violent clash broke out between the large crowd and the police in riot gear, reportedly numbering nearly 1,000, when the protestors approached the government building. Many were beaten and dragged away by riot police. At least 30 Mongolians were arrested.
Footage that the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) received from the local community shows a woman lying on the ground after being beaten by riot police.
“This is how the government is treating us Mongolians,” a protestor said in the footage. “Riot police and even traffic police poured in and carried out beatings. Many were severely injured and taken away by ambulance.”
“The police told us shamelessly that they are the fangs of the state, and they can crush us any time at their will,” the protestor added.
According to the protestors, on March 27, 2017, an estimated 1,000 local Mongolians gathered in front of the government building and demanded justice for the Mongolians. The government officials came out and promised to the protestors that they would give a satisfactory answer within 10 days.
“Ten days are over. No word from the government. Today we are beaten and arrested when gathered here to urge the government to keep its promise,” another protestor named Altanbagan told the SMHRIC over the phone.
Yesterday, several hundred Mongolians gathered again in front of the government building, holding banners reading, “Release Our Fellow Mongolians, Return Us Justice!”
“Protestors were arrested in front of the Hingaan League Government building yesterday afternoon after staging the protest before noon in front of the Horchin Right Front Banner government that refused to answer our demand,” a protestor said in the latest footage. “Many of us gathered here again today. Twenty to thirty of us were arrested there by the Horchin Right Front Banner Public Security Bureau. Today we are here to demand the release of the detainees. Innocent protestors were beaten by riot police.”
Another similar protest took place on April 10, 2017, in the neighboring Horchin Right Wing Middle Banner, where local Mongolians gathered to block the Chinese from taking over and cultivating their land.
“Police in riot gear are pouring in. We are trying to defend our land from the Chinese. This is our ancestral land where we have lived for generations,” a protestor said in the video footage.
“This is how our people are oppressed,” the protestor continued in the footage, which showed the land being cultivated by the Chinese while police vehicles lined up to block the local Mongolians in the background.
“Let all us Mongolians stand up to defend our land that we inherited from our ancestors,” the protestor added.
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