Jul 27, 2011

Southern Mongolia: Tensions Raise as Businesswoman Illegally Siezes Grazing Land

Land grab in Mongolia, the latest in a series of events threatening Mongolian herders way of life. 

Below is an article published by the Tibetan Review:

TibetanReview.net, Jul26, 2011)  Around 300 riot police and local officials were dispatched on Jul 18 to crackdown on more than 1,000 herders in Inner Mongolia who were protesting against their local government for allowing a Chinese businesswoman to illegally seize their land and kill their grazing livestock. The herders in Bairin Right Banner and Sharmurun Som (Chinese: Balin Youqi and Xilamulun Sumu) were demanding return of their land, reported RFA.org Jul 24, citing a statement from US-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC).

The local Chinese businesswoman, surnamed Sui, was reported to have hired more than 200 Chinese thugs to kill livestock belonging to ethnic Mongolian herdsmen by running them over with cars and bulldozers, and also to beat up herdsmen who resisted the land grab. 

The group has said one herder was brutally beaten while tending sheep in his grazing land while dozens of others were hospitalized.

In May, Inner Mongolia was hit by a serious, large-scale unrest with Mongolian herders protesting against rampant mining and resultant pollution and bullying by mining companies and their employees as well as lack of government sensitivity to their plight. The immediate cause was the killing of a Mongolian herder under the wheels of a coal mine truck.

Students and herders took to the streets to demand better protection of the environment and their rights and traditions, while Beijing sent in large numbers of troops to the affected northern areas of Inner Mongolia, and enforcing a security lock-in at schools, universities, and government institutions.

At the same time, China took measures to address the local people’s concerns, sentencing to death the truck driver involved in the killing of the herder and another one to life imprisonment while issuing new guidelines that require mining companies to include herders in their development plans.

Ethnic Mongolians in Inner Mongolia number around 6 million but make up less than 20 percent of its population due to Chinese immigration. The region is China's biggest coal-producer.