Well, that was fast. Shanghaiist reports:
The Han Chinese truck driver responsible for the killing of an ethnic Mongol herdsman in Inner Mongolia that sparked the worst riots in the region in 20 years was sentenced to death yesterday.
Li Lindong was given the death penalty for running over an ethnic Mongol herdsman named Mergen (Mongols often use just one name) on May 10. Mergen was there with several others blocking the road to protest coal trucks driving through causing pollution in their grasslands. According to official police reports, Li ran over the herder and dragged his body for 145m before Mergen died.
Obviously an attempt to appease Mongolians- but I suspect it’s too little too late. The genie is out of the bottle now, and other long-held grievances ranging from unchecked Han immigration to Mongolian language preservation are being aired. Mergen’s death might have sparked the protests, but now they have a life of their own. Does the execution of a truck driver spell an end to grassland degradation, or will it revive Mongolian culture? The consequences of the last few weeks will live on, long after the riot police have left town.