Is this just an unusually bad summer as far as Chinese land grabs go, or has the Mongolian population of Inner Mongolia experienced a sudden onset of severe ethnic solidarity? Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center reports that there’s been yet another protest:
A fresh protest by Mongolian herders erupted in Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Bairin Right Banner (“Ba Lin You Qi” in Chinese) Sharmurun Som (“Xi La Mu Lun Su Mu” in Chinese) on July 18, 2011. More than 1000 Mongolian herders protested against the local government for allowing a Chinese millionaire surnamed Sui to illegally grab a large piece of their grazing land for cultivation. Reportedly, Sui hired more than 200 Chinese to kill dozens of livestock with their heavy vehicles and bulldozers and to beat up local Mongolian herders who resisted her occupation of their land.
Mr.Baatar, a local herder, was brutally beaten up by these Chinese on the morning of July 18, while he was tending his sheep on his grazing land. According to his wife Ms.Yintoor, with a broken skull and serious brain injuries Baatar was taken to a hospital in Tianshan Township of the neighboring Ar-Horchin Banner. After a four-day emergency treatment, Baatar is still in critical condition. Dozens others were hospitalized at the Bairin Right Banner Hospital. The health condition of the hospitalized remains unknown.
Government officials of Sharmurun Som and Bairin Right Banners were called to an urgent meeting to quell the protest. Nearly three hundreds riot police and government officials were dispatched by the Som and Banner governments to crack down on the protest.
“I was on the scene. Angry herders protested strongly against those Chinese thugs hired by Sui to kill the livestock grazing on the land,” a Mongolian from the Sharmurun Som who asked not to be identified confirmed to SMHRIC over the phone and expressed his strong support to the herders, “it is a natural response of anyone to resist when someone occupies your land, kills your livestock and beats you up.”
Mongolian bloggers called on Mongols to stand up against the Chinese to defend their rights in the face of tightened Internet censorship by the authorities whose main concern is to prevent widespread dissemination of information. Many bloggers called for large-scale protests to demand the Chinese authorities to punish those Chinese who violated the rights of the Mongols.
“After the death of Mr. Mergen that ignited the large scale protests in May, this is another serious case in which again Mongolian herders risked their lives for defending their land,” an online appeal letter rallied the Mongolians to protest in solidarity, “we have been impoverished; we have lost our lands to the Chinese; we have been plundered of our natural resources; our livestock are perishing; many of us have become homeless on our own lands. We are treated with no dignity. We must stand up to defend our human rights rather than being silently killed by the Chinese army”.
“Bairin Right Banner is home to more than 80,000 Mongolians most of whom are herders,” Mr. Tumenulzii Buyanmend, a well-known dissident writer from Bairin Right Banner who went into exile in Mongolia and arrived in the United States recently said during an interview with SMHRIC, “I call on our fellow Bairin Mongolians as well as Mongolian brothers and sisters from other banners across Southern Mongolia to launch a long-term large-scale nonviolent resistance movement to defend their rights.”
Good luck. To date this week: a protest/attack in Xinjiang by the Uyghur, continuing protests in Sichuan, Qinghai, and Tibet by Tibetans, and now this in Inner Mongolia. Anyone want to claim that the relationship between Beijing and the ethnic minorities isn’t deteriorating?