“Group Charges Cover-Up”

Via RFA we have a take on a story from yesterday- it looks like another ethnic Mongolian has been killed in Inner Mongolia. I’m torn on whether or not this’ll spark more protests there, because although the wounds from this summer will still be fresh, so too will the paramilitary police presence still be elevated:

A human rights group on Monday accused the Chinese authorities of trying to cover up the death of an ethnic Mongolian herdsman hit by an oil truck as he was protesting the destruction of traditional grazing land in Inner Mongolia.

“With apparent nervousness, the Chinese authorities are attempting to control public opinion through their Internet police system,” the U.S.-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), which closely monitors the human rights situation in China’s northern region of Inner Mongolia.

It identified the man who died on Thursday as Zorigt, saying the herder was an active part of a community trying to protect their grasslands—the heartland of Mongol culture—in Huhtolgoi Gachaa in Uushin (in Chinese, Uxin) Banner (county).

The herdsmen “have been struggling to protect their land and livestock from unregulated Chinese oil and gas transport trucks that drive roughshod through their grazing lands and kill livestock,” the SMHRIC said.

“During a number of confrontations between the local Mongolian herders and the Shuurhei Oil-Gas Field transporters, Zorigt and others were beaten and hospitalized several times previously,” it alleged.

China’s official news agency Xinhua said Zorigt’s death on Thursday was caused by a “traffic accident,” saying the truck driver, named Li Youliang, saw a man, whose name was given in Chinese as Zhaorigetu, blocking the road.

But the SMHRIC charged that Xinhua tried “to prevent possible unrest by the Mongolians” and “preemptively reported on the event, calling it a ‘traffic accident.'”

But it said that the same report, in an apparent contradiction, also revealed that “the driver has already been taken into custody by the Uushin Banner Public Security Bureau in accordance with the law for his involvement in a ‘crime of traffic disturbance’”.

The report, it said, has “disappeared” from other major domestic Chinese language Internet news sites, where it had been republished.

Citing unconfirmed reports, the SMHRIC also said that the case is being handled “swiftly and quietly” by a special task force dispatched from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security in a bid to prevent new unrest among Mongolians.

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Filed under ethnic conflict, Mongolia, violence

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