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Inner Mongolian Grasslands: Mongols Out and Chinese In


--- Inner Mongolia to Expand Cultivation Area While Imposing Grazing Ban

April 2, 2006
New York


Fines issued to herders of western Inner Mongolia for grazing livestock in grassland.  
Infrastructures demolished by the "Jin Mu Dui" or "Grazing Ban Team".  
Properties destroyed by local police and the "Grazing Ban Team".  

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, home to 4.21 million indigenous Mongols with 106.02 million heads of livestock, is undergoing a radical change. Under force from the Chinese government, indigenous Mongols are leaving the traditional Mongolian way of life to practice a Chinese sedentary life style. Despite the fact that 12 million Chinese peasants, compared to only 2.5 million Mongolian herding and semi-herding population, are cultivating the grassland of Inner Mongolia that is not suitable for intensive agriculture but ideal for livestock grazing, the Chinese government blatantly states that the root-cause of desertification and sandstorms in Inner Mongolia is the Mongolian “crude, archaic, backward, and low-efficient animal husbandry life-style” that must be abandoned.

Under the various laws and regulations designed, passed and enforced by the government without any consultation with the Mongol herder population, it is currently illegal for the Mongols to graze their livestock in open land across the region.  Article 32 of the “Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region's Grassland Management Regulation” clearly states that “raising livestock in grasslands where grazing is banned is prohibited”. According to the official data released on March 31, 2006 by the government of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, all 101 Banners and counties of the Autonomous Region have banned open land grazing, and 83 have already adopted the fenced-in raising system. The total area of banned grasslands is 50 million hectares which constitutes 91.5% of the total area of degraded grasslands in the region. Under these strict but irrational laws and regulations, Mongolian herders who do not comply with this government initiative are subjected to large fines, livestock confiscation, brutal treatment and arbitrary detention. These new laws are enforced by local police stations and the so-called “Grazing Ban Team” (“Jin Mu Dui” in Chinese), a special task force set up in all Banner/county and Som/township level governments and authorized to use force to confiscate livestock, demolish infrastructure, issue fines, and abuse and arrest defiant herders.

While aggressively locking up grazing lands and driving away the Mongolian herders from their ancestral land under the pretext of “recovering the ecosystem and helping the poor herders”, China is strongly encouraging Chinese peasants and businessmen from throughout China to engage in large-scale intensive agriculture in Inner Mongolia. Thus the Chinese government is carrying out a two-directional population transfer process in which the Mongols, along with their livestock, are forcibly displaced from their lands and labeled “grassland destroyers”. The Chinese, on the other hand, with their plows, are warmly welcomed and named “grassland developers” by the government. According to China's official news agency, Xinhua News, the Central Government of China is planning to invest 106.15 million Yuan to reconfigure the land of Inner Mongolia with the goal of “expanding cultivation areas to 8,176,4 hectares” by turning virgin lands into cultivation areas and re-cultivating fallow lands. With this fund, the region’s 7 Leagues and municipalities with 17 Banners and counties will become the project’s initial experimental areas. “No matter how skillfully the Chinese government covers up the story to justify its policy through massive propaganda,” Mr. Dugarjab L. Hotala, editor of World Mongol News, said to the SMHRIC, “What the government is telling you is a very obvious and simple story: Mongols out and Chinese in!”




From Yeke-juu League to Ordos Municipality: settler colonialism and alter/native urbanization in Inner Mongolia

Close to Eden (Urga): France, Soviet Union, directed by Nikita Mikhilkov

Beyond Great WallsBeyond Great Walls: Environment, Identity, and Development on the Chinese Grasslands of Inner Mongolia

The Mongols at China's EdgeThe Mongols at China's Edge: History and the Politics of National Unity

China's Pastoral RegionChina's Pastoral Region: Sheep and Wool, Minority Nationalities, Rangeland Degradation and Sustainable Development

Changing Inner MongoliaChanging Inner Mongolia: Pastoral Mongolian Society and the Chinese State (Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Grasslands and Grassland Science in Northern ChinaGrasslands and Grassland Science in Northern China: A Report of the Committee on Scholarly Communication With the People's Republic of China

The Ordos Plateau of ChinaThe Ordos Plateau of China: An Endangered Environment (Unu Studies on Critical Environmental Regions)
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