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Statement of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC)

to the World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous People (WAMIP)

at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)


May 22, 2006



SMHRIC member with mobile indigenous representatives from Mongolia and the Middle East




SMHRIC members with the camel herders' representative from India



After the WAMIP workshop at the UNDP Building



Ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Enhebatu Togochog, and I represent the five million indigenous Mongolian people of Inner Mongolia. I am honored to be here today to talk about what is currently happening in Inner Mongolia. As a typical Asian mobile indigenous people, the Mongols have lived in Inner Mongolia for thousands of years practicing their nomadic way of life. However, in 1947 the Chinese Communist Party took control of Inner Mongolia causing drastic changes in the region. After almost 60 years of Chinese rule, the Inner Mongols are being forced to abandon their traditional way of life and leave their ancestral land under a series of forced policies from the authorities:

The first is the forced eviction of Mongolian herders from their land under slogans of “recovering grassland ecosystem” and “improving herders’ living standard”. This policy was officially implemented in 2001 when the government of Inner Mongolia passed a set of legislations that directly targeted 650,000 herders during the first 5-year phase. Ultimately, the legislations will affect the entire herding and semi-herding population. Under these laws and regulations that were designed, passed and enforced by the government without consultation with the Mongol herder population, it is currently illegal for the Mongols to graze livestock in their own pastoral lands across the region. The authorities’ justification for this policy is that the Mongolian herders’ "backward, primitive, and low-productive” traditional way of life is the root-cause of Inner Mongolian environmental degradation. Currently “over-grazing” is a very popular term often used by the Chinese official news media. Ironically enough, there is no term in the Chinese authorities dictionary called “over-cultivation”, despite the fact that 12 million Chinese peasants (as opposed to only 2.5 million Mongol herders) are cultivating the already-weakened Inner Mongolian land every spring.

The second is the forced urbanization of Mongolian evictees. In the name of “speeding up urbanization and industrialization of rural communities," thousands of evicted herders are being forced to resettle into overwhelmingly Chinese populated urban areas; including big cities like Huhhot and Shiliin-hot, and newly formed townships or the so-called “immigrant’s new villages” (“yi min xin cun” in Chinese). Without the necessary skills and financial incomes to survive in urban areas, these herders are further marginalized in a Chinese dominated society. According to a communication from Huhhot City, recently the Chinese authorities have forcefully demolished a group of evicted herders’ small businesses that were their only livelihood. In another case, more than 40 Mongolian herder’s households from Huveet-shar Banner of Shiliin-gol League were relocated to an abandoned factory building in the outskirts of Huhhot City. With no way to make a living, these herders asked for permission to return to their land but their requests were turned down by the authorities.

The third is the forced elimination of Mongolian language and education. As a continuing pattern of cultural assimilation, a policy was adopted by the Chinese authorities in Inner Mongolia with the goal of eliminating Mongolian language and Mongolian schools. The main justification of this policy by the authorities is that the Mongolian communities are “scattered across the vast land” which makes it hard for the government to improve the quality of education in rural pastoral areas. Therefore, the Chinese authorities claim that the only way to overcome these difficulties is to “concentrate and redistribute” Mongolian schools. According to complaints from rural Mongolian communities, under this policy almost all Mongolian elementary schools at the level of Gachaa (the second smallest administrative unit) are being eliminated, and most Mongolian middle schools at the Sum level (the third smallest administrative unit) are being merged into Chinese teaching schools. Mongolian students are therefore left with no choice but to learn Chinese.

Dear friends, what I mentioned here is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot more human rights issues in Inner Mongolia waiting to be raised. If you are interested in exploring more, please visit our website at

Thank you.

Enhebatu Togochog

Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC)

45-25 39th PL 2E
Sunnyside, NY 11104
Tel: 001-718-786-9236


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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