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  Inner Mongolian herders kicked out of pastures, robbed, beaten



[ Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, New York, December 30, 2002 ]  Herders of Alashan League, Inner Mongolia, were seriously beaten and robbed, and kicked out of their legally-owned and ancestrally-habited pasture land by Chinese farmers from Zhangye district of the neighboring Chinese province of Gansu. In an open letter to the world Mongolian community, herders of Altantsog Sum, Alashan Right Banner of Inner Mongolia, described the incident and called for support.

According to the open letter as well as other sources, from July 1st to 22nd, Mongolian herders who inhabited the area near the Alag Uul and Altan Tevshi mountain of Altantsog Sum, Alashan Right Banner, Inner Mongolia, were attacked several times by a group of Chinese peasants from Zhanya district of Gansu Province, who aimed to occupy the herders' pasture land to use for cultivation. At least 40 Mongol herders were beaten, and many of them had legs and arms broken. The herders suffered a loss of tens of thousand of yuan through property loss and cost of medical treatment.

According to information gathered by our center, although the herders requested the help of local Chinese government, and also asked for a just resolution, local Chinese authorities, both in Alashan League and Zhangye District, had turned a blind eye to the incidents. So far the herders' losses have not been reimbursed, nor have the people responsible received any form of punishment or condemnation.

The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) is concerned about this incident. We ask the Chinese authorities in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR) and Gansu Province to take timely actions to bring the criminals to justice, and make restitution to their victims.

It should be pointed out that this is not an isolated incident. In the past, Chinese settlers in Inner Mongolia as well as Chinese peasants from the neighboring Chinese provinces have harassed and abused Mongolian herders for the purpose of occupying their pasture lands. We have been witnessing with disappointment that most of the time the government has been either ignoring these incidents as well as the Mongolians' protest, or resolving disputes in favor of the Chinese.

This continuing situation is forcing the ethnic Mongolians to increasingly lose their pasture land as well as to give up their traditional way of life. In addition to this, cultivation of the pasture land by Chinese peasants is one of the main factors in the worsening ecological situation in Inner Mongolia.

Therefore we also ask that the international community be concerned with the treatment that ethnic Mongolians are receiving in Inner Mongolia and with the ecological problems there. The problem of ethnic assimilation in Inner Mongolia is the worst among all the minority regions in the PRC.



Following is the original statement in Mongolian:





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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