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Southern Mongolia: A tragedy in three acts. A human tragedy, an ecological disaster, and finally another human tragedy under the pretext of fighting the ecological disaster. Question to the Commission



by Oliver Dupuis,

European Parliament

Many ethnic Mongolian herders were beaten up and arrested by the police during the displacement in eastern Inner Mongolia’s Bagarin Right Banner.

Mongolian herders who resisted the coerced displacement
have been treated brutally by the police in Inner Mongolia.

Infrastructure for livestock husbandry has been dismantled
by the police if the ethnic herders did not want to give up
their traditional nomadic lifestyle.

During the forced relocations, the authorities have confiscated ethnic Mongolian herders’ livestock and other property in the pretext of “recovering the grassland eco-system”.

[ Brussels, 22 May 2002. ] Since it was invaded and occupied by the People’s Republic of China in 1947, Southern Mongolia has been subject to a brutal policy of colonisation by the Beijing authorities. The populations of this country, traditionally nomadic and dependent on cattle-rearing, have been the victims of an extremely cruel political and cultural oppression that has led to the death of tens of thousands of people. From an economic point of view, Beijing has imposed a sedentary life, based on intensive farming of the land, on the Mongolian populations. With the result that 81% of the pasture land has been turned into desert.

In the face of this ecological and human disaster, during the last few years the Beijing authorities have imposed a policy of so-called "environmental immigration" (Sheng Tai Yi Min in Chinese), whose official purpose is to let the pasture land lie fallow and to protect the ecosystem, but whose first concrete result has been to move the Mongolian populations who still lived in their ancestral lands towards urban or agricultural areas inhabited largely by peoples of Han origin. Over 160,000 Mongols have already been forced to leave their homelands and to settle in regions where they have nothing.

Statement by Olivier Dupuis, Member of the European Parliament (Radical):

“Southern Mongolia, better known as Inner Mongolia, annexed by the People’s Republic of China in 1947 following an agreement between Stalin and Mao Tse-tung to divide up Mongolia, has hardly ever had the honour, unlike Tibet, of front-page coverage in the Western media. Yet in Southern Mongolia, as in Tibet, the policy of mass colonisation implemented by the Beijing authorities has been tragic from a human point of view and disastrous from an environmental point of view. Hundreds of thousands of victims among the Mongolian population, an unprecedented ecological disaster in a fragile ecosystem that the Mongols had always managed to protect before the arrival of the Han settlers, and finally a further human tragedy with the mass displacement of the Mongolian populations who were already a minority in the Chinese-dominated urban centres.”

Question to the Commission:

“Is the Commission aware of the dramatic consequences of the policy of intensive exploitation of the land in Southern Mongolia and the tragic human consequences of the so-called “environmental immigration policy”? What concrete action does the Commission intend to take to persuade the Beijing authorities to abandon their policy of colonisation of Southern Mongolia, the cause of the ecological disaster and of the human tragedy of the Mongolian peoples? In particular, does the Commission intend to denounce the policy of intensive exploitation of the land and to back the demands for the return of the areas expropriated from their rightful occupants?”




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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