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Worldwide Call to Protest the Killing of Mergen

Coordinating Committee for May 29/30 Protest
May 29, 2011
Around midnight of May 10, 2011, Mergen, a Mongolian herder, lost his young life under the wheels of a Chinese coal company’s long hauler truck on the grasslands of Southern Mongolia. The killing was both brutal and intentional. The Chinese drivers, at the time of carrying out their bloody act, reportedly shouted: “killing a Mongol at most will cost us 400,000 RMB and our boss has plenty of it”. The 35 year old victim was there to participate in a day-long demonstration. He gave up his life protesting the Chinese truck drivers who for the past several years have been driving recklessly through their grazing lands at all hours of the day and night, destroying their pastures, killing and stealing their livestock.

With Mergen’s death, the right to life and security as a Mongol in Southern Mongolia is a serious question. Mergen's murder and the attitude of the truck drivers is a humiliating reminder of this fact. A peaceful gathering by Mongolian herders and students on May 23 at the banner capital in protest over the killing of Mergen led to violence and arrests as local authorities ended the demonstration by sending in police and plain-clothes thugs. Two days later, about two thousand Mongolian herders, high school students and others mounted another demonstration and rally in Shilin Hot city. The government promised the protesters that they would resolve the case in a fair manner but whether they will remains to be seen.

But Mongols have good reasons to doubt the intentions of the government. For the past six decades, the destruction of the grassland ecology, cultural assimilation, political oppression and economic exploitation have characterized the policies of the Chinese government in Southern Mongolia. More recently, ‘protection’ of the ecology has been turned into a pretext to further eliminate the last remaining areas where the traditional Mongolian nomadic lifestyle and culture are practiced because vast deposits of natural resources have been found. Tens of thousands of Mongolian herders have been forced to abandon their herding lifestyle and moved to non herding areas where they have been unable to obtain meaningful employment. Because they lack skills other than animal husbandry, they have lost their livelihood and are left to fend for themselves with little assistance from social or employment agencies. Meanwhile government subsidies encourage Chinese investors and “developers” to exploit the natural resources of the grasslands. The coal and other mineral deposits have contributed in no small measure to the accelerating expansion of the Chinese economy. But very little benefits from the industrialization of the grasslands has been returned to the original inhabitants of the grasslands who have given up their lands and lifestyle and in exchange for the most part have been given a life of poverty. Those herders who are still allowed to practice animal husbandry are faced with numerous obstacles and challenges such as the truckers and corporations who have little regard for their lands or lifestyle.

Those who have stood up for the rights of the Mongols have been subjected to harsh punishment and arbitrary arrest. The most notable one is Mr. Hada, who, after serving a 15 year jail sentence was placed under arbitrary detention by the Chinese authorities. Six months after his scheduled release date, his whereabouts are still unknown. Hada’s wife and son were also detained by the police just prior to his release date. Their whereabouts are also unknown with official charges just recently filed. Noted writer and essayist, Ms. Huuchinhuu and Mr. Arslan have been held under house arrest for months without any official charges. UN refugee applicant Batzangaa remains under house arrest and continues to fight his three-year imprisonment. Many more have been silenced and kept incommunicado. Internet web sites promoting Mongolian culture and identity have routinely been disrupted and shut down.

Given the many grievances of the Southern Mongols, people from all parts of Southern Mongolia including IMAR and other places can no longer remain silent to the enormous abuses of their human rights. A region-wide demonstration is planned for May 30. Mongols from the independent part of Mongolia and Southern Mongolia as well as freedom loving people around the world are urged to join with the demonstrators of Southern Mongolia in solidarity and condemn the government of China for the brutal killing of Mergen and to end the egregious violations of the human rights of millions of Mongols in Southern Mongolia.

Please join us on Monday May 30 (Asia, Europe) or Sunday, May 29 (North America) at 12PM in front of the Chinese embassy or consulate in the country where you reside to demand the government of China respect the human rights, life and dignity of the Mongols in China and to resolve the case of Mergen in a just and fair manner. We ask you to contact your district representatives in parliament or congress to request the government of China to respect the human rights of the Mongols and to release Hada and his family and all Mongolian political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.


Demonstration Info:


Where:   In front of the Chinese Embassy or Counsulate in the country where you reside

When:    May 3o in Asia and Europe; May 29 in North America, 12:00PM local time

Suggested slogans:

            “Stop the killings in Southern Mongolia”

            “Stop butchering herders”

            “Human rights for herders”

            “Freedom for Southern Mongolia”

            “We want dignity; we want freedom”

            “Return the dignity of Southern Mongolians”

            “Give us back our grasslands”

“Human rights for Southern Mongolians”

“Free Hada Family Now”

“Free Hada Now”

“Free Xinna Now”

“Free Uiles Now”

“Free Huuchinhuu Now”

“Free Arslan Now”

“Free Batzangaa Now”

“Justice for Mergen”

“China out of Southern Mongolia”

“You built the Wall, the Wall is the border. Go back to your side of the Great Wall”

“Defend Human Rights in Southern Mongolia”.

Flag:     None or the Flag of your organization


Coordinating Committee for May 29/30 worldwide protest



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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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