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May 29: Protests Spread in China's Mongolian Region, More Cities Under Martial Law (New Photos Available)

May 29, 2011
New York



Armed vehicles in Hohhot ready to crackdown on protests by Mongols (05/29/2011 SMHRIC photo, see more photos below).


Chinese authorities have declared martial law in major cities of the Mongolian region including Hohhot, Tongliao, Ulaanhad (Chifing in Chinese), and Dongsheng in the face of mass protests by students and herders.  Tight Security has been imposed as the authorities attempt to quash any protest and unrest. The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) received new photos from Hohhot, showing police and army troops deployed to exert control over possible protesters (see the photos below).

According to reliable sources, despite the tight security, on May 28, 2011, hundreds of Mongolian students and herders took to the streets of eastern Southern Mongolia’s Ulaanhad (Chi Feng) City to demand the rights of the Mongolian people be respected.

“Yes, Mongolian students took to the streets of Xincheng District of Ulaanhad yesterday,” a business person near the Ulaanhad Normal School, home to thousands of Mongolian students, said.


“Some Mongolian herders from fairly long distances also joined the protest,” a Mongolian physician who asked not to be identified told SMHIRC, “but the protestors were dispersed shortly by riot police and army.”

Riot police and army troops have been dispatched to Tongliao Municipality (former Jirim League), home to the largest Mongolian population (1.5 million), where all Mongolian schools and colleges are now under heavy guard.

“I have been put under home confinement, and if I want to go out I must get an approval,” Mr. Almas Sharnud, a dissident and activist in Tongliao City, told SMHRIC over the phone, “two security personnel follow me publicly when I go out.”

“Several friends of mine told me that on the morning of May 28, around 6:00AM, hundreds of Mongols gathered near the Sharmurun Square,” Almas said, “but reportedly they were immediately dispersed by the army deployed from the Shen Yang Military District.”

“No one can get close to Sharmurun Square now. There is heavy presence of army and police,” a Mongolian company worker who asked not to be identified told SMHRIC over the phone.

In Dongsheng, capital city of the coal-rich Ordos league, the authorities are on high alert. Streets are sealed off and schools are closed.

“Police visit our home more regularly than before and monitor our daily activities even closer,” Ms. Bayanhuaar, wife of Batzangaa who was deported from Mongolia back to China while he was seeking political asylum with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) in Ulaanbaatar, told SMHRIC, “it is extremely outrageous that they try to control our every movement.”

In Shiliin-gol league, where the first protests started following the killing of Mergen, security is extremely tight. The League capital Shiliin-hot, Left Ujumchin Banner, Right Ujumchin Banner, Shuluun Huh Banner, and Huveet Shar Banner are under the highest alert. Another 9 herders were arrested in Sangiindalai Sum alone in Shuluun Huh Banner. Y. Baatar, a prominent activist and right defender, has been missing since Friday. Despite the security clampdown, hundreds of herders in Hankal sum of Shuluun Huh Banner continue a round-the-clock blockade of oil company trucks.

Social media including QQ instant messenger, text messaging and Internet chatting that played a crucial role in organizing large scale of protests in the region are almost completely shutdown. Phone calls to many schools, colleges and institutions where there are substantial number of Mongolian students are mostly unanswered.

In this unprecedented surge of protests throughout Southern Mongolia, where the pent up grievances of millions of Mongols have surfaced, the SMHRIC joins the many individuals and human rights organizations who have urged Chinese authorities to show restraint and conciliation and avoid bloodshed and violence. We urge Chinese authorities to see these protests as an opportunity to engage in dialogue with the Southern Mongolians and understand that these actions are an expression of a people’s desire to achieve their constitutionally guaranteed rights. These rights can no longer be disrespected.   



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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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