|April 2, 2012|
|Protest scene captured by cell phone (SMHRIC photos)|
On the afternoon of April 2, 2012, hundreds of Mongolians of Tulee Gachaa (gachaa is equivalent to village), Mingren Sum (sum is equivalent to township), Naiman Banner (banner is equivalent to county) of eastern Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Tong Liao Municipality were met with brutal force by the local Chinese authorities. The local Mongolians were demonstrating against the expropriation of their lands by a government backed Chinese-run forestry company called “Xing Long Gao Forestry”.
Over 80 heavily armed police with more than 30 police vehicles dispatched from the Naiman Banner Public Security Bureau came to Tulee Gachaa and brutally beat up the local Mongolians who were attempting to stop a Xing Long Gao Forestry bulldozer from turning over their farmland. Twenty two protesters were arrested and taken away by police, 5 were seriously injured.
Chenfuulong, one of the organizers of the protest, told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) over the phone that the local Mongolians have been protesting against the Chinese company’s illegal occupation of lands belonging to Tulee Gachaa since last year.
“The protest concerns a 60,000 mu (about 10,000 acres) area of land that was illegally occupied by Xing Long Gao Forestry for several years,” Chenfuulong explains the background of the land expropriation, “since last year, they stopped managing the forestry. It should be returned to the legitimate owners of the land, the Mongolians of Tulee Gachaa. Now they are trying to continue to occupy our land.”
According to Chenfuulong, the Mongolians organized themselves and protested in front of different level of government including the Tongliao Municipality Government and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Government during the past several months for a just resolution. They even sent four representatives to Beijing to attempt to urge the Central Government to address their grievance in a just manner in March of this year.
“Nothing has been addressed. Our Banner government sent security personnel to Beijing and brought us back to Naiman Banner. The Banner Governor met with us not to address the problem but to threaten us with arrest and imprisonment,” Chenfuulong told SMHRIC, “now they are beating and arresting us.”
“I narrowly escaped arrest. They raided my home and confiscated my motorcycle,” Chenfuulong describes the conflict scene, “police violently beat up the protesters with batons; some were bleeding, some were beaten down on the ground; women were pulled by their hair and thrown into police vehicles.” Chenfuulong mentioned that his brother Chenfuudee was also among the 22 detainees.
Another Mongolian witness who asked not to be identified provided SMHRIC with a partial list of the detainees. They are Haschuluu, Shuanzuur, Gowaa, Baochuan, Meirong, Baodee, and Chenfuudee.
“Both parents of some families were taken away and their young kids left unattended. For example, Shuanzuur and Gowaa are husband and wife, and their five year old daughter was left crying at home with no one’s care,” he described the rising tension, “police cars are still patrolling the village and more crack down is expected.”