|October 8, 2012|
Mongolian herders from Ejinee Banner (“E Ji Na Qi” in Chinese) of the western Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Alshaa League (“A La Shan Meng” in Chinese) took to the streets on October 2, 2012 to protest the local government’s illegal leasing of their grazing lands to Chinese companies. No consent had been obtained from the herders who pastured their animals on the land. Herders held a sign reading “[We] strongly demand the return of our sacred land”.
According to an email communication to the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), local herders Bagnaa, Gungaa and Bodolt led dozens of Mongolian herders toward the Banner Government building. When the protestors reached a bridge near the Banner capital, about a dozen government officials and security personnel stopped them and tried to take down the long banner the herders were holding. Several herders were beaten up.
Posts and pictures circulated via Mongolian social media also state that the Mongolian herders of Ejinee Banner are further outraged by the Chinese companies’ defamation of their historical tribal leaders of the Torgud tribe to which most of the local herders belong. Pictures show that an international beauty contest was held on the grazing land of the local herder Mr. Bagnaa without his consent. In the background were several huge demon-like sand sculptures meant to represent the ancient Torgud tribal leaders.
To further investigate the case, SMHRIC reached the Ejinee Banner Public Security Bureau via phone. An employee who remained anonymous confirmed that there were some Mongolian herders “making trouble” a few days ago, but declined to provide the details. Several local Mongolian herders contacted by SMHRIC are also aware of the protest but unable to provide the information on the whereabouts and current situation of the protestors.