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2,700 'hair weed' digging trespassers driven out of Alshaa grasslands



China's official news --- Xinhua News

By Bao Xiuwen, Chen Wenying

August 22, 2004

Translation by SMHRIC

Inner Mongolia’s Alshaa League authorities have intensified efforts to stop large groups of hair weed digging trespassers from continually pouring into the Alshaa grasslands. As of today, more than 300 law-enforcement personnel from Alshaa Left Banner Grassland Management Station, Alshaa Left Banner Baruun-Bel Township General Station and Alshaa Mountain Management Bureau have been mobilized to drive out the more than 2,700 trespassers, seizing over 2,000 hair weed digging implements and burning more than 400 kilograms of illegally dug hair weeds.

On August 18, near the fenced grasslands in Alshaa Left Banner Baruun-Bel Township border, correspondents saw more than 20 people who were digging hair weeds on the relatively flat grasslands with specially designed rakes. They fled in all directions upon seeing the law-enforcement personnel. After pursuit and capture, law-enforcement personnel gathered them together and confiscated their tools and hair weeds. Law-enforcement personnel found out through interrogation that these hair weed digging trespassers were peasants from Gu Yuan County, Ning Xia Province, who wanted to make extra income from hair weed sales during their slack season. Here, these peasants had pitched 10 makeshift tents where stacks of supplies such as grains, oil and potatoes were found. They have also plucked up by the roots large amounts of the perennial plant salix mongolica to use as firewood. As a result, grassland topsoil is blown away and the extremely fragile grassland eco-system is further destroyed. Nearby, every room of a mud house abandoned by relocated herders was occupied by trespassers from Ning Xia Province. In one extreme case, as many as 40 people lived in a single room. According to law-enforcement personnel, these peasants were organized by their home village authorities. Their daily supply of provisions indicated that they have lived here at least half a month. In another mud house, there were 10 other trespassers leisurely enjoying newly cooked dumplings in an atmosphere of a family reunion on holiday.

Law enforcement personnel confiscated all of their tools and hair weeds in sight and persuaded them to leave. At 3:00 pm, after the law enforcement personnel’s earnest and patient admonition, nearly 150 hair weed trespassers reluctantly left the grassland.



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