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  Mongolian herders beaten and injured in a clash with the Chinese
May 20, 2013
New York
Mongolian herders beaten unconscious by the Chinese in Right Uzumchin Banner


Severely injured Mongolian herder


Chinese police and Southern Mongolian herders at the clash scene


Statement issued by the Chinese Communist Party Right Uzumchin Banner Propaganda Department  

Two years ago, the brutal killing of a Mongolian herder in Right Uzumchin Banner sparked the 2011 large-scale protests by Mongolian herders and students throughout  Southern (Inner) Mongolia. A brutal attack by Chinese settlers again took place in the same banner on May 17, 2013. A dozen Mongolian herders from Saruulbulag Gachaa (a gachaa consists of several villages), Bayanhua township of Right Uzumchin Banner were severely beaten as the herders defended their grazing lands.

According to a written communication and photos received by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) from the local Mongolian community, more than a hundred Chinese gathered to attack the Mongolian herders in Saruulbulag Gachaa with sticks and stones. Photos show the beatings perpetrated by the Chinese, as herders fell to the ground unconscious before they were taken away by ambulance and police vehicles.

“This land belongs to our Mongolian herders of Saruulbulag Gachaa,” the herders complained in their written statement, “yet, they [the Chinese] brought in more than a hundred individuals to attack us, injuring a dozen of our herders.”

“Not only that, they also damaged our herders’ motorcycles and cars,” the complaint added.

Fearing a repeat of the 2011 popular uprisings, the Chinese authorities launched a campaign to manipulate public opinion and to neutralize the anger of the Mongolian herders. They quickly removed posts and pictures of the incident from major social media sites and mobilized their Internet censorship forces to post essentially public relations messages stating that the authorities are actively working to deal with the incident in a just manner.

“The so-called ‘case of the beating of Right Uzumchin Banner herders’ posted by a handful of netizens on Sina (“xin lang wei bo” in Chinese) and QQ sites on May 18 is in fact an internal conflict. Both parties had Mongolian and Chinese participants. The Chinese and the Mongolians had a fairly good relationship,” a short press release was posted on Weibo, QQ and Baidu by the Chinese Communist Party Right Uzumchin Banner Propaganda Department, stating that the local authorities are “working either to reach an agreement with the herders or to handle the case in accordance with the law.”

“The herders’ anger has been appeased now. The case will be resolved shortly. Please trust the government’s ability to administer and enforce the law. Just like a small family quarrel between brothers, this will no doubt be resolved with a happy handshake,” the statement ends with an effort to soften the impact of the clashes by characterizing the incident as a “family quarrel between brothers”.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Internet police authorities acted promptly to warn and threaten those netizens who posted messages or asked for more information on the case.

“Shut up, you liar! Come over to Right Uzumchin Banner and see how everything is calm and peaceful! Are you trying to carry out national separatism? Then stand up and tell us your plan,” a post showed up on China's popular social media site Baidu using the accusation of “national separatism”  to threaten a netizen who expressed his concern on the herders and grassland and asked not to remove posts related to the case.

Tensions have escalated rapidly in recent years between Mongolian herders and Chinese miners and farmers as the authorities have intensified their land expropriation in Southern Mongolia to expand mining and other development projects. Herders’ protests have become commonplace in the Southern Mongolian rural communities as they increasingly attempt to defend their shrinking grazing lands against Chinese encroachments.

One such case occurred as recently as three weeks ago. Mongolian herders of eastern Southern Mongolia’s Ongniud Banner were attacked by more than a hundred Chinese farmers. The conflict resulted from the refusal by the Chinese settlers to return the herders’ grazing lands after their 10-year lease period expired (See here for details: ) Seven herders were severely injured. One suffered brain injury and two were left with broken arms and legs.



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