|Auguest 22, 2013|
Chinese railway worker
surnamed Zhang (in white shirt) attacking the Mongolian herders with
|Zhang attacking the Mongolian herders with a stone.|
On August 19, 2013, Mr. Bayanbaatar, a 58-year old Mongolian herder from Uushin Banner (“wu shen qi” in Chinese), Ordos Municipality of western Southern (Inner) Mongolia was beaten to death by Chinese railroad workers while he was defending his grazing land from illegal occupation by a railroad company. See details of the case here: http://www.smhric.org/news_494.htm
The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) has been closely monitoring the case. Additional pictures were received showing further details of the beating that led to the herder’s death. In response to the Chinese authorities’ denial on the cause of death as murder as reported on some news media, the SMHRIC was able to interview the victim’s daughter-in-law Ms. Chyandmuun who provided further details and confirmed that her father-in-law was unquestionably beaten to death. Fearing possible large-scale demonstrations, the Chinese Central Government is directly managing the fall out from the incident. An attempt is in progress to negotiate with the murdered herder’s family, offering them 500,000 yuan (approx $US 82,000) to settle the case. The family members rejected any sort of negotiation and stated that “we Mongolians do not want and do not need any money. What we want is dignity and justice”. About 80 people including the family members and relatives of the victim have been placed under police custody in a funeral house near the Uushin Banner People’s Hospital. Reportedly an unknown number of Mongolian herders from the same area have been arrested yesterday on suspicion of possible unrest sparked by the case. The following is the full interview conducted over the phone by SMHRIC:
SMHRIC: Hi, this is the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, calling from the United States. We talked to Mr. Batchuluu yesterday about his father’s unfortunate death. May we talk to him again?
Chyandmuun: Sorry, my husband is not available at this moment.
SMHRIC: We would like to obtain further details on your father-in-law’s death. The Chinese authorities seem to be determined to deny the facts of the beating death of your father-in-law. They are claiming that he “possibly had some preexisting heart problem”. How credible is this claim?
Chyandmuun: my father-in-law was a very healthy man who had no health problem at all. He had no pre-existing medical conditions whatsoever. It is an undeniable fact that my father-in-law was beaten to death by the Chinese.
SMHRIC: we know it is difficult for you to recall the details of this tragic event. But, for the sake of clarity, is it possible for you to give us some details about how exactly the beating took place? Did the offenders use any weapons such as knives? How many of them were involved in the beating?
Chyandmuun: Although they claimed to kill us with knives, they didn’t use any knife. My father-in-law was beaten to death by the Chinese who violently kicked and used their fists on him. Most of the beating was done by one man in a white shirt.
SMHRIC: One of the pictures shows that a man in white is holding his fists tight and carrying out the attack. In another picture, the same man was holding a big rock and targeting someone to hit.
Chyandmuun: Yes, exactly, he was the murderer. But, actually the big rock he threw didn’t hit my father-in-law, it hit another herder who was lucky to narrowly escape with minor injuries. My father-in-law collapsed under his fists. When my husband tried to help him stand up, he said he felt serious discomfort on his chest. Unable to stand up, he fell on the ground again. My husband tried to rush to bring him to a hospital nearby. But what was even more egregious was that the Chinese workers intentionally blocked our way and stopped us from taking him to the hospital for more than 30 minutes. It is very clear that the killing was intentional, malicious and brutal.
SMHRIC: What was the Chinese workers’ attitude toward you at the beginning of the incident?
Chyandmuun: Their attitude was very rude and arrogant. They seemed to have come for the purpose of carrying out a killing, not for construction. They started using their fists as soon as we started to protest their illegal occupation of our private road on our land. Especially, the killer asked the other Chinese to bring a knife from his car. He said he would kill all the Mongolians one by one.
SMHRIC: What is the response from the government? Any word on prosecuting the murderer by the authorities?
Chyandmuun: No, no word on the prosecution has ever been received. Instead, the government is holding all of us hostage at the funeral house. We are about 80 people including all of our family members and relatives. The entire funeral house is put under tight police surveillance, and we are not allowed to leave the funeral house. Our every single move is monitored closely. Our phones are tapped; Police are escorting us everywhere around the clock even when we go to the toilet. We have completely lost our freedom here. What the government is trying to do is to negotiate with us. They said they can give us 500,000 yuan (approx 82,000 USD). We said no negotiation, eye for an eye. The murderer must be brought to justice to be executed in front of our eyes. We told them unlike you Chinese we Mongolians do not measure human life with money. We Mongolians do not want and do not need money. What we need is dignity and justice. The murderer who claimed to kill us Mongolians one by one must be executed, and the government must apologize publicly to the Mongolians in front of the eyes of the whole world. Similar events are taking place too often and everywhere in Mongolian areas. My father-in-law or my family is not the only victim. All Mongolians are victimized.
SMHRIC: You have mentioned that the government is trying to negotiate with your family. What department of what level of government is attempting to engage in the negotiation?
Chyandmuun: The Government of Uushin Banner and the Central Government. They told us that some special dispatches from the Central Government arrived here already to negotiate with us on behalf of the murderer. We do not engage in any type of negotiation.
SMHRIC: We learned that yesterday some other herders were arrested there. Is this arrest related to the case of your father-in-law?
Chyandmuun: Yes, I heard that. Although I am not sure exactly how many herders were arrested, I know that they were herders from our Tug Sum. In terms of the possible connection, being Mongolian is enough for them to be subjected to arrest and questioning in relation to my father-in-low’s case, fearing possible unrest.
SMHRIC: Thank you very much for the further details on the case. We will continue to monitor events related to this case as it unfolds.
Chyandmuun: Thank you for your concern and publicizing it to the world.