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  Herders defending their grazing lands face long jail sentences
October 4, 2013
New York
[Scroll down to see the original case documents]
Herder's leader Tulguur, his wife Sarangowaa and their daughter (SMHRIC photo)


Ongniud Banner Detention Center where the six herders are held. Family members are not allowed to visit the detained herders. (SMHRIC photo)


Family members of the six detained herders came to appeal to the Autonomous Region Letter and Visitation Center in Hohhot. Their appeal are ignored. (SMHRIC photo)


Luxury resort built by Party Secretary Liu Jin for his two sons with "bribes and government funds obtained in selling herders' grazing land". (SMHRIC photo)
The Chinese authorities are preparing to hand down long prison terms, possibly up to 7 years, to six Mongolian herders on the trumped-up charges of “sabotaging production and management” and “intentionally destroying public or private properties”. The six herders are Mr.Tulguur, Mr.Tugusbayar, Mr.Jargalt, Mr.Nasandalai, Mr.Munkhbayar and Mr.Ulaanbar, from Bayannuur Gachaa (gachaa consists of several villages) of Shinsume Sum (sum is equivalent to township) in eastern Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Ongniud Banner (“weng niu te qi” in Chinese).

They were taken away by police after a clash with Chinese workers from a state-run forestry company named “Shuang He forestry” that illegally occupied their grazing land. Following more than 3 weeks of detention and interrogation, they were formally arrested on June 24, 2013 for alleged involvement in “sabotaging production and management”. On September 13, 2013, the Ongniud Banner Public Security Bureau transferred the case to the Ongniud Banner People’s Procuratorate to prosecute the six herders.

According to the People’s Procuratorate’s Bill of Indictment Document No.145 (2013) (see below) obtained by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), from April 15 to May 25, 2013, as the head of Bayannuur Gachaa, “Tulguur on multiple occasions aided and abetted the defendants Munkhbayar, Ulaanbar, Tugusbayar, Jargalt, and Nasandalai to mobilize herders from the Gachaa to interfere with the activities of the Shuang He Forestry personnel by blocking their vehicles, confiscating their saplings, and leveling the cultivated land, causing a direct damage of 32,682 Yuan (approx $5,340 USD) and indirect damage of 54,000 Yuan (approx $8,821 USD)”.

However, an appeal sent to SMHRIC prepared by the herders states that the damage caused by the demolition of the unoccupied makeshift tent illegally setup on their land was minimal. An independent damage assessment agency the herders hired declared that the total damage was only 2,400 Yuan (approx $392 USD).

“Not only are the authorities worried about the escalating tensions and possible unrest by herders, but also the local corrupt officials are nervous about the disclosure of bribes and graft in connection with land expropriation,” Ms.Sarangowaa, wife of the Mr.Tulguur, leader of the herders, told SMHRIC about the real reason behind the herders’ harsh punishment.

“In particular Mr.Liu Jin, former Party Secretary of our Gachaa, was in power for 30 years, and grew fat off bribes and government funds obtained through selling our grazing lands,” Sarangowaa said angrily.

“This is one of many properties the Secretary Liu Jin built for his two sons a few years ago,” Sarangowaa commented on a picture of a hotel-like exotic two-story building she sent to SMHRIC.

“We have lost faith in the government already, because these corrupt officials go unpunished while herders like my husband who defended their legal rights are locked up and face long jail sentences,” Sarangowaa added.

According to Sarangowaa, family members of the six detained herders appealed many times to higher authorities including the Autonomous Region Government’s complaint center known as the “Letter and Visit Office” in the regional capital Hohhot, seeking an immediate release of the detained herders.

Ignoring these appeals, the authorities are determined to punish these herders harshly in an attempt to suppress the increasingly widespread resistances by Southern Mongolian herders against Chinese occupation and destruction of their traditional grazing lands.

In the same Bill of Indictment, the People’s Procuratorate asked the local People’s Court to prosecute the six herders on crimes of “sabotaging production and management” and “intentionally sabotaging public or private properties” in accordance with the Chinese Criminal Law Articles 275, 276, 25, 69 and 172, which suggest that the maximum prison sentence can be up to 7 years.

Fearing the case might attract public support, the local Public Security authorities have tightened their surveillance of family members and relatives of the arrested herders.

Sarangowaa revealed to SMHRIC that the Public Security authorities there threatened to arrest her and Tulguur's sister if they continue to blog on the Internet and communicate with foreign news media and human rights organizations.

“Last week, two Public Security personnel came to search my home and confiscated my computer hard disk. I told them ‘go ahead and take it with you. I have already sent out what I need to send out to whom I needed to send to’,” Sarangowaa said.

She also asked the international community to help publicize the case before the upcoming trial that will likely take place sometime in mid or late October.

“It will be even better if any foreign journalist or human rights activist can come to observe the trial. The authorities here are afraid of the publicity of this type of cases,” Sarangowaa added.


Ongniud Banner People's Procuratorates Bill of Indictment against the six herders


Detention Notice of Mr.Tulguur


Arrest Warrant of Mr.Tulguur



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