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  Protesting herders stopped by machine guns
May 4, 2014
New York

Mongolian herders from western Southern Mongolia's Ezenee Banner took to the streets to protest against the Chinese authorities' illegal appropriation of their oasis homeland (See below for more photos)


Despite Chinese riot police's intimidation, Ezenee herders continued the march in protest of the Chinese settlers and military bases' illegal occupation of their grazing land (See below for more photos)


Fully armed Chinese riot police are ready to open fire to the unarmed Mongolian herders from Ezenee Banner who peacefully took to the streets to demand the protection of their grazing land (See below for more photos)  
About a hundred Mongolian herders from Ezenee Banner (“e ji na qi” in Chinese) of western Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Alshaa League (“a la shan meng” in Chinese) took to the streets in the Banner capital on May 4, 2014.

Holding a long banner reading “Protect Ezenee’s green oasis, Return our beautiful homeland!”, the herders demanded the Chinese government to halt the military base expansion and immigration from the neighboring Chinese province of Gansu, to stop the llegal land grabbing and the destruction of the oasis of Ezenee Banner.

Armed Chinese riot police rounded up the herders on their march to the Lanzhou Military Command Air Base No.14, and trained their machine guns ready to fire on them if they moved any further.

According to a written appeal the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centers (SMHRIC) received from the herders, the local government “against the will of the Mongolian people, arbitrarily allowed Chinese immigrants from Gansu Province to illegally seize their lands.”

“The already weakened fragile oasis of Ezenee has been destroyed, and our heart is bleeding,” the appeal said.

The appeal mentioned that the Mongolian herders in this area had paid a heavy toll in 1958 for China’s so-called “national defense” policy to give way to China’s first missile test base.

“It is still fresh in our memory that in 1958 tens of thousands of us gave up and moved off our grazing land for the national defense project,” the appeal added, “it was so emotional to us.”

In the appeal, the herders raised the following three questions to the Chinese authorities:

1. Do the local authorities remember how Ezenee Mongolians paid a heavy price for the national defense project advocated by the Chinese general Nie Rongzhen at that time?

2. Do the local authorities feel the profound emotional effect caused by the mass relocation of the Mongolian herders from their homeland? Why do local authorities allow the immigrants from Gansu Province to occupy our homeland, destroy our poplar trees, cut down our red willows, and devastate our green oasis where we have lived for generations?

3. Where is the spirit embodied by the slogans of “civilians to military is water to fish” and  “civilians love military, military respects civilians”? Where is the interest of Ezenee herders?

As China speeds up its expropriation of the herders’ grazing lands and extraction of mineral resources in Southern Mongolia, the once beautiful verdant region of Alshaa has been targeted by China’s booming mining industries. The scarce and precious underground water system has been depleted, and the fragile ecosystem has been destroyed. The expanding Chinese mines and encroaching Chinese settlers are threatening the very existence of the unique culture of Mongolian camel herders in this area.

Two weeks ago, several Mongolian herders disappeared in Alshaa Left Banner as a massive sinkhole swallowed their homes and grazing lands as a result of China’s unregulated mining practices.


Mongolian herder from Ezenee Banner of Alshaa League took to the streets to protest the illegal land grab and destruction of oasis, May 4, 2014




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The Mongols at China's EdgeThe Mongols at China's Edge: History and the Politics of National Unity

China's Pastoral RegionChina's Pastoral Region: Sheep and Wool, Minority Nationalities, Rangeland Degradation and Sustainable Development

Changing Inner MongoliaChanging Inner Mongolia: Pastoral Mongolian Society and the Chinese State (Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Grasslands and Grassland Science in Northern ChinaGrasslands and Grassland Science in Northern China: A Report of the Committee on Scholarly Communication With the People's Republic of China

The Ordos Plateau of ChinaThe Ordos Plateau of China: An Endangered Environment (Unu Studies on Critical Environmental Regions)

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