Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information CenterSouthern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center
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  Herders detained for involvement in "framing and denouncing the socialist regime"
March 8, 2016
New York


Mongolian herder Saishingaa placed under a 15-day detention order in Urad Middle Banner (SMHRIC photo, 2016-03-08)


Mongolian herder Munkh (in blue sweater) placed under a 15-day detention order in Urad Middle Banner  (SMHRIC photo, 2016-03-08)



Mongolian herder Tuyaa released after a 24-hour detention (SMHRIC photo, 2016-03-08)


As part of the effort to maintain social stability during China’s “Two Sessions” --- annual meetings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the National People’s Congress --- convened in Beijing, the local Public Security Bureau of Urad Middle Banner (“wu la te zhong qi” in Chinese) in western Southern (Inner) Mongolia has arrested and detained more than twenty Mongolian herders since two weeks ago.  In a message posted in Mongolian herders’ WeChat groups by Zou Xinchao, head of the State Security Squad of Urad Middle Banner, the herders were accused of “giving interviews to foreign news media and assisting those who have ulterior motives to frame  and denounce the socialist regime”.

Mr. Saishingaa, one of the most outspoken herders from Bayan-Ulaan Som of Urad Middle Banner, was taken away from his home by a SWAT team at midnight on March 4. Saishingaa has been placed under a 15-day detention order for “resisting arrest and providing information to foreign news media and organizations”.

According to appeal letters and court documents received by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), 44-year-old Saishingaa has been protesting local officials’ illegal appropriation of his 980-acre grazing land through the use of a forged document. Despite years of protests and lawsuits, the local courts denied his right to the grazing land and decided in favor of the local officials and appropriators.

In his appeal letter, Saishingaa states that “local officials are blatantly violating laws and creating conflicts between the herders and the party authorities by intimidating and fooling the helpless herders”.

In the latest round of arrests, two other Mongolian herders, Mr. Munkh and Ms. Tuyaa were arrested on March 7 by the local Public Security authorities during their protest in front the Banner Government building. According to the latest information received from the family members and friends, Munkh has been placed under a 15-day detention order on similar charges. Tuyaa was released after a 24-hour detention.

“At least twenty herders were arrested in the past two weeks,” Mr. Zayaa from Urad Middle Banner told the SMHRIC over the phone, “Some were released, but others are still being held at the Public Security Bureau Detention Center.” 

“Herders have been questioned as to who wrote the long banners we used at the earlier demonstration and who organized these protests,” Zayaa added.

Since February 23, Mongolian herders of Urad Middle Banner have been staging a new round of demonstrations and sit-ins in front the Banner Government building, protesting the local government officials’ illegal occupation of the herders’ grazing lands, and demanding adequate compensation and the immediate return of their lands.

According to appeals from the affected communities of Urad Middle Banner, the herders have been organizing themselves since 2006. They have petitioned the authorities multiple times, demanding an immediate halt to the illegal land expropriation and land sales by local government officials to the Chinese, as well as the destruction of the herders’ grazing land by Chinese miners and military bases.

In November of 2013, a group of herders’ representatives visited Beijing and appealed to the Chinese Central Government about their grievances and urged the Chinese State Council Letter and Visitation Bureau and the Ministry of Agriculture to restrain local government officials and Chinese miners from illegally occupying their grazing lands.

Shortly after the herders’ arrival in Beijing, local police dispatches from Urad Middle Banner rounded them up and brought them back. The herders have since been confined to their communities and barred from appealing to higher government authorities.



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