Wednesday, 13/12/2017 | : : UTC+0
Southern Mongolia

Riding horses and camels, herder took to the streets in Southern Mongolia

2015-12-17.

On December 17, 2015, riding horses and camels, nearly 100 Mongolian herders from western Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Eznee Banner (“e ji na qi” in Chinese) of Alshaa League (“a la shan meng” in Chinese) took to the streets of Dalain-Huv Township, capital of the Banner. There, the protesters urged the local government to protect herders’ legal rights and punish Chinese from the neighboring province of Gansu for their illegal trespassing and frequent sabotaging over the past decades.

Around 3:00 pm local time, the herders, mostly in their traditional robes, arrived before the government building of Eznee Banner. They demanded the Banner Government provide an explanation for a recent attack to the local community by Chinese from the neighboring province of Gansu.

According to Chinese official news media, on December 6, 2015, around 3:00 am local time, over 100 masked assailants attacked a checkpoint of Eznee Banner, injuring 13 checkpoint workers and destroying the entire infrastructure and all equipment.

On December 10, the local public security authorities in Jin Ta Country of Gansu Province announced that ten suspects had been arrested and detained. However, the local herders complained that the Eznee Banner Government has long failed to protect herders’ grazing lands and other properties from the Chinese trespassers, mostly peasants, for decades.

“Our grazing lands have been occupied and destroyed by these Chinese for years,” a Mongolian herder and protestor named Tumur told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) over the phone.

“They harvest medical plants, extract minerals, and open up oasis on our land to make profits, leaving our natural habitat destroyed and our very way of life threatened,” Tumur added.

The protestors told the Banner Government that if their demands are not met, they will march toward Beijing to appeal to the Chinese Central Government.

Last May, herders from the same community staged another protest and demanded that the Chinese government halt military base expansion and immigration from the neighboring province of Gansu in order to stop illegal land grabbing and 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, training their guns on them in case they moved any further.

According to a written appeal the SMHRIC received earlier 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 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.

As China expedites 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.

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