Two Ethnic Mongolians in Hospital After Clashes With Han Chinese Migrants

china-chingalaat-hospital-june-2017-1000.jpg Chingalaat recovers in a hospital in Shuluun Huh Banner in Inner Mongolia, China, June 7, 2017.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener

A prominent ethnic Mongolian dissident called on Friday on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to investigate violent clashes between Mongolian herders and incoming Han Chinese settlers in two separate locations this week that left several people injured and two in hospital.

"The Han Chinese are moving in and occupying the land belonging to ethnic Mongolians, and this causes disputes; they are all over the grasslands belonging to the herders," said Hada, who has served 19 years behind bars for speaking out on behalf of ethnic Mongolians in China.

"It is happening every minute of every day, but government policy is to wipe out nomadic culture," he said. "That's why they always protect the Han Chinese when they take over."

"We have seen this with the violence that has just occurred," he said.

Ethnic Mongolians living in Baarin Right Banner near Chifeng city said they were attacked on Thursday by Han Chinese migrants wielding metal pipes and batons, leaving a number of people injured, two of them seriously.

"This happened yesterday at Suubaar village and Shuumangha district as part of a dispute over the grasslands," a local resident said on Friday. "The clashes were between local Han Chinese and ethnic Mongolian herders."

"Two Mongolians are still recovering from their injuries, and they are receiving treatment in hospital," the resident said.

Video of the aftermath of the violence seen by RFA showed an ambulance arriving, and two men stretched out full length on the grassland, apparently unconscious.

An ethnic Mongolian herders said such clashes are becoming increasingly common in the region.

"The grasslands that are collectively held by ethnic minority groups are being taken over by Han Chinese migrants from Shaanxi province to the south," the herder said.

"This is happening all over."

Similar clash

Residents of Shuluun Huh Banner near Xilinhot city reported a similar clash on Wednesday.

"The dispute arose when the lease on the grasslands held by [ethnic Mongolian] Chingalaat was transferred wholesale to the Han Chinese [for cattle farming]," one local resident told RFA on Friday.

"The boss of the cattle farm beat up Chingalaat, who was taken to hospital," he said. "The authorities in Shuluun Huh didn't care about the case, the grasslands bureau, for example."

Chingalaat sustained multiple injuries to his head and body, and is currently in a semi-conscious state in hospital, the resident said.

Calls for his attacker to be detained have gone unheeded by police, however.

A second local resident said the cattle farm had illegally occupied land that rightfully belonged to Chingalaat.

"Now they want the government to save hime, and to punish the suspect severely," the herder said. "They should also sort out the dispute over the grasslands."

Ethnic Mongolians, who make up almost 20 percent of Inner Mongolia's population of 23 million, increasingly complain of widespread environmental destruction and unfair development policies in the region.

Clashes between Chinese state-backed mining or forestry companies and herding communities are common in the region, which borders the independent country of Mongolia.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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