Inner Mongolia: fresh protests and clashes with police, dozens injured
The clashes broke out after the local government assigned lands to a Han businessman who kills livestock to drive the Mongols herders out. Dozens of wounded. But Beijing is looking for a solution to avoid protests in the region, a major source of coal.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 1,000 ethnic Mongolians have protested demanding the return of expropriated land, in Bairin Right Banner and Sharmurun Som (Chinese: BalinYouqi and Xilanulum Sumu) July 18, although only on July 23 was news released through the Southern Mongolian Information Centre for Human Rights (Smhric). In Inner Mongolia, the tension remains high after the protests last May that resulted in deaths and injuries.
Protesters complain that the government has allowed local entrepreneurs to seize land illegally residents. The protests erupted after a Han businessman was accused of having hired more than 200 thugs to kill the cattle herders of the Mongols, running them down with vehicles and bulldozers, and beating shepherds who objected to the expropriation.
About 300 riot police intervened to break up the protest and there were clashes with dozens of wounded.
Smhric reports an online petition in which the Mongolians complain that "we have been impoverished. We lost our land taken by the Chinese. We were deprived of our natural resources. Our animals die. Many of us are homeless in our own land. " "We are treated without respect. We must stand up and defend our rights. "
There are strong tensions in the region among ethnic Mongols, from the region, and recently immigrated Han Chinese who often hold positions of political and economic power. In May, widespread protests erupted after the death of a Mongolian ethnic clashes with employees of a mining company.
Beijing wants to stifle any protest, and after students and pastors took to the streets to demand greater protection for their rights and the environment (threatened by heavy mining and industrial exploitation), sent many forces were sent to the region to reinforce social order.
In June, the court sentenced to death the driver of a truck that had hit and killed the shepherd Murgen. But that has not appeased the resentment of a population that does not accept the exploitation and expropriation of the prairies they have always used for grazing.
After the recent protests, July 20, state media announced new measures, involving the participation of shepherds representatives in the design of the mining companies development plans. Also on July 24 Liu Zhuozhi, former vice president of the region, was expelled from the Communist Party for corruption. Liu is considered one of the promoters of the intense mining of the region, the main supplier of coal to China, which has led to the current open conflict.
The ethnic Mongols are about 6 million and only 20% of the 24 million residents of Inner Mongolia.