|Chinese worker attack Mongolian herders|
|Buryat Mongolia's territory (red, part of Russia)|
August 20, 2013
On August 19, 2013, around 5:30 pm local time, Mr.Bayanbaatar, a 58-year old Mongolian herder from Dalan-tsetseg village, Tohootai Gachaa (a Gachaa consists of several pastoral villages), Tug Sum (Sum is equivalent to township), Uushiin Banner of western Southern (Inner) Mongolia, was brutally beaten to death by Chinese railroad workers while he was defending his grazing land. His son was severely injured. Several other herders were also beaten. Bayanbaatar's body was left in the Uushin Banner People's Hospital for cremation.
According to written communications received by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), several Chinese workers from China Railway Bureau No.23 started the brutal beating when Bayanbaatar and other herders protested the Railway Bureau's occupation of their grazing land without proper compensation. Arrogant and rude as shown in the pictures, the Chinese railroad workers not only threatened to kill the herders if they continued to protest but also sent some of their fellow workers to bring knives to carry out the killing. The local police arrived late to the scene, but reportedly refused to carry out any arrest of the killer or other offenders.
"Our deep sorrow and sincere condolences to Mr.Bayanbaatar who was beaten to death by the Chinese railway workers from China Railway Bureau No.23 while defending his grazing land", posters, messages of condolences and pictures by Mongolian netizens spread quickly through major Chinese social media including Renren, QQ, Tencent Weibo, Webchat and Sina Weibo before they were deleted.
Since 2010, at least five Mongolian herders including Mr.Bayanbaatar have lost their live at the hands of Chinese workers while defending their rights to their grazing lands as well as their right to maintain their traditional way of life.
In 2010, a Mongolian herder from Sobrog Sum of Bairin Right Banner was stabbed to death by Chinese from the "Livestock Grazing Prohibition Team" ("jin mu dui" in Chinese), a special police task force set up by the Chinese Government to ban livestock grazing by Mongolian herders on their own grazing lands.
In May 2011, a Mongolian herder named Mergen from Shiliin Gol League was brutally run over by Chinese coal-hauling truck while he was defending his grazing land from coal miners. His death sparked large-scale protests and demonstrations by Mongolian herders and students across Southern Mongolia.
In October 2011, a Mongolian herder named Zorigt from Huhtolgoi Gachaa, Uushin Banner of Ordos Municipality was killed by a Chinese oil transport truck as he tried to protect his grazing land from Chinese oil mining trucks.
In July 2013, an angry and desperate herder from Ongniud Banner of Ulaanhad Municipality committed suicide after stabbing and killing the head of the "Livestock Grazing Prohibition Team" and seriously injuring another official while defending his right to graze his livestock on his grazing land.
Becoming the largest coal and natural gas source in China and producing 95% of the world's rare earth supplies, Southern Mongolia has recently been named "China's energy base".
Chinese mining giants Shenhua Coal and Chang Qing Oil as well as thousands of private miners have rushed to Southern Mongolia chasing their fortune. Grazing lands have been illegally occupied and opened up for mines. Herders have forcibly been removed from their land without adequate compensation and proper resettlement.
In response to this unprecedented level of destruction of their grazing lands, Mongolian herders are standing up to defend their right to pursue their livelihood and traditional way of life.
Hundreds of herders have been beaten, arrested and detained in clashes with the Chinese on an almost daily basis. In the latest such case, 13 Mongolian herders were arrested and detained last week in Ar Horchin Banner for protesting a Chinese gold mine's illegal occupation of their grazing land; hundreds of Mongolian herders stormed into the government building of Urad Middle Banner to carry out a mass sit-in a few days ago.
An update on this case has been made by SMHRIC recently. More detailed information is given by the victim's daughter-in-law by phone.
Central Government involved, family rejects negotiation
August 22, 2013
The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) has been closely monitoring the case. Additional pictures were received showing further details of beating that led to the herder's death.
In response to the Chinese authorities' denial on the cause of death as murder as reported on some news media, the SMHRIC was able to interview the victim's daughter-in-law Ms.Chyandmuun who provided further details and confirmed that her father-in-law was unquestionably beaten to death.
Fearing possible large-scale demonstrations, the Chinese Central Government is directly managing the fall out from the incident. An attempt is in progress to negotiate with the murdered herder's family, offering them 500000 yuan (approx. USD 82,000) to settle the case. The family members rejected any sort of negotiation and stated that "We Mongolians do not want and do not need any money. What we want is dignity and justice".
About 80 people including the family members and relatives of the victim have been placed under police custody in a funeral house near the Uushin Banner People's Hospital.
Reportedly an unknown number of Mongolian herders from the same area have been arrested yesterday on suspicion of possible unrest sparked by the case. The following is the full interview conducted over the phone by SMHRIC :
SMHRIC : Hi, this is the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, calling from the United States. We talked to Mr.Batchuluu yesterday about his father's unfortunate death. May we talk to him again?
Chyandmuun : Sorry, my husband is not available at this moment.
SMHRIC : We would like to obtain further details on your father-in-law's death. The Chinese authorities seem to be determined to deny the facts of the beating death of your father-in-law. They are claiming that he "possibly had some pre-existing heart problem". How credible is this claim?
Chyandmuun : My father-in-law was a very healthy man who had no health problem at all. He had no pre-existing medical conditions whatsoever. It is an undeniable fact that my father-in-law was beaten to death by the Chinese.
SMHRIC : We know it is difficult for you to recall the details of this tragic event. But, for the sake of clarity, is it possible for you to give us some details about how exactly the beating took place? Did the offenders use any weapons such as knives? How many of them were involved in the beating?
Chyandmuun : Although they claimed to kill us with knives, they didn't use any knife. My father-in-law was beaten to death by the Chinese who violently kicked and used their fists on him. Most of the beating was done by one man in a white shirt.
SMHRIC : One of the pictures shows that a man in white is holding his fists tight and carrying out the attack. In another picture, the same man was holding a big rock and targeting someone to hit.
Chyandmuun : Yes, exactly, he was the murderer. But, actually the big rock he threw didn't hit my father-in-law, it hit another herder who was lucky to narrowly escape with minor injuries. My father-in-law collapsed under his fists. When my husband tried to help him stand up, he said he felt serious discomfort on his chest.
Unable to stand up, he fell on the ground again. My husband tried to rush to bring him to a hospital nearby.
But what was even more egregious was that the Chinese workers intentionally blocked our way and stopped us from taking him to the hospital for more than 30 minutes. It was clear that the killing was intentional, malicious and brutal.
SMHRIC : What was the Chinese workers' attitude toward you at the beginning of the incident?
Chyandmuun : Their attitude was very rude and arrogant. They seemed to have come for the purpose of carrying out a killing, not for construction. They started using their fists as soon as we started to protest their illegal occupation of our private road on our land. Especially, the killer asked the other Chinese to bring a knife from his car. He said he would kill all the Mongolians one by one.
SMHRIC : What is the response from the government? Any word on prosecuting the murderer by the authorities?
Chyandmuun : No, no word on the prosecution has ever been received. Instead, the government is holding all of us hostage at the funeral house. We are about 80 people including all of our family members and relatives. The entire funeral house is put under tight police surveillance, and we are not allowed to leave the funeral house. Our every single move is monitored closely. Our phones are tapped. Police are escorting us everywhere around the clock, even when we go to the toilet. We have completely lost our freedom here.
What the government is trying to do is to negotiate with us. They said, they can give us 500,000 yuan (approx. USD 82,000). We said no negotiation, eye for an eye. The murderer must be brought to justice to be executed in front of our eyes. We told them, unlike you Chinese we Mongolians do not measure human life with money. We Mongolians do not want and do not need money. What we need is dignity and justice. The murderer who claimed to kill us Mongolians one by one must be executed, and the government must apologize publicly to the Mongolians in front of the eyes of the whole world.
Similar events are taking place too often and everywhere in Mongolian areas. My father-in-law or my family is not the only victim. All Mongolians are victimized.
SMHRIC : You have mentioned that the government is trying to negotiate with your family. What department of what level of government is attempting to engage in the negotiation?
Chyandmuun : The government of Uushin Banner and the Central government. They told us that some special dispatches from the Central Government arrived here already to negotiate with us on behalf of the murderer. We do not engage in any type of negotiation.
SMHRIC : We learned that yesterday some other herders were arrested there. Is this arrest related to the case of your father-in-law?
Chyandmuun : Yes, I heard that. Although I am not sure exactly how many herders were arrested, I know that they were herders from our Tug Sum. In terms of the possible connection, being Mongolian is enough for them to be subjected to arrest and questioning in relation to my father-in-law's case, fearing possible unrest.
SMHRIC : Thank you very much for the further details on the case. We will continue to monitor events related to this case as it unfolds.
Chyandmuun : Thank you for your concern and publicizing it to the world.
MY NOTE: Even though those Mongols of Inner Mongolia are being considered as Chinese citizens, they are our brothers and sisters by blood and flesh, and that is why we care. We, the Mongols living in Mongolia, condemn strongly this kind of brutal action by the Chinese against the Mongols, a minority in China, and demand immediate punishment of the killers. One could ask, how on earth the Chinese would expect any respect and appreciation from the minorities in China, like the Mongols, Tibetans or Uighur, if they treat them this way? Such attitude and behavior on part of the Chinese toward the minority will cause nothing but hatred and resentment against Chinese. The Chinese will not only hated by those affected, but also the world society dislikes their murderous actions as well. Such hostile attitude, bullying and disrespect against the native Mongols and other minorities in that matter, will lead to nothing but disgust and antipathy. We hope that is not what Chinese people want. We also hope that as a member of the world society, the Chinese care well about their reputation and standing among the world nations. So, the conclusion is crystal clear: Show some respect and acceptance towards the minorities who have different life styles and own ways of existence. There is no other way to be respected and accepted by others than to respect and accept the other ones.