Illegal land grabs and colonization by Chinese farmers and miners, supported by the Chinese Communist (CCP) regime, are the source of human rights problems in Mongolia, said a rights group.
Human rights violations of all sorts occur regularly in Southern (Inner) Mongolia, Enghebatu Togochog, director of the U.S.-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), said in an interview with The Diplomat last week.
“The Southern Mongolians completely lost faith with the Communist Party, which has been the single political actor responsible for designing, implementing and defending China’s colonial policy in Southern Mongolia,” he told The Diplomat. “As the main source of all problems in China and Southern Mongolia, the Chinese Communist [Party] brings no positive change, but only worsens the situation.”
Earlier this month, a group of Inner Mongolian herders were expelled from Beijing for persistently petitioning officials over the occupation of their grazing lands by local officials, a military base, and Han Chinese miners. The 17 herders were sent home and placed under “strict” surveillance and restrictions, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA).
“The case of the Urad Middle Banner Mongolian herders is not an isolated incident, but it is only the tip of iceberg. Hundreds of similar incidents are happening across Southern Mongolia, almost on a daily basis,” Togochog explained.
A herder was beaten to death by Han Chinese railroad workers while protesting the illegal occupation of grazing lands in August, according to RFA, and his relatives were placed under house arrest.
A clash in June between six Mongolian herders and a state-run forestry company that was operating illegally on their grazing land, resulted in the arrest of the herders and a hurried trial. Their families told RFA that the herders were not allowed a proper legal defense, and that the trial was “rushed.”
The wife of one of the herders was beaten unconscious with an electric baton at the entrance to the courtroom as riot police tried to prevent family members from entering the courtroom, her sister-in-law said.
“They beat my sister-in-law with an electric baton until she fell over,” Longmei said. “We then started shouting that this was supposed to be an open trial, asking why they wouldn’t let us in.”
The herders face up to seven years in prison for “sabotage” and “destruction of property.”
Togochog said the CCP supported migration of Chinese into Southern Mongolia as the foundation of a colonial regime that encourages the confiscation and development of Mongolian herders’ lands. State media reported development plans to relocate Sichuan residents displaced by the 2008 earthquake to Inner Mongolia, the SMHRIC reported earlier this year to Freedom House, though the regime continues to officially deny it.
At least 13 Mongolians were detained in August and given administrative punishment, with no trial, for posting to the Internet complaints about the proposed resettlement of the Han Chinese into the region.
One blogger was punished for “spreading rumors” saying that 50,000 Chinese from Sichuan were to be relocated to an area, which was home to only 20,000 Mongolian herders, and where houses had already been built for them, said a report in Radio Free Asia. He also posted that another 80,000 would be moved to a different area and 100,000 to yet a different location.
“Chinese migration has always been, is still being, and will continue to be the root cause of all sorts of violence and human rights violations in Southern Mongolia. The very foundation of the Chinese colonial regime in Southern Mongolia is based on and supported by Chinese migration,” Togochog told The Diplomat.