Another Mongolian Herder Killed by Chinese Trucker
On October 20, 2011, another Mongolian herder, Mr. Zorigt, was killed by a Chinese oil transport truck as he tried to protect his grazing lands in Huhtolgoi Gachaa of Uushin Banner, Ordos Municipality of Southern (Inner) Mongolia. Five months earlier, large-scale demonstrations across Southern Mongolia were sparked by the death of Mr. Mergen, a herder from Shiliin-gol League, who was killed under similar circumstances when defending his grazing lands from Chinese coal haulers. Zorigt was pronounced dead at 11:22 AM on the same day after an emergency treatment at a local hospital.According to sources, Zorigt and other Mongolian herders of Huhtolgoi Gachaa have been struggling to protect their land and livestock from unregulated Chinese oil and gas transport trucks that drive roughshod through their grazing lands and kill livestock. During a number of confrontations between the local Mongolian herders and the Shuurhei Oil-Gas Field transporters, Zorigt and others were beaten and hospitalized several times previously.
In an effort to prevent possible unrest by the Mongolians, China’s state-run official press Xinhua News preemptively reported on the event, calling it a “traffic accident” in which the herder Zorigt (“zhao ri ge tu” in Chinese) “hit the truck driven by Li Youliang from the right when attempting to overtake the truck”. The same report in an apparent contradiction also revealed that “the driver has already been taken into custody by the Uushin Banner Public Security Bureau in accordance with the law for his involvement in a ‘crime of traffic disturbance’”.
The report has disappeared from other major domestic Chinese language Internet news sites including Xin Lang Wang (www.sina.com.cn) where it had been republished. Unconfirmed reports state that the case is being handled swiftly and quietly by a special task force dispatched from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security to prevent similar unrest of the Mongolians.
Mongolian netizens are particularly active in disseminating the information through social media and rallying Mongolian students and herders to rise up again to stage a large-scale demonstration similar to the ones that took place in May and June. Many complained that the Chinese authorities’ promises to respect herders’ rights have never been achieved.
With apparent nervousness, the Chinese authorities are attempting to control public opinion through their Internet police system. An Internet police or a possible member of the “50 Cent Party”, a group of Chinese netizens who get paid 50 Chinese cents for posting a message on the Internet in favor of the authorities, have been sending out the following statement via a popular Mongolian QQ instant messenger group with a fake name of “a Mongolian brother who worked in Uushin Banner and is familiar with the situation”:
“Dear college students of Hohhot and friends from all walks of life, the event which took place in Galuut Township of Uushin Banner is just a traffic accident. Some people who have hidden intentions are interpreting it as an ethnic problem or a conflict with the oil and natural gas development. The government of Uushin Banner is taking the case extremely seriously. The person involved has already been taken to the law enforcement authorities. The case is under active processing and negotiation. Hope our fellow students do not believe the rumors, but understand the circumstances of the accident correctly. Do not be tricked by others. Take personally a highly responsible attitude, do complete your studies instead in order to contribute to the development of your hometown. Wish you a success in study and a good health.”