News / Asia

China Sentences 6 Mongol Herders in Land Grab Case

Reuters
Six herders in China who tried to defend grazing land from expropriation by a forestry firm have been sentenced in the resource-rich Inner Mongolia region, a lawyer and family members said on Monday, in a case that has sparked protests.
 
The unrest in Inner Mongolia is the latest flare up of ethnic tension in China after deadly protests by Muslim Uighur people in the far western Xinjiang region and unrest among Tibetans in the west.
 
Ethnic Mongols have long complained that their traditional grazing lands have been ruined by mining and desertification, and that the government has tried to force them to settle in permanent dwellings.
 
The six Mongol herders were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to two years on Dec. 31 on a charge of “sabotaging production management” by a court in Ongniud Banner, the area of Inner Mongolia where the incident occurred, a lawyer representing one of the accused and family members of two of them told Reuters by telephone.
 
“The verdict is clearly unjust, this is a land dispute and not a criminal case,” said the lawyer, who declined to be identified for fear of government retribution.
      
“The fact that it's been turned into a criminal case is because of the interference of the local government,” the lawyer continued.
 
“The villagers have been going to the municipal government and Beijing to petition, and the local government has been criticized for it. They are under great pressure so they had to resort to this approach.”
      
Officials at the court could not be reached.
 
The herders were arrested in June after a clash with workers from the state-owned Wengniuteqi Shuanghe Forestry, the herders' family members said earlier. The herders had accused the workers of illegally occupying grazing land.
 
Protests        
 
The lawyer and family members said the herders had urged officials to address their land problem for years.
 
“I'm dissatisfied with the verdict,” said Sarangowaa, the wife of one of Tulguur, one of the accused. “My feeling is that they aren't guilty.”
 
Sobdoo, the sister of one of the accused called Tugusbayar, said the herders' plight sparked a protest on Dec. 30 by more than 100 herders outside a government building.
 
Many Mongols in China go by only one name.
 
Nearly 200 herders staged protests in front of government buildings of Ongniud Banner and Ulaanhad Municipality on Dec. 30 and 31, according to the New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center.
 
Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region which covers more than a 10th of China's land mass and has its largest coal reserves, was rocked by protests in 2011 after an ethnic Mongol herder was killed by a truck after taking part in protests against pollution caused by a coal mine.
 
Ethnic Mongols now make up less than 20 percent of the region's population of about 24 million. Before the Communist revolution in 1949, Mongols far outnumbered majority Han Chinese.
 
The United States has expressed concern about the fate of China's most famous Mongol dissident, Hada, who was sent back to detention almost as soon as he completed a 15-year sentence for separatism in 2010.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid