|May 19, 2011|
Mr. Mergen, organizer of the Mongolian herders of Right Ujumchin Banner in Southern (Inner) Mongolia resisting Chinese coal miners’ destruction of their grazing lands, was brutally killed by Chinese coal haulers on May 10, 2011, after a day long confrontation between more than 40 local Mongolian herders and hundreds of coal haulers. Reportedly, Mergen’s body was dragged under the wheels of the first truck for 150 meters and then repeatedly struck by other trucks in the caravan.
According to an article by a Mongolian blogger named Zorigt, the drivers of the 100-ton heavy coal hauler that killed Mergen were extremely rude, arrogant and full of hatred, claiming that “my truck is fully insured, and the life of a smelly Mongolian herder costs me no more than 40,000 Yuan (approx 8,000 USD)”.
“In order to take a shortcut, these coal hauling trucks have randomly run over local herders’ grazing lands, not only killing numerous heads of livestock but also further damaging the already-weakened fragile grassland,” Zorigt’s blog article complains, “after exhaustively petitioning various levels of local governments, helpless Mongolian herders of Bayanbulag, Saruul, Davshilt and Hongor Gachaa (Gachaa is second smallest level administrative unit) in Hoolt Township organized themselves since April 26, 2011 to block the coal haulers from trespassing on their grazing lands.”
It was recently announced that the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR) has become the “energy base of China”. The IMAR Government has launched a region-wide campaign to open up hundreds of coal mines across the region. China’s state-run official press Xinhua News reported that in 2010 alone, IMAR became China’s first province whose annual coal output exceeded 0.7 billion tons. According to the same report, with its 732.3 billion tons of coal reserves and 36 open coalfields that have a capacity of over 0.1 billion tons, IMAR has become China’s top coal producing province.
Competing for this “coal rush”, the local government of Right Ujumchin Banner has invited Chinese mining companies and private miners from all over China to open up coals mines of various scale throughout the Banner territory. .
“All this means is that more Chinese will come to our ancestral land, kick out the Mongolians, destroy the environment and plunder the mineral wealth”, Bayaguut, a Southern Mongolian cyber dissident, said “this really is a three-dimensional attack on us by the Chinese: they have destroyed our land, polluted our air, and now digging up what we have below ground. What we will be left with is a barren land uninhabitable to human beings.”
Reactions to the killing of Mergen among the Southern Mongolians are strong and emotional. Some called upon a united mass movement of Southern Mongolians against the Chinese colonization; some expressed their total disappointment in defending the Mongolians’ rights within China’s existing legal framework; others called Mergen the modern day Gaadaa Meiren, an iconic Southern Mongolian national hero who fought to death exactly 80 years ago to protect the Mongol land from Chinese colonization.
Mergen brutally killed by Chinese truck drivers