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Mongolian Protests

A casual glance of English news bulletins on the web reveal articles such as the following:

I am dismayed at the tone of the coverage from the West.

If a potentially socially explosive situation arises anywhere in the world – whether it is in L.A. between blacks and whites or between tribes in Somalia – I’d think the responsible thing is to urge restraint amongst the people and for the government to make a show of force.  It may even be time to impose some restrictions on movements (as local conditions dictate) for heads to cool down. I’d not call sending in police and guards to keep the peace and urge cooler head “crack down” – or “clamping down.”

The most recent protests apparently have arisen in response to the killing of an ethnic Mongolian herder by a coal driver who was ethnic Han.  Tensions are high not just because of ethnic elements, but because of social and economics elements (the person killed was a herder, from a socioeconomic background of someone who may not have benefited generally as much from China’s recent economic development as someone with skills to drive a truck). There may also be tensions arising between communities regarding how much those who benefit from mining should compensate those who suffer most from environment damages that arise from such activities.

In any case, the government appears to be taking the right actions, seeking calm.

The Strait Times repoted:

THE top political leader of China’s vast northern region of Inner Mongolia had a meeting with local students in a bid to placate public anger, state media reported, after the hit-and-run death of a herder sparked six days of protests by ethnic Mongolians.

In the first response from the ruling Party to the demonstrations, Inner Mongolia’s Communist Party chief Hu Chunhua told students and teachers on Friday he was representing the government to seek their views on the situation and said’public anger has been immense’.

‘Please be assured, teachers and students, that the suspects … will be punished severely and quickly, so that the … rights of victims and their families can be resolutely safeguarded,’ the Inner Mongolian Daily cited Mr Hu as saying.

The xinjiang riots of a few years ago arose in large part from ethnic rumors and innuendos of a factory brawl in Shaoguan (fanned in part by outside forces).

This is not time for inflaming tensions, or the urging government to leave a vacuum. This is time for government to step in and take an active role to lead and preserve peace.


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  1. Chris Devonshire-Ellis
    May 29th, 2011 at 22:22 | #1

    Actually you’re not referring to Mongolian protests. You are referring to protests in the Chinese Province of Inner Mongolia. Mongolia itself is a separate nation.

  2. May 29th, 2011 at 23:50 | #2


    Maybe I need to clarify. By Mongolian, I meant ethnicity – or formally the Chinese Mongolian Nationality. I didn’t mean the Mongolia Nation.

  3. May 30th, 2011 at 00:06 | #3

    These media are disgusting.

  4. kchew
    May 30th, 2011 at 08:12 | #4

    For the Western media, reports on ethnic unrest in China are juicy news eagerly sought by editors back home. They also tend to use inflamatory language in their coverage. In this particular case one AFP report mentioned that the riot was due to the killing of a herdsman, as if the security forces were involved.
    I bet if similar events happening in other Asian or African countries, there Western media will not be interested unless it is a slow news day.

    In fact, there is little or no outrage at all when 16 Afghan children and women were murdered in recent Nato bombing raid. The news barely made the headlines. However, when an ethnic minority died in in the hand of the police in China, one can be assured of the outrage by Western media, human right groups and their politicians.

  5. May 30th, 2011 at 20:46 | #5

    Western media are really disgusting, they say things which are not true just in order to make money…

  6. Wukailong
    May 30th, 2011 at 22:23 | #6

    I notice with some interest that the party secretary of Inner Mongolia is Hu Chunhua, who’s believed by quite a number of people to be at the center of the sixth generation of leadership in China after Xi Jinping. The way he handles the issue will affect his future. Of course, apart from the major demonstration in Xilinhaote there doesn’t seem to been any mistakes made so I think this will fizzle out as far as he’s concerned.

    Of course, speculating on who’s going to be the leader in 2022 might seem a bit premature when we haven’t even confirmed that Xi Jinping will indeed become the next president, but I can’t help myself there…

  7. May 31st, 2011 at 15:38 | #7

    Good commentary from Global Times:

    A recent traffic incident and the ensuing protests have aroused unusual attention, because it occurred in Xilinhot, Inner Mongolia, where ethnic Mongolians live alongside Han people.

    In some media reports, the incident has been depicted as a Mongolian protest against Han’s dominance, similar to the Xinjiang riots in 2009 and Tibet unrest in 2008.

    However, it is improper to make this link. The Mongolian protests, over a herd being run over by a Han truck driver, are not a politically driven demonstration. Some of their requests are reasonable, and should be responded to by the local government.

    Inner Mongolia has been a model area where different ethnic group co-habit in harmony, but like many other ethnic areas, it faces the difficulties of balancing a growing economy and preserving minority culture and lifestyle. The best way can only be found by coming to a consensus.

    Anger of local Mongolians toward the Han driver is understandable. The anger is also partly a result of their anxiety over a wave of industrialization, and how the mining industry might affect their lives. We believe the majority of Chinese sympathize with their reasonable requests.

    It is worth noticing the protests saw no violence between different ethnic groups. Groups such as the little-known US-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center tried to advocate the interests of local Mongolians. With little connection to the local situation, their appeal is questionable.

    Following the prevailing thinking of maintaining order and stability, the domestic media has had little coverage over the protest. The concern of the local government is understandable, but in the Internet age, such information can hardly be concealed. Soon after the protests broke out, the information, many of which was first reported by overseas media, has spread over the Internet.

    Social conflicts are on the rise in China and ethnic minority areas are no exception. But the incidents there should not be exaggerated or over-interpreted. The key is to understand the reason behind, face it, and find the solution.

    Putting this under a broad context, what happened in Xilinhot is like many other challenges China is facing nationwide. It deserves more attention, but may not necessarily deserve particular anxiety

  8. Charles Liu
    May 31st, 2011 at 19:36 | #8

    Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center receives $75k-85k a year from the NED, big suprise.

  9. June 1st, 2011 at 14:03 | #9

    * The media have not much good material on China recently. Several years ago, we had Tibet riot, human rights violation, and then the currency manipulation. So, it is great material for them. I’ve not used the human rights article for a long time.

    * As larger cities are building, Mongolia should allocate areas for raising herd. Alternatively, they can grow hay and ship the hay to the farms for the cattle.

  10. Bayan Olgy
    June 1st, 2011 at 23:47 | #10

    Good debate and comment about the differences between Inner Mongolia and Mongolia here: http://www.2point6billion.com/news/2011/05/30/a-tale-of-two-mongolias-9381.html

  11. June 2nd, 2011 at 00:19 | #11

    @Bayan Olgy #10,

    Pretty dumb article. If Chris wants to write something based off his own confusion, he may go ahead. But it’s pretty silly to have him comment his confusion here and then you to link to his article here. This is not a thread about Inner Mongolia vs. Mongolia. And I’ve never heard of the great confusions of people lumping Mongolians with Han Chinese. There is much in the literature about the history of China, Mongolia, and the various ethnic groups in Eastern Asia. It’s perfectly legitimate for both China and Mongolia (of today) to consider Genghis Khan as their own.

    I have reason to believe you are spamming based on cookie and ip trace. Let this be a warning.

  12. June 2nd, 2011 at 05:37 | #12

    Mongolians ruled China as in Yuan dynasty. Mao treated them as one of the minorities officially.

    Russians wanted Mongolia as a buffer zone. The way they treated Mongolians are terrible through out history, esp. after Genghis Khan.

  13. June 2nd, 2011 at 11:25 | #13

    In regards to: http://www.2point6billion.com/news/2011/05/30/a-tale-of-two-mongolias-9381.html

    I was over at 2point6billion.com last night and had my comment censored out. I am trying to reconstruct what I said, and it roughly went as follows:

    “If true, such wanton disregard for the lives of ethnic minorities by the settling Han is as backward as that displayed by the European settlers towards the Native American Indians 400 years ago. That’s hardly civilized behavior for a nation that can put a man into space, and smacks of rampant colonialism.”

    How can one compare the Europeans who gave disease infested blankets to the Native Americans to the Chinese of today? There is absolutely no point in taking this article seriously. This is revisionist nonsense.

    @WS Lee

    This baagiii character may not necessarily be ethnic Mongolian. In this anonymous Internet age, he could be as white as CDE.

    Samuel Huntington wrote:

    The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.

    Huntington didn’t mention that these people were also masters at dividing and conquering.

    And that’s what a lot of them do today – they want to drive wedges and create fault lines among the 56 ethnic groups in China.

    Look at Libya. Look at the whole planet.

  14. June 2nd, 2011 at 12:50 | #14

    @YinYang #13,

    If you read the quote you copied: Chris uses the incident of one potentially criminal driver and attribute to the entire nation. He then further stretches that one potential criminal act to accuse China of colonialism on par with European colonialism. That’s pretty absurd.

    And if you read the next paragraph:

    Back in Mongolia itself, there is little signage in Chinese and a subtle, yet profound dislike for many Chinese.

    This is well documented. Here are some in English.




    As I’ve written before, the call for an ethnically pure nation, coupled with hatred, is reminiscent of the Nazis. Things like this in my opinion endangers world peace.

    See also http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2008/05/is-self-determination-a-tool-for-liberation-in-todays-world/

  15. June 2nd, 2011 at 13:15 | #15

    @YinYang #13,

    About being censored on Chris’s site, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I’ve had personal email discourse with him before. To be honest, I think Chris Devonshire-Ellis has barely a high school’s education and has been holding out in Asia to be something more than he is. His credentials have been exposed by so many – he has made so many enemies on the Internet – it’s not even funny.

    I’m not condoning any of the personal verbal vendettas spawn, but really, I think it takes a lot of effort to piss off that many people that much.

    For our purposes, we don’t have time for crap. What you did is right: just state what you need to state, and if he censors, state it again here and move on. There are other things that are better worth our time.

  16. June 2nd, 2011 at 15:21 | #16

    @Allen #14
    Yes, exactly.

    @Allen #15
    Yup, not bothered by the censorship. Mainly want to warn people that in the Internet age, there could be people pretending to be certain minority groups to create this wedge and animosity between groups of real people. We always need to keep that in mind.

    Always ask yourself after reading a ‘China’ article in the West – is it trying to perpetrate more hate and misunderstanding between groups or is it genuinely pushing understanding for parties concerned.

  17. June 3rd, 2011 at 00:08 | #17

    I got an email from an editor at 2point6billion.com saying my comment was caught up in the spam queue due to a link embedded in my comment.

    The person I really wanted to address the comment to was a WS Lee there. But it seems my comment was reinstated after he threw in the towel and left.

    Oh well.

  18. June 4th, 2011 at 05:15 | #18

    Chinese and Mongolians belong to one nation for centuries. The Mongolian child will melt your heart.

  19. June 10th, 2011 at 00:20 | #19

    I’ve been too busy this past week to spend much time blogging. But I think the article titled “Green motives in Inner Mongolian unrest” by Wu Zhong at Asia Times is worth citing (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/MF08Ad01.html).

  20. WS Lee
    June 12th, 2011 at 18:37 | #20

    I am WS Lee, Thanks for your support. It is time for us who are English literate to roll up our sleeves & fight these sorts of smearing campaigns by the western media as silence may mean consent.

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