A herder in northern China’s Inner Mongolia who had been protesting destruction of traditional grazing land has died after being hit by an oil transport truck, an overseas rights group said yesterday.
A similar incident in May, when another herder died after being struck by a coal truck, set off rare protests by minority ethnic Mongolians demanding better protection of their lands, rights and traditions.
The latest case happened in Uushin Banner, near Ordos, where the dead herder, identified as Zorigt, was part of a group trying to protect grazing lands from trucks carrying oil and gas which had killed livestock, the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center said.
“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,” the New York-based group said in an e-mailed statement.
Zorigt “was killed by a Chinese oil transport truck as he tried to protect his grazing lands,” the group said.
The Uushin Banner, or county, government said in a statement on its Web site that Zorigt died after being hit by the truck while trying to overtake it in a motorcycle.
Many ethnic Mongolians in China go by only one name.
The statement, posted on Saturday, said truck driver Li Youliang (李有亮) drove around a man standing in the road, later confirmed to be Zorigt. The herder, it said, sped after the truck on a motorcycle and tried to overtake it, but collided with it and was seriously injured, dying later in hospital.
The truck driver was taken into custody, the government said.
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