The following is a report by the China News Service,
one of China's official news agencies, citing Chinese officials
denouncing foreign news media for criticizing China's "Ecological
Migration" Project that has been aiming at a complete relocation of
Mongolian herders from their grazing lands to agricultural and urban
areas. The original report in Chinese appeared on the China News
Service (Zhong Xin She) website on July 15, 2010. The English
translation is by SMHRIC.
In response to Western news media¡¯s criticism over the displacement
of Inner Mongolian herders, A-long, Deputy Director of the Inner
Mongolia Autonomous Region Party Committee Propaganda Department
told reporters that the implementation of the Ecological Migration
Project is consistent with the fundamental interests of the people
of the Autonomous Region and of the people of China. He went on to
protest the criticisms of the Western media.
It has been reported that 450,000 herders and farmers at a cost of 2
billion Yuan have been relocated to prevent the grassland ecosystem
from continuing degradation, since the Western Development
Recently at a press conference on Inner Mongolian ecological
development issues, A-long stated that in recent years Western news
media have criticized the Autonomous Region¡¯s relocation projects on
numerous occasions, claiming that relocation is causing the gradual
extinction of Mongolian culture and worsening the herders¡¯ living
conditions following relocation.
A-long pointed out that if the Autonomous Region¡¯s ecosystem is left
to rampant destruction, it will impact the whole world. Sandstorms
caused by the degradation of Inner Mongolian grassland ecosystem not
only threaten the livelihood of the people of China but also affect
Korea and Japan.
Ji Dacai, Deputy Director of the Autonomous Region¡¯s Department of
Agriculture pointed out at the meeting that the selection criteria
of areas where relocation is deemed necessary is very strict.
Selected areas should be places where the basic condition of
production and livelihood is not satisfied, where grasslands have
already turned to deserts and herders¡¯ livestock have died in large
numbers preventing herders and farmers to continue to maintain their
In regards to resettling the relocated herders and farmers, Ji Dacai
said that there are two approaches: 1. relocate herders and farmers
to places where water resources are relatively rich, where herders
can raise their livestock within fenced areas; 2. transfer herders
and farmers to urban areas where elders will be given a basic
pension and younger individuals will be given training in skills
required for secondary and tertiary industrial production.
Ji Dacai said the relocation work in pastoral areas is extremely
complicated. Due to a language barrier and the limitations of long
maintained traditional production mode and life style, herders are
facing difficulties in employment once relocated to urban areas.
A-long explained that herders and farmers can enjoy housing and
subsidies like pension after relocation; various areas came up with
policies offering education free of charge for ethnic minorities,
under which ethnic minorities can enjoy an education free of charge
for 5 to 9 years accordingly. He also admitted that the Ecological
Migration Project has some short-term impacts on herders¡¯ life.
Aiming at the ¡°Ecological Compensation Regulations¡± that are about
to be passed, Ji Dacai said, [he] has already recommended to the
National Development and Reform Commission that the compensation
should guarantee the herders¡¯ living standard to be no lower than
that of the local population. This is in consideration of the
production loss to herders caused by the livestock reduction,
livestock grazing ban, and livestock grazing suspension etc.
On July 8, at the Western Development Press Conference organized by
the State Council¡¯s Information Office, Inner Mongolian officials
stated that the fragile state of the Inner Mongolian ecosystem has
not fundamentally improved yet; In the future, an ecological
compensation mechanism should be developed to speed up the livestock
grazing ban, livestock grazing suspension, demarcation based
rotational livestock grazing, and to increase the scale of
compensation and extend the subsidy term to those herders and
farmers in the areas where the project is implemented.
Reportedly, neighboring with China¡¯s North, North East and North
West, the Inner Mongolian grasslands have been a place where the
northern ethnic minorities such as the Mongolians have lived and
thrived there for generations. Thanks to the grassland¡¯s capability
to preserve soil and water and prevent lands from desertification,
the Inner Mongolian grassland ecosystem plays an irreplaceable role
in maintaining the stability of the ecosystem of China¡¯s Three