China sentences six Mongol herders in land-grab case
BEIJING (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.