Inner Mongolia beset by ethnic conflict

3 06 2011

Beijng, China (CNN) — There is high tension in Inner Mongolia, China’s strategic frontier region, where the deaths of two Mongolians have triggered rare street protests.

It is now witnessing ethnic discord between Mongolians, who populated the area for centuries, and the Han Chinese, who now make up 79% of the province’s 24 million population.

It all started on May 10, when an ethnic Mongolian herder was struck and killed by a coal truck driven by Han Chinese. The herder, protesting against the coal mining activity, had tried to stop trucks from crossing into his traditional pastureland.

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