BEIJING, June 3 (UPI) -- The Chinese government Friday announced it will limit projects in Inner Mongolia, where tension remains after protests over coal mining activities.
The announcement said the government would limit projects in environmentally vulnerable areas in Inner Mongolia. The protests erupted following the death last month of a Mongolian farmer-herder on his land after he was hit by a truck.
Chinese Vice Minister of Environment Protection Li Ganjie said the ministry is aware of the impact of mining in the region, adding the ministry will assist local environmental protection authorities in punishing enterprises that have breached environmental protection laws and regulations, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Chinese security remained tight in Inner Mongolia after the recent unrest.
A CNN report said the Mongolians currently face a situation in which their region is dominated by Han Chinese, who account for 79 percent of the province's 24 million people.
The Mongolians feel the growing Han Chinese migration into their region is leading to the erosion of their language, culture and livelihood, and are concerned their grazing lands are being hit by mining and desertification.
The death of the farmer-herder so angered Mongolians they published pictures of the incident using mobile phones and the Internet, the report said.
The report said later, about 2,000 Mongolians, led by students, protested on the streets in Xilin Gol, raising slogans to "defend our land and defend our rights."
"People demanded legal rights for Mongolians, for herders," said Enghebatu Togochog, director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center in New York. "They didn't mention higher autonomy or independence. Their goals are practical, so the government can't find an excuse to crack down hard on them."