Former Mongolia leader detained, triggering protests

The former president of Mongolia -- one of the country's best-known politicians -- was detained Friday on corruption charges, authorities said, sparking clashes between police and supporters.
Nambaryn Enkhbayar has been charged with several misdemeanours, including mis-using television equipment donated to a monastery to set up a television channelMongolia's anti-corruption agency said at a news briefing.
The raid on his house early Friday morning was televised, as Enkhbayar was able to call journalists and TV crews to his home when it took place.
Dramatic video footage posted on media websites Friday showed hundreds of policemen forcing their way into his house and clashing violently with his supporters.
The former president told TV9 -- a 24-hour television channel that was present at the time -- that he refused to give any form of testimony. He also claims that police are violating his immunity.
Enkhbayar's arrest has prompted strong support among members of his political party -- the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) -- and the local population, some of whom protested Friday outside his detention centre.
Supporters claim that he may be being punished for information he has about deadly riots that took place in 2008, when he was still president of the impoverished country.
His lawyer announced Friday that Enkhbayar -- who served as prime minister and then president of Mongolia for almost a decade until losing office in 2009 -- was launching a hunger strike.
Mongolia is one of the poorest nations in Asia, but it is becoming more and more attractive to foreign investors with its rich deposits of copper, gold, uranium, silver and even oil.

Source:AFP News Agency

Southern Mongolians Protest Land Expropriation, 22 Arrest

New York - On the afternoon of April 2, 2012, hundreds of Mongolians of Tulee Gachaa (gachaa is equivalent to village), Mingren Sum (sum is equivalent to township), Naiman Banner (banner is equivalent to county) of eastern Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Tong Liao Municipality were met with brutal force by the local Chinese authorities.

The local Mongolians were demonstrating against the expropriation of their lands by a government backed Chinese-run forestry company called “Xing Long Gao Forestry”.
Over 80 heavily armed police with more than 30 police vehicles dispatched from the Naiman Banner Public Security Bureau came to Tulee Gachaa and brutally beat up the local Mongolians who were attempting to stop a Xing Long Gao Forestry bulldozer from turning over their farmland. Twenty two protesters were arrested and taken away by police,
5 were seriously injured.
Chenfuulong, one of the organizers of the protest, told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) over the phone that the local Mongolians have been protesting against the Chinese company’s illegal occupation of lands belonging to Tulee Gachaa since last year.
“The protest concerns a 60,000 mu (about 10,000 acres) area of land that was illegally occupied by Xing Long Gao Forestry for several years,”
Chenfuulong explains the background of the land expropriation, “since last year, they stopped managing the forestry. It should be returned to the legitimate owners of the land, the Mongolians of Tulee Gachaa. Now they are trying to continue to occupy our land.”
According to Chenfuulong, the Mongolians organized themselves and protested in front of different level of government including the Tongliao Municipality Government and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Government during the past several months for a just resolution.
They even sent four representatives to Beijing to attempt to urge the Central Government to address their grievance in a just manner in March of this year.
“Nothing has been addressed. Our Banner government sent security personnel to Beijing and brought us back to Naiman Banner. The Banner Governor met with us not to address the problem but to threaten us with arrest and imprisonment,” Chenfuulong told SMHRIC, “now they are beating and arresting us.”
“I narrowly escaped arrest. They raided my home and confiscated my motorcycle,” Chenfuulong describes the conflict scene, “police violently beat up the protesters with batons; some were bleeding, some were beaten down on the ground; women were pulled by their hair and thrown into police vehicles.” Chenfuulong mentioned that his brother Chenfuudee was also among the 22 detainees.
Another Mongolian witness who asked not to be identified provided SMHRIC with a partial list of the detainees. They are Haschuluu, Shuanzuur, Gowaa, Baochuan, Meirong, Baodee, and Chenfuudee.
“Both parents of some families were taken away and their young kids left unattended. For example, Shuanzuur and Gowaa are husband and wife, and their five year old daughter was left crying at home with no one’s care,” he described the rising tension, “police cars are still patrolling the village and more crack down is expected.”

China targets Mongolia in SouthGobi move

Beijing (Financial Times) -- China's largest aluminium producer intends to acquire SouthGobi Resources, a Mongolia-focused coal company listed in Toronto, for up to C$925m -- the biggest investment yet by a Chinese mining company in Mongolia as China seeks to tap the vast resources of its neighbour.
Chalco, a Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned metals and mining group Chinalco, said it intends to offer C$8.48 per share to acquire a stake of up to 60 per cent in SouthGobi, which trades in Hong Kong and Toronto.
The deal follows years of frustration for Chinese miners trying to gain access to Mongolia's deposits of copper and coal. Although Mongolia has opened up to foreign investors over the past decade, Chinese -companies have often found themselves sidelined because of historic mistrust between the two countries.
The deal could pave the way for more Chinese investment in the Gobi desert, which sits in southern Mongolia right on the common border. The transaction will not require Mongolian approval because the share transfer will take place in Canada, but a representative of SouthGobi said the Mongolian government had been informally notified and was supportive.
Ivanhoe, the Toronto-listed mining company headed by Robert Friedland, has agreed to sell Chalco its 57.6 per cent stake in SouthGobi. China's sovereign wealth fund also holds a 13.7 per cent stake in SouthGobi and has a right of first refusal for Ivanhoe's shares, but the fund is expected to give its approval to Chalco's bid.
Chalco has been eyeing assets in Mongolia for years as it seeks to expand beyond its core aluminium and bauxite business into base metals and energy. Previous discussions with Ivanhoe over a stake in the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine did not come to fruition, bankers say.
South Gobi's main producing asset is a coking coal mine less than 50 km from the Chinese border, and the sale is unlikely to stir the same kind of nationalist debate that has accompanied the development of Mongolia's big state-owned mines, such as Tavan Tolgoi, which plans to list in London later this year.
Alexander Molyneux, president and chief executive of SouthGobi, said the company would benefit from being controlled by a big state-owned miner such as Chalco, which has coal distribution networks inside China and will buy coal from SouthGobi as part of the deal. "SouthGobi will be a more valuable company by having a big brother like Chalco," he said, adding that the company could be a platform for Chalco's overseas coal deals in the future.
Andrew Driscoll, an analyst at CLSA, said the SouthGobi deal was a natural extension of Chalco's coking coal trading business on the Mongolian border. "This marks the most substantial step yet for Chalco in pursuing its diversification strategy," he said.
Shenhua, China's biggest coal miner, appeared to win a leading role in developing part of the Tavan Tolgoi coking coal deposit, but the Mongolian government is now reconsidering the deal after complaints from Japanese and Korean companies.
The offer price represents a premium of 28 per cent to Friday's close in Toronto but is below SouthGobi's historic highs. SouthGobi's share price has fallen by more than half from its peak of C$16.56 in February 2011 amid global investor gloom over resource assets.
Chalco's shares closed down 1.9 per cent in Hong Kong after the announcement, which was made before the start of trading. SouthGobi's Hong Kong share price shot up 18 per cent from the Friday close.
Chalco will make a formal offer to SouthGobi before July 5, the company said, and the acquisition will be funded either by issuing external debt, drawing on internal funds or some combination of the two.
Source:CNN via FT

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