Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

China: Hulunbuir Grassland Destroyed by Coal Mining Activities

Hulunbuir Grassland, located in the northeast of Inner Mongolia, provides beautiful scenery of vast grassland, forests, rivers and lake where the Mongolian shepherds herd their cattle and sheep. It is also a famous tourist site. However, as a result of coal mining near the surface of the ground, the grassland is eroding rapidly.

The vanishing Hulunbuir Grassland

On September 12, 2012, a Shanghai based micro-blogger, Baoyi, posted [zh] a number of photos in his Weibo and urged others to pay attention:

多次被删,请速转||呼伦贝尔草原是世界上著名的三大草原之一,生长着碱草、针茅、苜蓿、冰草等120多种营养丰富的牧草,素有“牧草王国”之称。这里也是夏季游客们最喜欢去的地方,蓝天白云,绿草如茵。策马奔腾的牧民,这种广袤又洒脱的意境是呼伦贝尔所独有的。正在建设的煤炭基地改变了这一切。

This post has been deleted many times, please help by forwarding it quickly. Hulunbuir Grassland is one of the most famous grasslands in the world. There are more than 120 kinds of grass in this piece of land, including meadow, wheat, alfalfa and spear grass. That's why it is known as the “shepherd's kingdom”. It is also a tourist spot in summer, when you can see blue sky, green land, and shepherds riding horses freely on a huge piece of land. However the coal mining industry is destroying everything here.
Hulunbuir Grassland destroyed by coal mining activities. Baoyi's Weibo Photos.

Hulunbuir Grassland destroyed by coal mining activities. Baoyi's Weibo Photos.

Famous blogger, Zhai Ming Lei, joined [zh] the discussion:

太惨了,呼伦贝尔草原是内蒙唯一剩下的两片草原(另一片是锡林郭勒),而且是生态最好的,为什么偏偏是这儿开矿,当局真是无脑透了。宝贵大草原不珍惜,小小的一个芝麻岛,大动肝火。

This is too tragic. Hulunbuir Grassland is one of the two pieces of grasslands left in Inner Mongolia (the other one is Xilin Gol). It has been well preserved. Who decided to do coal mining here? This is such a stupid decision. How can the authorites gives up such a precious piece of grassland but spend so much energy on a small island [referring to the Diaoyu Island conflict].

Zhai explained [zh] the ecological conditions in the grassland:

草原为啥挖不得,内 草原黑土层很薄,薄的地方甚至只有半米。黑土下面就是古海洋的沙层。所以草原很容易沙化。现在保护还来不及,来挖矿是加速沙化。加速 沙尘暴。尼玛的,当地政府人员死绝了吗?没人管吗?

How come we can't dig the grassland? The top layer of the soil is very thin, as thin as 0.5 meter. Below the soil is a sand layer from the ancient ocean bed. That's why the grassland is easily subjected to sandification. We should have spent all our effort to protect it. Now the mining activities will increase the speed of desertification and the sand storms. Are all government officials dead? How come no one is handling this?

He added [zh]:

知道吗,蒙古人自古以来是不挖地,不挖井的。他们视大地为母亲,天空为父亲。所以不会用金属开挖土地。连植物与药材的根都不吃。开挖草原不仅是破坏自然,而且是侵犯少数民族的文化。(当年日本关东军打进来,怕中国人投毒,才第一次在内蒙草原挖井,现在是开矿,比日本人还狠。)制止对草原的犯罪!!

The Mongolians have never dug their land since the ancient time. They don't even dig wells to get water. They see the land as their mother and sky as their father and will never dig up their land. They don't even eat the roots of any vegetation. The mining activities is not only a destruction of the natural environment, but also a cultural invasion. (Looking back in history, the first well was opened during the Sino-Japanese War when the Japan army invaded Manchuria and they were worried that the Chinese army would add poison the lake. Now the situation is much worse than during war time.) Stop the crime in the grassland!

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site