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Uchralt Otede

Over the past two decades, China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has experienced fast economic growth and rapid industrialization. However, the environmental pollution that has resulted from these developments has posed a serious threat to the everyday life of Inner Mongolian herdsmen. In some regions, polluting industries have permanently destroyed grasslands and directly threatened the herdsmen’s health and livestock. In order to protect the grassland, a range of collective actions have been undertaken by grassroots groups made up of herdsmen and local village cadres as well as intellectuals, students, educated youth, and lawyers across China. Drawing on scholarly frameworks of “self-relief” and “rightful resistance,” this chapter describes and analyzes environmental resistance movements in Inner Mongolia. It argues that environmental protest movements there show strong similarities to other cases reported in Taiwan, Japan and mainland China. Thus, we should consider environmental protest movements in Inner Mongolia as an issue of environmental struggle, rather than an issue of ethnic conflict.