Mongolia used to be a staunch ‘Socialist’ country that followed the Soviet model whilst refusing to acknowledge the 1956 anti-Stalin lies of Khrushchev. Indeed, during the ‘liberation’ of North-East China in late 1945 – the Mongolian Red Army was a close ally of the Soviet Red Army and entered Manchuria to assist in the destruction of the entrenched Imperial Japanese Army! Mongolia, despite adhering to the Soviet model, nevertheless was driven ideologically toward China until the post-1991 era (following the collapse of the USSR) generated uncertainty and waves of bourgeois corruption and ideological pollution in the country. China strengthened its border guards to protect against any Western or Indian-backed military incursion. The capitalist destruction of this country has been piece-meal and erratic as the West is not interested in Mongolia as a military or economic threat. Although its government betrayed the Marxist-Leninist doctrine – and plunged the Mongolian people into a state of mass-starvation and abject poverty – the newly emerging bourgeoisie typically perceive this suffering of the masses as a price worth paying for the opulence and privilege they now enjoy.
The problem is that many ordinary Mongolians still adhere to Socialist principles whilst their bourgeois (capitalist) governments merely use them for ‘profit’ generation and the gaining of private property. The racist (right-wing) British newspaper ‘Daily Mail’ supposedly broke this story in the West – but like everything this paper reports – it is bias and distorted. Daily Mail reporters assume that the average person in the West will not (and cannot) access Chinese language news articles. The Daily Mal would have its readership believe that the person ‘self-immolating’ is protesting against ‘China’, taking over a coal-mine in Mongolia – when in fact the reality is that the person concerned is protesting about a) the Mongolian government, b) capitalism in his country, c) a failed Australian bid to re-open the mine and c) a Chinese rescue-bid that replaces the Australian effort. Chinese-language articles emanating from Taiwan and the US of course, do put a negative Chinese Mainland spin on the story, this does not exist in either the original Mongolian or Chinese reporting. For the story related below, I have checked a number of Chinese-language news sources, as this story was common knowledge in China during 2015. Translating from the Chinese news story, the basic narrative runs like this:
‘The British “Daily Mail” reported on November 16th (local time) that the Chairman of a Mongolian trade union set himself on fire at a press conference to protest the sales restrictions aimed at the coal mining industry by the Mongolian government. The ‘unnamed’ man first sprinkled alcohol over his body, and then set himself on fire in front of many reporters. After removing the still burning clothes from his body, other members of the trade union present – hurriedly stepped forward to save him. This ‘unnamed’ union official held a press conference within which he raised with the media the dire problems that Mongolian miners are facing. Amid the chaos, someone snatched the microphone while others were filming the stunning scene. The man reportedly suffered severe burns and was rushed to hospital. Currently, the man is in critical condition.
According to reports, the union official protested the bad treatment of miners by the Taben Tolgoi Coal Mine owned by the Mongolian government. In addition, unions are afraid that selling coal to China will make the situation of Mongolian miners worse. They worry that Chinese companies will send Chinese people to work in Mongolia, thereby occupying Mongolia’s coal market and causing them to lose their jobs. The company owns 39 coal mines in Mongolia, sources said. The Taben Tolgoi Coal Mine located in Mongolia is the largest unmined coal mine in the world. The coal storage area in the mining area is 400 square kilometres, and the coal seam thickness is 190 meters, with a total of 16 layers. Coal is in short supply in the world. Mongolian officials had previously said the country was still in talks with a consortium led by China’s Shenhua Company about mining operations at the Taben Tolgoi coal mine.’
Another report states the same story but with greater detail – including the name of the protestor – but it is obvious that the ‘capitalist’ government of Mongolia does not care about its workers and is letting ‘free market economic forces’ destroy their Lives. China is willing to take this ‘loss’ making industry and invest its own money, time and ingenuity to make the industry profitable again. The Mongolian people should not have betrayed their own Revolution if they did not want to be subjected to the ‘horror’ of capitalist economics. Finally, the date differs in this version:
‘The Chairman of a labour union in Mongolia set himself on fire at a press conference to protest the company’s layoffs. He first sprinkled some liquid on his body, and then set fire to his clothes in front of numerous gathered media. The other union members hurriedly stepped forward to save him. On the afternoon of November 13th, at the news centre office of “Century News” situated in Ulaanbaatar. Erdeni – Chairman of the “Unity” labour union affiliated to the ETT Coal Company, issued a signed and stamped press release followed by a 10-minute speech criticizing the Mongolian company leaders for violating human rights and labour laws – before suddenly sprinkling liquid on his body and setting himself on fire with a lighter. After speaking, he poured the liquid on his suit, set himself on fire, and fell down – and the union members next to him immediately took off their coats to put out the fire. Judging from the video, the fire was very big at the time, and with the help of the assistants and reporters present, the fire was put out. Erdeni was taken outside to ventilate. After a while, Erdeni walked back to the office not far away by himself. According to the doctor, Erdeni’s burn area is 30% to 40%. He is currently in good physical condition and mentally stable. The Mongolian Police Department is investigating the self-immolation. ETT Coal Company is a subsidiary of TT Mine (Taben Tolgoi Coal Mining Company) and is managed by the Mongolian government. The leader of the company told workers more than a month ago that due to the impact of the decline in coal exports, an interested Australian company had withdrawn, and a Chinese company took-over at short-notice. The existing more than 230 workers will also be transferred to the Chinese company. Because ETT company wants to lay off employees, it can only guarantee the working period of the workers for one year. Mongolian workers are worried about losing their jobs, and have taken measures such as protests, strikes, and hunger strikes, hoping that the company will change its decision. Erdeni also reported the situation step by step, and sent letters to the Mongolian president, prime minister, parliament, and company leaders, but received no reply.’
Chinese Language Sources: