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Hit-and-run stirs ethnic tensions in Inner Mongolia

Police tightened security in the capital of China's vast region of Inner Mongolia yesterday after nearly a week of protests.

In a rare display of public anger, ethnic Mongolians took to the streets early last week in protest over the hit-and-run death of a herder, killed after being struck by a coal truck.

The government of the huge northern region, increasingly dominated by ethnic Han Chinese, told local agencies to address safety and environmental concerns related to the mining industry there. It also announced the arrest of two Han Chinese for homicide over the incident.

Inner Mongolia is China's biggest coal producing region, but infrastructure is poor and the race by lorry drivers, drawn by high margins, to transport coal to the country's east has been accompanied by a spate of traffic accidents.