Li Lindong, a coal truck driver, was sentenced to death on Wednesday for killing a Mogolian herder, according to the Intermediate People’s Court of the Xilingol League in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The sentence was announced at 4:30 pm immediately after the six-hour trial.
The court heard that Li, who was fully aware that his behavior could lead to the death of his victim, deliberately drove into Mergen and crushed him to death earlier this year.
Lu Xiangdong, also in the truck when the herder was killed, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Two others, Wu Xiaowei and Li Minggang, were given three years in jail for obstructing justice.
The four men said they would appeal their sentences.
Mergen attempted to block Li Lindong’s coal truck on May 10 to protest the noise and dust created by coal trucks running through his village in the West Ujimqin Banner in Xiligol.
According to police, Li Lindong drove over Mergen and dragged him under his truck for 145 meters before he died.
Wu and Li Minggang later blocked the way as police were trying to stop the truck.
Mergen’s death triggered protests in the region, with thousands of students taking to the streets last week in the city of Xilinhot, the government seat of the Xilingol League.