Category Archives: Inner Mongolia

“China moves long-missing Mongolian dissident to “luxury resort”

After the “vacation-style therapy” claims we heard a few months ago it looks like the Chinese government wants to outdo itself in terms of bizarre imprisonment classifications:

China has moved a prominent ethnic Mongolian rights activist to a “luxury resort”, a rights group said on Thursday, in the first account of his whereabouts in more than a year since he was put under house arrest.

Hada, who like many ethnic Mongolians in China uses a single name, was tried in China’s vast northern Inner Mongolia region in 1996 and jailed for 15 years for separatism, spying and supporting the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance, which seeks greater rights for ethnic Mongolians.

He was released in December 2010 and then had to serve a separate sentence, “four years of deprivation of political rights”, Tao Jian, the deputy Communist Party boss of Inner Mongolia’s law and order committee, said in March.

Haschuluu told the group that Hada was in poor health and had rejected an offer to go free along with family members in exchange for signing a paper that would be tantamount to admitting wrongdoing.

Hada’s wife, Xinna, who has denied her husband is a separatist, was jailed for three years in April for “engaging in illegal business”, the group said.

“This is a completely trumped-up charge used by the authorities to have the family cooperate and keep them quiet,” Enghebatu Togochog at the SMHRIC said in emailed comments to Reuters.

Xinna was living in her rented warehouse with her son, Uiles, in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, because their house had been confiscated, the group said, citing Haschuluu.

Chinese authorities had offered Xinna and Uiles good jobs, nice cars, a luxury house and a special offer of a “beautiful girlfriend” to Uiles if they cooperated with the authorities, or risk arrest, detention and imprisonment, the group said.

Hanshuulan, Xinna’s mother, told SMHRIC that they had rejected the offer.

Do you think they actually had a girl on hand for this offer, or were they just going to go around China trying to find a ‘beautiful’ girl who wouldn’t mind dating the son of a prominent Mongolian dissident? How is that deal supposed to work?

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“Ethnic Mongolians in China concerned about cultural threat”

Eunice Yoon and Chi Chi Zhang at CNN have a story about Inner Mongolia, which had been relatively quiet this year until the protest last week:

“As a kid, everyone rode horses to herd sheep, but now we only see motorcycles” the 68-year old says, as he lights a cigarette. He reveals a toothy smile that carves even deeper wrinkles into his weathered skin. “We learned to ride when we could walk.”

Baocheng, who like most Mongolians goes by one name, has witnessed many changes around the street where he runs an antiques shop. This was once a trading area for livestock in downtown Hohhot, capital of China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous region.

But ethnic Mongolians complain their nomadic lifestyle is being threatened. Though some have been handed government subsidies, others have reported being forced to move from grasslands into brick apartments in cities like Hohhot.

The threat to traditional Mongolian culture, which includes allegations of illegal land seizures, has led to an uptick in protests in recent years. According to the New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, repeated appeals have been made to the government to protect the nomadic culture from activities such as mining in this resource-rich country.

The group said at least 22 ethnic Mongolians were detained earlier this month after hundreds clashed with police during a protest against land seizures.

“Mongolians have peacefully led a nomadic lifestyle for centuries so we need to ask why it’s being threatened now?” says Nars, the lead singer of Anda Union, a Mongolian throat-singing band. “It’s important to prevent desertification, but at what cost? Why is this happening now and what other solutions are there?”

Rapid development and the spread of China’s dominant Han population to minority regions, has meant that ethnic Mongolians only make up about 17% of the region’s 24 million population, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Like Tibetans and Uighurs from the restive of Xinjiang region, experts say an underlying tension exists between ethnic Mongolians and Han people.

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“Inner Mongolians Escalate Land Protest”

RFA has the details on a second protest in Inner Mongolia over the last week:

About 40 farmers and villagers from Tulee Gachaa in the Naiman banner (county) in eastern Inner Mongolia demonstrated in front of government offices in the banner’s capital Daachintal (in Chinese, Daxintale) on Tuesday, the Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center said in a statement.

The protesters demanded the Naiman authorities release the 22 protesters detained in Monday’s violent protest in the village and return 60,000 mu (10,000 acres) of farmland they say has been expropriated by the government-backed company and left lying idle for years.

The protesters chanted slogans and displayed a sign that said, in Mongolian and Chinese, “The detention is illegal; Release the detainees; Return our land,” SMHRIC said.

“If the Mongol farmers would discuss this with us, maybe we could resolve the problem, but they have not agreed to this so far,” he told RFA’s Uyghur service Wednesday.

But SMHRIC claimed local government officials had met with five of the protester’s representatives on Wednesday evening, proposing to release the detainees if the protesters went home silently and signed promises to stop opposing the land expropriation.

The protesters refused, sending a message to SMHRIC that said, “We are determined not to halt our protest until the government releases all detainees, compensates our losses, punishes those who beat the protesters, and returns our land to us.”

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“China detains 22 after Inner Mongolia protest”

The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Center is carrying a story about more arrests in Inner Mongolia following a protest:

Over 80 heavily armed police with more than 30 police vehicles dispatched from the Naiman Banner Public Security Bureau came to Tulee Gachaa and brutally beat up the local Mongolians who were attempting to stop a Xing Long Gao Forestry bulldozer from turning over their farmland. Twenty two protesters were arrested and taken away by police, 5 were seriously injured.

Chenfuulong, one of the organizers of the protest, told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) over the phone that the local Mongolians have been protesting against the Chinese company’s illegal occupation of lands belonging to Tulee Gachaa since last year.

“The protest concerns a 60,000 mu (about 10,000 acres) area of land that was illegally occupied by Xing Long Gao Forestry for several years,” Chenfuulong explains the background of the land expropriation, “since last year, they stopped managing the forestry. It should be returned to the legitimate owners of the land, the Mongolians of Tulee Gachaa. Now they are trying to continue to occupy our land.”

According to Chenfuulong, the Mongolians organized themselves and protested in front of different level of government including the Tongliao Municipality Government and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Government during the past several months for a just resolution. They even sent four representatives to Beijing to attempt to urge the Central Government to address their grievance in a just manner in March of this year.

“I narrowly escaped arrest. They raided my home and confiscated my motorcycle,” Chenfuulong describes the conflict scene, “police violently beat up the protesters with batons; some were bleeding, some were beaten down on the ground; women were pulled by their hair and thrown into police vehicles.” Chenfuulong mentioned that his brother Chenfuudee was also among the 22 detainees.

Another Mongolian witness who asked not to be identified provided SMHRIC with a partial list of the detainees. They are Haschuluu, Shuanzuur, Gowaa, Baochuan, Meirong, Baodee, and Chenfuudee.

“Both parents of some families were taken away and their young kids left unattended. For example, Shuanzuur and Gowaa are husband and wife, and their five year old daughter was left crying at home with no one’s care,” he described the rising tension, “police cars are still patrolling the village and more crack down is expected.”

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“Call for Inner Mongolian Activist’s Release”

As low as interest in Xinjiang ranks compared to Tibet, Inner Mongolia seems to be even lower somehow. Still, groups like the SMHRC are pressing for the release of Hada, still imprisoned a year after his 15 year sentence technically ended:

In China’s northern region of Inner Mongolia, Chinese authorities continue to hold ethnic Mongolian dissident Hada beyond his scheduled release and have detained his wife and son, relatives and rights groups said.

Hada, 55, was scheduled for release last December after serving 15 years for “separatism” because he led a nonviolent campaign for Inner Mongolian independence from Chinese rule.

But instead he has been held in a “secret location” on the outskirts of Hohhot, the capital of China’s Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, the US-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Center (SMHRIC) said in a statement Saturday.

Ahead of Hada’s scheduled release last December, authorities shut down the family’s Mongolian Studies Bookstore and detained his wife, Xinna, and son, Uiles.

Hada’s sister-in-law, Naraa, told the told SHMHRIC that local public security officials were not pleased that Hada would not cooperate with them.

“They said Hada is not cooperating with them at all. They shook their heads and said that Hada is an almost hopelessly stubborn man,” she said.

She said that his 15 years of detention did not bend his will, “And obviously one more year of softer measures are not working either,” Naraa told SMHRIC.

In May, the killing of a herdsman in a standoff with mining company employees triggered large-scale protests by herders and students across Inner Mongolia, putting a spotlight on ethnic tensions in the region.

In the wake of the protests, China poured large numbers of troops into the region and enforced a security lock-in at schools, universities, and government institutions.

Official documents described the protests by thousands of ethnic Mongols in the region’s major cities as the work of “external hostile forces,” although it made no mention of where those forces originated.

Mongols are a recognized ethnic minority in China and number around 6 million according to government statistics.

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“Fresh Protest by Mongolian Herders, Dozens Hospitalized”

Is this just an unusually bad summer as far as Chinese land grabs go, or has the Mongolian population of Inner Mongolia experienced a sudden onset of severe ethnic solidarity? Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center reports that there’s been yet another protest:

A fresh protest by Mongolian herders erupted in Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Bairin Right Banner (“Ba Lin You Qi” in Chinese) Sharmurun Som (“Xi La Mu Lun Su Mu” in Chinese) on July 18, 2011. More than 1000 Mongolian herders protested against the local government for allowing a Chinese millionaire surnamed Sui to illegally grab a large piece of their grazing land for cultivation. Reportedly, Sui hired more than 200 Chinese to kill dozens of livestock with their heavy vehicles and bulldozers and to beat up local Mongolian herders who resisted her occupation of their land.

Mr.Baatar, a local herder, was brutally beaten up by these Chinese on the morning of July 18, while he was tending his sheep on his grazing land. According to his wife Ms.Yintoor, with a broken skull and serious brain injuries Baatar was taken to a hospital in Tianshan Township of the neighboring Ar-Horchin Banner. After a four-day emergency treatment, Baatar is still in critical condition. Dozens others were hospitalized at the Bairin Right Banner Hospital. The health condition of the hospitalized remains unknown.

Government officials of Sharmurun Som and Bairin Right Banners were called to an urgent meeting to quell the protest. Nearly three hundreds riot police and government officials were dispatched by the Som and Banner governments to crack down on the protest.

“I was on the scene. Angry herders protested strongly against those Chinese thugs hired by Sui to kill the livestock grazing on the land,” a Mongolian from the Sharmurun Som who asked not to be identified confirmed to SMHRIC over the phone and expressed his strong support to the herders, “it is a natural response of anyone to resist when someone occupies your land, kills your livestock and beats you up.”

Mongolian bloggers called on Mongols to stand up against the Chinese to defend their rights in the face of tightened Internet censorship by the authorities whose main concern is to prevent widespread dissemination of information. Many bloggers called for large-scale protests to demand the Chinese authorities to punish those Chinese who violated the rights of the Mongols.

“After the death of Mr. Mergen that ignited the large scale protests in May, this is another serious case in which again Mongolian herders risked their lives for defending their land,” an online appeal letter rallied the Mongolians to protest in solidarity, “we have been impoverished; we have lost our lands to the Chinese; we have been plundered of our natural resources; our livestock are perishing; many of us have become homeless on our own lands. We are treated with no dignity. We must stand up to defend our human rights rather than being silently killed by the Chinese army”.

“Bairin Right Banner is home to more than 80,000 Mongolians most of whom are herders,” Mr. Tumenulzii Buyanmend, a well-known dissident writer from Bairin Right Banner who went into exile in Mongolia and arrived in the United States recently said during an interview with SMHRIC, “I call on our fellow Bairin Mongolians as well as Mongolian brothers and sisters from other banners across Southern Mongolia to launch a long-term large-scale nonviolent resistance movement to defend their rights.”

Good luck. To date this week: a protest/attack in Xinjiang by the Uyghur, continuing protests in Sichuan, Qinghai, and Tibet by Tibetans, and now this in Inner Mongolia. Anyone want to claim that the relationship between Beijing and the ethnic minorities isn’t deteriorating?

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“China Offers Mongolia $500 Million Loan in Return for a Promise to Deny Sanctuary to Inner Mongolians?”

SMHRIC has been following the aftermath of last months Inner Mongolian protests. There was another round of herder protests last week, and now they’re reporting that China may be trying to buy the assistance of the Republic of Mongolia:

Prime Minister of Mongolia S. Batbold just returned from a visit to the People’s Republic of China. During his visit, the Prime Minister entered into an agreement with the southern neighbor in which Mongolia would receive a $500 Million loan. According to a source the agreement was discussed as early as 2002 when the Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao paid an official visit to Mongolia. At that time, however, the amount was 300 million USD. The $300 million loan was proposed for the development of Mongolia as a gesture of friendly relationship with Mongolia from the Government of China and the Chinese people, and the Chinese side expressed their happiness and satisfaction with the agreement. However, according to the source, behind the $500 million loan there appeared to be a hidden agenda by the Chinese leaders. A reliable source confirmed that seven different conditions were given to the Mongolian authorities by Hu Jintao for this deal.

Among these conditions, one was related to Southern (Inner) Mongolians. Recently widespread unrest and tensions have escalated on the territory of Southern Mongolia. As Southern Mongolians strongly demand freedom and independence today, reportedly a tough request was given to our Prime Minister by the Chinese authorities. It was a request to guarantee that Mongolia will not accept Southern Mongolians and grant any legal residency. In response to a further request to deport all Southern Mongolians seeking asylum in Mongolia back to China, government leaders of Mongolia at the time, in particular, the Minister of Justice and Interior Ts. Nyamdorj worked actively to submit a recommendation to the Government of Mongolia for deporting Southern Mongolians back to China. Yet J. Baatar, then the head of the General Intelligence Agency of Mongolia, opposed the plan by stating that “we are not yet in a position to wash our hands with the blood of our brothers.”

I don’t like that parts of this apparently come down to a single source- but there’s no denying that it would be the exact same play China made in Nepal. File this one under “likely, but unconfirmed” for now.

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