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.