Category Archives: Southern Mongolia

SMHRIC: Activist placed under criminal detention for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles”

Mr. Tsogjil, an activist and host of multiple WeChat group, was placed under criminal detention for an alleged “involvement in crime of picking quarrels and provoking troubles” (SMHRIC – 20190419)

Mr. Tsogjil’s detention warrant does not specify the detention period although notes the location where the detainee is held (SMHRIC – 20190415)

Mr. Tsogjil, a Mongolian activist who hosted multiple WeChat discussion groups, was arrested in Hohhot, capital city of Southern Mongolia (known as “Inner Mongolia”), on April 16, 2019. He was preparing to file an official complaint to the Autonomous Government concerning the authorities’ violation of rights of Mongolian herders. That same day, Tsogjil was brought back to his homeplace of Heshigten Banner and placed under criminal detention on a charge of “involvement in crime of picking quarrels and provoking troubles.”

“Around 8:00 p.m., Tsogjil was taken away by five plainclothes from a taxi he hired upon his arrival at a hotel in Hohhot where he was to stay,” Ms. Narnaa, a local herder familiar with the case, told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) on the phone.

“In order not to put fellow herders at risk of arrest and detention, Tsogjil traveled alone to Hohhot with a great deal of first-hand materials about environmental destruction and rights violations in our communities near the Dalainuur National Nature Reserve areas,” Narnaa added.

The detention warrant issued by the Heshigten Banner Public Security Bureau explains that “In accordance with the People’s Republic of China Criminal Procedure Law Article 82 Clause 1, Tsogjil has been placed under criminal detention starting April 17, 2019, for his involvement in the crime of picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” The warrant does not specify the detention period but notes that the detainee is currently held at the Heshigten Banner Detention Center.

A native of Heshigten Banner, Tsogjil, 40 years old, has been active in advocating the local communities’ rights to use their native language, access their land, water and other resources, and maintain national identity. He has created and hosted at least five WeChat discussion groups with a total membership of nearly 2,500 people, of which majority are Mongolian herders and grassroots activists.


SMHRIC: Writer placed under criminal detention for defending herders’ rights

On April 12, 2019, Mr. O. Sechenbaatar, a Mongolian writer and teacher, was arrested along with another protester named Baldan from a protest that took place near Lake Dalainuur in Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Heshigten Banner. The two were handcuffed and taken to the Heshigten Banner Public Security Bureau.

According to the detention warrant the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) received from the herders, O. Sechenbaatar was placed under criminal detention for “obstructing official business” in accordance with the People’s Republic of China Criminal Act Clause No. 82. The warrant did not specify the length of the detention but noted that the detainee is being held at the Heshigten Banner Detention Center.

“What worries us is that this is a criminal detention, not an ordinary administrative detention,” Ms. Bao Guniang, another Mongolian herder who was sentenced to three years in jail with four years’ reprieve after being held under criminal detention for more than a year, said in a WeChat statement. “This means the authorities have already prepared the criminal charges for Mr. O. Sechenbaatar.”

As the Chinese Government plans to ban pastoralist communities of three Sums (a Sum is equivalent to a township) from accessing their traditional grazing lands in the surrounding wetland areas of the Dalainuur National Nature Reserve, on April 12 more than 200 local herders gathered in front of the government building of Darhan-uul Sum to demand an immediate suspension of the plan in order to allow the local communities to protect their natural environment with their indigenous knowledge.

“We have lived on this land for hundreds of years and kept the perfect balance of man and nature without having the ignorant and profit-chasing Chinese to teach us,” Mr. Baldan, the local herder who was taken away from the protest along with Mr. O. Sechenbaatar but was released after a 10-hour detention, said in a WeChat statement. “What we are asking for is, leave us alone and let us manage our own environment. Instead, the government must withdraw these fishing companies and so-called ‘nature reserve’ entities that killed our wild life, depleted our water, and destroyed our land for profit,” Baldan added.


SMHRIC: Writer tried behind closed doors as “national separatist”, pending sentence

On April 4, 2019, Mr. Lhamjab A. Borjigin, a 75-year old Mongolian writer, was tried behind closed doors in central Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Shiliin-hot Municipality on charges of “national separatism,” “sabotaging national unity” and engaging in “illegal publication and illegal distribution.” The court has not yet issued its final verdict.

“The trial started at 9:00 AM, April 4 and ended around 12:00 PM at the Shiliin-hot Municipality People’s Court,” Lhamjab told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SHMRIC) via a recorded audio statement. He added: “none of my family members were allowed to attend. I was denied the right to bring my lawyer to defend myself.”

“The court reluctantly allowed me to bring a Mongolian-Chinese interpreter with me as I refused to speak in Chinese during the court proceedings,” Lhamjab stated. He added: “It was a typical closed-door trial. Only eight people, namely three judges, three procurators, myself and my interpreter were present in the small courtroom with the door tightly closed.”

Lhamjab revealed in the statement that the trial was held under direct instruction from the higher authorities in the Autonomous Region: “When the procurators accused me of engaging in ‘national separatism,’ ‘sabotaging national unity’ and ‘illegal publication and illegal distribution,’ I defended myself by asking whether those who committed the genocide in Southern Mongolia or the ones like myself who talked about this genocide should be considered ‘sabotaging the national unity.’ The procurators candidly told me that it is not up to them. It was because the Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau and State Security Bureau are pressuring them to prosecute me on these charges.”

Lhamjab closed by saying: “I maintained my innocence throughout the trial and will not plead guilty of any of these alleged crimes that I have not committed. I am determined to appeal to the highest court because this is an unjust trial not only against me but also against our entire Southern Mongolians who have been subjected to a series of mass killing and political persecution but are not even allowed to speak of these atrocities.”

Lhamjab, a native of central Southern Mongolia’s Heshigten Banner, has dedicated his life to preserving and promoting Mongolian culture and documenting Mongolian oral history. As a member of the Southern Mongolian Folklorist Association, the Shiliingol League Literary Association and the Heshigten Banner Rolgarjab Folk Arts Association, he authored a number of books, including Mongolian Custom: Family Education, Revolutionary War Hero Jalsarai, Family History of Baichai Tuslagchi of Heshigten and Descendents of Chinggis Khaan’s Ten Thousand Heshigtens.


SMHRIC: SMHRIC statement at the Uyghur rally in Washington DC

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters,

My name is Enghebatu Togochog. I am from Southern Mongolia, China’s another occupied nation like East Turkistan and Tibet.

It is great to be here today to stand in solidarity with our Uyghur friends who are experiencing a humanitarian crisis in front of the eyes of international communities and democratic world.

The entire Uyghur population is targeted by the Chinese Government just for being who they are; millions of innocent Uyghurs are locked up in concentration camps without any legal due process; their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms are denied.

50 years ago, the Government of China experimented its first-round of ethnic-cleaning in Southern Mongolia; a large-scale genocide campaign was carried out. Hundreds of thousands of Mongolians were killed indiscriminately as “national separatists”; nearly a half million, or one out of three Mongolians, were persecuted. Unfortunately, this Mongolian genocide was largely hidden from the public view due to China’s complete isolation from the world at that time.

50 years later today, the entire Uyghur population is subjected to another form of genocide under the name of “counter-extremism” and “counter-terrorism”.

While 50 years ago Mongolian genocide was carried out in a secretive manner in the completely isolated China, 50 years later today, Uyghur genocide is carried out openly in front eyes of the well-connected world.

Overseas Uyghurs communities in exile have done an extraordinary work to publicize and bring to the attention of the international community the ongoing genocide; many courageous Uyghur survivors and witnesses risked the lives of their loved ones to break the stories to the world.


SMHRIC: SMHRIC statement at the Tibetan National Uprising Day March

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, Sain bainuu? Dashi Delek!

It is great to be here today to stand in solidarity with our Tibetan, Uyghur, Taiwanese and Chinese friends to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising to show our strongest protest to the Chinese Government and the Chinese colonial regimes in our three occupied nations: Tibet, Southern Mongolia and East Turkistan.

Here, I would like to stress that I use “nations” or “occupied nations” when referring to Tibet, Southern Mongolia and East Turkistan. I refuse to call us “ethnic minorities” or “ethnic groups” which is a terminology aimed to de-politicize our national identity and wipe out our national and historical memory of an independent nation.

As we gathered here to mark the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising, let us look back to the history of Chinese colonial occupation in our three nations.

70 years ago, in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party took over China proper. Soon after, our nations were reduced to the so-called “Nationality Minority Autonomous Region”. Our peoples have quickly been reduced to “national minorities” and later even downgraded to “ethnic minorities” on our own lands.

60 years ago, the people of Tibet rose up against the Chinese colonial occupation and demanded their freedom and human rights. The Chinese government carried out a brutal crackdown, and His Holiness and hundreds of thousands of Tibetans went into exile;


RFA: UN Calls For Probe Into Activist’s Death As Beijing Rejects Rights Report

Experts at the United Nations have called on Beijing to launch an independent investigation into the death of a Chinese human rights activist in a police detention center five years ago, as Beijing faces growing pressure over international criticism of its rights record.

“Cao Shunli’s case is emblematic of the struggle that many human rights defenders in China face,” the experts said in a statement on Thursday.

They said Cao, who was detained as she set out for Switzerland to take part in a U.N. Human Rights Council review in September 2013, had “paid the ultimate price” for her activism.

Cao died aged 52 on March 14, 2014, after being denied medical treatment for months while in detention, according to her brother and fellow activists who blasted the government for using medical care as leverage to silence critics.

Her lawyers had made repeated requests for her release to allow her to receive medical treatment, but no action was taken until she was seriously ill. She suffered from tuberculosis in both her lungs, cirrhosis of the liver, and uterine fibroids.

“Today, on the fifth anniversary of her death, we renew our call for an independent, impartial, and comprehensive investigation into her death, with a view to bringing those responsible to justice,” the U.N. experts said.

Rights groups and the U.S. State Department have pointed to the growing use by the ruling Chinese Communist Party of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and medical neglect of detainees in custody.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that China “is in a league of its own” when it comes to human rights abuses, citing mass detentions of an estimated 1 million Muslims and the repression of Christians, Tibetans, and other religious minorities.


RFA: Chinese Officials Probe Mongolian-Language High School After Flag Outrage

Chinese authorities in the northern region of Inner Mongolia are investigating a high school in the region after it hung up the flag and national symbols of Mongolia, an independent, democratic country sharing much of the Chinese region’s culture.

Authorities are investigating the Ulaanhad Mongolian No. 1 High School in Ulaanhad city, known in Chinese as Chifeng, a New York-based rights group reported.

The school, which offered a Mongolian-language education, had had the Mongolian flag and emblem on display in its classrooms, according to social media reports.

It is now being investigated for “separatism,” amid calls on social media for its teachers to be jailed, the Southern Mongolia Human Rights and Information Center (SMHRIC) said in a statement.

It cited media reports as saying that the Ulaanhad city government’s propaganda department is carrying out an investigation.

Photos illustrating official media reports showed students in traditional Mongolian dress dancing in their classroom with a Mongolian national flag on the wall in the background.

The students also enjoyed traditional Mongolian food and took group pictures in their classroom which was decorated with a large national emblem of the independent country of Mongolia, a map of the Mongol Empire, and paintings of the Mongol Khan emperors, SMHRIC said.

“Any thought or act that runs counter to China’s national sense of common destiny is … doomed to failure,” the article said.

“Although it is said there are 56 nationalities in China, in fact there is only one nationality, which is the Chinese nationality,” one comment on the news site read.


RFA: Rights Groups Urge Global Pressure on China Over Abuse of Uyghurs on Anniversary of UN Rights Declaration

Rights groups called on the international community to “stand up to the Chinese government” over rights violations against Uyghurs, Tibetans and other ethnic minorities Monday in a joint statement marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The 21 groups—including Munich-based World Uyghur Congress and U.S.-based International Tibet Network—called China a United Nations member state that “stands out as a significant exception against the advancement of human rights,” highlighting its policies over the past year in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where Uyghurs have long complained of pervasive discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression under Chinese rule.

Beginning in April 2017, Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas have been jailed or detained in re-education camps throughout the XUAR, and some 1.1 million people are believed to have been held in the network—equating to 10 to 11 percent of the adult Muslim population of the region.

The groups said Monday that China’s escalation against the Uyghur people in the last year under Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo “surely qualifies as one of the most audacious and outrageous assaults against a people, anywhere in the world” since the UDHR was enacted by the U.N. on Dec. 10, 1948 and established, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

They also highlighted China’s rights abuses in Tibet, which they referred to as “China’s laboratory for repression … where the Chinese authorities have tested, and sought to perfect, systems of mass surveillance and abject control” over the course of decades, and particularly under Chen, who ran Tibet from 2011 up until his appointment to oversee the XUAR in 2016.

Ethnic Mongolians in China’s Inner Mongolia are also subject to “tightening political control,” the groups said, where Beijing’s policies are “threatening the total eradication of the Mongolian traditional nomadic civilization,” and where thousands of herders seeking to defend their way of life and rights to land and natural resources have been detained without due legal process.

Even lawyers and activists from China’s majority Han Chinese population have endured politically motivated prosecutions, while freedoms in Hong Kong have “taken a sharp downward turn” as China influences harsher sentences on dissidents and disqualifies pro-democracy lawmakers from the legislature, they noted.

But the groups said that as China attempts to repress these people, the more their resistance grows, and called for the international community to “follow their example and stand up to the Chinese government.”

“Like-minded world governments need to get together and formally engage in joint initiatives to defend … human rights, democracy and free speech and stand up to Beijing as one,” the groups said.

SMHRIC: Need to end China’s long game on Human Rights: Geneva Human Rights Forum

Geneva: Four days ahead of China’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a day-long forum titled “Forum on Human Rights Situation in Regions under the PRC,” jointly organized by Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR), CTA and Office of Tibet, Geneva took place in Geneva.

The Forum brought together a select group of human rights experts, academicians, diplomats, practitioners, advocates and activists at Centre International de Conférences Genève.

The UPR is a UN Human Rights Council mechanism to enable States to make comprehensive evaluations of the human rights situation in all UN States. The UPR is an important tool for civil society organizations and governments to use in engaging with China on current human rights situations. China’s third UPR is scheduled to take place on November 6.


RFA: Missing NGO Documents at China U.N. Human Rights Review Raise Eyebrows

Human rights experts at the United Nations began examining the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s rights record on Tuesday, amid protests over “disappeared” submissions from civic groups that the U.N. body later restored with an apology.

The 31st session of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva began its assessment of China’s human rights record amid a global outcry over the mass incarceration of an estimated one million Uyghurs and other minority ethnic Muslims in “re-education camps” in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

But a consortium of rights organizations led by the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said valuable information from non-government sources–including Uyghur groups –had been taken off the table ahead of the review.

“We are … dismayed by the fact that at least seven submissions were completely removed from consideration from the final document intended for U.N. member states to draft recommendations for China’s review,” HRW said in a statement.

The statement detailed “missing” contributions from the International Service for Human Rights, Hong Kong political party Demosisto, the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), the World Uyghur Congress and the Uyghur Human Rights Project.