The following is the full statement of Enghebatu Togochog, Director of SMHRIC, at the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues 12th Session “Education, Language and Human Rights of Minorities” held in Geneva from November 28 to 29, 2019:
Madam Chair, distinguished members of the Forum,
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to bring to your attention the issues and problems faced by the six million Mongolians in China.
Designated as one of the 55 “national minorities” which later were depoliticized to “ethnic minorities”, the Mongolian people have been continually denied the most basic rights to their language, culture, education and traditional way of life, let alone political autonomy in the so-called “Autonomous Region”.
Madam chair, let me give you few concrete examples of how these rights are violated by the Government of China:
Starting 2001, the Chinese government implemented a number of policies including “ecological migration”, elimination of Mongolian schools at rural level and merger of Mongolian schools to Chinese schools. In the entire Mongolian area, the number of Mongolian student enrollment has dropped by 86% since 1980.
Today, for 210,000 Mongolian inhabitants of the regional capital, Hohhot, only 2 Mongolian elementary schools allow Mongolian as language of instruction.
In a recent case, the school authorities in Ulaanhad City banned Mongolian teachers and students from speaking in Mongolian in the campus; postal authorities are refusing to deliver letters and other items addressed in Mongolian even though Mongolian is said to be one of the two official languages in the Autonomous Region.
Mongolian students are denied the opportunity for employment and career development; In some cases, Chinese employers including some government agencies publicly stated in their employment requirement that “no candidate educated in Mongolian is considered”.
Mongolian writers and bloggers are often accused of “engaging in national separatism” and arrested, detained and imprisoned. This year alone, five writers and bloggers have been arrested under the accusation of “national separatism”. One of them, Mr. Lamjab Borjigin, author of “China’s Cultural Revolution”, was sentenced to one year in prison with a two-year reprieve on charges of “sabotaging ethnic harmony” and “engaging in national separatism”.
Madam chair, China is a signatory to a number of UN human rights conventions and treaties. Yet, the Government of China has continually denied any obligation to these conventions and treaties and continue to violate the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Mongolian people.
Thank you, Madam chair!