China demolishes Mongolian herders’ houses in freezing cold

China demolishes Mongolian herders’ houses in freezing cold
January 8, 2016
New York

Mongolian herders from Inget Gachaa, Tungnuur Som of Alshaa Left Banner attempting to block the officials from demolishing their properties (2016-01-04)

As the temperature drops to below 15 Celsius, Chinese authorities in western Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Alshaa Left Banner (“a la shan zuo qi” in Chinese), Alshaa Right Banner (“a la shan you qi” in Chinese) and Eznee Banner (“e ji na qi” in Chinese) launched a massive demolition project to start the New Year. Houses, fences and other infrastructure of the Mongolian herders in these areas have been bulldozed by the local authorities without free, prior and informed consent.

A short video clip that the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) received from the affected area of Alshaa Left Banner shows that helpless herders attempted to block the officials from demolishing their properties while a bulldozer tore down their house in the background.

“The local government officials simply told us that our houses and fences must be demolished as their bulldozers already started the demolition in our community,” a Mongolian herder named Tuyaa from Eznee Banner told SMHRIC in frustration over the phone. “How can we survive this freezing winter without shelters for ourselves and our livestock?”

“Bulldozers are not in my place yet, but we are determined to resist the demolition,” Tuyaa told SMHRIC. “This is our ancestral land. We have every right to live on our own land.”

According to an official document entitled “Proposal to Implement the Work for Remodeling and Renovating Buildings at Risk of Collapse in Rural Pastoralist and Farming Communities in Alshaa Right Banner” was issued recently by the Banner’s Party Committee. In Alshaa Right Banner alone, seven semi-pastoralist Gachaas (a “gachaa” consists of several villages), nine pastoralist Gachaas where livestock grazing is partially banned, and 24 pastoralist Gachaas where livestock grazing is completely banned are affected by the demolition project as part of the “Ten-Coverage Engineering”.

The so-called “Ten-Coverage Engineering” is a three-year showcase project by the Autonomous Region Government, aiming at “demolishing buildings at risk of collapse, guarantying safe drinking water, urbanization of rural communities, delivering electricity, radio and television services to all villages, developing school infrastructure, improving school safety, establishing standardized hygiene stations and cultural centers, setting up convenient supermarket chains in rural villages, and guarantying minimum pension for permanent residents in pastoralist and farming communities”.

The official aforementioned document proposes to carry out a speedy urbanization of rural Mongolian pastoralist communities with a very limited amount of lump-sum payments – as little as 10,000 yuan (approximately $1,500 USD) in some cases – for each household.

“This is nothing but a decisive move by the Chinese to wipe out our pastoralist culture and way of life through urbanization,” a Mongolian herder from the affected community named Dambaa said in a voice statement. “The heart of Mongolian culture and identity is pastoralism. Once our pastoralism is wiped out, naturally we will cease to exist as a distinct people.”

In the most recent case, on December 17, 2015, riding horses and camels, nearly 100 Mongolian herders from Eznee Banner took to the streets to urge the local government to protect herders’ legal rights and punish the Chinese from the neighboring province of Gansu for illegally occupying their grazing lands.

As China expedites its expropriation of the herders’ grazing lands and extraction of mineral resources in Southern Mongolia, the once beautiful verdant region of Alshaa has been targeted by China’s booming mining industries. The scarce and precious underground water system has been depleted, and the fragile ecosystem has been destroyed. The expanding Chinese mines and encroaching Chinese settlers are threatening the very existence of the unique culture of Mongolian camel herders in this area.

Alshaa herder’ houses demolished (2016-01-04)



Chinese official documents justifying demolition





Hada family goes on hunger strike on Human Rights Day

Hada family goes on hunger strike on Human Rights Day
December 10, 2015
New York
The following is an English translation of a statement for the Human Rights Day 2015 by Mr. Hada who had served 19 years in prison in Southern Mongolia on charges of “splitting the country and engaging in espionage” (English translation by SMHRIC):

Five Years of Plight and Wretchedness

Tomorrow is International Human Rights Day. Five years ago today, I was supposedly freed. However, I was thrown into a “black jail” and imprisoned there for four years. On December 3 and 5, 2010, my wife, Xinna, and son, Uiles, were also arrested. Later on, I found out that the purpose of arresting them was to force me to abandon my beliefs and cooperate with the authorities.

After a nine-month detention, Uiles was released on bail pending trial. A year later, the authorities claimed again that Uiles was guilty but would not be sentenced. Xinna was sentenced to three years in prison with five years reprieve following her yearlong detention. According to relevant laws and regulations, Xinna’s prison term was supposed to expire on December 2, but the authorities claimed that it will not happen before 2017.

Over the past five years, we have undergone unbearable ordeals. All of our rights have either been taken away or restricted. We have been treated like criminals. Your organization and others in the news media have already reported on these in a timely manner. Therefore, allow me to skip the details today. The only thing I would like to point out is that since mid-November, the control from the authorities has been exacerbated. I have been barred from having relatives visit me and deprived of my right to communication.

Regarding either prison or black jail, except for some special cases, no other family has ever been put into this situation. People are saying that 2015 is the year in which Chinese human rights conditions have deteriorated the most. I still think it is possible that the situation will deteriorate further. Therefore, my family has decided to go on a one-day hunger strike tomorrow to express our strong protest.


December 9, 2015

After 19 years of imprisonment Hada still treated as prisoner

After 19 years of imprisonment Hada still treated as prisoner
October 22, 2015
New York

Mr. Hada, a Southern (Inner) Mongolian political prisoner who completed 19 years of imprisonment in Chinese prisons last December, is still treated by the Chinese authorities as a prisoner, according to a statement from his wife Xinna to the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC).

Pictures sent to the SMHRIC show that Chinese State Security personnel are guarding Hada closely. On the stairways and in hallways, State Security dispatches set up folding beds and chairs as they took turns monitoring every single activity of Hada around the clock.

Chinese State Security dispatch monitoring Hada in the hallway (SMHRIC photo)

Chinese State Security dispatch monitoring Hada in the hallway (SMHRIC photo)

“This is one of two State Security dispatches who watch Hada in the hallway,” Xinna explained about one of the pictures sent to the SMHRIC. “The one seen in the picture left hastily upon seeing I was taking pictures of him.”

“State Security agents squeeze themselves in this small space, no larger than 9 square meters, to monitor Hada every day,” Xinna said in the statement. “This is the so-called ‘freedom’ Hada is given. The pictures tell you that Hada’s imprisonment is still continuing. Only the place has changed.”

Folding bed is setup by the Chinese State Security to guard Hada around the clock (SMHRIC photo)

Folding bed is setup by the Chinese State Security to guard Hada around the clock (SMHRIC photo)

Chairs and electric heaters used by State Security personnel who monitor Hada around the clock (SMHRIC photo)

Chairs and electric heaters used by State Security personnel who monitor Hada around the clock (SMHRIC photo)

Chair and folding bed of the Chinese State Security agents in front of Hada's door (SMHRIC photo)

Chair and folding bed of the Chinese State Security agents in front of Hada’s door (SMHRIC photo)

Put under a de facto house arrest in an apartment owned by the Public Security Bureau, Hada told the SMHRIC that he is treated no better than a prisoner.

“My health has been deteriorating,” Hada said in a message sent to the SMHRIC. “Now I am only about 50 kilograms. During torture and maltreatment, my weight even dropped to 40 kilograms.”

Hada said that the State Security agents not only monitored him closely but that they also followed him everywhere.

“Once I went to the Hohhot Train Station to pick up the Mongolian traditional dairy food my relatives sent to me. State Security agents followed and asked me to open the package,” Hada said in a short statement to the SMHRIC. “I refused and complained loudly that the Chinese authorities are treating me badly and unfairly as a Mongolian,” Hada continued. “Lacking confidence with what they were doing, the State Security agents disappeared into the crowd as many Mongolian passengers gathered to help me.”

In 1995, Hada was arrested and later sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of “splitting the country and engaging in espionage.” On December 10, 2010, he completed his full prison term. Yet, not only did the Chinese authorities refuse to free him, but they placed him under another 4 years of extrajudicial detention in a “black jail” in suburban Hohhot.

Despite the torture and maltreatment he has been subjected to in the past 20 years, Hada has consistently refused to admit that he committed any crime. He is still determined to sue the government and the Public Security authorities for illegally sentencing him to 15 years in prison, holding him for another 4 years of extrajudicial detention, and maltreating and persecuting him and his family members.

His wife, Xinna, was arrested on December 4, 2010, on a trumped-up charge of “involvement in illegal business,” referring to her Mongolian Studies Bookstore. In April 2012, she was sentenced to three years in prison with five years reprieve on the same charge.

In 2002, the then 17-year-old Uiles, son of Hada and Xinna, was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for another trumped-up case of “involvement in robbery.”

On December 5, 2010, Uiles was arrested for “illegal drug possession.” After nearly a year of detention, he was discharged but was placed under “residential surveillance,” a form of house arrest.

Last week, Uiles was arrested for “obstructing official business,” and currently he is still held in the Bogot City (“bao tou shi” in Chinese) Public Security Bureau Detention Center.

Mongolian dissident’s son arrested and detained for “obstructing official business”

October 16, 2015
New York

On October 15, 2015, Mr. Uiles, son of the Mongolian dissident Mr. Hada, who had been imprisoned for 19 years, was taken away by police in western Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Bogot City (“Bao Tou Shi” in Chinese) after being beaten bloody. Later on the same day, Uiles was placed under a 10-day detention on a charge of “obstructing official business.”

Ms. Xinna, mother of Uiles, told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) that on the morning of October 15, 2015, she, Uiles, and her mother Ms. Hanshuulan, were talking together as they took a walk near Hanshuulan’s residence. A State Security agent followed them closely and listened to their conversation.

“I asked him to stop following us. Not only did he refuse to distance himself, but he approached even closer and started cursing at us,” Xinna told SMHRIC via a voice message. “My son Uiles also asked him not to follow us. He started punching and kicking Uiles.”

Xinna described the scene: “Uiles resisted the physical assault and defended himself. Physically fit and professionally trained, the agent beat my son until he was bleeding from his hands and elbows.”

Xinna said she was also beaten by the State Security agent as she tried to protect her son from the assault and attempted to pick up his sunglasses, which were smashed on the ground during the altercation.

“Shortly later, a police vehicle from the Bogot City Qing Shan District Public Security Bureau arrived on the scene and forcibly took my son away,” Xinna told SMHRIC.

Both the “Notice to Family of the Summoned” and “Notice to Family of the Detainee,” issued by the Qing Shan District Public Security Bureau, state that the Bureau summoned and detained Uiles for “obstructing official business” in accordance with Article 50 of “The People’s Republic of China Public Security Administration Punishment Act.”

The detention period is 10 days starting October 15, 2015. Currently Uiles is held at the Bogot City No.1 Administrative Detention Center, according to the “Notice to Family of the Detainee” issued to Xinna.

“This is nothing but a continuation of the persistent harassment and persecution against my family that started almost 20 years ago, when my husband, Hada, was arrested and imprisoned for defending the rights of the Southern Mongolians,” Xinna said, expressing her strong criticism of the Chinese authorities’ heavy-handed policy in the region.

In Hohhot, capital of Southern Mongolia, Hada also protested against the authorities’ brutal treatment and arbitrary detention of Uiles.

“Today I went to the Autonomous Region Party Committee and the Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau, and demanded the immediate release of my son,” Hada told SMHRIC in a written statement.

“The police beat up and injured my son before placing him under detention. My wife was also beaten. I urge the authorities to release my son immediately and unconditionally; I urge them to bring those police who were engaged in these criminal acts to justice,” Hada said in another written statement and identified himself as “Uiles’ father, who had been imprisoned unjustly for 19 years.”

In 1995, Hada was arrested and later sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of “splitting the country and engaging in espionage.” On December 10, 2010, he completed his full prison term. Yet, not only did the Chinese authorities refuse to free him, they placed him under another 4 years of extrajudicial detention in a “black jail” in suburban Hohhot.

His wife, Xinna, was arrested on December 4, 2010, on a trumped-up charge of “involvement in illegal business,” referring to her Mongolian Studies Bookstore. In April 2012, she was sentenced to 3 years in jail with 5 years reprieve on the same charge.

On December 5, 2010, Uiles was arrested for “illegal drug possession.” After nearly a year of detention, he was discharged but was placed under “residential surveillance,” a form of house arrest.

In 2002, the then 17-year-old Uiles was arrested and sentenced to 2 years in prison for another trumped-up case of “involvement in robbery.”

Ai Weiwei on Tibet

From the Tibet Society:


On the 16th of September, Ai Weiwei was in London and during a Q&A session was asked ‘how the Chinese felt about the oppression of the Tibetan people.’

His carefully worded answer:

“Tibet, and also some related situation like minority situations, [is the] result of this whole system. If the system is not changed, if the political situation is not changed, I don’t think Tibet has a chance for the condition to change.”

“It’s a very sad situation but I think it is lacking of communication, lacking of sincerely understanding of humanity or respect of different culture and language. This not only happens to Tibetan people but also happens to Chinese. It’s just the general condition.”

For Freedom!

Hada: “Mongolia is a Great Nation”

Hada: “Mongolia is a Great Nation”
SMHRIC Sep 7, 2015
New York


The following is an English translation of an article written by Mr.Hada who served 19 years in jail in Southern Mongolia on charges of “splitting the country and engaging in espionage”:

The following is a discussion of the land and people of Southern Mongolia, a region historically part of Greater Mongolia but in recent history has been colonized and plundered by the Chinese. For the sake of this discussion, I have recognized Southern Mongolia as separate from the Mongolian nation as a whole in order to emphasize its size and strength and by no means to discriminate fellow Mongolians living elsewhere.

The total population of the Mongolians excluding those nominally regarded as “Mongolians” in Southern Mongolia is three million. Depending on the criteria being used, the number of nations or peoples around the world is considered to be between 2000 to 8000. Those counted as “larger” includes more than 200 nations; Southern Mongolia is inarguably one of them.

Another criterion required to meet in order to define a nation is “large” is if the nation has formed an educational system spanning from elementary school to college in its native language. An increasing number of Southern Mongolians earning PhDs in Mongolian fulfills this criterion.

Among the world’s nearly 200 countries, there are a great number of them that have populations less than one million and occupy territories much smaller than Southern Mongolia. Southern Mongolia has the firm population and territorial foundation to create its own nation state. People around the world have no reason to disqualify this claim.

Mongolia is not only a large nation but a royal nation. Chinggis Khan, the founder of the Mongol empire, spread Mongol rule from the Pacific to Atlantic Ocean and is considered to be the emperor of mankind.

The total global population of Mongolians tops ten million, not including those who have been partially assimilated and have yet to restore their national identities. If you also include the population of Tatar origin, the population of indigenous Mongolians would top 100 million. How many other nations have population more than 100 million on our planet?

Therefore, the Southern Mongolians are by no means an “ethnic minority”. It is an undeniable fact that they are the indigenous people of a great nation. In order to serve their hidden political agenda, the Chinese discriminated against us and downgraded us to an “ethnic minority.” It serves a political agenda of the Chinese to belittle the Mongolian nation, diminish national self-confidence and cause them to abandon any aspirations of self-determination. The Chinese government skillfully hides the true nature of colonization in occupied nations by employing the term “ethnic minority” over more legitimate terms such as “indigenous people” or “indigenous nation.” Furthermore, this alleged “minority” status is used in contrast to the 1.5 billion Han majority. Why must we be compared to them? Why isn’t our nation being compared with the Vatican whose population is less than one thousand?

Are we really destined to the status of “ethnic minority” imposed on us by the Chinese? Are we truly devoid of the capability of building and running our own nation state? Why don’t we make our mind to fight for our future? We have no reason to sit back.

In summary, we are not a weak and small “ethnic minority”. We are the great and indigenous nation of the Mongolian Plateau. The Chinese colonial regime will inevitably collapse and in the near future we will be free. My fellow Mongolians, never give up, never lose confidence!

June 17, 2015

Hada answers Hindustan Times reporter Sutirtho Patranobis’s interview

Hada answers Hindustan Times reporter Sutirtho Patranobis’s interview
English translation by SMHRIC
June 27, 2015
New York

Sutirtho: Can you share with me and my readers about your experience in jail? How were you treated? Some reports say that you had been tortured. Is it true? What methods did the police apply? What were your living conditions in the first 15 years? Did the conditions improve in any way during the last four years?

Hada: The main objective [of the Chinese authorities] during the 19 years I was in prison was to force me through physical and mental torture to admit to alleged crimes. As a result, I became physically disabled suffering from multiple complications. All kinds of torture methods including use of toxic drugs were applied to break me down mentally to force me to write some statements of their choosing. On two occasions, I was placed under solidarity confinement for 99 days in total. Not only was I tortured in prison far away from my home, but also my family suffered a great deal during those 15 plus years Their objective was to isolate me from my loved ones to break me down. What is even more egregious was that following the 15 years of imprisonment, they threw me into a “black jail” and persecuted my wife and son on trumped-up charges. Could this be called improved treatment? Needless to say, it was not. Rather this should be considered a further violation of laws and rights.

Sutirtho: What do you have to say about the charges that were brought against you?

Hada: There were ethnic repressions widespread in Southern Mongolia at that time. Specific evidence of this include the steady flow of Chinese immigration to Southern Mongolia, cultivation of the grasslands for agricultural purpose, forceful assimilation of the Mongolian population, gradual deprivation of the autonomous rights of the Mongolians, mass unemployment of Mongolian students, desertification of the grasslands and increasingly disastrous sandstorms and so on. In summary, the very existence of the Mongolians as a distinct people was under threat, and the traditional culture was dying out. Under these circumstances, the government criminalized the activities of the Mongolian intellectuals who organized themselves to save the national culture. History and events testify to the fact that we were not guilty of any crimes, rather the government has committed serious crimes.

Sutirtho: What kind of routine did you have in jail? Did you have access to books and reading material? How did you spend your time?

Hada: The prison authorities had always been consistent in stating that I would be exempt from hard labor and would be treated well including access to books and television if I were to admit to the alleged crimes. They told me that the reason why they were keeping me in prison was not for putting me under reeducation through labor but was to have me admit to the crimes I allegedly committed. They even deliberately treated me better for short periods of time as an incentive. Despite these I never wavered in my beliefs. Then they attempted to break me down with unbearable hard labor. Violating their own prison law, the authorities forced me to engage in hard labor day and night, causing severe injury to my spinal discs. On cold winter days, they forced me to wake up before dawn to clean up the prison yard, causing serious injury of the nerves to my legs that were exposed to freezing cold during this period of time. During the entire period of imprisonment, I had a dozen major health problems which still exist and are unlikely to be cured.

Sutirtho: Did the authorities try to brainwash you?

Hada: During the 15 years of imprisonment, [the authorities] repeatedly attempted to force me to change my thoughts and beliefs. They told me over and over that my main goal should be to change what I think and what I believe. In Chinese prisons, there is a popular song with the lyrics of “the goal of prison is to change thoughts and beliefs”. Again during the four years of extrajudicial imprisonment in the “black jail”, they attempted to force me to give up my thoughts and beliefs, to be obedient, to cooperate with them and to be subservient to the Chinese Communist Party. They repeatedly told me that the only hope lies in following what the Communist Party says, and the United States and Europe are unable to save us. It is clear that forced brainwashing will not end so long as the dictatorial regimes do not fall apart.

Sutirtho: What about food? Did the authorities ensure that you got regular meals in jail?

Hada: Food in prison was extremely inferior in quality. This was especially the case during the 15 years of imprisonment. At some point the food quality was improved slightly. Yet, the majority of the inmates complained they were unable to eat it. Over the first two thirds of the 15 years imprisonment, I was not provided with any food and hot water. I had to buy food with the money sent from my family to survive this long period of time. This was because I refused to give up my thoughts and beliefs. This was the case even when I was completely worn out and unable to move due to extreme hard labor. I would not have survived those hardships without the support of my family. Even during the last four years of extrajudicial imprisonment, the amount and choice of food was restricted.

Sutirtho: Did your family and legal team have regular access to you? Reports that said you suffered from serious medical conditions. What kind of conditions were those? Did you have access to proper medical treatment?

Hada: During the 15 years of imprisonment, my family members were allowed only sporadic visitation rights. Serious health problems had consistently been left untreated. In extreme cases, some medical treatment was reluctantly provided if the inmates were able to pay for it despite the fact that prisoners’ medical treatment must be paid by the government in accordance with prison laws. In the last four years, prison visits by my family members were also strictly limited. In some cases, more than a year passed between family prison visits. No matter who came to visit me, they were thoroughly searched and sometimes even had to undergo a strip search. This was again an attempt to isolate me from others to break me down.

Sutirtho: Your wife, son and extended family also faced serious problems in the time you were in jail. How did they cope? Apparently, the authorities tried to bribe them. Is that true?

Hada: Over the past 19 years, my wife was arrested multiple times. The latest arrest resulted in a 3-yearjail term with 5 years reprieve which has not expired yet. Our bookstore had been shutdown numerous times. It is still closed today. My family had no choice but to make ends meet with money borrowed from others. My son was expelled from school under a false accusation, and was sentenced twice on trumped-up charges. He has been barred from being employed even for temporary jobs, making him unable to be independent. Besides these, my family and I had also overcome many other difficulties and hardships. The authorities had never stopped promising a good life in exchange for our cooperation over these 19 years. None of us accepted their offer. They are still trying.

Sutirtho: How have these 19 years in jail and detention changed you as a person? Are you now more determined to follow your ideals of protecting the unique culture and identity of your community?

Hada: In 1992, the main reason why my organization’s name was changed to “Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance” was that we realized that democracy, freedom and human rights would be an unstoppable historical trend after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the eastern bloc countries. I wrote a number of articles about this at that time. Although I had been worried about the deteriorating situation in China and Southern Mongolia during my 19 years imprisonment, the beliefs I formed in 1992 have never been shaken. I believe the developing trend of international communities is becoming more and more favorable to us. Therefore, my determination to dedicate my entire life to the cause of the Southern Mongolians has never weakened owing to my firm belief that there must be a solution to the Southern Mongolia question. Just because of this, I am still continuing my struggle after my release from prison.

Sutirtho: You personally – and your wife and son – have experienced the might of the Chinese government. Do you think it is possible for an individual to carry this fight on?

Hada: The all three members of our family have been subjected to a series of persecutions. The persecution is still continuing. Yet, I don’t think it is impossible for an individual to fight against a government. It is common for governments to violate laws and commit crimes. This is especially true with authoritarian regimes that often times oppress not only other nationalities but also their own people. So fighting a regime is not an easy task. In other words, one must be prepared for huge losses and suffering which many people are afraid of. It is not an easy undertaking for an individual or a family to fight a regime and claim victory. Yet, not everything should be measured with success or failure. Whether one pursues justice or not, whether one takes up historic responsibilities that each of us bears also need to be taken into account. Every nation or people cannot be without some of this type of individual, as few as they may be.

Sutirtho: What are your next steps? Even after your release from jail, do you have the freedom of movement and expression?

Hada: I will continue to fight against ethnic repression and strive for genuine autonomy for the Southern Mongolians. As a first step, I will file legal complaints for the four years extrajudicial detention, false accusations and persecutions against my wife and son, the shutdown of our bookstore and the retaliation against my attorney. Then, I will file a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the unjust trial and unfair sentence of 15 years in jail. In fact, my legal complaints and lawsuits themselves are a form of struggle against ethnic repression. At the same time, I will learn how to use a computer and the Internet to have a better understanding of what is happening around the world. It is impossible for those who fight for the future and interest of their nation that is oppressed by a dictatorial regime to have real freedoms before the nation itself is completely freed.

Sutirtho: What are main issues or problems that Inner Mongolians face currently?

Hada: The most critical issue the Southern Mongolians are facing is how to achieve genuine autonomy. The main reason why there existed serious ethnic repressions in Southern Mongolia is that the Southern Mongolians have completely been deprived of their political rights and right to autonomy. It continues to deteriorate now. This is the exact reason why we had changed our organization’s name from the Southern Mongolian Cultural Enlightenment Conference to the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance. As you might know, since the Southern Mongolians have long become an absolute minority and de facto second class citizens on their own land, they have been deprived of their right to manage their own state affairs independently. This problem can be resolved only if all Southern Mongolians make up their minds to fight hard with all their might and energy with the strong support of justice seeking people from around the world.

Sutirtho: The situation in Inner Mongolia seems to be more peaceful than in Xinjiang (which is witnessing increasing ethnic violence) or even Tibet (nearly 130 cases of self-immolation). How is the situation in Inner Mongolia different from these two places? Are the government policies for your province different or better than in Xinjiang and Tibet?

Hada: The Southern Mongolians have already established their own political parties and fought for autonomy for 90 years. Although the struggle has failed repeatedly, the spirit and determination of the Southern Mongolians have never faded away. As the situation of Southern Mongolia is at its lowest point, Southern Mongolians have taken the path of peaceful means to achieve autonomy. However, as a result of the Chinese authorities’ heavy-handed policies, brutal repressions, and gradual deprivation of autonomy rights, Southern Mongolia have become a nation of slaves. The Tibetans and Uyghurs who have witnessed this tragedy have decided to choose their own path.

Sutirtho: Do you think that Beijing has any plan or intention to address the issues plaguing the Mongolian people?

Hada: Beijing publicly claims that there is no problem in Southern Mongolia and advertizes to the world that the situations in Southern Mongolia are fairly plausible. Therefore, what can we expect from them to resolve our issues? In fact, it is evident that Beijing firmly believes that Southern Mongolians will fight to gain their autonomy, independence or even unification with the independent country of Mongolia if they do not speed up their assimilation process. Therefore, they are trying all possible means to accelerate their assimilation. The root cause of the deteriorating ethnic problems during the past six decades is nothing but the Beijing regime itself. Thanks to the strong backing from Beijing, local officials are not only free from any liability even if they abuse the Southern Mongolians at will, but also are rewarded with wealth and promotion of rank.

Sutirtho: Could you please share something about your life and times before the ordeal of jail and detention began in the mid 1990s? How has the world changed since the time you were dispatched to jail and now?

Prior to my arrest, our family life was relatively good. During these 19 years, the economy has improved in China. Yet, the authoritarian regime remains untouched. The reason is that there has been no political reform at all while a series of economic reforms took place. Especially since the so-called “Western Development” project was launched, the Beijing regime deliberately blended ethnic problems with economic issues, solely pursuing economic growth through unscrupulous plundering of natural resources in ethnic minority regions. As a result of further deprivation of autonomous rights, ethnic problems have steadily escalated. History testifies that authoritarian regimes have no ability to resolve ethnic problems.

Present-Day Ethnic Problems in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Overview and Recommendations (2)

Present-Day Ethnic Problems in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Overview and Recommendations (2)
By Ilham Tohti, translated by Cindy Carter, published: April 23, 2015

Continued from I. Unemployment

II. Bilingual Education


Besides unemployment, the issue that provokes the most intense reaction within Xinjiang’s Uighur community is the issue of bilingual education. In practice, “bilingual education” in Xinjiang has essentially become “monolingual education” (i.e. Mandarin-only education.) Within the Uighur community, there is a widespread belief that the government intends to establish an educational system based on written Chinese and rooted in the idea of “one language, one origin.” Suspicions abound that the government is using administrative means to exterminate Uighur culture and accelerate ethnic and cultural assimilation. With the mandatory implementation of so-called “bilingual education,” the Uighur language has become steadily marginalized, not only in the field of education but also in government administration, the judiciary, and other areas. Despite being one of the official languages of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the Uighur language has long been deprived of the respect, attention, status and legal safeguards it deserves.

In practice, the greatest problem with bilingual education in Xinjiang is that it produces a large number of students who are proficient in neither their mother tongues nor in Mandarin. This has led to declining educational standards and difficulties for ethnical students, who dread attending school, to master subjects. The bilingual education system in Xinjiang mandates that physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and other subjects be taught in Mandarin Chinese, which means that Uighur and other ethnic minority students are often unable to understand what they are being taught. This policy is responsible, to a large extent, for the steady increase in dropout rates for Uighur and other ethnic minority students. Another consequence is that many experienced Uighur primary school teachers have been forced into early retirement or made to leave their faculty positions for jobs unrelated to teaching. Thus, a large number of Uighur schoolteachers have become direct casualties of government policy on bilingual education.

“Bilingual education” in Xinjiang has increasingly given way to “monolingual education,” raising grave concerns and causing serious repercussions. This has the potential to spark a larger-scale Uighur rights movement aimed at defending Uighur language education and preventing the extermination of local language and culture. In recent years, Uighur fears of cultural and linguistic annihilation have been greatly exacerbated by a sharp contraction in Xinjiang’s local-language publishing and cultural industries.

This sudden dwindling of Xinjiang’s Uighur-language publishing and cultural industries has profound and far-reaching consequences. Not only does it threaten the demise of Uighur culture and the suppression of Uighur intellectuals, it has also caused vast swaths of the Uighur community, most of whom live in isolated rural areas, to become completely cut off from contemporary civilization. Southern Xinjiang, taken as a whole, is extremely backward: it is a geographical backwater of scattered, insular oases, and the vast majority of its Uighur inhabitants do not understand Chinese. For these reasons, the majority of households in southern Xinjiang are cut off from books, newspapers, radio broadcasts and television programs offering up-to-date information or news about the outside world.

This severing of communication channels means that, notwithstanding a small number of Uighur elites fluent in Chinese, most traditional Uighur communities are utterly deprived of access to contemporary news and information. In an increasingly competitive and open social environment, this makes Xinjiang’s traditional Uighur communities inherently less adaptable to external stimuli than traditional Han Chinese communities in other areas of China. When people are unable to attain the knowledge essential to a modern society, unable to cultivate strength of character for modern life, or to acquire healthy modern societal values such as rationality, tolerance and open-mindedness, they may find themselves in crisis, consumed by fear that they are being increasingly abandoned by modern society. The rapid disintegration of traditional society and the challenges of adapting to a new environment can leave people mired in ignorance, parochialism, savagery and despair.

Over the past ten years or so, traditional Uighur society has experienced an unprecedented surge in crime rates, the rapid disintegration of morals, and the spread of religious extremism and cultural conservatism. Add relative impoverishment and an increasing hatred of Han Chinese, and you have a vicious circle that intensifies day by day. It is this, combined with misguided government ethnic policies, that has allowed backward, ignorant, parochial, extremist, isolationist and fanatical ideologies to proliferate, creating a breeding ground for “the three forces” [of separatism, religious extremism and terrorism.]

Measures such as preaching national unity, making minorities reliant on government handouts, and accelerating the Sinification of China’s Uighur communities are not a sufficient bulwark against separatism, religious extremism and terrorism. Contrary to the common perception of Uighur cultural, educational and publishing industries as being too prone to strengthen Uighur ethnic and cultural awareness, it is only by allowing these industries to develop and thrive, to keep pace with the times and with history, that we can weaken “the three forces” [of terrorism, religious extremism and separatism] by denying them ground in which to take root. This is the only feasible long-term method by which to defeat them.

Therefore, we may say that the backwardness of Uighur cultural, educational and publishing industries is not only the enemy of Uighur society, but also the enemy of Han Chinese society.

In fact, nearly all Uighur families want their children to receive a better-quality education in Mandarin Chinese, and they feel that genuine “bilingual education” has come too late. Yet at the same time, the prevailing view and mainstream opinion in Uighur communities is that “Bilingual education should not come at the expense of one’s mother tongue.” Mandarin’s special status as China’s lingua franca should not make it an excuse for linguistic discrimination or forced linguistic assimilation. In a nation of diverse ethnicities, shared cultural values should be expressed in diverse ways, not subject to standardization or unification. Education should not be made the “executioner” of native languages and scripts.

As for why “bilingual education” in Xinjiang has devolved into “monolingual education,” the answer lies in the slapdash way in which bilingual education policy has been implemented:

1. Deficiencies in technical and basic preparations (i.e. finding qualified faculty, investing in school and facilities construction); inadequate consideration of regional differences and local needs; implementing educational policy in a “one size fits all” fashion.

2. Academic content and curricula that do not take into account either the specific academic needs of ethnic Uighur students, or the successful experiences of schools in China’s other ethnic regions.

3. Xinjiang’s limited allotment of teaching staff, poor infrastructure and low student academic abilities were scarcely sufficient for a monolingual education program, much less a full-scale bilingual education program.

4. Implementing “bilingual education” has actually exacerbated the educational funding gap between Han Chinese and Uygur students. For example, in the city of Atushi [also spelled Atush or Artux], the Han Chinese population numbers 22,725, the Uighur population 198,217, and the Kyrgyz population 29,186. If we do not count the Municipal No. 2 School, located forty kilometers outside of the city, Atushi has only three high schools: one Chinese-language school (Prefectural No. 2 High School) and two Uighur-language schools (Prefectural No. 1 High School, and Municipal No. 2 High School). Class sizes in the Uighur schools average more than 50 students per classroom, whereas the Chinese school averages only 30 students per class. Differences in teaching quality and levels of educational investment have widened the educational gap between Han Chinese and Uighur students, both in terms of their access to knowledge and their ability to master new subject matter.

Thoughts and Recommendations

1. Xinjiang needs true bilingual education. The [Korean-language] bilingual education program in Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture is a typical success story. Xinjiang can draw from that experience in restructuring its own bilingual educational content and curriculum.

2. In ethnic-minority populated areas, increase investment in the hardware and software required to provide true bilingual education, and redress the grievous imbalance in educational resources allocated to different ethnic groups.

3. Train qualified teachers. Currently, the biggest impediment to bilingual education is a serious shortage of qualified teachers. It will be difficult to alter this situation in the short term, but by focusing on systematic training of existing teachers, we can gradually reduce or dispel the regional disparities among teachers of bilingual education.

4. Exam-based university selection of minority students: although the current system of adding points to the university entrance exam scores of ethnic minority test-takers is in line with the central government policy of favoring minority candidates, in practice, many of the true beneficiaries of this preferential scoring system are academically-accomplished minority students who do not require preferential treatment, or even affluent, well-connected Han Chinese students. It might be possible to replace the “added points” section of the exam with test matter related to Xinjiang’s ethnic and cultural diversity. Not only would this signal to Uighur students that Xinjiang’s multi-ethnic and multi-cultural traditions have not been forgotten by the educational system, it would also deepen everyone’s understanding of Xinjiang’s ethnic and cultural diversity, thus shaping a richer and more inclusive national identity and consciousness.

5. Raise the number and prestige of ethnic minority cultural and publishing endeavors, in order to reverse the rapid decline of minority cultural industries. In terms of fiscal policy, increase government investment and support for ethnic minority cultural, educational and publishing industries, and accelerate Uighur-language participation and access to modern information technology. Both the regional and the central government should advance Uighur rural society by promoting knowledge about modern social life and modern production methods, and making this a key element in long-term planning.

With regard to Uighur folk culture, the government of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region should search for ways to encourage and support grassroots cultural initiatives in this field. The regional government should also begin experimenting with gradual reforms of the ethnic minority cultural and educational publishing industries: for example, introducing market-based mechanisms or objective quality targets, harnessing the initiative and enthusiasm of existing staff, and avoiding the current problem of overstaffing.

6. Increase regional or national government support for specialized research and scholarship on the social transformations affecting Uighur communities. Encourage the participation of mainland Chinese and even overseas scholars and academics, so that China’s rulers may draw on their collective wisdom and counsel to resolve the nation’s ethnic and social dilemmas. In mainland China at the moment, there is an almost complete dearth of worthwhile academic research on this topic. One hopes that if scholars are allowed more academic independence, it will help to fill this void.

7. Establish a plan and systematic targets for training a new breed of top-tier ethnic minority intellectuals, and incorporate them into national planning via funding for specially earmarked projects.

Xinjiang suffers from a dearth of ethnic minority intellectuals, at least those who meet the strict modern criteria for intellectuals. Moribund educational and research institutions and outmoded systems of personnel training and advancement have deprived Xinjiang of a true community of ethnic minority intellectuals. Whether the task is promoting social progress in Xinjiang, improving the lives of ethnic minorities, or advancing national identity and cohesion among minority elites, a highly qualified community of ethnic minority intellectuals is essential to the task. Allowing more ethnic minority intellectuals to enter the mainstream confers honor upon them and their communities, and that honor serves to strengthen their sense of national identity and cohesion.

Present-Day Ethnic Problems in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Overview and Recommendations (1)

By Ilham Tohti, translated by Cindy Carter, published: April 22, 2015

Ilham Tohti was sentenced to life in prison on separatism charges on September 23, 2014.

Ilham Tohti was sentenced to life in prison on separatism charges on September 23, 2014.

This article, a total of 24,000 words in Chinese, was first posted on the Daxiong Gonghui website after the Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti’s arrest in January, 2014. Daxiong Gonghui described the origin of the article in a note: “This document was written by Ilham Tohti, associate professor of economics at Minzu University of China (formerly Central Nationalities University), in response to a 2011 request from high-level officials in the Chinese government. Ilham Tohti made first-draft revisions to this document in October of 2013, but was unable to complete a final draft.” The post has since been censored and is only available elsewhere as a repost. I was able to confirm the origin and the authenticity of the article with Mr. Huang Zhangjin, the editor of the online Daxiong magazine. The translation will be posted in several installments for easy reading, and the entire article will be ready for download in a few days. – The Editor

Since Zhang Chunxian took office, a big push on Xianjiang policy by the Chinese central government and a series of initiatives by Zhang Chunxian himself have rekindled hope among ethnic population in Xiangjiang for the region’s future social stability and development prospects.[1] Furthermore, Zhang Chunxian has managed, in a very short period of time, to win high praise from local ethnic minority officials and intellectuals alike.

At present, the new administration in Xinjiang is relying on increased economic investment and improvements in citizens’ livelihoods to quell ethnic tensions. These policies will likely have a positive short-term effect, but because they do not address deep-seated problems, we cannot afford to be sanguine about Xinjiang’s future, nor can we be certain that violence will not erupt again. If the government is to win broad-based popular support and achieve genuine long-term peace and stability, it must promote further systemic and social adjustments.

To this end, I have prepared a simple list of nine issues affecting ethnic relations in Xinjiang. For each, I have included an overview of the present situation, causes and contributing factors, and proposed solutions.

I. Unemployment among Ethnic Minorities


Unemployment is a social issue that affects all regions of China, but Xinjiang’s unemployment problem tends to be concentrated among ethnic minorities. For Uighurs who migrate to the cities in search of work, employment opportunities are markedly limited, confined to a narrow band of service-industry jobs, mostly jobs in restaurants. There is a vast gap in employment opportunities available to different ethnic groups: Uighur and other ethnic-minority job applicants face significant employment discrimination. These factors, in turn, fuel resentment toward the government and toward the Han Chinese majority.

Because the factors driving urban and rural unemployment are so different, we can divide the employment issue in Xinjiang into two distinct facets: (1) unemployment among Uighur university graduates and (2) the rural labor surplus.

Unemployment among Uighur university graduates

According to official government data, only 17% of ethnic Uighur university students in Xinjiang manage to secure a full-time job by the time they graduate. This is far below the rate for ethnic Han Chinese university students. My own research reveals that the actual job-placement rate for Uighur university students approaching graduation is even lower, at less than 15%. The difficulty of finding work after graduation not only impoverishes ethnic-minority families who have sacrificed to send their children to university, it also contributes to the notion, widespread among Uighurs, that education is useless.

The rural labor surplus

The rural labor surplus in Xinjiang is a serious problem. The root cause of this excess rural labor force is lagging urbanization and industrialization in Uighur areas. In fact, the actual urbanization rate among the Uighur population is only about 10%.

Most of Xinjiang’s Uighur population is concentrated in the rural south, where the average amount of arable land per capita is less than one mu, or one-sixth of an acre. This sort of marginal existence and inescapable poverty not only bottles up vast reserves of surplus rural labor, it also gives rise to lawlessness and criminal behavior, making these areas potential breeding grounds for future threats to the social order. If this vicious cycle is allowed to continue, it may even bring about the collapse of southern Xinjiang’s fragile oasis ecosystem.


1. Given the absence or non-enforcement of national ethnic policies, the primary cause of employment difficulties among minority university students is blatant ethnic discrimination in hiring. Ethnic minorities are severely under-recruited for jobs in the civil service and in state-owned enterprises. Prior to the July 2009 ethnic unrest in Urumqi, many private-sector job advertisements openly stated that only Han Chinese applicants would be considered; some state-owned enterprises went so far as to recruit Han Chinese from other parts of mainland China, rather than hire local ethnic minorities. At some workplaces with no Uighur employees, Uighurs may be stopped by security guards and prevented from entering the premises. Severely curtailed employment prospects have given rise to an unusual phenomenon in Xinjiang: a craze for extracurricular foreign language training courses. Xinjiang’s ethnic minority university students are keener on studying foreign languages than students at top-tier universities such as Peking University and Tsinghua University, because these students feel that their only hope lies in finding work in international trade, tourism, or overseas. Even the privileged classes are not immune to employment difficulties: one child of a high-ranking Xinjiang Uighur government official graduated from a prestigious mainland university and spent a year searching fruitlessly for work. It was only after securing a personal letter of introduction from Wang Lequan [then Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang] that the young graduate was finally able to secure a job.

2. A unique feature of Xinjiang’s natural geography is its desert archipelago of insular, isolated oases. Historically, there has been a vast gap in the amount of government investment given to these different geographical units. This is particularly true of the Uighur enclaves in Xinjiang’s south, where urbanization and industrialization lag far behind the Han Chinese-dominated “Tianshan North Slope Economic Zone.” (The “Tianshan North Slope Economic Zone,” situated at the northern foot of the Tianshan mountain range, is the most economically developed region of Xinjiang. This highly concentrated swath of productive forces forms the developmental core of Xinjiang’s modern industry, agriculture, telecommunications, education, science, information technology and other sectors. Home to over 83% of Xianjiang’s heavy industry and 62% of its light industry, favored with ample natural resources and robust urban and transportation infrastructure, the zone accounts for over 40% of Xinjiang’s gross domestic product.) Xinjiang’s south is geographically isolated; the Han Chinese cities in the north tend to exclude Uighurs; and when the surplus rural labor force in the south tries to flow into the Tianshan North Slope Economic Zone, it is met with restrictions. All these make it even more difficult for southern surplus rural labor to migrate to urban areas.

3. Severe underinvestment in basic education: there is a vast north-south disparity in educational investment in Xinjiang. Even in southern Xinjiang, one finds stark ethnic inequalities in the allocation of educational resources, particularly in the area of secondary schools. Whether in terms of fiscal investment or number of schools, the proportion of educational resources allocated to Uighur students is far below what it should be, given their percentage as a proportion of the local population. Moreover, the high school enrollment rate in southern Xinjiang is extremely low, due to the critical lack of investment in basic education: in large Uighur population centers such as Kuqa country and Shache [Yarkant] county, there is only one high school in each county offering Uighur-language instruction. As a result, average educational levels in Uighur communities in southern Xinjiang are extremely low, causing workers to be inadequately equipped for careers in modern agriculture or industry. The surplus rural labor supply spills into the cities, where migrants face severely limited job prospects, forcing them further afield into the interior to look for better opportunities.

4. Since the ethnic unrest of July 2009, nearly all of Xinjiang’s Uighur enclaves have been subject to the constant pressure of “stability maintenance” policies. Rural migrants to the northern city of Urumqi have been expelled in large numbers, and forced to return to their villages in the south. At the same time, local governments have adopted stringent limits on outward population migration, thus exacerbating the problem of rural employment.

Thoughts and Recommendations

The Uighur unemployment problem is the cumulative result of numerous long-term forces. As such, resolving the dilemma will require a broad-based approach and systematic long-term planning; it will not happen overnight. Simply pouring money from central government coffers into Xinjiang to create a slew of make-work jobs is not the right approach: not only would this prove an undue fiscal burden for the government, it would also transform the Uighur population into a people dependent upon handouts, engendering a sense of shame and inferiority.

I have the following thoughts on how the issue of unemployment should be addressed systematically:

1. Article 23 of the “Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law of the People’s Republic of China” expressly stipulates that ethnic minorities be given priority in hiring by government institutions and state-owned enterprises.[2] Even taking into consideration the practical difficulties of immediately implementing such a policy, steps should be taken to gradually expand Uighur employment opportunities and to phase in quotas for the hiring of ethnic minorities in the civil service and state-owned enterprises. At present, public services in Xinjiang suffer from a serious dearth of Uighur and other ethnic minority employees. Hospitals, post offices, banks, insurance companies, notaries, courts, municipal bureaus and other social service organizations are staffed mainly by Han Chinese who cannot speak Uighur, causing tremendous inconvenience to Uighur citizens in their daily lives.

2. The government should take an active role in promoting internal population migration in Xinjiang as a means of alleviating unemployment in the south and preventing further damage to the fragile southern ecosystem. For example, it could oversee a controlled and systematic transfer of a certain proportion of southern Xinjiang’s population to the northern industrial belt, or to farms managed by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC). Instead of spending vast sums of labor and capital to organize rural migrant workers to culturally unfamiliar coastal cities thousands of kilometers away, the regional government should encourage rural-to-urban population shifts within Xinjiang’s borders. The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), currently suffering from severe manpower shortages due to population drain, has tried all manner of methods to attract labor from other areas of mainland China, but it has done nothing to absorb the surplus rural labor force that exists in southern Xinjiang.

By taking an active role in organizing and guiding population shifts within Xinjiang, the government can alleviate unemployment in the south, while also reducing ethnic segregation and helping to dispel the notion, prevalent within the Uighur community, that the XPCC and the northern cities are being used by Han Chinese to deal with the Uighur population.

3. Provide more assistance to ethnic minority entrepreneurs. This is the most fundamental, long-term solution to Xinjiang’s unemployment problem, and it relies on market-based mechanisms rather than governmental supervision. Since Secretary Zhang Chunxian assumed office, there has been a noticeable improvement in Xinjiang’s level of assistance to ethnic minority entrepreneurs. I recommend broadening this approach to establish a long-term plan aimed at improving the modern management skills of ethnic minority entrepreneurs via exchanges with highly developed coastal regions and prestigious mainland Chinese universities, thus creating a long-term mechanism for the systematic training of minority entrepreneurs. Furthermore, we should foster closer cooperation between Han Chinese and ethnic minority entrepreneurs, encouraging them to bond together in their mutual interest. Having the government train and support a large contingent of minority entrepreneurs is the most convenient way to promote ethnic unity and harmony in Xinjiang.

One detail worth noting: the practice of prominently featuring minority entrepreneurs as speakers at government-organized ethnic unity rallies may not have the desired propaganda effect. Minority entrepreneurs should not be leveraged for government publicity: they have a far more important and effective role to play off the political stage.

4. Increase investment in basic education in minority-populated areas. The government has many long years of unfulfilled promises in this regard, but expanding access to basic education will transform minority peoples’ ability to adapt to industrialization and urbanization. In a mere five to ten years, we will begin to see a marked improvement. At the very least, better access to education will significantly reduce the barriers that ethnic minority migrants face when trying to enter the urban labor force. Now that the government has substantially increased investment in basic education in southern Xinjiang, there remain two problems that need to be addressed: countering the preconception that education is useless, and correcting misapprehensions and assuaging people’s fears about bilingual education.

5. Establish systematic professional and technical training for ethnic minority workers. Xinjiang suffers from a serious lack of ethnic minority professional and technical personnel, which makes it difficult for ethnic minorities to enter the technical and industrial workforce. Entrepreneurial skill is also in short supply to start businesses. I propose increasing training for early-career and mid-career specialists in fields suited to the unique economy of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, in which resource-oriented and state-owned enterprises predominate. For example, the government could work with vocational and technical schools to increase employment opportunities for ethnic minorities in the mining, textile, and agricultural-processing sectors. In fact, work on this has already begun, to positive feedback from Xinjiang’s Uighur community.

I also recommend that the Xinjiang Autonomous Region cooperate with localities in China’s more economically developed coastal regions to systematically train up a cohort of technically-proficient ethnic minority youth who will form Xinjiang’s future technological and entrepreneurial talent pool.

6. Establish brigades of ethnic minority industrial workers. Industrial workers are an essential component and driving force of industrial and economic development. They play a fundamental role in accelerating industrial transformation, promoting technological innovation, improving corporate competitiveness, and so on. Employers in Xinjiang are currently in need of a large number of industrial workers, but they face widespread difficulties in recruiting qualified personnel.

Training up and establishing brigades of ethnic minority industrial workers will help to expand employment opportunities and widen career horizons for minority university and polytechnic graduates. This, in turn, will increase the employment rate among ethnic minorities and help facilitate their adjustment to modern industrial society.

7. Leverage local and regional advantages to support the development of Xinjiang’s own cultural and creative industries. This would both raise employment and allow Xinjiang’s cultural influence to radiate across the Central Asian region. Targeted training and practical support would help creative entrepreneurs and small- and medium-size enterprises to expand into the broader Central Asian market. China’s information technology, animation, advertising and other creative sectors enjoy a distinct advantage in the Central Asia market region, but Han Chinese enterprises attempting to enter this market face tremendous cultural and linguistic barriers, whereas Uighur enterprises possess a natural advantage. By leveraging the technological strength of China’s other regions, it is entirely possible for Xinjiang to cultivate local cultural and creative industries with a strong competitive edge in Central Asia. This would allow Xinjiang’s ethnic minority populations to transform themselves from cultural importers to cultural exporters, an achievement of immeasurable importance.

Translator’s Notes:

[1] In April 2010, Zhang Chunxian was appointed Communist Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, replacing Wang Lequan, whose divisive policies may have helped to fuel ethnic unrest in the region. Zhang Chunxian’s appointment was regarded by many as positive step toward defusing ethnic tensions in Xinjiang.

[2] The English text of Article 23 of the “Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law of the People’s Republic of China” reads: “When recruiting personnel in accordance with state regulations, enterprises and institutions in ethnic autonomous areas give priority to minority nationalities and may enlist them from the population of minority nationalities in rural and pastoral areas.”

Herders protest military base, one detained for posting messages online

Herders protest military base, one detained for posting messages online
August 22, 2014
New York

Mr.Davshilt and Mr.Ganbold from Durbed Banner protesting the Chinese military training base’s occupation and destruction of their grazing land (SMHRIC)

On August 21, 2014, Mongolian herders from western Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Durbed Banner (“si zi wang qi” in Chinese) and Sunid Right Banner (“su ni te you qi”in Chinese) protested the Zureh Military Training Base’s (“zhu ri he” in Chinese) occupation and destruction of their grazing lands.

At least twenty Mongolian herders from Sunid Right Banner were blocked by the local Chinese Public Security Bureau personnel from joining the protest. At least one Mongolian herder named Shuangping was detained yesterday for posting information including the “Grazing Land Lease and Management Certificate” on Chinese social media to rally the Mongolian herders to rise up to fight for their legal rights.

According to written communications the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) received from the affected communities, a total of 708 Mongolian herder households consisting of 2,907 individuals were forcefully relocated from their grazing lands to “immigration villages” near their respective Banner capitals. Very little compensation was given to them by the authorities.

Appropriating more than 1,066 square kilometers grazing lands from these rural Mongolian herders’ communities, the Zureh Military Training Base is China’s largest and most modern military training base directly managed by the Beijing Military Command.

According to the Chinese official press Xinhua News, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is preparing to carry out a five-nation anti-terror military exercise code-named “Peace Mission 2014” between August 24 and 29, 2014 in Zureh Military Training Base. Around 7,000 personnel from all member nations of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan and Tajikistan will carry out the exercise in an effort to quell “regional terrorism”.

“Almost everyday, tanks and fighter jets shake the earth with thunderous noises and blanket the sky with dust and smoke,” Mr. Davshilt, a leader of the local herders from Durbed Banner, told SMHRIC over the phone, “this is not only destroying our beautiful and peaceful grasslands but also seriously disturbing people and livestock alike.”

“Last year a herder who stumbled on an unexploded ordnance was killed by the blast,” Davshilt said during the interview, “livestock that cross their fences are confiscated and the owners given heavy fines.”

In an attempt to halt the military base’s destruction of their grazing lands, local herders organized themselves to carry out protests near the base multiple times and appealed to almost all level of government including the Central Government in Beijing. All appeals have been ignored and protesters were forcefully dispersed and beaten up. In March 2013, led by the Durbed Banner government officials, the local Public Security personnel arrived in the regional capital Hohhot to block the herders from travelling to Beijing, preventing them from making an appeal to the Chinese National People’s Congress. Protestors were physically assaulted by the Public Security personnel before being taken back to their homes.

“Dear displaced fellow herders from Durbed and Sunid Banners’ Zureh area, we must not tolerate this any more. We demand the Beijing Military Command respect our legal rights and pay us adequate compensation. We must continue our protest. It is possible that the State Council itself is involved in appropriating our compensation. We really need to continue our protest and appeal to higher authorities,” Davshilt rallied the herders in a video statement taken yesterday near the Zureh Military Training Base.

“Let us join together to fight for our rights!” Mr.Ganbolod, another leader from the same community said in the video statement holding his clenched fist.

The following is a list of phone numbers of the herders who are willing to speak to news media:
Gansukh: 158-4806-8307
Shuangping: 136-6479-9489
Otgonbayar: 139-4894-8781
Shinsoyol: 150-4896-7802
Ganbold: 130-8857-8187
Davshilt: 182-4740-9120