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SMHRIC: China’s cultural genocide is in full swing in Southern Mongolia

SMHRIC
March 25, 2021
New York

Inner Mongolia TV advertisement: “Improve mutual interaction and mutual assimilation of all ethnic groups to firmly inculcate the Chinese nationality common identity.” (SMHRIC – 2021-03-24)

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Following the crackdown on region-wide protests sparked by the Chinese Central Government’s aggressive policy of wiping out Mongolian-language education, China’s cultural genocide campaign is in full swing in Southern (Inner) Mongolia. The scope of the campaign has extended far beyond converting the medium of instruction from Mongolian to Chinese.

Beginning January 1, 2021, government mouthpieces, including the Inner Mongolia Radio and Television Station, has been ordered to replace Mongolian content with Chinese cultural programs in order to promote a “strong sense of Chinese nationality common identity.”

According to notices published by the Inner Mongolia Satellite TV Channel, these new programs include “Chinese Nationalities are Intimate Like One Family” (???????), “Great Lectures on Chinese Culture” (??????), “Chinese Cultural Garden” (???????) and “Chinese Great Dictionary” (“?????”).

One of the campaign’s official slogans, “Learn Chinese and become a civilized person,” has been used to publicly promote Chinese supremacy over the Mongolian language, culture and identity.

As a case in point, Chinese authorities hand-picked a Mongolian elementary-school student to host a campus broadcast aired by the Inner Mongolia TV Station. He begins his program with this admonishment: “I urge you to speak Chinese, write Chinese and become a civilized person.” The TV program goes on to urge the Mongolians that “Chinese is the common language to inculcate a strong sense of Chinese nationality common identity in the public.”

Children are not the only target subjected to this propaganda campaign. The Inner Mongolia TV Station report says that in the Ordos region Mongolian adults are similarly subjected to training programs focused on learning Chinese. In an effort to hasten the linguistic assimilation of the general populace of Southern Mongolia, official TV and radio broadcasts have begun airing Chinese-language learning courses such as “Follow Me to Learn Chinese,” a new program aired by the Inner Mongolia Television Station beginning December 8, 2020.

With official mouthpieces publicly advocating ethnic assimilation, the propaganda campaign sweeping across Southern Mongolia is widely considered by the Mongolians as another form of Cultural Revolution. Official slogans like the following are aired repeatedly by all radio broadcasts and TV channels: “Let us improve the mutual interaction, mutual exchange and mutual assimilation of all ethnic groups to firmly establish the Chinese nationality common identity.”

Ubiquitous in the region are political advertisements highlighting the importance of national unity and ethnic harmony, many of which specifically target Mongolian children. In a short TV cartoon called “All Ethnic Groups Unite Like Seeds of a Pomegranate,” a Mongolian young girl named Anar ( “pomegranate” in Mongolian), quotes one of Xi Jinping’s speeches as she reads out the following monologue in Chinese:

“All ethnic groups unite like seeds of a pomegranate. Home is only one. Country is the Great Zhong Hua (China). We all belong to a single family with no division of you, I and others. Greetings! I am Anar from the Ordos Grassland, a young representative of Ordos-region ethnic unity and ethnic advancement. In the following days, I will be sharing with you my experience of ethnic unity work in the Ordos region. Today, in the vast territory of Ordos, we witness economic prosperity, social harmony, ethnic unity and omnipresent happiness. In this splendid grassland, there live 43 ethnic groups including the Mongolians, Chinese, Manchus and Hui. The masses of all ethnic groups are, hand in hand, heart to heart, marching together toward a more prosperous common future.

In schools, Mongolian students are subjected to military trainings and propagandist activities. Mongolian college students are forced to wear Mao-style uniforms and sing communist “red” songs to extol the greatness of China.

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SMHRIC: SMHRIC representative Dulaan Borjigin’s speech at the Tibetan Uprising Day rally

SMHRIC
March 10, 2021
New York

SMHRIC representative Dulaan Borjigin’s speech at the Tibetan Uprising Day rally in New York (SMHRIC – 2021-03-10)

Good afternoon, Sain baitsagaanuu? Dashi Delek!

My name is Dulaan Borjigin. I am representing the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center. My colleague Enkhbat is unable to attend this protest due to some urgent matter and asked me to deliver his message.

It is my great honor be here today to stand in solidarity with our Tibetan friends to mark the 62 nd anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising.

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

Seven decades have past. Today, we Southern Mongolians, Tibetans and Uyghurs are still suffering under the Chinese regime. Crime against humanity is committed by the Chinese Government on a daily basis in front of the eyes of international community and the democratic world. In Southern Mongolia, China is now carrying out a cultural genocide to wipe out our language completely. The same is happening in Tibet and East Turkistan as well.

Despite these brutal occupations and bloody repressions, we Tibetans, Uyghur and Southern Mongolians have never given up our hope. We believe, one day, we all be free, free from any form of Chinese occupation.

Thank you.

SMHRIC: Southern Mongolia: UNPO, SMHRIC File Letter of Allegation with the UN Special Procedures

SMHRIC

Photo: Foreign language is a tool, own language is soul” (SMHRIC – 2020-08-20)

On 5 February 2021, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, together with its member the Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center, filed a letter of allegation with the United Nations Special Procedures regarding the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) moves to remove Mongolian language as a primary language of instruction in schools in the so-called, “Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.” For many years, the ethnic Mongolian population have suffered from repeated efforts to eradicate their culture and identity, including population transfers, central government erosion of autonomy and minority rights guaranteed under the Constitution and laws of the PRC, and efforts to undermine the use of Mongolian language in employment and regular life. A new policy enacted in August 2020, forcibly implemented amid significant repression of the Mongolian population, effectively eradicated the use of Mongolian language as a primary medium of education, relegating it to little more than a second language of instruction, even in supposedly Mongolian-language school. The letter of allegation, asks the UN Special Procedures to investigate and ultimately condemn this dangerous new policy.

The Mongolian language is one of two official languages in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), alongside Mandarin. Over the years, however, experts and activists have witnessed a progressive erosion of bilingual rights which are de jure protected by the Chinese constitution and the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law.

This erosion accelerated in August 2020 when the IMAR Department of Education at the direction of the central government of the PRC began implementation of a new education reform. The reform, referred to as the “Nationally Compiled Textbook” plan, substitutes the use of the Mongolian language in favor of Mandarin as the medium of instruction in all elementary and middle schools of the IMAR. Indeed, throughout IMAR, the number of students enrolled at Mongolian elementary schools has dropped from 110,000 in 1980 to 19,000 in 2009 – an 82.27% drop in 29 years.

This policy violates Article 37 of the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law, which provides that “[s]chools (classes) and other educational organizations recruiting mostly ethnic minority students should, whenever possible, use textbooks in their own languages and use these languages as the media of instruction. Beginning in the lower or senior grades of primary school, Chinese language and literature courses should be taught to popularize the common language used throughout the country and the use of Chinese characters. Every local government should provide financial support for the production of teaching materials in the minority scripts and for publication and translation work”. In effect, this legislation requires bilingual learning. The Chinese Constitution further requires freedom to use, develop and preserve languages and custom.

The new policy denies these rights through an immediate transfer to the exclusive use of the Mandarin language, denial of bilingual opportunities, and a lack of transparency and dialogue in formulating such policy. No consultation on the policy was conducted with Mongolians in the IMAR, as laid down in the Chinese Constitution, which states that all nationalities have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages and to preserve or reform their own folkways and customs.

In reaction, citizens took to the streets and coordinated a large-scale, region-wide, nonviolent civil disobedience movement and mass boycotts in defense of their language rights on 28 August 2020. According to information gathered from our sources a total number of 11 Mongolian students, parents and teachers committed suicide as a result of the new directive which prevented them from enjoying their rights.

As a result of the protests and boycott, the authorities immediately intensified the crackdown. It is estimated that between 8,000 to 10,000 Mongolians have been placed under some form of police custody since the beginning of the civil disobedience. More specifically, according to the information shared among Mongolian communities on the ground, between 2,000 to 5,000 people have been detained in prison, while between 4,000 to 4,500 are under house arrest. Moreover, an additional 2,500 people disappeared and are believed to have been detained following their participation in demonstrations. In addition, official notices from local authorities have been published ordering parents to send their children to school or parents would be obliged to attend “legal education and concentrated trainings”.

These tactics have proved to be effective. By the middle of October 2020, most of the students were forced to go to schools in which Chinese has almost completely replaced Mongolian as the medium of instruction. As of January 2021 protests appear to have been fully repressed.

The long-term implications of this policy are severe. First, since private schools and courses in Inner Mongolia are banned from accepting Mongolian students, this policy change will ultimately result in the eradication of the Mongolian – Chinese bilingual education system and the use of the Mongolian language in society in Inner Mongolia. This will occur despite protections of Mongolian language formally contained in the Chinese Constitution and Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law.

Second, the National Compiled Textbook policy, alongside the repressive means in which it is being enforced, including through threats of “concentrated trainings” represents a continuation of the dangerous pattern of linguistic, cultural and identity eradication that is occurring across the PRC, most visibly in the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. While this policy was formally requested by local administrations, these local administrations do not truly reflect the will or voice of the community in what is a society governed with force from the center. Rather, the Nationally Compiled Textbook directive represents a further extension of the Chinese Central Government into regions supposedly granted autonomy as a means to protect the multi-ethnic character of the PRC.

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