Category Archives: Southern Mongolia

SMHRIC: Herders protest land grab, six arrested

SMHRIC
May 21, 2021
New York


Police cracking down on the protest. Araliin-Ehi Gachaa, Tevseg Township of Horchin Right Wing Front Banner (SMHRIC – 2021-05-13)

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On May 13, 2021, six herders from the Tevseg Township of eastern Southern Mongolia’s Horchin Right Wing Front Banner were arrested for protesting a land grab by Chinese peasants and local authorities. The arrested herders have been identified as Ms. Tsetsenchimeg, Mr. Tumurbagan, Mr. Davharbayar, Mr. Juramt, Mr. Hongjin, and Mr. Hurtsaa.

According to other herders from the local community, the six were taken away from their homes on the evening of May 13 by the local Public Security authorities. The whereabouts of the detainees remain unknown. Their relatives have been denied the right to visit and communicate with the detainees.

“Tsetsemchimeg is my sister,” Mr. Baljiinyam Bayaguud, an exiled dissident who currently lives in the independent country of Mongolia, told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHIRC). “Before I escaped the persecution to leave Southern Mongolia, I was also one of the organizers of this protest that started five years ago.”

Mr. Bayaguud told the SMHIRC that in 2016, the local authorities of Tevseg Township and Araliin-Ehi Gachaa (an administration unit comprised of several villages) arbitrarily seized a large swathe of traditional grazing land used by more than 100 herders’ households and sold it to Chinese peasants and Chinese construction companies.

According to a written complaint sent to the local environmental protection authorities, the Tevseg Township Land Management Bureau mobilized a construction team to “illegally open gravel pits, seriously destroying the natural environment.”

“A large number of trees have been cut down and roads have been built for transportation without our consent,” the complaint states. “Herders complained to the Gachaa party secretary, who promised to halt the gravel extraction by August 24, 2020.”

The local authorities failed to keep their promise. “Illegal extraction intensified and the production has doubled, causing further damage to the environment,” said the complaint, dated August 28, 2020.

“Pastoralism is virtually impossible in my home place thanks to the Chinese authorities’ systematic confiscation of grazing lands,” Mr. Bayaguud said.

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SMHRIC: Last Days on the Grassland

Last Days on the Grassland from Narratively on Vimeo.

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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SMHRIC: Secretary of State Pompeo Meets with Human Rights Campaigners (update)

SMHRIC
December 3, 2020
New York
On December 3, 2020, Southern Mongolian representatives Mr. Enghebatu Togochog, Director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center and Mr. Dugarjab L. Hotala, founder and Director of InterMongol Network, met with the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the United States Department of State.

The meeting was organized by the Committee on Present Danger: China and the Captive Nations Coalition. Headed by Mr. Frank Gaffney, Vice Chairman of CPDC, Ms. Dede Laugesen, Executive Director of Save the Persecuted Christians, and Mr. Kim Se Hoon, Director of the Captive Nations Coalition, the delegation included representatives from Southern Mongolia, Tibet, East Turkistan, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and Falun Gong practitioners.

Following the meeting with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the delegates also had meetings with the Assistant Secretary of State Robert A. Destro, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Ken Cuccinelli and Congressman Scott Perry.

Southern Mongolian representatives highlighted the Chinese Government’s ongoing cultural genocide as well as other atrocities the Chinese Communist Party committed in Southern Mongolia after the sovereign nation was occupied by the communist regime in 1949.

Southern Mongolian representatives Mr. Enghebatu Togochog (left 6) and Mr. Dugarjab L. Hotala (left 4) along with the Committee on Present Danger China members and other captive nations representatives, meet with the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (center), Assistant Secretary Robert A. Destro (left 1) and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s top advisor Miles Yu (Yu Maochun, right 1)

SMHRIC: PRESS RELEASE: International human-rights coalition urges the Swedish Migration Court to avoid mistake of deporting those who need protection

PRESS RELEASE: International human-rights coalition urges the Swedish Migration Court to avoid mistake of deporting those who need protection
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SMHRIC
January 20, 2021
New York

A group of 24 international human-rights and activists groups has issued an open letter, to the Swedish Migration Court to stress their grave concern that should Mr Baolige Wurina be deported to China he faces as an exile activist and minority, a very high risk of persecution through unfair trial, imprisonment and inhumane treatment including risk of torture.

The letter urges Swedish authorities not to turn a blind-eye to the warning signs of the cultural genocide under way in Southern Mongolia, also known as “Inner Mongolia”, marked most recently by the ban of the Mongolian language and sweeping arrests of protesters by Chinese authorities. Louisa Greve of Uyghur Human Rights Projects reiterates, “We know from Xinjiang that step-by-step elimination of native language education is a red flag for slow-motion cultural genocide”.

Enghebatu Togochog, Director of New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre continues, “We urge the Swedish court to recognize the true severity of what the ruling will have on the life of Baolige Wurina. Southern Mongolians have for decades been systematically oppressed by Chinese authorities in what amounts to a slow-motion genocide, regardless of what the Swedish court thinks they understand of the situation. Mongolian dissidents and exiles have a history of being imprisoned through unfair trials by the Chinese security apparatus that operate in all regions. It is certain that Baolige, having partaken in protests against China that have been amplified through this case, will face persecution in an notoriously opaque prison system should he be deported”
The letter highlights cases of past exiles of similar circumstances who have disappeared upon return, which demonstrate clearly the most probable fate awaiting Mr Wurina and must not be overlooked. The coalition calls for the Swedish court to uphold its international obligations, including its commitment to prevent refoulment – the deportation of a person at risk of inhumane treatment upon return. Mr Togochog continues: “Given that Sweden cannot guarantee the safety of Mr Wurina, and the poor human-rights record of China in regards to minorities and dissidents, the Swedish Court must not make the error of assuming that China will give Mr Wurina ‘fair’ treatment, when such ‘fair’ treatment does not exist in reality”.

The letter also stresses the very high risk that should the deportation of Mr Wurina to China go ahead, history will likely judge this as a failure of the Swedish immigration judicial system to live up to international commitments thus a threat to become a stain to the integrity of the systems as a whole. The letter continues: “this failure would not only have severe consequences on the life of Mr Wurina, but would also make the court complicit in the continued persecution and human rights abuse of minority dissidents by Chinese authorities”. It ends by stressing that the Court must review their ruling in order to ensure that protection is given to those who need protection, thereby reiterating the international standing of Sweden as a guardian of human rights.

On behalf of the following organizations:

Campaign for Uyghurs, Washington
Free Tibet, London
FreedomUmmah, Jakarta
Friends of Tibet, Bulgaria
Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe (FOREF Europe), Vienna
Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete, Portugal
International Society of Human Rights (Sweden branch), Stockholm
International Tibet Network, London
Inner Mongolian People’s Party, Sweden
Mongolian Culture Association of Sweden, Stockholm
Safeguard Defenders, Madrid
Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet, Santa Barbara
Society of Threatened Peoples (German branch), Göttingen
Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre, New York
Students for a Free Tibet, Japan
Save the Mongolian Language, Russia
Southern Mongolia Congress
Swedish Tibet Committee, Stockholm
The Norwegian Tibet Committee
Tibet Support Group Nederland
Tibet Initiative Deutschland
Uyghur Human Rights Project, Washington
Uyghur Aid, Finland
Youth Liberation Front of Tibet, East-Turkistan, Manchuria & Inner-Mongolia, New Delhi

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Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC)

68-37 108th Street,6A
Forest Hills, NY 11375
U.S.A.

Tel/fax : 001-718-786-9236
Cellular: 001-917-698-4367
Email: webmaster@smhric.org
Website: www.smhric.org

Secretary of State Pompeo Meets with Human Rights Campaigners

Southern Mongolian representatives Mr. Enghebatu Togochog (left 6) and Mr. Dugarjab L. Hotala (left 4) along with the Committee on Present Danger China members and other captive nations representatives, meet with the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (center), Assistant Secretary Robert A. Destro (left 1) and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s top advisor Miles Yu (Yu Maochun, right 1)

China – Inner Mongolia: Changes to Education Policy Endangers Linguistic Diversity and Undermines Free Expression

Ethnic Mongolian uses “Mother Tongue” face paint as a form of protest (credit: SMHRIC)


PEN International is concerned over recent education reforms in Inner Mongolia, which seek to prioritise instruction through Mandarin Chinese at the expense of the Mongolian language, a key marker of ethnic Mongolian identity in the region.

In Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region within the People’s Republic of China (PRC), recent changes to the educational system have led to mass demonstrations by ethnic Mongolians and a crackdown by the PRC government.

For many ethnic Mongolians in the region, these changes represent the latest effort by the PRC authorities to erode the usage of their mother tongue, which is a distinct marker of their cultural identity as a minority constituting under 20 percent of the region’s overall population.

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VOA: Thousands Held in Inner Mongolia As Crackdown on Language Protesters Continues

Protesters hold banners and wave the Mongolian flag in Ulaanbaataar, capital of Mongolia, to oppose Chinese policies in Inner Mongolia, Oct. 1, 2020.


Chinese authorities in the northern region of Inner Mongolia have detained at least 8,000 ethnic Mongolians amid regionwide resistance to plans to phase out the use of the Mongolian language in schools.

“An estimated 8,000–10,000 [ethnic] Mongolians have been placed under some form of police custody since late August,” the New York-based Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) said in a statement on its website.

The ruling Chinese Communist Party has carried out mass arrests, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, house arrests, and “intensive training” across the region, which borders the independent country of Mongolia, after parents and students organized a region-wide class boycott and took to the streets in protest at changes to the curriculum, sources in the region and overseas rights activists have said.

Khubis, an ethnic Mongolian activist living in Japan, told RFA that rights lawyer Hu Baolong and activist Yang Jindulima remain in custody.

He said some detainees have refused officially appointed lawyers, in the hope of appointing a defense attorney of their own.

Hu was detained by police in his home city of Tongliao along with at least eight others on suspicion of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a charge often used to target peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

U.S.-based ethnic Mongolian Nomin, a former colleague of Hu’s, said she had been unable to get in touch directly with anyone connected with Hu or Yang.

Yang hails from Abag Banner in Shilingol League, which borders Mongolia.

“I talked to Yang [before the protests], and she told me she wouldn’t be taking part because she had just gotten married,” Nomin said. “She had opened a restaurant in Xilinhot, but the police still had her under constant surveillance.”

“A couple of police officers would just go and sit in her restaurant every day without saying anything,” she said.

The authorities have also fired ethnic Mongolian parents, blacklisted and expelled their children, confiscated assets, and denied bank loans to protesting parents, SMHRIC said.

Local governments, party committees, Communist Youth Leagues, state prosecutors, and courts have issued wanted notices across the region for anyone engaging in protest activity, it said.

“The Chinese regime has really shown its weakness, ineffectiveness, and arbitrariness before this massive nonviolent civil disobedience,” group director Enghebatu Togochog said.

“It is laughable that five different authorities including the court and procuratorates, who really have no business in this matter, piled up their rubber stamps on a single document to intimidate Mongolians,” he said.

This picture taken July 16 , 2016 shows the Genghis Khan equestrian statue (the world’s largest equestrian statue) in Tsonjin Boldog near Ulan Baator and Erdenet in Tov province. Credit: AFP

Prominent dissidents detained

Among the thousands placed in some form of detention are prominent ethnic Mongolian dissidents and their families, rights activists, writers, lawyers, and leaders of traditional herding communities.

Ethnic Mongolian dissident writer Hada, who remains under house arrest following a 15-year jail term for “espionage” and “separatism,” is now completely incommunicado, while the whereabouts of his activist wife Xinna and the couple’s grown son Uiles are currently unknown, SMHRIC said.

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