SMHRIC: Activists face imprisonment and police stations in schools

Activists face imprisonment and police stations in schools
October 18, 2020
New York

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Following the massive civil disobedience movement in Chinese-occupied Southern Mongolia sparked by the Chinese Central Government’s renewed attack on the Mongolian language, the authorities’ crackdown has intensified. An estimated 8,000–10,000 Southern Mongolians have been placed under some form of police custody since late August.

Defiant Southern Mongolian students holding posters demanding language rights during a Chinese National Day celebration event (SMRHIC – 2020-10-18)

The punitive measures the Chinese authorities have taken to put down the resistance include mass arrest, arbitrary detention, forced disappearance, imprisonment, house arrest, “concentrated training”, termination of employment, removal from official positions, blacklisting and expulsion of students, suspension of social benefits, confiscation of properties and denial of access to financial resources including bank loans.

Wanted posters and detention notices from Public Security authorities, official notices, and warnings have been issued—separately and jointly—by various authorities, including local governments, communist party committees, communist youth leagues, people’s courts, people’s procuratorates, judiciary branches, educational bureaus and schools at all levels as part of the authorities’ desperate attempt to contain the protest.

“The Chinese regime has really shown its weakness, ineffectiveness and arbitrariness before this massive nonviolent civil disobedience,” Mr. Enghebatu Togochog, Director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, 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.”

“The more the authorities are called on to join the effort, the weaker the regime’s inner strength is proven to be,” Mr. Togochog added.

Those who have been placed under detention and house arrest include prominent dissidents and their family members, activists, writers, lawyers and herders’ leaders.

Mr. Hada, a leading political prisoner who served 15 years in jail on charges of “splitting the country and engaging in espionage” and an additional 4 years of extrajudicial detention without any charge, is still under house arrest in the regional capital Hohhot. His rights to mobility and communication have been completely denied. The whereabouts of his wife Ms. Xinna and son Uiles are unknown.

Mr. Lhamjab Borjigin, author of “China’s Cultural Revolution,” and dissident writer Mr. Sechenbaater have been confined to their homes and denied the right to access the Internet and social media since the protest started.

Mr. Nasanulzei Hangin, a writer and poet from Shuluun-tsagaan Banner, is still under detention pending a possible long-term imprisonment after rallying Mongolians to stage a 500-person demonstration in the banner capital in protest of the Chinese authorities’ new language policy. Family members are extremely concerned about his poor health, which includes hipatitis B, hypertension and coronary heart disease.

Mr. Ashidaa, a musician and composer from the Ordos region, is under detention pending a possible 5 years of imprisonment for his active participation in the protest. Family members have been denied the right to visit him in the local detention center.

Prominent lawyer Mr. Huhbulag is still under detention for helping the activists and protestors defend their legal rights. No official charges have been brought against him yet.

The whereabouts of herders’ leaders including Ms. Yanjindulam, Ms. Bao Guuniang, Ms. Manliang, Ms. Yingeer, Ms. Urgumal, Mr. Davharbayar and Mr. Zhao Baahuu remain unknown. The SMHRIC is unable to reach them by phone are any social media.

One concerning development is the mention of “training” and “concentrated training” in some official documents. In a document issued by the “Chinese Communist Party Bairin Right Banner Committee Office,” parents were warned they would face “concentrated training” if they failed to send their children back to school by September 7.

A short questionnaire distributed to Mongolian parents who received multiple such “trainings” asked about their perceptions of the nationally compiled textbook reform before and after the trainings.

In another official document issued on September 14, “the parents and guardians who failed to send their children back to school on time will be given a legal education training.”

Police and law enforcement forces are stationed in school campuses across the region to monitor the activities of students and teachers, as well as to enforce the smooth implementation of the “nationally compiled textbook reform.”

“Special taskforces from the government, party, law enforcement and judiciary branches are already stationed in our school. Because this is not a small matter. This is a war. Employees who participated in this must be unsparingly fired from jobs and severely punished,” a public notice issued by the Chavag No.2 Middle School warned the Mongolians of the serious consequences of participating in the protest.

Military training that has been a mandatory program for college and university freshmen in China is now compulsory for all first-graders of Mongolian elementary schools in Southern Mongolia. Mongolian parents and teachers complained that the costs of the military training including the purchase of military uniform are burdened to the schools.

Despite the publicly advertised widespread intimidation and punishment, the resilient Southern Mongolians have maintained their defiance.

During an event to celebrate Chinese National Day, students of the Bayanhushuu No. 4 Middle School held a large poster with a portrait of Chinggis Khan at the center that read “Mongolian language: ancestral language, eternal language, world language.” A student in traditional Mongolian clothes held another large poster that read, “We unlocked thousands of treasure troves with our mother tongue. We inscribed the golden decrees of human history with our native language.”

During a sport event in the Ordos area, hundreds of Mongolian students stood up to sing the song “My Mongolia, an eternal flame that should never be extinguished,” an anthem of the resistance movement, to protest the new language policy.

In Huree Banner of Tongliao Municipality, Mongolian parents are still alerting each other through private messaging not to sign any written agreement the local authorities prepared to show that the parents are voluntarily sending their children back to school.

In spite of the widespread arrest and detention of those actively distributing information via the Internet and social media, tens of thousands of Southern Mongolians are finding ways to bypass Chinese Internet surveillance.

As the single most popular social media in China—WeChat—has virtually barred Mongolians from group chats and virtual gatherings, many have moved to other available social media such as Potato until being blocked again by the authorities. The latest social media platform Southern Mongolians are using is 68 Messenger, which will possibly be blocked soon.

“We Mongolians are resilient and resolute people,” Mr. Khuvisgalt Enkh-ochir, a long-term activist in exile in Japan, told the SMHRIC. “We will not give up until we achieve what we are fighting for, which is our national freedom.”

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Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC)

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

Tel/fax : 001-718-786-9236
Cellular: 001-917-698-4367

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