The following is the “Way Out of Southern Mongolia” by Mr. Hada, prominent human rights activist, writer, and the founder of the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance. In 1995, Mr. 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, capital of Southern Mongolia. Currently Hada is still under a form of house arrest in an apartment in Hohhot owned by the Chinese Public Security authorities. The English translation is by the SMHRIC:
WAY OUT OF SOUTHERN MONGOLIA
— English Translation by Southern Mongolian Human Rights
Information Center (SMHRIC) —
The Beginning and End of Autonomy
Let me make it clear that the term “Southern Mongolia” appearing in this article refers to the Mongolian people who reside within the border of the People’s Republic of China. Considering that overseas Mongolians have reached an agreement to use “Uvur Mongol” or “Uvur Mongolchuud,” I have recently used “Uvur Mongol” in my articles. However, I will continue to use both “Uvur Mongol” and “Umnuut Mongol” interchangeably because 20 years ago I used “Umnuut Mongol” in my first manuscript of “Way Out of Southern Mongolia.” In this article, I attempt to touch upon the way out for all Mongolians across the world. In this sense, this article should really be the “Way Out for Mongolians.” Yet I kept the original title because this article still places the utmost emphasis on the future of Southern Mongolians.
According to historical sources, notices of the First Session of the Executive Committee Enlarged Meeting of the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Movement Joint Conference and the People’s Congress in Ulaanhot, capital of Hingaan League, from February 16 to 20, 1947, and relevant documents on the way of electing people’s representatives were issued by the organizers who summoned the Executive Committee members to come to Ulaanhot on March 15, 1947. On March 3, 1947, in company with his Mongolian and Chinese associates, Ulaanhuu came to Harbin to report his work to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Northeast Bureau. At the same time, taking advantage of the meetings, Ulaanhuu organized a meeting of relevant personnel to draft two bills, including the “Administrative Program of the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Government” and the “Interim Organizational Constitution of the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Government.” He hoped to obtain the necessary approval from all levels of CCP committees—all the way up to the CCP Central Committee.
Meanwhile, he decided to use CCP members to infiltrate all units of the People’s Congress to seize power. He also predefined the jurisdiction of the Autonomous Government, deployment of leadership of all government units, and membership of the Government and Senate. On April 20, 1947, the CCP Central Committee notified Ulaanhuu that the two bill drafts were approved in principle. On April 23, 1947, the People’s Congress started in Ulaanhot. The total number of 393 representatives from Mongolian, Daguur, Chinese, Manchu, Hui, Evenk, and Korean nationalities attended the People’s Congress. No representative from Kuomintang-controlled Ih-zuu and Alshaa leagues ever showed up.
On April 24, 1947, Ulaanhuu made a political speech to criticize the Mongolian elite members, including Mr. Tserendonrov (Bai Yunti), as capitulators. Nonetheless, from April 25 to 28, 1947, the representatives passed the two bills unanimously. On April 29, 1947, out of 198 temporary members, 121 were elected to form the Senate. Of them, 96 were Mongolian, 24 Chinese, and 1 Hui. On May 1, 1947, the 1st Session of the Provisional Senate was held to elect the president and members of the government and standing members of Senate. Ulaanhuu was elected President (in fact, the number of votes he won was not the highest, only the second below that of Haafungaa, according to witnesses who saw the historical election record in museum) and Haafungaa as Vice President. Tumurbagan, Kuibi, Asgan, Ulzeiochir, Hurtsbilig, Namjiltseren (Wang Zaitian), Nachinshonhor, Enerilt, Wang Haishan, Hasbaatar, Dugarjab, Gombojab, Wangtsag, Buyan, Liu Chun, Wang Duo, and Hu Bingquan were elected as the government members. Buyanmandah and Zayaatai were elected as the chair and vice chair of the Senate, respectively. Tugustsogt, Idgaatseren, Lamjab, Wang Haifeng, Huurug, Nimaa, Wang Qing, Golbojab and Tuvshin were elected as standing members.
In the afternoon, the government was officially formed. On May 2, 1947, the meeting concluded, and the inauguration ceremony that established government was held. Ulaanhuu, along with 19 members, and Buyanmandah with nine members took the oath of office. On May 3, 1947, the first meeting of all government members was held, and all ministers were appointed. Namjiltseren was appointed as the Chief of Staff, Kuibi as Minister of Civil Affairs, Asgan as Minister of Military Affairs, Tumurbagan as Minister of Finance, Gombojab as Minister of Education, Puntsag as Minister of Internal Affairs, and Sunjinwantsag as Director of the Counselor Office. May 1 is chosen as the “Anniversary of the Establishment of the Autonomous Government,” the flag of the Autonomous Movement as the national flag, and Ulaanhot City as the provisional capital.
On May 16, the second meeting of the government members was held to appoint Liu Chun as the Director of Nationality Affairs Office and Hu Bingquan and Hu Zishou as Deputy Directors. It is evident that, starting only at this point, some Chinese became members of the government largely because the government members were mostly in recess, weakening the resistance against the advance of the Chinese.
As Ulaanhuu once put it, the two bills adopted by the People’s Congress had played the role of the constitution of the region. At least it is undeniable that the bills played the role of autonomous law. On the contrary, though, they were fundamentally different from the so-called “Ethnic Autonomy Law” passed by the Chinese People’s Congress. In a sense, the bills genuinely represented the interest of all autonomous government branches. Although it is my personal view, I believe that legal researchers and scholars will conduct a thorough study on this matter in the future. Here I would like to present several of the 17 total articles of the first bill:
Article 1 guarantees the right to national self-determination.
Article 2 defines the Autonomy as the high-level autonomy.
Article 3 states that the jurisdiction of the Autonomy covers all leagues and the Autonomous area is part of the Republic of China.
Article 4 states to fight Chinese chauvinism, aggression, and oppression.
Article 5 states to guarantee equal rights and mutual respect among all nationalities.
Article 6 guarantees basic rights and fundamental freedoms of the people—including freedom of opinion, freedom of belief, and right to mobility—that have never even been guaranteed in China’s current constitution.
Article 9 stipulates that the Mongolian people have the right to establish a self-defense army.
Article 10 guarantees the integrity of national territory of the Mongolian nation and the right of collective ownership of the Mongolian people over their land.
Article 17 states to give full support to the Mongolian struggle against Chinese chauvinism in the Mongolian areas under the regime of Chiang Kai-shek.
Although I do not have a copy of the second bill, I will attempt to summarize the main contents from other sources. The second bill, the “Interim Organizational Constitution of the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Government,” has the following contents:
Senate of Southern Mongolia is the supreme authority of Southern Mongolia. The people of all nationalities in Southern Mongolia elect its members.
The Government of Southern Mongolia is the supreme administrative body of Southern Mongolia.
The Autonomous Government of Southern Mongolia can adopt, pass, and implement legislation within the legal and administrative framework of the Republic of China.
The Autonomous Government of Southern Mongolia has the right to determine the structure and establishment of all courts, various ministries, and bureaus under its own jurisdiction.
The people form all level of local governments through election with the approval from the Autonomous Government.
Local administrative units are divided into three levels, namely Aimag (league), Hushuu (county or city), and Nutug (sum, zeel, and tusgun).
Notably, there is a fundamental difference between the Ethnic Autonomy Law being implemented by the Chinese authorities today and the two bills. The Chinese Ethnic Autonomy Law is targeting the so-called “55 national minorities” within China, while the two bills were intended for Southern Mongolia only by the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Government. When the Autonomous Government was established, its jurisdiction covered five leagues—including Hulun-boir, Non-murun, Hingaan, Shiliin-gol and Chahar—34 banners and 1 county, with a total territory of 538,000 square kilometers and a total population of 2 million, of which 1 million was Mongolian.
Special attention should be paid to the fact that all major posts in the Autonomous Government were occupied by Mongolians while the Mongolian population was about a quarter of the total population at that time. At the first meeting, no Chinese occupied a government position, while only three Chinese were admitted to the Government at the second meeting. Only one-sixth of the Senate was Chinese. Therefore, many agree that it was a government of an independent country up until 1949. Needless to say, Southern Mongolia was a de facto independent country compared to the extremely titular autonomy we have today—at least it had the status of an autonomous republic state that the Chinese Communist Party has long opposed. It was even evident that Ulaanhuu himself planned to establish Southern Mongolia as an independent country.
In his telegram to the CCP Central Committee, Ulaanhuu clearly stated that “the right to national determination of all nationalities must be guaranteed so that all nationalities can freely determine their political future to establish an free, equal and democratic federation on their own territories.” He also stated, “For the short-term goal, nationality autonomy must be implemented; all nationalities have the right to establish their own unified autonomous government and have the right to adopt their own constitution, … all nationalities have the right to establish either their own military force or their national minorities’ own military forces within the National Defense Force.” According to other sources, Ulaanhuu mentioned this plan at a meeting of cadres in Lin Dong Township of Bairin Left Banner. These sources indicate that Ulaanhuu’s plan was to first unify Southern Mongolia under the Autonomous Government, then to establish an independent country at last. From what we can see now, clearly the CCP had a secret plan through which it promised a certain degree of autonomy to the Southern Mongolians at first but later gradually took away all autonomy.
Realizing the possibility that the Southern Mongolians could take the side of Kuomintang if Kuomintang seized the opportunity to make a similar promise, the CCP hastily made such promise of autonomy. Contents of telegrams and instructions from Mao Zedong and the CCP Central Committee testify to this fact. On the other hand, within only half a month, three Chinese took government positions while not even a single Chinese was admitted to any government position during the First Session of People’s Congress. Thus, the CCP had apparently already started implementing its secret plan to eliminate the autonomy of the Southern Mongolians. That was the beginning of era in which the Southern Mongolians were effectively deprived of their autonomous rights.
As a side note, Jirim, Zuu-ud, and Zusat leagues were not able to join the Autonomous Government. Having only a few banners under the Kuomintang control was seemingly not a reason for these three leagues failure to join the Autonomous Government. Rather, I argue that the true reason could have been that the influence of Haafungaa and Buyanmandah was very strong in these three leagues where the local Mongolians had a strong sentiment against the Chinese and a clear goal of establishing an independent state. On the contrary, Ulaanhuu’s influence was limited only to Shiliin-gol and Chahar regions. The Mongolians of eastern Southern Mongolia did not even know who Ulaanhuu was at the time. Alienated by the Mongolians in eastern Southern Mongolia, Ulaanhuu was even suspected of being Chinese. This prompted Ulaanhuu to change his name from Yun Ze to the Mongolian name “Ulaanhuu.” Despite this flexible adaptation, Ulaanhuu’s vote was only the second in the list. It would have been impossible for Ulaanhuu to climb to the position of president had he not been backed by the CCP.
From April 3 to 21, the First Session of the Executive Committee Enlarged Meeting of the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Movement Joint Conference and the People’s Congress was held in Ulaanhot. Haafungaa, Tumurbagan, Puntsag, and Ulzeiochir raised their proposal of re-establishing the Southern Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party. Haafungaa argued that Southern Mongolia has no class of proletariats. Thus, no communist leadership was needed. Instead, it needed the Southern Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party only because Southern Mongolia has only herders and farmers. He pointed out that the Mongolians in Southern Mongolia and the People’s Republic of Mongolia have no difference whatsoever. The revolution of the People’s Republic of Mongolia was led by the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party. Therefore, the revolution of Southern Mongolia should be led by the Southern Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party. Haafungaa urged the People’s Congress to make a decision on this matter.
Why did the former core members insist on re-establishing this party while the “issue of the Southern Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party was resolved already at the Cheng De Meeting on April 3, 1946,” according to Chinese official records? Among other reasons, one could have something do with Choibalsan, paramount leader of the People’s Republic of Mongolia at that time. Reportedly, Choibalsan sent an urgent telegram to the First Session of People’s Congress, instructing not to dissolve the SMPRP even though he had recommended the dissolution of it on multiple occasions for “its members are overly complicated.” Upon coming across the telegram, Haafungaa immediately notified the former members, including Tugus, of the content of this communication. Tugus found Ulaanhuu and tried to verify the content of the telegram, but Ulaanhuu flatly denied the existence of such telegram. As a result, Tugus and his associates considered Haafungaa a liar and started to distance themselves from him. Long after this incidence, Tugus found the telegram from Choibalsan when he was searching some historical materials from the Central Archive of Southern Mongolia opened to the public not long ago. Tugus realized that the liar was not Haafungaa but Ulaanhuu. However, the discovery has no practical importance since the incidence took place more than a half century ago.
According to some sources, there had been heated debates at the Cheng De Meeting. Haafungaa and his associates aimed to strengthen the leadership of the SMPRP, to establish a unified autonomous Southern Mongolia by incorporating western Southern Mongolia to eastern Southern Mongolia based on the Eastern Mongolian Autonomous Government, and ultimately, to create an independent Southern Mongolia. Not only did the CCP members, including Ulaanhuu and Liu Chun, insist that the autonomy of Southern Mongolia must be achieved under the leadership of the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Movement Joint Conference, but they also strongly demanded that both the Eastern Mongolian Autonomous Government and the SMPRP be dissolved. After the heated debate, Buyanmandah and Haafungaa had no choice but to concede.
Unquestionably, this was an internal strife over authority. As far as their goal is concerned, some say that Haafungaa had relentlessly fought for his goal of unifying Southern Mongolia with the People’s Republic of Mongolia. However, it was time when both sides had already reached an agreement about their unified goal for autonomy even though they had disagreed in the first half of the year. Especially, about unifying the eastern and western part of Southern Mongolia, they had no disagreement. As many know, this particular meeting was planned and prepared by the Mongolians from eastern Southern Mongolia. Shortly after its establishment, the Eastern Mongolia Autonomous Government sent Bao Yukun to Khalgan to meet with Foding and Ulzeiochir to discuss the plan for unifying the eastern and western parts. As far as independence is concerned, Ulaanhuu promised Haafungaa that his “ultimate goal is independence” and the “short-term goal was to unify the eastern and western parts first so that lay the firm foundation for independence.” Therefore, it is safe to say that both leaders had no disagreement on this matter. Let us imagine that Haafungaa and the SMPRP succeeded in seizing power. If the SMPRP were in power, certainly Ulaanhuu and the CCP would hardly be guaranteed room for their existence, let alone seizing power. The CCP would never allow this to become reality. Therefore, it makes sense that Haafungaa and the SMPRP are never given the opportunity to come into power.
The Cheng De Meeting was originally scheduled to take place at Ulaanhad. However, the plan was suddenly changed when the representatives started to gather in Ulaanhad. One of the reasons could be that the Mongolian banners near Ulaanhad had a relatively larger Mongolian population who had strong national sentiment, preventing the advancement of the CCP infiltration into these areas. The CCP could have already considered that Buyanmandah and Haafungaa would have not easily conceded had the meeting been held in Ulaanhad. Compared to Ulaanhad, Cheng De was home to a CCP military sub-command. The Mongolians nearby were smaller in number and farther in distance to each other. Cheng De City itself is also deeply situated in rugged mountains. The CCP representatives led by Ulaanhuu and Liu Chun could have used forces to threaten the representatives from the eastern part of Southern Mongolia. The fact that the Mongolians similarly took advantage of their majority representation in Ulaanhot to force the CCP to accept the proposal of re-establishing the SMPRP can be explained as a lesson learned from dealing with the Chinese.
However, unfortunately, all these efforts were wasted partially due to Ulaahuu’s trickery and dishonesty. The Mongolians, particularly those from the eastern part, blamed Ulaanhuu entirely for the failure of the Southern Mongolian independence movement. In fact, it is a confusion deliberately created by the CCP’s long policy for distorting history, concealing truth, and keeping people from being informed. In reality, due to the circumstance of China and international relationships at the time, it was almost impossible for the Southern Mongolians to gain independence. More specifically, the Yalta Agreement and the rise of the CCP ruined all possibilities of Southern Mongolia’s independence.
In my opinion, some of Ulaanhuu’s mistakes can be summarized as follows: he dissolved the SMPRP although he could have kept it; he attacked a great number of Mongolians who fought hard for the Mongolian nation; and he concentrated all powers into his own hand. Certainly, behind all these actions were the CCP—in some cases, the CCP even directly gave instructions to Ulaanhuu. No matter what the motivation was, the end result was that Ulaanhuu gained personal benefits while the entire Southern Mongolian nation was devastated. Judging from what the CCP has done to Southern Mongolia, the SMPRP could have been completely destroyed sooner or later even if Ulaanhuu did not dissolve it. However, the situations could have been a bit different today had the SMPRP been kept at least until the Cultural Revolution.
In order to prevent the SMPRP from being re-established, on May 26, the CCP established the so-called Southern Mongolian Communist Party and appointed Ulaanhuu as its General Secretary. After admitting a large number of Chinese and Mongolian Communists to the leadership of this party, on June 2, the CCP announced the strict prohibition of any other political party from forming. On July 1, the CCP created its Work Committee in Southern Mongolia and dissolved the short-lived Southern Mongolian Communist Party. This was a well-planned conspiracy by the CCP to utterly destroy the SMPRP. Thus, the SMPRP, a political party that had tirelessly strived for the independence of Southern Mongolia, was eradicated from the history of Southern Mongolia. However, Southern Mongolian will never forget this heroic but tragic history of the Southern Mongolians’ fight against Chinese aggression and oppression.
Around the time the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Government formed, the CCP was unexpectedly supportive of establishing the Mongolian cavalry, for it was extremely beneficial to the CCP in the sense that it would fight the Kuomintang. In Chinese contemporary history, three major battles played a critical role in deciding the fate of the CCP and whether it could seize power. The Mongolian cavalry fought fiercely on the CCP side in two of these major battles. In some sense, not only did the Mongolians liberate the Chinese people, but they also contributed tremendously to the CCP’s coming into power. In other words, the CCP or the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has never liberated the Mongolians. Thus, there is no reason whatsoever for the Mongolians to thank the CCP. The Mongolians liberated themselves and established their own state and government two years before the CCP bandits even came into power.
However, the opposite is true. The Chinese owe a great deal to the Mongolians. Had the Mongolians sided with the Kuomintang, the CCP hooligans would have had no chance to come into power. How ungrateful and treacherous the CCP is! The CCP is a group of beasts rather than human beings in a sense of lacking minimal decency and compassion. In May 1949, the CCP Government absorbed the Southern Mongolian cavalry into the PLA, set up the so-called Southern Mongolian Military Sub-command, and appointed Ulaanhuu as the Commander and Political Commissar. At the time of being absorbed, the Southern Mongolian cavalry had five divisions, 17 battalions with 18,000 soldiers and officers. This serves as strong evidence that Southern Mongolia was indeed an independent state up until 1949.
On December 20, 1935, in his telegram to the Southern Mongolians, Mao Zedong promised to return the entire territory of Southern Mongolia back to Southern Mongolia. Following the establishment of the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Government, although the CCP sporadically returned the territory back to the Southern Mongolians, a vast Mongolian territory has been given permanently to the Chinese of Harmurun, Girin, Liaoning, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, and Gansu. The exact statistics of the lost territory are currently unavailable to me. Yet certain approximations can be made from the map that I obtained of the time period. In addition to this, long after the establishment of the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Region, Shaajgai City (bei cheng in Chinese) and Kalgan (zhang ja kou in Chinese) were forcibly cut away from Southern Mongolia and given to Girin and Heibein provinces. As I remember, Southern Mongolia was directly adjacent to Xinjiang.
During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Southern Mongolia was once again partitioned to pieces. After the Cultural Revolution, some parts of the territories were reclaimed. Yet the territory adjacent to Xinjiang was given to Gansu Province and was never returned. If we can reclaim all of our territories, Southern Mongolian territory would be more 2 million square kilometers.
When adopting her constitution in 1954, China changed the nationality autonomy to regional autonomy and autonomous government to the government of autonomous regions. In 1958, during the Second Session of the First National People’s Congress, the Chinese Government converted the land collectively owned by the Mongolians to a property of the Chinese state to deprive the Mongolians of their right to collective ownership over their land. In 1952, “The Bill for Implementation of the Nationality Region Autonomy of the People’s Republic of China” was passed to abolish the “Administrative Program of the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Government,” to expire the Southern Mongolian national flag, and to dissolve the Southern Mongolian Senate. Nevertheless, the majority in the CCP Party Committee and the Government in Southern Mongolia was Mongolian. Thus, at least the Mongolian national characteristics and dominance remained intact. By altering Article 12 of the Bill to read that a “certain number of representatives from all nationalities shall be employed by units of the autonomous bodies,” China has effectively deprived the autonomous government bodies of their Mongolian nationalistic characters.
Not only when he was in Yan An, but also after the establishment of the Southern Mongolia Autonomous Government, Ulaanhuu firmly believed that unlike the Kuomintang, the CCP supports national minorities (or indigenous peoples) to fight national oppression and aggression and that it respects the right to national self-determination. According to Chinese official records, Ulaanhuu stated that he has lost faith in the CCP since the mid-1950s, while Deng Xiaoping said that Ulaanhuu has become unfaithful to the CCP starting in 1953. We must be reminded that what Deng Xiaoping said was pretty much the official attitude of the CCP Central Committee toward Ulaanhuu, although it appeared to be Deng Xiaoping’s personal remark.
To me, it seems that, in 1953, both Ulaanhuu and the CCP started to lose faith with each other and began viewing each other with suspicious eyes. A series of moves Mao Zedong and his CCP made toward the deprivation of Southern Mongolia’s autonomy within a few years alone clearly testified to the fact that Ulaanhuu’s dream of achieving independence through autonomy was nothing more than a daydream. Sensing all of this, Ulaanhuu had no choice but to make a difficult decision. The best option that would not jeopardize the immediate interest of himself, family, relatives, and friends would be to faithfully obey whatever Mao Zedong and the CCP said. The other option was to stand against millions of Chinese led by Mao Zedong and the CCP to fight the Chinese chauvinism and defend the national interest of Southern Mongolia and the right to autonomy. Needless to say, this is beneficial to the Mongolians but harmful to Ulaanhuu and the Chinese.
Certainly, Ulaanhuu could have calculated this carefully. However, Ulaanhuu knowingly chose the latter, an option unfavorable for his personal interest. That does not necessarily mean that Ulaanhuu made no subsequent mistakes. Generally speaking, Ulaanhuu had fought fiercely against Chinese chauvinism in order to defend national identity and national autonomy. For example, he did not hesitate to have direct confrontations with Mao Zedong and the CCP by taking the following actions:
Effort to halt the cultivation of grassland in Southern Mongolia
Open criticism against the Chinese authorities’ plundering of Southern Mongolia’s natural resources without giving any benefit to the Mongolians
Attempt to force the Chinese to learn Mongolian
Deporting Chinese immigrants back to China proper
Constant reiterations and strict measures for better addressing nationality question
Little interest in class struggle
Highest regard to the well-beings of Southern Mongolians as top priority
Reluctant resistance against the revisionism of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of Mongoli
Acts of distributing the “3.5 Declaration” of 1935 in protest of neighboring Chinese provinces’ illegal occupation of Mongolian territories
Therefore, in the late 1950s, Mao Zedong once directly (and rudely) asked Ulaanhuu whether he “wants to butter his bread with socialism or nationalism.” During this period, tens of thousands of Southern Mongolians, particularly intellectuals and elites, were persecuted by the Chinese as “national rightists” for fighting Chinese chauvinism to defend their rights to autonomy. Behind this round of massive persecution could have been a strong hatred and personal retaliation from Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping against Ulaanhuu at work. Scholars believe that what Ulaanhuu and the “national rightists” upheld was proven to be right. Even though occasionally showing superficial compromise under tremendous pressure and fierce attack, Ulaanhuu never gave in on all fronts. One must remember that nothing could be more difficult than attempting to gain autonomy and independence while relying on the Chinese on one hand and fighting Chinese chauvinism on the other hand. Therefore, Ulaanhuu’s days were numbered given his personal choice of a difficult path. He did not realize the kind of hatred and persecution that awaited him.
The CCP North-China Bureau meeting was held at Qian Men Hotel in Beijing from May 21 to July 25, 1966. At the time, Ulaanhuu was appointed to not only the key posts of the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Region, but also as the Deputy Director of this Bureau, as well as a number of posts in both the CCP Central Committee and the State Council. At the meeting, Ulaanhuu met fierce attacks and strong condemnations from all directions before he was accused of committing five major crimes and removed from all posts he held at the time. Not only that, the CCP dispatched more than 200 cadres to Southern Mongolia and seized the power of all government units from the Mongolians at the regional, league, and banner levels. Ulaanhuu was accused of conspiracy and an attempted coup—the remnant of the Mongolian cavalry was utterly destroyed. At this point, Ulaanhuu’s illusion of relying on the Chinese while fighting Chinese chauvinism was dashed to the ground. Autonomy was completely taken away from Southern Mongolia. It was only 19 years after the Southern Mongolian Autonomous Government was established.
Groundless accusations against Ulaanhuu and deprivation of right to autonomy were not the end of Chinese oppression. Rather, they marked the beginning of larger atrocities. What was waiting for the Southern Mongolians was a massive genocide the Southern Mongolians called the “Purge of Members of the SMPRP,” a crime against humanity committed by Mao Zedong himself in conspiracy with Zhou Enlai, Lin Biao, Jiang Qing, Kang Sheng, and his henchman Teng Haiqing, who was sent to Southern Mongolia to conduct the actual genocide on the ground. Tens of thousands of Mongolians were tortured and killed under groundless accusations of “engaging in underground activities of the new SMPRP.” While the massacre itself occurred fairly quickly, the horrific aftermath and haunting effect of the genocide are beyond imagination.
According to Chinese official statistics, nearly 20,000 Mongolians were killed, half a million tortured and maimed, and more than a million (Mongolian population in Southern Mongolia was about 1.3 million at the time) persecuted. In other words, almost the entire Mongolian population was affected by this tragic event. The number and variation of torture techniques used were unprecedented in human history. In terms of the number of persecuted, different versions of statistics disagree with the official Chinese version: Ulaanhuu once stated that 35,000 Mongolians were killed; studies by professors and scholars at the University of Southern Mongolia say that 45,983 Mongolian were killed and 75,000 maimed; and the latest version circulated on the Internet states that 50,000 Mongolians were killed. No doubt, this so-called Purge movement was a barbarous act, a heinous crime against humanity. For the Southern Mongolians, it was a round of groundless accusations and a well-orchestrated ethnic cleansing that resulted in immeasurable devastation to the entire Mongolian populace and purged out the elites and intellectuals of the entire nation. It greatly weakened the inner strength of the Mongolian people as a whole, stripping the pride and dignity of the nation, and brought total destruction to the Mongolian national economy.
In preparation of the genocide, the Chinese Government had transferred a swath of Chinese intellectuals and peasants from all parts of China proper to Southern Mongolia and deployed a large number of military forces across Southern Mongolia. When the genocide was carried out, those newly settled Chinese were much more eager than local Chinese to engage in gruesome torture and brutal killing. After the genocide was over, the majority of those intellectuals returned to the China proper. Yet millions of those Chinese peasants settled on the Mongolian land without returning to their homes. Some Mongolians were blamed as responsible for the genocide, while not a single Chinese was held accountable for the crime against humanity. Starting at this time, under the instruction of Mao Zedong, fluxes of Chinese peasants in the name of the so-called Construction and Production Corps poured into Southern Mongolia to cultivate grasslands into crop fields up until the 1970s. The so-called development trumpeted by the Chinese Government was nothing but a part of the sinicization policy toward destroying the Mongolian lands and wiping out the Mongolian pastoralist economy. Although the destruction had slowed down thereafter, millions of those Chinese settlers continued to occupy Mongolian land and became residents of Southern Mongolia.
Following the deprivation of autonomy of the Southern Mongolians, once again the Chinese Government partitioned the Mongolian territory into pieces and annexed them to neighboring Chinese provinces. Hulun-boir was annexed to Harmurun Province, much of Hingaan League to Girin Province, Zuu-ud League to Liaoning Province, and Alshaa to Gansu Province. A decade later, Ulaanhuu was able reclaim these lost territories. Yet the Chinese who settled there have never returned to their homes. In the spring of 1969, the Chinese Government issued a statement saying that “the Movement of Purge was an unjust case which should be put to an end immediately.” This was largely thanks to the pressure from outside, particularly from the Soviet Union and the PRM, as well as to protests and resistance from Southern Mongolians themselves. It was not, as Chinese propaganda claims, because Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong put an end to it as soon as being notified what had happened in Southern Mongolia.
In order to fool the Mongolians and blame others, Chinese colonizers and perpetrators created a myth to portray Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai as saviors. Fooled by the myth, some Mongolians believed that only Teng Haiqing was the perpetrator while Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai were kindhearted leaders. Others believed that Kang Sheng was the only mastermind responsible for the genocide while still believing Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai were kindhearted and loving. Therefore, the Mongolians raised their grievances to these Chinese leaders they considered kindhearted. However, cunning and insecure, Mao and Zhou quickly transferred Teng Haiqing from Southern Mongolia to elsewhere and appointed Zheng Weishan, another Chinese general who is even more ruthless than Teng Haiqing, in his place to put Southern Mongolia under military control, in fear of possible unrest by the Mongolians. It could, alternatively, have been done because they were overconfident that the Mongolians would never no longer be able to resist.
In either case, the killing continued under this military regime, according to sources. Those Chinese who actively carried out the genocide were admitted to the CCP and given promotions as rewards for their merit in killing the Mongolians. Chinese perpetrators who were under investigation at the demand of the Mongolians were all freed without any charges. Despite these horrific atrocities, Southern Mongolians continued their various forms of nonviolent resistance. As a result, in 1978, as nominal it may be, a document for rehabilitation was issued by the Chinese Government. Yet the bloody murderers have still remained unpunished. Autonomous rights have still been denied. Lost territories still remained under Chinese occupation in other provinces. Nevertheless, the overall atmosphere was not as horrifying as in the genocide. Somehow, the Mongolians were given a chance to take a breath. Unfortunately, this tranquility was short-lived. A renewed move of hostility against autonomy was around the corner.
This was the issuance of a notorious document called the “Document No. 28” of the Chinese Central Government. Here are some of the contents of “Document No. 28” that invoked strong discontent among the Mongolians:
1. Immigration to Southern Mongolia must not be stopped.
2. Chinese should be appointed to key positions in areas where Chinese are majority, and Mongolians must be appointed to key positions in areas where Mongolians are majority.
3. Preferential policies must be applicable to both Chinese and Mongolians.
Shocked with what the document laid out, Mongolians expressed their anger and planned to stand up against it. The Mongolian Student Movement of 1981, the first ever large-scale mass movement for defending the right to autonomy under the CCP regime, took place with the participation of Mongolian students, support from Mongolian workers and government employees, and backing of Mongolian high-ranking officials. Not only was the very foundation of Chinese colonial regime shaken by it, but international communities also paid close attention.
The main goal of the Student Movement was to urge the Chinese Government to withdraw its “Document No. 28.” After several months, the Student Movement was put to an end without achieving its goal. Certainly, history testifies that, under the CCP regime, no student movement would ever be successful without a general strike by the entire working class and strong support from society as a whole. The Mongolian Student Movement was no exception. Despite its failure to achieve the goal, the Student Movement had a profound effect on the awakening of Southern Mongolians. As expected, Mongolians were retaliated against and punished by the Chinese. Tens of thousands were arrested, tortured, and sent to prison; many Mongolian officials were either removed from position, relocated, or forced to retire early. The plan of the Mongolians to reorganize the Mongolian cavalry was certainly aborted.
Around this time, Deng Xiaoping stated to “guarantee meaningful autonomy to all nationalities.” In the summer of 1981, when drafting “Document No. 28,” Chinese colonists admitted that “there have been some cases in which national minority autonomous rights were not respected” in the “Decision of the CCP on Various Issues Since the Establishment of the PRC” passed during the 6th Session of the 11th Congress of the CCP. However, in the 1982 amendment to the Chinese Constitution, an article was added to remove national characteristics in nationality autonomy and allowed Chinese to be the director of the People’s Congress Steering Committee in national minority areas. Shortly after, this became reality. Both the position of the Director of the People’s Congress Steering Committee and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in nationality areas were filled with Chinese. Today, the Chinese are demanding that the Chairman of the Autonomous Region be Chinese. In the near future, this position could possibly be filled with a Chinese. Even if the Chairman of the Autonomous Region is a Mongolian, in the sense of his limited authority in decision-making, by no means is it any better than the position being occupied by a Chinese.
Then, on May 31, 1984, the “Nationality Autonomy Law of the People’s Republic of China” was adopted and went into effect on October 1, 1984. Including its foreword, it contained eight chapters with 67 articles. Articles 19 to 45 contained dozens of autonomous rights. Legal researchers divided them into three different categories: political, economic, and cultural rights. From the perspective of actual implementation, I divide them into either nominal or meaningful articles. In order words, the former is guaranteed but can never be implemented. The latter can be enjoyed through actual implementation. Specifically, both the Constitution and the Nationality Autonomy Law have a number of nominal articles that can never be implemented without detailed clauses and specified provisions.
Therefore, a number of legal researches concerned with the actual implementation raised their recommendations for an immediate adoption of detailed clauses and specified provisions, including “Nationality Autonomy Economic Law,” “Nationality Autonomy Local Economy Law,” “National Minority Labor Protection Law,” “National Minority Culture and Education Law,” “Autonomous Administration Law,” “National Minority Marriage Law,” “Land, Water, and Grazing Protection Law,” “National Minority Custom Law,” “Nationality Equality Law,” and “Nationality Labor and Skill Training Law.” They also demanded the adoption of “Law to Prohibit Cultivation of Grassland,” “Law to Control Immigration,” and “Law to Guarantee the Development of National Minority Language and Literature” in Southern Mongolia.
They also demanded the establishment of special courts, including a Constitutional Court, Administrative Court, Economic Court, Autonomy Legal Court, and Nationality Legal Court. Had these legislations been adopted and courts created, Southern Mongolia’s situation have been better. Unfortunately, 20 years have passed since the Nationality Autonomy Law of the People’s Republic of China was implemented. Yet no such subsequent legislation was adopted, no such courts set up. Only a couple of provisos have been passed so far. Even then, they were useless in practice due to absence of clear clauses on specific issues.
An example is the “Provisions on the Usage of Mongolian Language in the Southern Mongolia Autonomous Region.” No government unit has ever abided by these provisions during the past 20 years, for no detailed, specific clauses have been passed to make them implementable. This can be considered a trick by the colonists to fool the Southern Mongolians and the world—the colonists are good at making empty promises, but never have the sincerity to fulfill them. Instead, they do whatever pleases them to achieve their goal of assimilating Southern Mongolians.
Thirty years have passed since the “Nationality Autonomy Law” was established. In that time, the Chinese Government has never passed a single detailed provision in any of those so-called Autonomous Regions. In Southern Mongolia, when the Director of the CPPCC was still a Mongolian, he attempted to raise this proposal. However, his proposal was never accepted. In the “Nationality Autonomy Law,” there is an article guaranteeing the right of the Autonomous Regions to have their own army for self-defense. Certainly, this right has never been enjoyed. I remember that my proposal to “establish a similar army after the autonomous state of Southern Mongolia is established in the future to prevent possible genocide and ethnic cleansing from being committed by the Chinese again” in my original version of “Way Out of Southern Mongolia” was used as an excuse by the Chinese to put me into prison. It has been made public to the world that the crime the Chinese authorities accused me of was a groundless accusation.
Chinese colonists, however, are still denying autonomous rights of indigenous peoples through all possible means. In the spring of 2001, the Chinese authorities changed the “exhaustively” language of Articles 17 and 18 to use “appropriately” instead. The original articles were originally worded as follows:
· Article 17: “Employment positions in governments of the Autonomous Region, autonomous zhous and autonomous counties must be exhaustively made available for members of the autonomous region level national minority and other national minorities.”
· Article 18: “Employment positions in affiliated units of autonomous region government branches must be exhaustively made available for members of the autonomous region level national minority and other national minorities.”
These articles had an implication of the mandatory nature of preferential policy in employment prior to the change. Now they not only imply that the preferentiality is optional, but also suggest that it can be determined by the population ratio of the Chinese and the national minority concerned.
According to researchers of the “Nationality Autonomy Law,” one of the important indicators of how faithfully the right to autonomy is honored in government units of autonomous regions is the content, nature, and implementation of its detailed clauses and specific provisions. Today, this criteria is completely inapplicable in our case since there has been no single detailed clause or specific provision adopted to be put to test. One can easily imagine how the so-called “autonomy” would look under this circumstance. All indigenous peoples under the Chinese colonial regime feel deep discontent against the regime’s oppression and a strong aspiration to social justice and rule of law.
However, in order to continue to fool the international community, the Chinese colonialists are shamelessly claiming to the world that China already has a comprehensive legal system for nationality autonomy. The reality is that the Chinese are, like kings or monarchs, controlling every corner of society in nationality minority areas. What they say is law there. At the same time, they are responsible for defending and advancing the interest of the general Chinese populace who occupy indigenous peoples’ territories. Indigenous peoples are treated like slaves.
Chinese propaganda always highlights that nationality area autonomy is a critical part of the political system of China. The very core of a political system is rule of law. However, the Southern Mongolians are facing many different threats. Not only have they become an absolute minority on their own land, but they also have lost their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms in a Chinese society where rule of law is replaced by rule of dictatorship and where autonomy is replaced by heteronomy. Since it is impossible to list all instances of threats, crises, and humanitarian catastrophes that Southern Mongolians are facing today, I attempt to show a few examples of some major ones here. As a side note, I choose not to identify an exhaustive list not because I am afraid of criticizing China, but because I would like to keep the article as concise as possible. Here are nine modern threats South Mongolians face.
1. Destruction of Natural Environment
A. As recently as 20 years ago, sandstorms were only a local problem in deserts in the Alshaa area in western Southern Mongolia. Today, sandstorms have already reached the Hulun-boir area, the eastern tip of Southern Mongolia, and have been worsening year by year.
B. Twenty years ago, desertification was totally unheard of in Hulun-boir. Today, desertification is uncontrollable in Hulun-boir due to worsening sandstorms, cultivation of grassland, and expansion of extractive industries.
C. In the 1940s–1950s, Hulun-boir area had more than 3,000 rivers and lakes. Today, there are only about 300 left.
D. Mining, particularly coal mining, was not allowed in Shiliin-gol grassland as it was a protected area. Today, not only are grasslands recklessly destroyed for mines in Shiliin-gol, but also an increasing number of local Mongolian herders are being killed by mining trucks.
E. Air pollution is reaching an extreme level. Residents of major cities, including Hohhot and Bogot, cannot breathe in the thick smog even in the summer due to coal burning, increasing cars and exploding Chinese population;
2. Elimination of Government Positions for Mongolians and Suppression, Arrest, and Imprisonment of Mongolian Intellectuals
A. Mr. Jargal (father of Mr. Baatar, the current Chairman of the Autonomous Region), then the Deputy Secretary of the Autonomous Region Party Committee, who opposed the Chinese Central Government Document No. 28 during the 1981 Mongolian Student Movement was tortured and maltreated by Chinese high-ranking officials, including Hu Yaobang and Zhou Hui. Later he was murdered by them.
B. Temee (“Ting Mao” in Chinese), then the Deputy Secretary of the Autonomous Region Party Committee, was removed from power after being blamed for the Student Movement while the root cause was the Chinese policy.
C. Zhou Hui also worked in secret to remove Batbagan from his position. However, Batbagan took a preemptive action to petition Beijing to prevent himself from being removed from position. Without achieving his goal, Zhou Hui left Southern Mongolia.
D. Yun Bulong, then the Deputy Secretary of the Autonomous Region Party Committee and who expressed his sympathy to Hada and other members of the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance after their arrest, was run over by the only train running on the vast Southern Mongolian grassland while he was the Chairman of the Autonomous Region. Many believe he was murdered by the Chinese.
E. Mr. Shuurgan, President of the Southern Mongolia University, was summoned to Beijing after being “rescued” from an alleged hostage situation. Mongolians believe this mysterious summons was because of his strong national sentiment.
F. The arrest of Wang Suyi and the downfall of Zhao Shuanglian and Han Zhiran were also an indication of the nationality question in Southern Mongolia.
G. Ulaan also faced the removal of position recently, according to sources.
3. Imprisonment of Mongolian Intellectuals
Since the 1981 Mongolian Student Movement, thousands of Mongolian intellectuals have been arrested and sent to jail for resisting Chinese oppression and defending the Mongolian autonomy. Even today, many Mongolians are being held in Chinese prisons for this reason. While some of them have been released from Chinese prisons, they are still not free from the Chinese authoritarian regime, spending a life that is no different from that in prison. Others are placed under house arrest indefinitely.
4. Influx of Chinese into Southern Mongolia
A. During 1980s to 1990s, when he was in power in Southern Mongolia, Wang Qun issued an order to cultivate the virgin land of Hulun-boir into crop field, ignoring the opposition from a high-ranking official from the Nationality Affairs Committee. At the same time, Wang Qun also migrated another wave of Chinese into Hulun-boir grassland in the name of “Reform and Open-up.” As such, 300,000 Chinese from Harmurun Province settled in Hulun-boir and started cultivating the land there. Originally from interior China during the Cultural Revolution, they were mostly peasants who took refuge in Harmurun. By no means were they the only wave of Chinese settled in Hulun-boir.
B. I remember around 2013 when the Chinese Government adopted a new policy to allow migrant workers’ children to apply for school in places where they currently reside. Among the five so-called “Autonomous Regions” only Southern Mongolia acted was chosen as a guinea pig. In order to invite more affluent Chinese, the Chinese Government started to lower the real estate prices in major cities in Southern Mongolia, including Hohhot. As a result of this pilot project that was implemented in only a handful of cities in China, an influx of Chinese recently came to and settled in Southern Mongolia.
5. Illegal Appropriation of Mongolian Grazing Lands
Starting in early 2000, the Chinese Government has been illegally appropriating Mongolian herders’ grazing lands under the pretext of the “Western Development Project.” Specifically, this has been achieved through mining, building factories, creating the so-called “nature conservancy” (in many cases, Chinese settlers are then given the grazing lands confiscated from Mongolian herders to use for farming and raising pigs and chickens), paving roads, establishing military bases, or in the name of “protecting grassland ecosystem.” In many cases, grazing lands taken away from Mongolian herders have been transferred directly to Chinese peasants for growing crops.
We must be reminded that, behind these moves, there has been a hidden policy at work for destroying Mongolian national economy, transforming grazing lands to mining fields or farmlands, wiping out Mongolian pastoralist civilization, and ultimately assimilating the Southern Mongolians entirely as a people. More specifically, these are parts of the sinicization policy of the Chinese colonists. Voices of grievance from herders who have lost their homes, lands, and livelihoods are heard from every corner of Southern Mongolia. Protests, demonstrations, and petitions become commonplace.
Particularly, in recent months, discontent is mounting from herders for the authorities’ failure to pay compensations after appropriating the herders’ grazing lands in the name of “government use” or “development.” For years, an increasing number of herders have been arrested, detained, and imprisoned for petitioning to the regional government, to the CCP Committee, and even to the Central Government in Beijing. Nothing currently indicates that herders’ grievances will be addressed in a just manner.
6. Lack of a Distinctive Administrative Style
Since the former Zuun-Ud League was changed to Ulaanhad City in the 1980s, a majority of leagues have been converted to cities as well. Today, only three leagues have not been converted to cities. However, Hingaan League will also be changed to a city soon. In a similar fashion, former cities have been converted to districts and Sums converted to townships. As a result, Southern Mongolian administrative style is increasingly further from that of the independent country of Mongolia. Instead, it increasingly resembles that of the Chinese. This is nothing but a part of China’s sinicization policy and national oppression.
Relevant Chinese laws prohibit anyone from randomly changing names of places and administrative styles. However, the Chinese colonists are trashing their own laws, acting at their will and ignoring the discontent and resistance of the Mongolians. This also can be understood as part of the Chinese’s attempt to destroy the aspiration of Southern Mongolians to have an independent country with a distinct administrative style. It could also be an attempt by the Chinese to claim in the future that Southern Mongolia is part of China since the time of memorial as it is Chinese way of territorial claim.
Southern Mongolians, therefore, as the indigenous people of the land, must establish their own independent state to prevent the Chinese from advancing on all fronts toward us. From the perspective of the colonists, it is logical for them to advance in such a manner. The so-called nationality culture greater zone and so-called nationality culture stronger zone are nothing but another move for fooling the international community. How ironic this is! Everything has been sinicized. Which nationality will the “cultural zone” belong to—the Mongolians or the Chinese
7. Strict Control of Mongolian Population
The growth of Mongolian population is strictly controlled. Due to China’s “family planning” policy adopted in the 1980s, the Mongolian population in Southern Mongolia has been struggling to maintain a population 2 million, let alone increasing. Demographic studies suggest that Southern Mongolian couples must have 2.3 children on average to maintain the current Mongolian population. However, having two children is very difficult for rural Mongolians, let alone urban Mongolians. It is not because the Mongolians do not want to have more children, but because they cannot raise them due to the impoverishment caused by the destruction, plundering, and exploitation of the Chinese.
On their own territories, Mongolians are deprived of the right to access to land, water, and other resources. One can imagine how beautiful life would be for 2-3 million Mongolians if all 20 million Chinese were gone. Seeing no choice, some Mongolian officials advice the Mongolians to stick to the one-child policy so that their lives are a bit better. I remember that Ulaanhuu always advocated to “increase the population of human and livestock simultaneously.”
Today, among the 5 million Mongolians, 3 million are Chinese. Many Chinese changed their nationality to “Mongolian” on their papers in order to take advantage of having an extra child, enjoying some bonus scores when getting into colleges, and hoping to have better opportunities for work promotions. These fraudulent “Mongolians” not only will negatively affect the struggle for defending our national interest, but also will possibly sabotage our future nation-building of an independent state. Today, many officials who identify themselves as Mongolian are, in fact, this type of fake “Mongolian.” Current President of the Southern Mongolia University, for example, is a fake “Mongolian,” according to recent social media discussions.
8. Lack of Mongolian Schools
The Mongolian population in Hohhot is about 210,000. However, only 3,000 Mongolian children are taught in Mongolian. In the 1980s, the total Mongolian population in Southern Mongolia was about 2 million, and 110,000 Mongolian children were taught in Mongolia in the first grade. This number was reduced to only 9,000 in 2009. In Hohhot, there are only two Mongolian elementary schools. Of them, one is almost entirely occupied by ethnic Korean students. There are only two middle schools teaching in Mongolian in Hohhot. Of them, one is mostly occupied by Chinese students.
Mongolian schools’ classrooms are filled with children from both rural and urban areas since the migrant workers’ children are also absorbed by the same schools. Given no choice, those Mongolian children who did not have the luck of being accepted by these very few Mongolian schools are forced to attend Chinese schools. This dire situation is not limited only to Hohhot.
What is even worse is that rural-level Mongolian schools are relocated to urban areas. As a result, those short-handed Mongolian households in rural areas have no choice but to send their children to Chinese schools nearby. On the contrary, Chinese children from rural areas and urban areas alike are in much better shape and are entitled to much higher privileges and brighter futures than indigenous Mongolian children.
9. Death of the Mongolian Language
In the spring of 2001, when amending the “Nationality Autonomy Law,” the Chinese Government once again, in order to deceive the international community, added a nice sounding clause urging Chinese cadres who work and live in national minority areas to learn the language of the national minority concerned. Certainly, the Chinese authorities were well-aware that this is just to serve as empty rhetoric that will never be fulfilled. No nation other than China on our planet has ever showed such a total absence of sincerity and honesty to what they claim.
Fifteen years have past since this law was passed. Is there a single Chinese who learned the language of the indigenous people? Are there any Chinese who were held liable for violating this law? Now, the Chinese are trumpeting to launch a 21st century version of “Great Leap Forward” by establishing a “nationality cultural stronger zone” after completing the “nationality cultural greater zone.” How can there be a culture without language? No one but the Chinese can shamelessly advertise this kind of myth as national policy.
Chinese so-called “intellectuals” are no better than their authoritarian rulers. They publicly suggest their rulers seize the opportunity to assimilate indigenous children by justifying that they will not be able to find better employment opportunities if they choose not to learn Chinese. No doubt, the Chinese colonial regime will thank these Chinese “intellectuals” and embrace their vicious idea.
In terms of employment opportunities, those Mongolians educated in Mongolian have far slimmer chances of being hired or promoted in both governmental and non-governmental sections. Therefore, the unemployment rate of the Mongolians is much higher than that of the Chinese. We really cannot blame those Mongolian children who are attending Chinese schools. Under the Chinese colonial regime, almost half of the Mongolian population is assimilated. According to recent news on the Internet, in 2015, Mongolian was listed as an endangered language.
Generally speaking, those who fought for the independence, revival, prosperity, happiness, and freedom of Southern Mongolia, particularly those Mongolian revolutionists from the Tumed region, might not have foreseen the misfortune that we are facing today. It is an unfortunate fact that the gap between our aspiration and reality is ever widening. If we miss another 60 years without creating a possibility of putting an end to national oppression by the Chinese colonial regime, extinction of the Southern Mongolians as a distinct people is inevitable.
According to a book on the Southern Mongolia question by a Taiwanese retired writer, Beijing will never allow the independence of Southern Mongolia. Rather, it will quickly work to wipe out the Southern Mongolians. Although I do not agree with many of the writer’s arguments, I agree with him on this point. Since I have previously argued about this in other articles, I will not to repeat my argument here. But given this, then, will there be no way out for Southern Mongolians?
Way Out of Southern Mongolia
Throughout history, no nation has voluntarily disappeared from the historical arena. If any of them has ever gone extinct, it must have been inevitable. All nations, including Southern Mongolia, are not exempt from this rule of the game. In human history, there have been less than 20 nations that created world-level empires. Of them, two were Mongolians, which is more than 10%, and five were Mongolian descendants, which is more than 25% of the total nations. The Mongolian empire was listed as the largest one during the Cold War era.
As you all know, the Hunnuu (or Huns) had invaded the Chinese multiple times in history. There will no such case in which the Mongolians, as a dignified people who created these great histories, would be simply colonized by the Chinese without a murmur and silently fade away. In other words, Mongolians will gather all their strengths to save their nation from going extinct. Starting in the 1980s, an increasing number of Mongolians have believed that Mongolians will have the chance to save their nation only if they choose the correct path to free themselves from Chinese colonization immediately. These Mongolians living in different countries around the world today have raised many different proposals as to how we achieve our goal. I will cover eight of them here.
1. Proposal for Achieving Independence through Military Forces
Today, it is hard to estimate how much this proposal is accepted by the general Southern Mongolian population. But I remember it was fairly welcomed by many during the 1980s through 1990s. At the beginning, even I myself did not flatly reject this plan. On some occasions, I even mentioned to my friends that the Southern Mongolia question can possibly be resolved through military intervention. However, after several years of research and observation on international affairs, I concluded that the Southern Mongolia question must be resolved through peaceful and nonviolent means. Therefore, I always highlight nonviolence in my work.
At the same time, I did not choose to have direct confrontations with those who consider military means as an alternative, for I respect their right to have a different opinion that has its own justification. Today, I am not sure whether any Mongolians consider force as an option since I have been deprived of the right to meet or speak with any friends after I was released from the “black jail.” I have no way to find out whether any of those overseas Southern Mongolian organizations uphold the ideology of military force. I cannot find out the exact goal of each and every Southern Mongolian overseas organization. The ones I know are mostly embracing nonviolent principles as the common means to achieve common goals.
In this sense, we agree with each other. I firmly believe those, if any, who advocate violence will soon give up what they believe because violence will not only be rejected by Southern Mongolians, but also will be condemned by peace-loving people around the world. One of the main reasons is that people increasingly dislike violence because, through nonviolence means, people can achieve everything that can and cannot be achieved through violence. We must be reminded that violence has no future, that it will only lead people to extremism, exhaustion, and crisis. If we start off on the wrong foot, things can hardly be corrected later on.
2. Proposal for Moving the Entire Southern Mongolian Population Off the Territory
This proposal is to move the entire Mongolian population under the Chinese colonial occupation off the Chinese territory to the independent country of Mongolia. In other words, this is to leave the entire Southern Mongolian territory to the Chinese free of charge. There were many Mongolians who advocated this idea in the 1980s. I remember that some said that a great number of Mongolians of the independent country of Mongolia endorsed this idea. Especially, since the democratic transition of Mongolia, as Mongolians from both sides of the border freely visited each other, an increasing number of citizens of Mongolia started embracing this idea. After I was released from prison, I read online that, indeed, a great number of Mongolian citizens support this idea today. Some Chinese media also reported that certain politicians from Mongolia started to “relocate the Southern Mongolian brothers and sisters and abandon their territory.”
This proposal can be justified at least from the perspective of population density. Today, the independent country of Mongolia has the population of 3 million on the only 1.57 million square kilometer territory. Furthermore, almost half of the country’s population is living in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. If you add populations from other cities, 2 million are urban dwellers, leaving the rural area almost entirely deserted. The entire Southern Mongolian population can easily be settled there. Some citizens of Mongolia even propose relocating all Mongolians not only from Southern Mongolia but also from Mongolian areas under Russian control. Even if this were to be carried out, the population density of Mongolia is still reasonably moderate.
Mongolia is listed as one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world while its territory in terms of area is listed as 18th in the world. If this proposal is to be implemented, we cannot imagine how Russia will respond. But we are sure that China will be very happy about it even though it might try to act unhappy and hide its jubilance. China would be happy for several reasons: one, the long-standing problem of so-called “national separatism” will go away forever; two, the northern frontier of Southern Mongolia will be in peace forever; and three, the vast territory of Southern Mongolia will become a property of China forever. However, the great news for Mongolians is that Southern Mongolians are still very hopeful and optimistic about establishing their own independent state on their own territory. Therefore, this proposal cannot be implemented—at least not in the near future.
3. Proposal for Taking the Partial Territory
This is a proposal to leave certain pieces of territory to China and establish an autonomous or independent state of Southern Mongolians on the remaining territory. The heart of this proposal is to handle the Chinese population of Southern Mongolia in a more humane manner. It must not be understood that Southern Mongolians are generously giving their territory to the Chinese as a gift. This proposal has several versions:
A. Version for leaving the frontier territories where the Chinese population is overwhelmingly predominant to China and establishing an autonomous or independent state on the remaining territory to ultimately unite with Mongolia. This version of the proposal was fairly popular in the 1980s through the 1990s. I am uncertain how popular this version is today.
B. Version for leaving Bor-tohai (“he tao” in Chinese) area where the Chinese are the absolute majority to China. This version argues that the Mongolian population ratio will be much higher elsewhere. It has two major flaws:
a) In all of Southern Mongolia, Mongolians are only the majority in Tusheet Banner of Hingaan League.
b) If Bor-tohai is to be given to the Chinese, Ordos region also needs to be transferred to the Chinese. Strong nationalistic Ordos Mongolians would never accept this proposal.
C. Version for establishing an autonomous state on the chosen piece of the territory, inviting Mongolians from all parts of China to the autonomous state and allowing the Chinese to live on the designated parts of the territory so that Mongolian population will become 60% of the total population in Southern Mongolia. Eventually, through referendum, the autonomous state will unite with the independent country of Mongolia. This is the proposal the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance (SMDA) came up with 20 years ago. This year, the United States Congress praised the idea.
Version B was proposed by someone who was not quite familiar with the situation of Southern Mongolia. Due to its impracticality, we should move on to the other versions. Versions A and C are worth taking a closer look at. These two versions were formed during the 1980s to 1990s when Mongolians were very pessimistic about their future considering the extinction of Southern Mongolians as a people is inevitable. The foundation of this despair was that the Chinese population in Southern Mongolia is hopelessly numerous and backed by a formidable state apparatus.
Comparatively, Mongolians are weak and small. The independent country of Mongolia cannot become a strong support to the cause of Southern Mongolians, and the international community is not interested in Southern Mongolian issues. Additionally, in 1989, the Chinese Student Movement met a bloody crackdown. The Chinese authoritarian regime was still firm and strong even though communist regimes collapsed in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Sympathizers and supporters to Mongolians, Tibetans, and Uyghurs suffering under the Chinese colonial occupation were very few. Their struggle for freedom and independence was not encouraged and supported by the international community. In particular, the supporters of Southern Mongolian issues were even fewer. Thus, these two versions (A and C) were developed by the Southern Mongolians out of despair. Today, I believe not many people endorse these versions because the future of Southern Mongolians is considered not as bleak as imagined.
4. Creating an Independent State after the Collapse of the Chinese Colonial Regime
Through my research on the way out of Southern Mongolia, I also attempted to shed light on the future of Mongolians elsewhere. The future of Southern Mongolia can be summarized as follows: Southern Mongolia will become an independent nation on its current territory, which is about 1.18 million square kilometers. Even though this sounds unrealistic today, the good news is that the Chinese colonial regime is an inch from total collapse. A golden opportunity to create an independent state to manage their own political affairs will come to Southern Mongolians when this totalitarian regime collapses.
Under these circumstances, provinces of China will either create their own independent states or form several independent confederate states. The newly established Beijing Government will have a very limited military power, which will probably just be limited to the Beijing Military Command. At that point, the Chinese economy will crumble, and the military and police will barely be fed. Armed forces will be more humane compared to those in 1989 and will be hesitant to carry out bloody crackdowns on movements espousing freedom and self-determination of nationality minorities. At the same time, owing to military and other forms of pressure from the democratic world, including from the United States and Japan, internal strife within the new government, and resistance from the general public, the newly established Chinese regime will not have sufficient courage and strength to carry out crackdowns by force.
Thus, the only choice available to them will be to resolve issues through peaceful negotiation with those newly established independent neighbors. The main topic of the negotiations will be the solution of how to handle those millions of Chinese immigrants who illegally settled in indigenous nations’ territories. In my prediction, 2/3 of the 20 million Chinese immigrants will voluntarily return to their native country once the independent Southern Mongolian statehood is established. They will do so for the following reasons: 1) they will be well-aware that Southern Mongolia is not their homeland, 2) they will have a certain degree of fear of possible revenge from the Mongolians, and 3) they will never make the effort to learn Mongolian and understand Mongolian culture and tradition.
Then, the next step will be how to deal with the remaining 8 million Chinese immigrants. One possible solution can be to issue temporary residency cards to them. With such cards, they have the right to elect their own representatives within the Chinese communities only. They will not have the right to be elected to run any office within the Southern Mongolian government. An agreement will be made between the governments of China and Southern Mongolia to repatriate 800,000 Chinese immigrants each year back to China for the goal of repatriating all of them within 10 years. About 1 million Chinese who either have marital relationships with Mongolians or are competent in the Mongolian language can be granted permanent resident status if the following conditions are satisfied: 1) they are willing to stay in Southern Mongolia, and 2) they must have learned Mongolian language fluently. Certainly, they will also enjoy the right to learn their own language.
This is the first step to save our nation. Once this step is completed, conditions for a democratic system will naturally be formed in Southern Mongolia. In other words, democratic transition is possible only when national freedom is obtained. This order must not be reversed. Many fear possible military crackdown by the Chinese. This is unlikely the case because, if the Chinese use military force, the democratic world—including the United States—will take a counter-measure to deal with the situation. Even if Southern Mongolia becomes the second Kosovo, justice is on our side. The Chinese government will be brought to justice as a war criminal. This will further strengthen our independence and sovereignty.
5. Establishing an Independent Southern Mongolia and Repatriating Millions of Chinese
Today, in many Chinese provinces and cities, a great number of people are identifying themselves as Mongolians or descendants of Mongolian officials or generals during the Mongol Empire. Indeed, they have strong Mongolian characteristics in their ways of life, customs, languages, beliefs, arts, and music. Especially in recent years, as they have had closer interactions with the Southern Mongolians, they have been wearing Mongolian traditional clothes, performing ritual ceremonies for Chingghis Khan, hosting Naadam festivals, entertaining Mongolian arts and music, and adopting Mongolian names. In some places, they even started learning the Mongolian language. The reason they take these actions is undoubtedly to return to their original Mongolian homeland to become genuine Mongolians and live genuine Mongolian lives.
From my preliminary research, I discovered that they live in the Chinese provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Guangdong, Hubei, Fujian, Jiangsu, Henan, Shanxi, Beijing, and Nanjing. There is a trend in which more such Mongolians will emerge elsewhere in China. As China implemented the “Reform and Open-up” policy, an increasing number of Southern Mongolians also moved to major cities of China, including Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Shenzhen, Kunming, Guangzhou, Harbin, Changchun, and Mugden. In Beijing alone, the Mongolian population including original residents and new settlers is well over 100,000. Today, they are there because Southern Mongolia is still under Chinese colonial occupation. However, they will undoubtedly move back to Southern Mongolia once it becomes an independent nation.
The future independent Southern Mongolia will not only welcome them back, but also invite all Mongolians scattered across China to come to Southern Mongolia to be naturalized through a proper screening process. Since it is impractical to annex the territories where they currently reside to Southern Mongolia, there will be no choice but to leave those territories for China. Certainly, all these must be resolved through mutual agreement. These territories left inside China can be allocated to those Chinese who will be repatriated from Southern Mongolia.
This will bring an additional benefit to the Chinese. The water resource of Southern Mongolia is sufficient for only 5 million people. However, today this precious resource is shared by 30 million people and 200 million livestock and wild animals. Factories, mines, and farms are consuming even a much larger quantity of the water resource, causing a series of crises: underground water is depleted; lakes and rivers are drying out; desert is expanding; and sandstorms are not only threatening Beijing and Tianjin but also reaching Korea, Japan, and as far as the other side of the globe. Therefore, it will be mutually beneficial to both sides if the Chinese withdraw their millions of immigrants from north of the Great Wall.
The international community, including the United States and the European Union, will strongly support this proposal. Although establishing an independent Southern Mongolia and repatriating millions of Chinese seem to be impractical for the time being, geopolitical circumstances will change dramatically when conditions are ripe in the future.
6. A Great Migration of Mongolians from Xinjiang, Gansu, and Tibet
How do we take care of the Mongolians in Xinjiang, Gansu, and Tibet? The majority of them are Oirad Mongolians. Their way out will be a great migration. Their conditions are different from that of those who live in other provinces of China. There can be several options: one, direct migration to Mongolia; two, migration to Southern Mongolia; or three, migration to western frontiers of Southern Mongolia and eastern frontiers of the future Uyghur Nation (or East Turkistan) and leaving the original territories to the Uyghurs. In other words, they will trade in their territories for the territories of the Uyghurs. The option for directly migrating to Mongolia is the last resort for the total loss of their territories without any cost.
Therefore, Oirad Mongolians will be highly likely to disapprove of this proposal. However, signing a treaty with the Uyghur state for the goal of merging with Southern Mongolia and trading in their territories for the territories in the frontier areas could be a better option. The ultimate goal is still to unite with Mongolia. The latter two proposals are feasible because of the Mongolians’ closer historical, cultural, and linguistic ties with the Uyghurs, Kazaks, and Kirgyz. Mongolians of Gansu, Khukhnuur, and Tibet can also unite themselves into Mongolia through a similar means.
Depending on the circumstances, Mongolians of some areas may need several rounds of territorial exchange to become part of Mongolia. For example, there are a substantial number of Torghud Mongolians in Alshaa League. If they wish to unite with their close relatives (Oirad Mongolians), Southern Mongolia can sign a treaty with the future independent Uyghur state to make it happen. Then, together, they can unite with Mongolia.
The Moghors, Yellow Yoghors, Dongxiang, and Bao An are also Altaic-speaking people of Mongolian origin. Some of them may have Xianbei origin. If they wish, they can become citizens of Southern Mongolia. Modern-day Hotong (Hui) people are also said to be descendants of Mongolian officials in the Yuan Dynasty. This could be one of the reasons that a map of the Republic of China had Ningxia as part of Alshaa. If an agreement is to be reached, then the Chinese of Ningxia should be repatriated to China, and the remaining population should enjoy autonomy with Mongolian and Chinese as official languages based on necessary legislations.
7. Mongolians Claim Ancestral Territory from Gansu and Harmurun North of the Great Wall
Starting as early as the Chinese Dynasty of Qin, nations established by Mongolian ancestors shared borders with the Chinese along the Great Wall. If we trace back history even before then, the border between the Chinese and the Mongolian ancestors was farther south toward the Yellow River. However, the border shifted north to the Great Wall as a result of gradual encroachment and military aggression by the Chinese. Up until the late Manchu Qing, a Chinese presence north of the Great Wall had never been allowed.
However, nearing its collapse, the desperate Imperial Qing Court opened the Mongolian land to the Chinese peasants to cultivate and settle there. The Chinese peasants not only greedily occupied Mongolian land, but also started carrying out horrendous atrocities against the local Mongolian population. For instance, during the Jindandao Rebellion that started in eastern Southern Mongolia’s Uukhan Banner, at least 150,000 Mongolians were killed by the Chinese. The Mongolian population has dramatically declined there since then and has never been able to thrive again in these areas.
During the era of Republic of China, the Mongolians once again rose up to launch a series of armed resistance against the Chinese peasants who were backed up by Chinese warlords. Tracts of Mongolian land had been occupied by Chinese settlers due to the lack of sufficient Mongolian population and armed force to resist the Chinese encroachment. The most significant such encroachment and plundering have taken place since the Chinese communist regime came into existence.
Just a few days ago, more than a hundred masked Chinese from Gansu Province carried out a terrorist attack against Mongolian herders in Eznee Banner in order to occupy their grazing lands. The Chinese colonial authorities defended this terrorist action through all possible means. The biggest question is, who has a double standard on terrorism? What if the attackers were the Mongolians instead of the Chinese? The attackers would have been shot dead on the spot.
Let us get back to the main discussion about territorial claim, though. The Mongolians must claim their ancestral territory from Gansu and Harmurun north of the Great Wall. There are various proposals as to how exactly this can be done. If necessary, during the transitional period, Southern Mongolia can be placed under the jurisdiction of the United Nations through its resolution. Once the 8 million Chinese are repatriated, 70-80 million Mongolian descendants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries can be invited to settle in Southern Mongolia. They can choose to either sell or lease their land where they reside now. A sufficient period of time must be given for them to complete these great migrations.
Then, the first and foremost task of these newly arrived Mongolians is to learn the Mongolian language and restore their traditional Mongolian way of life. Those Mongolians who have been sinicized to a considerable degree must make a greater effort to restore their Mongolian identities. In other words, this will be a true era of national revival. I firmly believe this dream will come true.
8. Way Out for Other Mongolians
I would like to touch upon the way out of Buriat (reportedly, they are now planning to change their name to Northern Mongolia), Tova (Tannu Uriyanhai), Altai (Mongolians of the Altai Repulic), Kalmyk, Tatar Mongolians, and descendants of Juchi and Batu Khans. Although this is not directly linked to the way out of Southern Mongolia, recently through my research I realized that they have a strong aspiration for uniting with the independent country of Mongolia. Sooner or later, will they become part of the united Mongolia. Yet their unification with Mongolia might be realized relatively later. One of the reasons could be the possibility that the international community, including the United States, will probably take the action to resolve the China question before the Russia question.
According to some reports, after the 1937 purge, the adult population of Northern Mongolia (Buriat) sharply declined to a level at which 9-year-old boys were counted as adults. During that time, their homeland was also divided into five pieces. Shortly later, two of the five pieces were eliminated. Therefore, in the future, when Russia is further disintegrated, the fist action it needs to take is to reclaim the lost territories to achieve territorial integration. The second step is to repatriate the Russians out of the Northern Mongolian territory. Once these steps are taken, it will take on the restoration of Mongolian culture to make the unification with Mongolia possible.
In recent years, reportedly Northern Mongolians, particularly in cities, are making great efforts to restore Mongolian culture and identity that relatively remain intact in rural areas there. Without a sufficient preparation made, unification with Mongolia is hardly achieved. In other words, unification is possible only after a sufficient length of time is granted after independence is achieved.
On the contrary, the status of Tannu Uriyanhai is even optimistic, for several reasons: it has been colonized for a relatively shorter period; assimilation is relatively superficial; and its territory has not been disintegrated. Nonetheless, it still needs to achieve its independence. Its unification with Mongolia will be done relatively quickly. The Republic of Altai might take a similar path. The situation of Kalmyk is relatively optimistic as well, for a majority of them are still in their homeland. Their culture and identity are kept relatively intact. However, unfortunately, they have no choice but to leave their territory behind to the Russians to come to settle in an appointed territory adjacent to Northern Mongolia in order to unite with Mongolia in the future.
Another possibility for them is to migrate directly to Mongolia. Mongolia will happily accept them. Due to loss of the entire territory, this proposal may not be the best choice for Kalmyks. The Tatars can also be given a land in the east to Northern Mongolia to ultimately unite with Mongolia. The Tatars originally lived in the east of Northern Mongolia. As far as the descendants of Juchi and Batu Khans are concerned, since they do not have a collective territory, they can migrate to Mongolia on an individual, family, or clan basis. The Mongolians will welcome them.
Then, how will the future of an independent Southern Mongolia look? Will it stay independent forever, or will it unite with Mongolia? Certainly, all Mongolians will yearn for unification with Mongolia. However, each newly born Southern Mongolia must remain independent for decades before it becomes part of Mongolia. Mongolia will not accept Southern Mongolia until its Chinese immigrants are repatriated. Even though the majority of Chinese immigrants are repatriated, at least a million Chinese and assimilated Mongolians will remain in Southern Mongolia. Therefore, citizens of Southern Mongolia must return after visiting Mongolia for a short period of time. If the policy is too lenient and allows them to stay in Mongolia longer, the government of Mongolia will be overburdened. The situation will be much different if all citizens of Southern Mongolia master the Mongolian language.
Another hurdle that might prevent Southern Mongolia from promptly uniting with Mongolia is that the population of Southern Mongolia will be ten times greater than that of Mongolia. Another reason Mongolia might not be willing to accept Southern Mongolia is the poverty caused by century-long Chinese colonization. Additional possible problem could include the aging of the Southern Mongolian population caused by the so-called family-planning policy implemented by the Chinese colonists. This will become a heavy economic and social burden on Mongolia, causing Mongolia to not be very eager to unite with Southern Mongolia anytime soon.
Maps of pan-Mongolia circulated online do not seem to take these into account. They are merely an expression of the Mongolian people’s aspiration to unify. Twenty years ago when writing my first version of “Way Out of Southern Mongolia,” I had a similar aspiration. Later on, although I have made some modifications and corrections to my original thoughts, I had not made a public announcement on this matter until I answered a journalist’s questions this spring.
In summary, it will take Southern Mongolia decades after its independence to unite with Mongolia. While this is not ideal, it will be the reality. The major goal of Southern Mongolia will be to put an end to the Chinese colonial occupation, to obtain its independence, then to resolve the issue of millions of Chinese immigrants, to invite our Mongolian brothers and sisters scattered around the world, and ultimately to unite with Mongolia. This is the only path that leads us to saving our nation. There have been a number of nations divided into two separate countries. As a side note, when the clause of “establishing an autonomous state on the certain part of Southern Mongolian territory through peaceful means and ultimately to unite with Mongolia” was adopted in the constitution of the SMDA, the agreement was not unanimous. Student members had a strong disagreement. However, we all agreed with my suggestion to keep it as it was until it comes to the point when amendment is necessary. Dear readers, please be reminded that here I would like to announce that the amendment is made according to the changing circumstances.
No matter whether Southern Mongolia becomes an independent state or whether it unites with Mongolia, there will be one nation that always stands in opposition to this—the heartless nation of China. If circumstances allow, China will never hesitate to carry out a bloody crackdown against any such attempt. According to some studies by an overseas Chinese “pro-democracy activist,” after the collapse of the CCP rule, the new regime will need at least five years to stand on its own feet. What worries this self-proclaimed “pro-democracy activist” the most seems to be how keep the Chinese empire intact. He is demanding those who fight for national determination be silent during this five-year period.
What I would like to say to him is that no one will ever listen to you colonizers! Why must we be obedient to you brutal colonizers? Why would we sacrifice our entire nation for your greed and temptation to control? I call on our Mongolian brothers and sisters around the world to reject and oppose any attempt—from any Chinese or Mongolians alike—to obstruct our effort to establish an independent nation! If there is any such five years as the “pro-democracy activist” mentioned, that will be the five years of golden opportunity bestowed upon us from the eternal blue sky. We must not be silent during that five-year period. We will perish if we remain silent and obedient. Why do the Chinese have zero-tolerance on the aspiration of struggle of the Mongolians to have their own independent state?
Many speculate that the Chinese are worried that they will not have enough territory to maintain their vast population if Southern Mongolia is to be an independent state. Let’s take a closer look at this theory.
Today, China is listed as the 54th country in the world in terms of population density. India, Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Taiwan have 300 people per square kilometer on their territories. South Korea even has 500 people per square kilometer. If China looses 90% of her territory, the population density will be 1,360 people per square kilometer. Compared to this, today Hong Kong has 6,317 people per square kilometer; Singapore has 6,389 people per square kilometer; and Macao has 17,684 people per square kilometer. They are still pretty much viable with these high population densities. Even if China loses 99% of her territory, she will not be the country that has the highest population density. Even if China disintegrates, not the entire Chinese population from Southern Mongolia is to be repatriated to China. Well, even if they are entirely sent back to China, China will still have enough territory to keep them. Therefore, space for the population certainly is not the main reason.
Some assumed the reason for the Chinese opposition against independence is the need to feed the population with a sufficient amount of food. No question, food security is a major issue in China due to population explosion and shrinking farmlands. However, this still is not coming to the point of crisis. Food shortage will still not be a real problem in China. With a territory equivalent to 1/3 of China, India, home to a vast population not too much smaller than that of China, is still capable of feeding her population. We must take into account the advancement of science and technology that contribute tremendously to the growth of food production. Even if crop yield is an issue within China, food export is always another available alternative. Therefore, it is hardly convincing that the Chinese are opposing national self-determination and national independence because of fear of food shortage—let alone the fact that Chinese crop yield has always been soaring, as the Chinese Government advertises.
Others believe that with almost the total depletion of her own natural resources, China cannot afford to loose Southern Mongolia because of its vast territory and natural wealth. This is indeed an undeniable fact. However, there are many countries that have very little natural resources yet have very strong economies. In the case of lack of natural resources, there are always other alternatives, such as exporting natural resources from other countries, moving to renewable resources, or modifying production modes. There is no way the Chinese colonial regime is unaware of all these alternatives.
What I would like to argue is that the main reason that the Chinese are so fiercely opposed to the independence of Southern Mongolia is their way of thinking and deep-rooted mentality, which centers on three key premises.
1. Over the past several thousands of years, the Chinese have recorded the names of nations and states of Mongolian origin with literal implication of beasts, animals, and devils. In their eyes, other nations and peoples have simply been regarded as sub-human, non-human, barbarous beasts. This deep-rooted mentality made the Chinese believe that they are the only civilized people. This further made them hardly believe in equal treatment to other peoples and nations. Therefore, the Chinese have been and will be regarding their invasion, colonization, oppression, and assimilation of barbarous peoples like the Mongolians as an act of blessing from the advanced and civilized nation of China that leads them to civilization and enlightenment.
2. The Chinese opposition to independence is also attributed to their self-centrism. Since they established the firm belief in which they are the only human beings while others are non-humans, they granted superior human privileges to themselves, allowing them to do whatever pleases them on Mongolian territory— including turning up grazing lands at their will, lying fallow to leave the cultivated land whenever it is deemed useless, and moving to other pieces of virgin land. Behind this behavior, another set of vicious mentality is at work. That is, “this is not our homeland. In the worst case, we will go back to our Chinese homeland without loosing anything. We don’t care if these beast-like Mongolians continue to survive or perish. In fact, it will be the best for us Chinese if all these Mongolians disappear overnight. That way, northern frontiers will be safer than ever.” With this attitude, knowing that the Mongolian Plateau is unsuitable for cultivation, the Chinese colonizers have never stopped the cultivation even today.
3. It also has to do with Chinese greed. Once China could feed her people, she started territorial disputes with neighboring countries and threatening smaller nations with military forces despite the fact that China will never win if there is to be any war. However, today China is boasting herself as a superpower and asking for more privileges and supremacy. For instance, China is attempting to occupy tiny islands to take control over trans-ocean trade routes; attempting to privatize international waters; claiming other nations’ oceanic spaces as her own territory; and starting to share the control over the Pacific Ocean with the United States.
No doubt, China will never hope to lose indigenous nations, including Southern Mongolia. The purpose of this discussion is to find out the reason that the Chinese are fiercely opposed to the struggle for independence, not to advocate for giving up the goal of independence for the opposition from the Chinese against independence as some Mongolian traitors have argued.
Then, let us predict what attitude the United States, the European Union, Russia, Japan, and Canada will have when Southern Mongolia attempts to unite with Mongolia. Certainly, this is an assumption regarding what would happen decades after Southern Mongolia becomes an independent state. To answer this question, let us look back at the positions these nations took when we had two major possibilities of unification in the past century.
After the Chinese Revolution of 1911, when Mongolia restored its independence and rallied Southern Mongolia to join the independence, 35 out of 49 Banners (equivalent to county) expressed their willingness to immediately join the independence. Oirad Mongolians in the west also decided to join the independence. The independent Mongolia immediately dispatched its military along five different routes to claim the entire territory of Southern Mongolia. Yet this grandiose undertaking had to be aborted due to resistance from Japan, Russia, and China. Specifically, the Treaty of Kyakhta signed between Mongolia, Russia, and China virtually turned down the aspiration of the Mongolians to establish its unified independent state.
Although not directly taking part in the treaty, Japan engaged in secret agreements with China and effectively destroyed the efforts of Prince Gunsannorov and General Babuujab for independence. Japan’s intention was to keep Southern Mongolia under its sphere of influence while leaving the independent Mongolia under the Russian influence to prevent the two Mongolias from uniting. These three nations, namely China, Russia, and Japan, are the major players of tearing Mongolia apart. A dozen other nations, including the United Kingdom and France, played an indirect role in this. They turned down Mongolia’s appeal for supporting the movement for independence and unification with Southern Mongolia and Oirad Mongolia. This was largely due to these nations’ caution for not questioning or even giving a tacit approval of Japanese interest in Southern Mongolia and Russian interest in Mongolia.
Any uncalculated intervention was deemed to alter the status quo of these superpowers, not only to jeopardize their own national interests, but also to run into risk of starting a world war. At this critical juncture, the First World War indeed broke out in Europe. This further deviated the attention of superpowers away from the Mongolia question. The output of the Treaty of Kyakhta could have been more favorable had the international circumstances turned otherwise. As such, the struggle of the Mongolians to have a unified independent state ended with failure.
History testifies to the fact that the fate of a nation sandwiched between two superpowers cannot be determined by its willpower but by the intervention of international players. More specifically, the Mongolian effort for unification taking advantage of the opportunity of the Chinese Revolution of 1911 had failed thanks to the intervention of Chinese and Japanese colonial powers. These colonial powers must be responsible for this failure. What a misfortune! Nonetheless, Russia’s colonial interest enabled Mongolia to be a buffer zone that is free from Chinese control under a nominal suzerainty over it. With support from the Soviet Union, Mongolia became an independent state thereafter.
In August 1945, Japanese colonial regime collapsed as the Soviet Union and Mongolian joint army took control over Southern Mongolia. Southern Mongolians created their provisional governments in Hingaan, Sunid, and Hulun-boir to express their willingness to the long-hoped-for unification. Delegates from the two governments in western Southern Mongolia were advised by Martial Choibalsan to return to Southern Mongolia to “set up [an] autonomous government as the Yalta Accord barred the unification of Mongolia.” Reportedly, Choibalsan trusted Stalin in the beginning and sent his army to join the joint expedition as he was told to “go ahead and liberate your Southern Mongolia.” It seemed that military officials of both the Soviet Union and Mongolia were not informed of the existence of such condition in the Yalta Accord.
Some said Stalin kept it secret as the signers agreed to not to disclose it for the time being. On the other hand, Stalin did need the Mongolian army to share the burden and minimize the casualty of his own army. The calculation from the Mongolian side was to take this opportunity to display its power by sending troops as an independent and sovereign nation to Chiang Kai-shek, who strongly disapproved of the independence of Mongolia. Reportedly, Stalin threatened Chiang Kai-shek to approve the unification of Southern Mongolia with Mongolia if he was unhappy about the independence of Mongolia. One can hardly imagine how the Southern Mongolian delegates and the Mongolian people in general were crestfallen upon hearing about these unfair and unfortunate contents of the Yalta Accord.
At this difficult moment, the Southern Mongolians had no choice but to accept the reality and continue their struggle for future independence through autonomy as the demand for independence was impractical at the time being. Thanks to China’s internal strife and civil war, Southern Mongolia had enjoyed freedom and sovereignty as an independent state for another few years. Some consider this period as having lasted up until 1947, while others believe it lasted until 1949. Reportedly, when signing a secret agreement on behalf of their respective governments in 1950 in Moscow, both Stalin and Mao Zedong added a clause to work together to make Southern Mongolia, Tibet, and Uyghur independent states in the future. No information about this agreement had ever been available until most recently when some articles about this showed up online. The credibility of this information is still in question. If there is indeed such agreement, it will help confirm the legitimacy of independence of these nations in the future.
Thus, Mongolians missed the second opportunity for establishing their independent state. What a tragic history! This was still, again, due to interventions from foreign countries. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union had directly intervened while China had done so as an indirect player without directly being admitted to the Yalta Conference. Without the strong backing from the Soviet Union, the independence of Mongolia could have been denied, let alone the hope of having a unified Mongolia. If such an agreement was indeed signed between Russia and China in 1950, then Stalin and Choibalsan could have worked to free Southern Mongolia out of Chinese control given there was no external interference. In order to maintain the independence status of Mongolia, Stalin had argued with and even threatened the delegates from the Republic of China on multiple occasions. However, we must be reminded that this was not because Stalin loved the Mongolians or promoted Mongolian national interest. He had done so merely for the purpose of keeping Mongolia as a buffer zone against possible threat from China.
Two golden opportunities that the Mongolians had a hundred years ago and seventy years ago, respectively, were laid waste by external interventions from superpowers. Let us imagine as to how these superpowers would react if there is to be a third such opportunity for the independence of Southern Mongolia. Except for China, all other nations today would support us. At least, they would not try very hard to destroy our opportunity. Then, what position would these nations take if we attempt to unite with Mongolia decades after the independence is achieved? I hope all nations but China would support us.
From the perspective of geopolitics and global strategic consideration, two nations in particular—China and Russia—are posing the biggest threat to the peace of mankind. From this consideration, the United States is deploying its troops in the Pacific region. In the next several decades or even a century, the main focus and attention will be placed on the effort to limit and reduce the power of China and Russia. This can be done through further disintegrating Russia and China and dividing them into multiple smaller states. Once these questions are resolved, the main focus of these countries will be shifted to resolving problems of Central Asia and South East Asia, where, by then, some countries might have already become superpowers to threaten regional security, if not global security.
On the other hand, these areas are home to a number of countries where nationality questions might trigger the disintegration of these countries and independence of national minorities with support from the international community. These processes can serve to weaken the power of those nations that threaten global security and to guarantee national minorities’ right to self-determination. From geographical importance, lying between Russia and China, a unified and independent Mongolia will contribute tremendously to the effort for disintegrating China and Russia, preventing these two superpowers from ganging up and empowering people around the world to defend regional and global peace and security.
However, due to the vast territories and multiple nationalities, disintegration of these two countries cannot be done at once. A multi-phased approach of disintegration is needed. If we look back history, the Soviet Union turned into 15 smaller countries. Today, all autonomous republics of Russia are longing for independence. Even after the independence of these autonomous republics, a number of smaller nationalities will follow the example to fight for their independence. Until the conditions are ripe, they will remain within Russia as new autonomous republics. Once circumstances permit, though, they will become independent states free from Russian control. China and South Asian countries will also take similar paths.
Considering Mongolia’s geographical location in Central Asia and close proximity to South Asian countries, the international community will invite the unified and powerful Mongolia to take part in the decision-making process in the region. Therefore, it is possible that superpowers will not take the position of opposition to the establishment of a united pan-Mongolia as they did in the past two occasions. The future unified Mongolia will be a large nation in terms of territory and population, which will raise concerns of possibly posing a threat to regional security. However, this concern is most likely unnecessary because a single-nationality democratic country would be least likely to invade other countries. Even if it were the case, the international community, in collaboration with China and Russia, would act promptly to put down the aggression so that the aggressive Mongolia would be disciplined like Japan and Germany.
In some sense, the Southern Mongolians are fortunate today as the international circumstances are unprecedentedly favorable toward us. We need strategic thinking and hard work to make this happen. Gunsannorov, Babuujab, Demtsegdonrov, and Haafungaa did not lack talent, courage, and effort. What was missing was a favorable international circumstance at the time.
As a side note, we Mongolians have a serious shortcoming—we take things for granted and wait for the solution to come to us rather than go ahead and search for solutions. It has been a bitter reality that we sometimes even do not know how to take advantage of opportunities that are already in front of us.
1. The biggest threat to the future independent Southern Mongolia will not be the military aggression from China, but will be economic sanctions against us. Especially, this will be the case when negotiation takes place. Fortunately, we will already be equipped with counter mechanisms by then. Yet if we look back at history, economic downturn or even crisis was inevitable during the transition period. What is needed is patience and hope. Certainly, the new government will take prompt action to deal with these situations with support from the international community.
During the democratic transition, Mongolia had to go through a similar process. Friendly nations, including Japan, provided strong economic support to make Mongolia self-reliant. In the case of a similar transition, Southern Mongolia will also enjoy economic support from the international community. However, China will take advantage of economic problems to try every means possible to weaken the willpower of the Southern Mongolians by advertising that the situation will be much better if they are to give up their independence and return to China.
Southern Mongolians must firmly stand their ground and reject any offer and rhetoric from China. The only path that leads us to success is moving forward, not moving backward. We are a proud people who can overcome any difficulty.
2. I would like to remind my readers that the true keyword of this article is “great migration.” Mongolians are a nomadic or migratory people. The Mongolia question can also be resolved through migration. We might have no other choice.
Our ancestors migrated to Europe and established the states of Hungary and Finland. In the 1620s, a branch of Oirad Mongolians migrated to Russia and became the Kalmyk state. Later, they embarked on a great migration with 300,000 people. Of them, only one-third had survived and returned to their ancestral land of Zungaria. A part of the population left behind became the modern-day Kalmyk Republic. After the Second World War, Stalin banished the entire population of Kalmyk to Siberia. Many had died, and the remaining population was allowed to return to their homes afterward. Although it is unclear exactly when those Tatars came to Russia, it is evident that they reached there through migration. Even Native Americans came to the American continent via migration by crossing the Bering Strait land bridge. Some believe they share a common ancestor with the Mongolians. These are all part of our ancestors’ great migration.
Similar examples can be found in the history of other nations as well. The Jews lost their country two thousand years ago and scattered around the world. However, in the 1940s, they worked together to create the modern-day Israel. The majority of the population came from all across the world. Another example is the millions of Chinese who also made their way to come to Southern Mongolia through migration. Why can’t they move out when they were able to move in? In many countries, millions of people are displaced in the name of national projects of building dams or “ecological migration.” Isn’t China’s transition to a market economy producing hundreds of millions of migrant workers across China? The Mongolians around the world can also come together to create their unified state through migration.
3. As I mentioned earlier, Chinese overseas groups and activists have consistently denied the indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination. Very few of them recognize the indigenous right for self-determination with the denial to the right to implement it. This is no different from denying all rights of indigenous peoples. This is no different from the doctrine saying that “indigenous people can have the aspiration to have their independent states. Yet, this cannot be taken seriously as a goal of action. Whoever has it as a goal of action is an idealist or illusionist. They will no doubt carry out genocide against the Chinese and commit the crime against humanity and be tried in international criminal court.”
There is also an unfounded doctrine claiming that right to independence and right to self-determination are two different rights. Both Lenin and Woodrow Wilson had made strong and comprehensive arguments on this. Lenin wrote a number of articles to touch upon this issue long before Woodrow picked it up. In his articles, Lenin clearly stated that the right of national self-determination is the right of national independence. This is almost consistent with international conventions on national self-determination.
I would like to kindly remind these overseas Chinese not to try to fool people without conducting a necessary amount of research. The same reminder should also apply to those Mongolians who are harming the reputation of the Mongolian people by upholding these unfounded doctrines in the international arena. Today, as various “parties” and groups have been emerging among the overseas Southern Mongolian communities, a number of “party chairmen” and “party secretaries” are born. Unfortunately, a majority of them have no clue how to deal with this type of serious question due to lack of a basic understanding of the issues in question. Their unfounded doctrine should be easily rebuffed.
In the free world, they should have had much better access to knowledge. Without any basic understanding of the issues concerned, what will be the use of this “chairman” and that “secretary”? Is it for “seizing power”? If they have the most basic common sense, they would have not gone so far as fighting for power that does not exist and leading to unnecessary internal strife. Those so-called “party chairmen” or “party secretaries” must be ashamed of themselves for the lack of competence in managing their internal affairs.
4. One of the “party bosses” of overseas Southern Mongolians once said that “my party will bestow the right to self-determination to the people when the conditions are ripe.” I could not believe my ears. If the spirit of Chingghis Khan is watching us, then he will be in a deep despair and will ask himself, “How come my descendants turned this stupid?”
Anyone who can read can easily find out that national self-determination is an inalienable right of all peoples around the world guaranteed by international human rights conventions. This inalienable right must be in the hands of the people, not in the hands of any party! Please ask yourself what are the so-called “parties” you have. Your “parties” must not act like the Communist Party, dictating the people by force. No political party should dictate people and control public opinion.
Instead, political parties are a tool for the people to achieve their goals. The role of political parties is to define their constitutions in accordance with the will of the people who will, in turn, help them to grow and achieve the goals set forth. What your “parties” can do is nothing more than listening to public opinion, not bestowing the right to self-determination to the people. In fact, in the future, Southern Mongolia will get into diplomatic relationships with other nations. Therefore, a referendum or plebiscite is unlikely to occur in the near future. Even if a referendum is necessary, it will be administered by the government, not by any single party.
I would like to stress that the right to self-determination, to freedom, and to independence of Southern Mongolia are inalienable or even divine rights of us Southern Mongolians. They should not become a topic in all minor discussions today or even after the establishment of an independent state. No one has the right to interfere or bargain with these rights. Certainly, all other specific practical matters can be discussed.
As a side note, I was arrested shortly after asking for comments from some friends upon completing my first draft of “Way Out of Southern Mongolia.” After the arrest, this book was used as a justification by the Chinese authorities to accuse me of “splitting the country.” In fact, the true purpose of writing this book was to give a comprehensive and systematic interpretation of the constitution of the SMDA. The main idea was to make it clear that the SMDA constitution was a proposal intended to be implemented after the collapse of the Communist Party, not to target the current regime.
However, the Chinese authorities willfully used this as grounds for the crimes that I have never committed. The original manuscript is still in possession of the Chinese authorities. Some of the readers might have heard of this book. I hope one day it will be made available to the public. The current version of my “Way Out of Southern Mongolia” is much different from the original version—for several reasons: one, it has been very difficult for me to recall every single content of the original version that was written 20 years ago; two, the number of sources I used this time was much greater than 20 years ago, making fresher ideas available to me; three, the state of affairs within the international community has changed remarkably.
In Southern Mongolia, herders’ protests are gaining momentum due to illegal appropriation of grazing lands. Twenty years ago, protests were carried mostly by students and some intellectuals supported by a handful of Mongolian officials. In the original version of “Way Out of Southern Mongolia,” my focus was to develop a blueprint for the future of Southern Mongolia based on my research and analysis of devastating consequences of deprivation of autonomous right. In this version of “Way Out of Southern Mongolia,” I attempt to answer some questions regarding the way out of Southern Mongolia and related matters based on my further studies on broader topics, including the role of the rule of law in the political system, China’s violation of its own laws and further deprivation of autonomy, and the subsequent suffering and struggle of the Southern Mongolians to survive as a people.
Twenty years ago, I proposed to save our nation at the cost of some part of our ancestral territory. However, in this new version I developed a pan-Mongolian proposal to achieve independence and unification without sacrificing any portion of population and territory.
I confess that I was not satisfied with the first version. As I’ve mentioned to some of my friends, the condition was still not ripe. However, I had to complete it as it was a necessity at the time. It still can serve as a reference for researchers to understand how our thoughts have developed as it represented our political views at that time. As the author, I am more than happy to take all responsibilities for the content of the book. In fact, I look forward to any criticism regarding the book, past and current versions.
For this version, without access to the Internet to expose me to a vast wealth of knowledge, I could not have completed the book. As long as it may take, I still firmly believe that the Mongolians from all parts of the world will gather in the Mongolian ancestral land to establish a unified Mongolian state, live as true Mongolians with dignity, and enjoy freedom and happiness forever—as I hope in the book. In this sense, I am happy with the current version.
I am sure there will be some of our fellow Mongolians will also not be happy about the book. Yet I believe the majority of Mongolians will love reading it. No question, the Chinese and the Russians, particularly the Chinese at home and abroad, will launch a fierce attack on my book and even myself. I am ready for any criticism. In fact, I sincerely hope that readers will contact me should they have any questions or comments. If any expression in the book is too direct and too strong, kindly accept my apologies. I try my best to make my expression as mild as possible. Thank you all.
Lastly, I would like to reiterate that this is my personal work. After my release from Chinese prison, many of my friends suggested that I should rewrite the “Way Out of Southern Mongolia.” Some of them, including some members and leaders of “parties,” hinted that this book should be published as a contribution to their “parties” or “committees.” Here, I want to be clear. This book is neither written for them, nor will serve their purposes.
Anyone who is interested in republishing or cross-publishing this book, please do let me know. I would also like to kindly remind readers that anyone who uses it without my knowledge must be responsible for all possible consequences.
December 30, 2015
I still remember a moment shortly after the establishment of the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance. I mentioned during a discussion to one of my friends that “we can explore the possibility of working with the United Nations and filing lawsuits to international courts to seek a solution for the Southern Mongolia question.” I have never given up the search for a solution taking advantage of these means—not during my imprisonment and especially not after my release.
Last month, I was greeted with good news: the United Nations Security Council confirmed through a majority vote that the People’s Republic of China has no right to occupy and run Taiwan. This made me further believe that the questions of Southern Mongolia, Tibet, and Uyghur can also be decided to free them from Chinese colonialism through similar means.
I leave you with this—Dear Mongolian brothers and sisters, let us firmly believe that the independence of Southern Mongolia can and will be achieved through nonviolent resistance movements with minimal casualties. We are never more powerful than when we work as one.
February 1, 2016