Archive for May, 2011

Worldwide Call to Protest the Killing of Mergen

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Around midnight of May 10, 2011, Mergen, a Mongolian herder, lost his young life under the wheels of a Chinese coal company’s long hauler truck on the grasslands of Southern Mongolia. The killing was both brutal and intentional. The Chinese drivers, at the time of carrying out their bloody act, reportedly shouted: “killing a Mongol at most will cost us 400,000 RMB and our boss has plenty of it”. The 35 year old victim was there to participate in a day-long demonstration. He gave up his life protesting the Chinese truck drivers who for the past several years have been driving recklessly through their grazing lands at all hours of the day and night, destroying their pastures, killing and stealing their livestock.

With Mergen’s death, the right to life and security as a Mongol in Southern Mongolia is a serious question. Mergen’s murder and the attitude of the truck drivers is a humiliating reminder of this fact. A peaceful gathering by Mongolian herders and students on May 23 at the banner capital in protest over the killing of Mergen led to violence and arrests as local authorities ended the demonstration by sending in police and plain-clothes thugs. Two days later, about two thousand Mongolian herders, high school students and others mounted another demonstration and rally in Shilin Hot city. The government promised the protesters that they would resolve the case in a fair manner but whether they will remains to be seen.

But Mongols have good reasons to doubt the intentions of the government. For the past six decades, the destruction of the grassland ecology, cultural assimilation, political oppression and economic exploitation have characterized the policies of the Chinese government in Southern Mongolia. More recently, ‘protection’ of the ecology has been turned into a pretext to further eliminate the last remaining areas where the traditional Mongolian nomadic lifestyle and culture are practiced because vast deposits of natural resources have been found. Tens of thousands of Mongolian herders have been forced to abandon their herding lifestyle and moved to non herding areas where they have been unable to obtain meaningful employment. Because they lack skills other than animal husbandry, they have lost their livelihood and are left to fend for themselves with little assistance from social or employment agencies. Meanwhile government subsidies encourage Chinese investors and “developers” to exploit the natural resources of the grasslands. The coal and other mineral deposits have contributed in no small measure to the accelerating expansion of the Chinese economy. But very little benefits from the industrialization of the grasslands has been returned to the original inhabitants of the grasslands who have given up their lands and lifestyle and in exchange for the most part have been given a life of poverty. Those herders who are still allowed to practice animal husbandry are faced with numerous obstacles and challenges such as the truckers and corporations who have little regard for their lands or lifestyle.

Those who have stood up for the rights of the Mongols have been subjected to harsh punishment and arbitrary arrest. The most notable one is Mr. Hada, who, after serving a 15 year jail sentence was placed under arbitrary detention by the Chinese authorities. Six months after his scheduled release date, his whereabouts are still unknown. Hada’s wife and son were also detained by the police just prior to his release date. Their whereabouts are also unknown with official charges just recently filed. Noted writer and essayist, Ms. Huuchinhuu and Mr. Arslan have been held under house arrest for months without any official charges. UN refugee applicant Batzangaa remains under house arrest and continues to fight his three-year imprisonment. Many more have been silenced and kept incommunicado. Internet web sites promoting Mongolian culture and identity have routinely been disrupted and shut down.

Given the many grievances of the Southern Mongols, people from all parts of Southern Mongolia including IMAR and other places can no longer remain silent to the enormous abuses of their human rights. A region-wide demonstration is planned for May 30. Mongols from the independent part of Mongolia and Southern Mongolia as well as freedom loving people around the world are urged to join with the demonstrators of Southern Mongolia in solidarity and condemn the government of China for the brutal killing of Mergen and to end the egregious violations of the human rights of millions of Mongols in Southern Mongolia.

Please join us on Monday May 30 (Asia, Europe) or Sunday, May 29 (North America) at 12PM in front of the Chinese embassy or consulate in the country where you reside to demand the government of China respect the human rights, life and dignity of the Mongols in China and to resolve the case of Mergen in a just and fair manner. We ask you to contact your district representatives in parliament or congress to request the government of China to respect the human rights of the Mongols and to release Hada and his family and all Mongolian political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.

Demonstration Info:

Where: In front of the Chinese Embassy or Counsulate in the country where you reside

When: May 30 in Asia and Europe; May 29 in North America, 12:00PM local time

Suggested slogans:
“Stop the killings in Southern Mongolia”
“Stop butchering herders”
“Human rights for herders”
“Freedom for Southern Mongolia”
“We want dignity; we want freedom”
“Return the dignity of Southern Mongolians”
“Give us back our grasslands”
“Human rights for Southern Mongolians”
“Free Hada Family Now”
“Free Hada Now”
“Free Xinna Now”
“Free Uiles Now”
“Free Huuchinhuu Now”
“Free Arslan Now”
“Free Batzangaa Now”
“Justice for Mergen”
“China out of Southern Mongolia”
“You built the Wall, the Wall is the border. Go back to your side of the Great Wall”
“Defend Human Rights in Southern Mongolia”.

Flag: None or the Flag of your organization
Coordinating Committee for May 29/30 worldwide protest

May 7, 2011 Video interview with SMHRIC on Hada

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

The latest news concerning Hada and his family are contained in the Youtube videos below. These are parts 1 and 2 of the SMHRIC (Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center) update.


The Topics In Southern Mongolian Human Rights webcast also has the complete version at:

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/14574587 or http://www.smhric.tv/

Please visit http://www.free-hada-now.org/blog and http://www.smhric.org/ for the latest information on Hada and human rights in Southern (Inner) Mongolia.

Hada still held in a secret Prison, Wife and Son Formally Arrested

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

SMHRIC
May 5, 2011
New York

Ms. Naraa, sister-in-law of the prominent Mongolian dissident Hada, told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) in a telephone interview that Hada has been going on frequent and lengthy hunger strikes to protest the Chinese authorities’ illegal detention of himself and arbitrary arrests of his wife Xinna and son Uiles. Hada is being held in a two-story secret prison near the Baita International Airport in Hohhot, capital city of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Naraa revealed that Xinna and Uiles were formally arrested on January 17, 2011, on charges of “illegal business” and “drug possession”, respectively. Currently Xinna is being held at the Inner Mongolia No.1 Detention Center and Uiles is held at the Inner Mongolia No.3 Detention Center at the regional capital Hohhot City.

All three rejected all conditions and offers given by the authorities in exchange for an admission of guilt. With extreme poor health, yet very clear-minded and determined, Hada stated he would fight to the death for the freedom of Southern Mongolians.

The following is the English transcript of SMHRIC phone interview with Ms. Naraa, Xinna’s sister, on May 4, 2011:

SMHRIC: hello
Naraa: hi, how are you?
SMHRIC: Is this Ms. Naraa?
Naraa: Yes, I am Naraa.
SMHRIC: Long time no contact.
Naraa: I am sure it has been very difficult for you to get connected to us, right?
SMHIRC: Yes, you are right. We have been trying so many times for so many days. Finally it is connected. How are things going?

Naraa: All of my phones have been taken away.
SMHRIC: None is left except for this one?
Naraa: This is my mother’s phone. All of my cell phones have been confiscated.
SMHIRC: Is it true that Xinna and Uiles were formally arrested?
Naraa: Yes, both of them were formally arrested and no longer just in detention. None of us is allowed to see Hada either. I was able to see Hada twice before the Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian Traditional New Years, February 3, 2011), at a two-story building which according to Hada is a secret prison.
SMHRIC: Where is the building located at?

Naraa: It is close to the Baita International Airport in Hohhot City, and right next to the Inner Mongolia No.4 Hospital.

SMHRIC: When were Xinna and Uiles formally arrested?

Naraa: Hada has been on hunger strike for days after he was transferred from Inner Mongolia No.4 Jail in Chifeng City on December 10, 2010. Immediately after Hada was transferred to this secret prison, Xinna and Uiles were brought there to have a brief family reunion. Around December 24, 2010, the three started going on hunger strike to protest the authorities’ illegal detention and false accusations. As a result the authorities took Xinna to the Inner Mongolia No.1 Jail (or known as Detention Center) and Uiles to the Inner Mongolia No.3 Jail. I was notified after Hada was already on hunger strike for 15 days. I was told by the authorities to come over to persuade Hada to stop his hunger strike. Hada’s health condition was extremely poor. I had not seen him for almost 20 years. I just want to let you know that this phone will be confiscated or disconnected right after our conversation. But I am not afraid of anything now. I have seen these so many times already. Then before Tsagaan Sar, I remember it was February 1, 2011, I was allowed meet with all three in the secret prison. The pictures of us circulated on the Internet were taken at that time. We left there on February 4. Around that time, the three were asked to sign a paper to not to give any interview to news media, and Hada must repudiate his claims of innocence and admit wrongdoing. But Hada still insists that he has not committed any crime. If they do not sign the paper, none of them would be released.

SMHIRC: How was the security there?

Naraa: Security was very tight. Every time when I was going in and coming out, they searched me from head to toe. All bags and pockets were searched repeatedly. It is extremely outrageous because I have not committed any crime and have not done anything wrong. Because all three refused to sign the paper, Xinna and Uiles were taken to the jail on February 6, 2011. They have been held there since then.

SMHIRC: Which jails were they taken to this time?

Naraa: Xinna is being held in the Inner Mongolia No.1 Jail or sometimes known as the Inner Mongolia No.1 Detention Center. Uiles is held at the Inner Mongolia No.3 Jail. Hada then started another hunger strike. The authorities summoned me again to persuade Hada to stop his hunger strike. I came to the secret prison again. It is a two-story small building with very tight surveillance. All doors and entrances are heavily guarded by armed police. Only authorized personnel can go into the prison cell by swiping a chip-card. Surveillance cameras are everywhere. After I got there I bagged him to eat something. He started eating something. His spiritual status remains the same. He is extremely strong-minded and determined. Even though he is suffering from severe leg pain, he still strongly insists that he is innocent and firmly believes what he has believed. The authorities are now claiming that Hada is held because of the “4 year of deprivation of political rights”. I know that “deprivation of political rights” is not imprisonment. Hada has continually protested this and gone on hunger strike repeatedly.

SMHRIC: When was the exact date of formal arrest of Xinna and Uiles?

Naraa: It was around January 17, 2011. I was so disappointed because I thought there was some hope for their release. I saw their arrest warrants in Hada’s prison cell. Hada has them with him there. Both of them were formally arrested around the same date. On April 15, 2011, my mother who is 80 some years old was notified that Uiles was about to be tried the end of April. My mother told me this and I started considering to find a lawyer. On April 20, I was told by the authorities that Uiles’ trial is suspended. Today I am going to Hohhot to find out more details about his trial. I have not seen Xinna and Uiles since Tsagaan Sar.

SMHRIC: What are crimes they are being charged with?

Naraa: The crime for Uiles is “drug possession” and for Xinna is “illegal business”. These are crimes written on the arrest warrants that were given to Hada. Hada’s right chin has a serious nervous system problem, shivering all the time. The last time I saw him was February 20, 2011. I was ordered to persuade him to give up what he believes. Even though his health condition is extremely poor, he is very clear-minded. Since then there has been no information about him. The reason why they stopped me from visiting Hada was because I protested their illegal search during my every single move there, even when I was going upstairs and downstairs. Therefore they stopped me from going there. Hada’s uncle Haschuluu is also worried about Hada’s situation. I was able to bring some money to Xinna and Uiles in every 15 days, but not allowed to see any of them.

SMHRIC: So, the last time you saw a member of the family is on February 20, 2011, right?

Naraa: Yes, that is right. I met Hada on February 20, 2011. Since then I haven’t seen any member of the family. Their bookstore is still locked up, and the food in the refrigerator must have been rotten. It must be very messy there. After every time I talked to you, they confiscated my phone. They already confiscated my three phones. I am closely monitored, followed and threatened by police. Every time I leave my home, they call my mother and ask where I am going. I am not a criminal. I have the basic rights as a citizen. My whole family lives under a tremendous pressure. When I visited Hada in the secret prison, he told me how he was transferred from the Inner Mongolia No.4 Jail in Chifeng City (Chifeng Jail) to this one. On December 3, 2010, one week before his scheduled release date, he was taken out of the Chifeng Jail by six police vehicles, arriving in Hohhot City on December 10, 2010. Before Hada was taken out of the Chifeng Jail, he was categorized as a “dangerous stubborn criminal” (“wei wan fan” in Chinese).

SMHRIC: So, is Hada still categorized as a criminal by the Chinese authorities?

Naraa: Yes, because he refuses to cooperate, and insists on suing the Chinese authorities. He is still not accepting the court decision made on his case 15 years ago. Therefore, he is considered “stubborn and dangerous”, causing the authorities to mobilize so many police vehicles that were changed to four in Durbed Banner (near Hohhot City) before arriving in Bogt City (“Bao Tou” in Chinese). It was so funny that six police who brought him to a prison in Bogt City were also locked up in the same prison until Hada left for Hohhot on December 10, 2010, in fear of possible information leak by those police. Hada was laughing at them.

Naraa: I was not too familiar with what my brother-in-law Hada was thinking and doing until I communicated with him in the secret prison. I did not know he is such an intelligent and knowledgeable man. I thought what he has done was an infamous crime. One more thing, when I brought him some T-shirts with Mongolian letters printed on them, the prison guards picked them up and threw them into a trash can. Hada was outraged by this. He knows the law very well. When he was asked to sign a paper to give up what he believes and accept the condition of “not attending any illegal activities”, he insisted that he has not done any “illegal activity”. Xinna also refused to accept the crime of so-called “illegal business”, and Uiles refused to admit he had any “drug possession”. One high official even directly told Hada that if they don’t sign the paper, none of them would be released. How lawless and how arbitrary things are here. The way they handle things and the way they talk are very rude and arrogant. It was extremely outrageous that they searched me every time I got there. Even more offensive and humiliating was that they searched the underwear of my 80 year old mother when we visited Hada together once.

SMHIRC: Reportedly, Hada’s uncle Haschuluu was able to meet with Hada once. Where and when was it?

Naraa: Yes, he was able to meet with him once. But he was not allowed to visit Hada in the secret prison. Instead they were arranged to have a meeting in a hotel.

SMHIRC: Hada’s uncle Haschuluu is not answering phone calls. Do you have his new number?

Naraa: No. I have difficulties contacting him as well. After you guys talked to him last time, his phones were also confiscated.

SMHIRC: Is it possible for us to communicate via email?

Naraa: It will be very difficult, because my computer was confiscated and my email was intercepted. Email messages I sent to my friends were not received, and the emails my friends sent to me were also not delivered. About my meetings with Hada, at the beginning I did not realize the authorities’ intention. They wanted to carry out the so-called “ideological work” (“si xiang gong zuo” in Chinese) to Hada through me. Ironically, it turned out that Hada carried out his “ideological work” on me to influence me. The security is very tight there, and all prison guards were brought from different places so that they don’t know each other. From the entrance to the prison cell, there are three layers of security passes. To go out and come in to the secret prison they must swipe their identification cards. Due to frequent and lengthy hunger strikes, Hada’s health condition was extremely poor. Yet, he is very clear-minded and determined. All the authorities’ attempts to have Hada, Xinna and Uiles sign the paper turned out to be failure. The authorities even promised that they will offer Uiles a nice job, pay a good compensation to Xinna, and find a professor’s position for Hada in a university if they sign the paper. We were joking. How generous and attractive the offers are.

SMHRIC: Were you able to hire a lawyer to defend them?

Naraa: Both of my brothers are lawyers, and they would like to represent Uiles if he is tried. According to my brothers, defendants have the right to bring news media to the court to cover their stories. But the thing is, the authorities changed their mind and suspended Uiles’s trial. Sorry that I change the topic. I heard that Ms. Huuchinhuu, well-known Mongolian dissident writer, died in prison. Did you hear about this?

SMHRIC: No, we don’t have any update on her since she was supposedly discharged from a hospital on January 27, 2011. She is not answering her phone and not responding to emails.

Naraa: Hada told me what he did was nothing more than expressing his political view through peaceful means in accordance with the Chinese laws. He told me a lot about Mongolian history. Please don’t laugh at me. Now I am starting to read more about the history of our Mongolians. Shame on me, I didn’t know much about our history. The more I read the history the more I love my people. Now I am spending some time every day to improve my Mongolian. I was born and raised in a city and my Mongolian is not good enough to communicate with our Mongolian friends. One more thing, Hada told me that all those pictures and video clips circulated on the Internet were taken by Chinese secret service personnel. The authorities promised to show me the video of family reunion on December 31, 2010. But they were taken away on December 17, 2010. What moved me the most was that Hada told me that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, and he is determined to fight to death for the freedom of our Mongolian people and is happy to shed his last drop of blood on his homeland Southern Mongolia. I was moved the most. When he said this he was already on a lengthy hunger strike. The prison guards opened his mouth by force to try to feed him. He spit out the food and refused to eat to protest the authorities’ illegal arrest of his wife and son. Hada also suggested that I should be careful dealing with these issues. He jokingly said, “try not to be thrown into jail. If you are arrested, no one would bring food and clothes to Xinna and Uiles.”