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Inner Mongolia: harsh sentences against "separatists" upheld

An Amnesty International Report

Two ethnic Mongol intellectuals accused of "separatist" activities have recently had their appeals against harsh political sentences rejected by the Chinese authorities. They are reportedly being detained in poor conditions and their health is suffering as a result.

  Hada, 41 year-old former general manager of the Mongolian Academic Bookshop and Tegexi, a 30 year-old who worked in the Inner Mongolian Bureau of Foreign Affairs, were sentenced on 6 December 1996, to 15 and 10 years imprisonment respectively, on charges of "separatism" and "espionage". For additional background details please see document "Wave of arbitrary detentions in Inner Mongolia", AI Index: ASA 17/22/96, 7 March 1996; news release "China: increased repression of dissent", AI Index: ASA 17/92/96, 10 October 1996; "An Open Letter to Li Peng from Amnesty Internationals Secretary General" AI Index: TG ASA 17/96.15; news release "Labour Activists Face Heavy Prison Sentences in Guangdong", AI Index: ASA 17/97/96, 24 December 1996; news release "Political Trials Result in Heavy Sentences on Dissenters", AI Index: ASA 17/01/97, 8 January 1997..

On 24 January 1997 their appeals were rejected and their original sentences upheld.

According to information received by Amnesty International, the two men are currently detained in Inner Mongolias No.1 Prison in a cell together with over 30 other people. It is normal practice for prisoners to be held in the detention centre at Inner Mongolias No.1 Prison for between one and three months after sentencing. After that time prisoners are usually sent to a labour camp.. Both are reported to be in poor health, and Hada is suffering from a recurrence of tuberculosis and his neck is swollen. It is not know if Hada has received any medical treatment in prison.

Before their sentencing in December 1996, Hada and Tegexi had been held for a year in solitary confinement without charge or trial. They were detained on 10 and 11 December 1995 reportedly in connection with their involvement in an organization called the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance (SMDA) which aims to promote human rights and a Mongolian cultural revival in Inner Mongolia. No evidence has been made public to show that Hada and Tegexi were involved in any activity which may be regarded as criminal under international standards. Eight others, also detained in December 1995 for alleged involvement in "nationalist separatist" activities, were subsequently released.

The harsh sentences passed on Hada and Tegexi are indicative of the severe attitude taken during the past year by the Chinese authorities towards suspected nationalists in Chinas autonomous regions, including Tibet and Xinjiang. This "crackdown" has also affected those whose peaceful religious activities are deemed to threaten "national unity" and "social stability".

Amnesty International considers Hada and Tegexi to be prisoners of conscience detained for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.



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