closure on 26 September of www.ehoron.com and www.monhgal.com,
two websites based in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, for
allegedly hosting “separatist” content is the result of the
Chinese government’s determination to gag cultural minorities,
Reporters Without Borders said today.
of expression is still more restricted for the Mongols, Tibetans
and Uighurs than for the rest of the Chinese population,” the
press freedom organisation said. “These minorities are censored
as soon as they express themselves on issues even remotely
linked to politics. As everywhere in China, websites and local
forums are carefully monitored and banned as soon as they show
signs of dissent.”
September 2004 by Mongolian students, the www.ehoron.com website
was a platform of expression for about 1,300 Mongolian students
who were “Internet refugees” from www.nutuge.com, a site that
was closed in March 2004. Ehoron.com, which included a
discussion forum, covered a range of subjects affecting Inner
Mongolia without touching on human rights, politics or religion.
Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre (whose site
cannot be accessed from within China) quoted the forum’s
administrations as saying the reason given by the local
authorities for closing their site was the “separatist” content
that was being posted, apparently a reference to messages that
had appeared in the forum criticising a Chinese TV cartoon that
showed Genghis Khan as a mouse with a pig’s snout.
site, www.monhgal.com, is the website of the law firm Monhgal.
It was closed for encouraging Internet users to write to the
Chinese authorities to protest against the same cartoon and for
asking them to collect evidence for a lawsuit against its
producer and distributor. The site, which offers legal
assistance to Inner Mongolian residents who have any kind of
legal conflict with the state, ceased to be accessible on 26
September. An Internet user trying to access the site was
redirected to the Chinese information ministry’s site. The
Monghal site was available again yesterday but those in charge
have had to undertake “not to post any more separatist-type
Mongols are not the only minority subject to censorship by
Beijing. The government also blocks access to many sites
operated by members of Xinjiang province’s Uighur minority such
as www.uhrp.org and www.uyghuramerican.org.