Feb 28, 2008
Chinese police detained an ethnic Mongolian dissident at Beijing
airport as he arrived from Mongolia, a country of which he is
now a citizen, according to a report from an exiled human rights
Jiranbayariin Soyolt, originally from China's Inner Mongolia,
was placed in handcuffs when he landed on January 7 from Ulan
Bator for a business trip, the Southern Mongolian Human Rights
Information Centre said in an emailed statement.
a leader of the 1981 Mongolian Student Movement, which was
formed to protest Chinese government plans to move Han Chinese
into Inner Mongolia, the group said. He went into exile in
Mongolia in 1992 and was granted citizenship there in 1997.
detention has only just come to light because the Chinese
government had told his family not to talk to the press "in
order not to make things worse", the statement said.
this threat, family members and friends of Soyolt have kept
quiet and waited for his release until fairly recently," it
It is not
clear exactly why he has been held, though the group cited him
as telling his business partner that it was because there was
"some issue with his passport".
at the Mongolian embassy in Beijing confirmed the case, but
declined to comment further.
migration by the dominant Han have made Chinese Mongolians a
minority in their own land, officially comprising less than 20
percent of the almost 24 million population of the Inner
Mongolian Autonomous Region.
government says it protects and promotes the rights and culture
of the Mongolians. But Beijing, sensitive about ethnic unrest in
strategic border areas like Inner Mongolia and Tibet, keeps a
tight rein on minorities.
known internationally about human rights issues in Inner
Mongolia, as the Mongolians do not have well-known overseas
advocates like Tibet's Dalai Lama or Rebiya Kadeer, the Nobel
Peace Prize nominee called the "mother of the Uighur people".
by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)