|SMHRIC members with other participants at the Interethnic Interfaith Conference in Boston|
My name is Enhebatu Togochog, and I represent the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, a New York based human rights organization dedicated to protecting and promoting all kinds of rights of the Mongols in China.
I would like to thank Dr. Yang Jian Li and his colleagues for inviting us to attend this conference as the representative of Southern Mongolia.
Southern Mongolia is often known as “Inner Mongolia” as a direct translation of a highly propagandistic Chinese term “Nei Meng Gu”. Historically, the geographical area of Southern Mongolia includes not only the so-called “Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region” but also large parts of Huhnuur which Tibetans usually call “Amdo”, Dzungaria which is usually made a part of Eastern Turkistan and parts of the provinces of Harmuren (known as “Hei Long Jiang”), Girin (known as “Ji Lin”) and Liao Ning where more than 1 million Mongolians still live. The total population of indigenous Mongolians in Southern Mongolia is estimated above 5 million.
In Mongolian, Southern Mongolia is called “Uvur Mongol” which is just a geographical term referring to the territory south of the Gobi Desert that is an integral part of Mongolia proper. There is no meaning of “Nei” or “Inner” in the Mongolian word “Uvur” at all. However, this simple geographical term “Uvur” has been deliberately politicized and translated into a Chinese word “Nei” by China in order for her to claim the territory as an “inseparable part” of China proper. Westerners had simply translated “Nei” into “Inner” and called our people and our nation as “Inner Mongolia” and “Inner Mongolians”. This term continues to still be widely used by the international community. However, the good news is that after our decade long effort for correcting this highly propagandistic term, people around the world have now started using “Southern Mongolia” instead of “Inner Mongolia”. A good example is, just two weeks ago, the coordinator of this meeting Ms. Linda Anna Mancini sent me an email, kindly asking me “Can you please address the assembly as the participant representing the Southern Mongolian people?” How can I say no to her and the Initiatives for China who are so sincere about improving mutual respect and mutual understanding among the Mongols, Tibetans, Uyghurs and Chinese peoples? We believe this is a very good start for us to strengthen our friendship, because good friends should call each other by their correct names.
Now let me turn to the question of what is happening in Southern Mongolia. After 60 years of Chinese migration, we Southern Mongolians became an absolute minority on our own land and have become the poster child of the “hopeless minority” ethnic group in China; our culture, language and traditional way of life have been irreversibly altered and our natural environment where our nomadic civilization flourished for thousands of years has almost been completely destroyed; Mongols who attempt to protect their rights and promote their culture and identity have been arrested, detained and sent to jail. Mr. Hada who demanded genuine autonomy for the Southern Mongols as it is guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution was sent to jail for 15 years in 1995 and is still serving his jail term where his physical and mental condition are grave ; Mr. Naguunbilig and his wife Ms.Daguulaa were sent to jail for 10 years and 5 years respectively for practicing an “evil cult” although they were doing no more than practicing traditional Mongolian medicine; Mr.Naranbilig is still under house arrest for defending the rights of Mongolian herders who have been forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands to agricultural and urban areas; hundreds of dissidents and their family members have been closely monitored by the authorities for ‘possible harm to the “national interest and state security” of China’; thousands of Mongolian herders have been beaten up, arrested, detained and fined for resisting the Government policies of “ecological migration” and “total ban over livestock grazing”; hundreds of Mongolian language publications have been banned for having “too strong nationality sentiment” and dozens of internet sites have been shutdown for “publishing separatist articles” and “providing platforms for separatists”.
I could cite many more examples. But due to time constraints, let me stop here and say that if you are interested in knowing more about the human rights situation in Southern Mongolia, please visit our website at www.smhric.org <http://www.smhric.org> or talk to me or my colleagues after the meeting.
Thank you very much,
Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center
47-28 39th Street, 2D