a Southern Mongolian
exile and a citizen of
Mongolia, was arrested
by the Chinese
authorities in 2008,
Foreign Minister of
Mongolia, paid a
friendly visit to China
and met with Chinese
Foreign Minister Yang
Jiechi. Foreign Minister
Ms.Sanjaasuren Oyun did
not mention a single
word to Yang Jiechi on
the case of her citizen
Jiranbayariin Soyolt who
was detained in China
for 5 months.
Batzangaa, a Southern (Inner) Mongolian exile and the Principal of the Ordos Mongol-Tibetan Medical School, was arrested at the front entrance of the United Nations Refugee Agency office building in Ulaanbaatar, capital of the independent country of Mongolia on October 3, 2009 while seeking United Nations political refugee status. Four Chinese policemen sent from China accompanied by more than 10 Mongolian policemen carried out the arrest. Batzangaa’s wife Ms.Bayanhuaar and their 9-year old daughter were also arrested in Ulaanbaatar.
The three were deported back to Ordos Municipality ( E Er Duo Si in Chinese), Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, on the same day, with no apparent recourse to Mongolian legal proceedings to challenge the deportation order. Prior to his exile, Mr.Batzangaa ran the Ordos Mongol-Tibetan Medical School and had a series of disputes with the Chinese authorities over the government’s land appropriation and the right to maintain the school’s ethnic characteristics.
Immediately after arriving at Dongsheng District of Ordos Municipality, the three were detained at the Ordos Municipality Detention Center. On October 7, Bayanhuaar and their daughter were released from detention, but placed under house arrest. On October 8, Bayanhuaar was given a notice by the local authorities about the official arrest of her husband Batzangaa who remains in the same detention center.
Mr.Batzangaa, 35 years old, a native Mongolian of Otog Front Banner (banner is equivalent to county), Ordos region of Southern Mongolia, studied Mongol-Tibetan medicine at the Qinghai Nationality University in Khukhnuur (Amdo in Tibetan and Qinghai in Chinese) region of northwest China.
In 2001, Batzangaa established the Ordos Mongol-Tibetan Medical School in Dongsheng District of Ordos Municipality, to offer classes in traditional Mongolian medicine that is closely related to Tibetan medical traditions. As of 2008, more than 1000 Mongolian students had graduated from this school and practiced Mongolian medicine in almost every corner of Southern Mongolia, providing affordable, sometimes even free, medical treatments to poverty stricken rural Mongolian communities. Later on, Batzangaa also set up the Affiliated Hospital of Ordos Mongol-Tibetan Medical School with the coordination of Henan County Mongol-Tibetan Hospital in Khukhnuur Province.
To expand the school’s infrastructure and provide better educational environment to the increasing number of students, Batzangaa contracted with the Government of Dongsheng District to lease 11,562 square meter land for building a dormitory for students in accordance with Chinese laws and local regulations concerning nationality education. After a series of evaluation and paper work, on April 19, 2007, the Government of Dongsheng District agreed to lease the land to Ordos Mongol-Tibetan Medical School at a high price of 5.2 million yuan (approximately 1 million US dollars). With personal loans and other investments, Batzangaa as the Principal of the school, somehow managed to pay off the amount in order to start the construction quickly.
However, due to its growing popularity and close ties with Tibetans and Mongolians in Khukhnuur region, the Ordos Mongol-Tibetan Medical School, was put under the authorities’ tight surveillance.
On June 20, 2008, the Government of Dongsheng District violated its own contract with the Ordos Mongol-Tibetan Medical School by canceling the lease agreement, causing unexpected interruption of schooling for more than 300 students, bringing a substantial economic loss to the school. Batzangaa filed a lawsuit against the Government of Dongsheng District that reluctantly paid back the original payment, but refused to pay any compensation to the school for the losses.
The “Decision Regarding the Suspension of Ordos Mongol-Tibetan Medical School’s School License by Ordos Municipality Bureau of Education” states that the Principal Batzangaa “has always been uncooperative with the Bureau of Education over the land dispute with the Government of Dongsheng District, and had even taken an attitude of resistance towards the mediation by the Bureau of Education”.
According to a communication received by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, the so-called “mediation” is nothing more than intimidation by the Government of Dongsheng District through its Bureau of Education to de-emphasize the Mongolian and Tibetan ethnic characteristics of the school and sever ties with Tibetans by changing the official name of the school.
On October 8, 2008, the Legislative Affairs Office of Ordos Municipality organized a hearing on the case. Before the hearing, the representative of Dongsheng District Government made it clear that “the cancellation of land lease contract was not due to an issue of money, but it was due to the authorities’ suspicion and surveillance towards ethnic minorities”.
According to Bayanhuaar, wife of Batzangaa, who was contacted by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center over the phone, Batzangaa along with his wife and his 9 year old daughter left China for Mongolia on May 26, 2009, fleeing the Chinese authorities’ intimidation and possible persecution.
Shortly after arriving at Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia, the Batzangaa family applied to the United Nations Refugee Agency office in Mongolia for political refugee status. Their application was turned down, but the reason for the denial is still unclear.
On October 3, 2009, four Chinese policemen with the cooperation of local Mongolian police arrested Batzangaa, Bayanhuaar and their daughter. They were deported to China without any opportunity for them to challenge the deportation order in the Mongolian courts. Currently, Bayanhuaar and their daughter are under house arrest, and Batzangaa remains in the Ordos Municipality Detention Center. Family members and relatives are not allowed to visit Batzangaa at the Detention Center, and his health condition remains unknown.
Overseas Southern Mongolian communities in the United States, Europe, and Japan are strongly condemning the Government of China and the Government of Mongolia for their flagrant violation of international human rights conventions in the manner in which the Batzangaa case was handled. Southern Mongolian exiles especially criticized the Government of Mongolia, a democratic and independent sovereign nation, for not following legal conventions in allowing Chinese police to make an arrest on Mongolian soil. At the same time, Southern Mongolians expressed their disappointment to the United Nations Refugee Agency for its failure to provide necessary protection to Mr.Batzangaa and his family based on a fair and reasonable judgment.