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Southern Mongolian Lawyer Prevented from Leaving China

October 7, 2010
New York


Huhbulag in Ereenhot. Sign read "Protesting the Chinese Public Security authorities' violation of Chinese citizen Huhbulag's human rights and right to travel abroad!"






On September 28, Mr. Huhbulag, a well known ethnic Mongolian lawyer in Southern (Inner) Mongolia, was stopped from leaving China for Mongolia by the Chinese authorities at Ereenhot City (Er Lian Hao Te in Chinese) customs check for “threatening state security”. As an immediate reaction to the authorities’ violation of his right to movement, Huhbulag publicly protested in Ereenhot carrying a poster on his car that read “Protesting the Chinese Public Security authorities’ violation of Chinese citizen Huhbulag’s human rights and right to travel abroad!”

According to a statement posted by Huhbulag on his personal blog, he was planning to visit Mongolia to meet with friends during China’s National Holiday. Arriving in the border city of Ereenhot on September 27, Huhbulag obtained a tourist visa from the Consulate of Mongolia on the following day, and bought a ticket on Train No. 681 for Zamiin-uud in Mongolia running the afternoon of the same day.

After passing the security check without any trouble, Huhbulag was stopped by police at the station gate where his train ticket and passport were checked. The police examined his passport information through their internal computer system for approximately a half an hour and then informed him that he was not allowed to travel abroad because he is an “individual who is not permitted to go abroad” by the Chinese Public Security authorities.

As an experienced lawyer who has dealt with Chinese law for 12 years, Huhbulag ruled out the possibility that he belongs to any one of the four categories of individuals who are not allowed to travel abroad: criminal suspects, individuals who are not permitted to travel abroad due to involvement in an ongoing civil lawsuit, prisoners who are serving a jail sentence, detainees who are under laogai (education through labor).  

“I must be identified as an ‘individual who seriously threatens state security’ by the Tongliao Municipality Public Security Bureau”, Huhbulag writes in his statement, “it is totally unbelievable that I have been labeled an ‘individual who threatens state security’ when I have never carried out any such act yet I am being treated like a ‘public enemy’ or a ‘prisoner’”.

Huhbulag, a native Mongolian of Southern Mongolia’s Tongliao Municipality, has been very active in promoting and protecting the rights of Mongolian people in China. He founded and runs a law firm named the “Munkhgal Law Firm” in Tongliao Municipality to primarily assist ethnic Mongolians whose legal rights have been violated by the government, Chinese companies and Chinese individuals. One such case he attempted to handle was the case of Mr. Sodmongol who was arrested by the Chinese authorities in his attempt to attend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 9th Session in New York this April. His request for defending Sodmongol was denied by the Chinese authorities.

Huhbulag told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center by telephone that he has already returned to Tongliao after protesting the Chinese authorities’ violation of his rights in Ereenhot several days ago and is preparing to file a lawsuit if the Tongliao Municipality Public Security Bureau continues to deny his right to travel abroad.

There have been increasing numbers of ethnic Mongolians whose right to movement, in particular right to travel abroad, has been severely restricted by the Chinese authorities due to a suspicion of possible “threat to the national interest and state security”. Almost all ethnic Mongolian dissidents, activists and lawyers who defend the rights of Mongolian people have been denied the right to travel abroad. The authorities either refuse to issue passports or confiscate their passports. Outspoken critic Ms. Xinna’s passport application was denied in her effort to attend a scholarly conference in Mongolia; Mr. Naranbilig and Mr. Tsebegjab’s passports were confiscated and suspended for one year following their detention and house arrest; in her passport application, dissident writer Ms. Huuchinhuu was given notice by the local Public Security Bureau stating that she is not allowed to travel abroad for five years due to her possible “threat to the state security and national interest” of China.  



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