Reporters Without Borders deplores a new wave of arrests and harassment in Inner Mongolia in the run-up to the release of journalist and human rights activist Hada, due to take place on 10 December when he will have completed a 15-year jail sentence.
“The authorities are resorting to crude ploys in an attempt to prevent the release of Hada, a defender of Mongol ethnic minority rights, from receiving any publicity,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We call for the immediate release of his wife Xinna and an end to the harassment of his son Uiles and other family members.”
According to Uiles, the authorities have so far refused to say when or where his father will be released. After being detained briefly in the regional capital, Hohhot, for “disseminating information via the Internet,” Uiles sent a message to news media and human rights organizations from an Internet café on 4 December drawing attention to his family’s plight.
After releasing Uiles, the deputy chief of the Hohhot Public Security Bureau asked him to sign a pledge not to disseminate any information about himself or his family by Internet or telephone, to stay away from his parents and to carry out no “separatist activity.” The official also reportedly promised him a house and a job in exchange for his silence.
Uiles told the New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre (SMHRIC) that he would not sacrifice his “freedom and dignity” by signing such a pledge and that he was “proud of being the son of these great parents, who have never given up their pursuit of freedom, human rights and human dignity.”
According to the SMHRIC, Uiles’ mother, Xinna, was arrested during a raid on the family’s bookstore in Hohhot on 4 December and is still being held in Hohhot Detention Centre No. 1. The police seized hundreds of books, CDs and other items from the bookstore and, according witnesses, sealed its doors and windows. A day-long search was also carried out at the bookstore’s depot by a dozen policemen. Although they had no warrant, they reportedly seized Uiles’ computer, Xinna’s diary, business accounts and personal books owned by the family.
Uiles said he was very worried about his mother, who is 55 and has a serious heart problem. His uncle, a retired teacher, was also harassed for giving interviews to foreign news media. He is still being denied the right to visit Hada.