|July 29, 2011|
|About 400 Mongolian normal school graduates gathered in front of Tongliao Municipality Government building to demand jobs. (SMHRIC photo)|
Nearly 400 Southern (Inner) Mongolian former students of Tongliao Normal School (formerly Jirim League Normal School) gathered in front of the Tongliao Municipality Government building last Monday to protest the authorities' breaking of their own agreement by denying employment opportunities to the students.
Gathered from all banners (a banner is the equivalent to a county) of Tongliao Municipality (formerly Jirim League), these Mongolian former students include alumni who graduated between 1998 and 2003. The protest started on the morning of July 18, 2011, around 8:00 a.m. local time and ended around 5:00 p.m. During the protest, representatives from the protesters attempted to walk into to the government building to demand a meeting with the governor of the municipality, but they were immediately stopped by police and security personnel.
The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) received a written communication from the protesters detailing that before their enrollment in the school, all students were required to enter an agreement with the banner government educational bureau and the local schools to guarantee that they would work for the school after their graduation. The total number of students who graduated during this period reached more than 2500, most of whom have never been given any offer by the schools that entered into the agreement with them.
"Except for very few Chinese students who had connections and money, all of our Mongolian students have never been offered any employment opportunity," Mr. Altan, one of the protesters, told SMHRIC over the phone, "the government lied to us. They are breaking their promises and denying our rights to employment."
Urging the government to fulfill their promise, these students have petitioned the banner governments and the municipality government multiple times since 2008. According to the written communication, the responses they were given to their petitions were simply, "Go home and wait!"
Last October, more than 100 female alumni who staged a sit-in before the municipality government building were brutally beaten by the police.
"We have been petitioned the government for dozens of times," said a Mongolian protester who asked to be anonymous in an interview with SMHIRC. The protestor went on to say, "This July alone, we have already been there to protest three times separately on July 4, 11, and 18. We are frustrated and have lost faith with the authorities."
According to Mr. Buyan, Principal of Tongliao Normal School, the main reasons the government failed to keep their promise are that a large number of teachers' positions were eliminated due to the aggressive removal of rural Mongolian schools and dramatic increase of the school drop-out rate.