|August 10, 2011|
On August 4, 2011, a group of citizens of the independent country of Mongolia held a press conference in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar in support of calls for the human rights of Southern (Inner) Mongolians.
Two organizers of the press conference, Mr. Borjigin Ch. Munkhbayar, a well-known long time freelance journalist and writer, and Ms. Sarnai, a human rights activist and web designer, introduced the current human rights conditions in Southern Mongolia, the status of recent protests by Southern Mongolian herders and students, and the situation of the Southern Mongolian prominent political prisoner Hada and his family members.
Munkhbayar revealed that the Government of Mongolia turned down his recent application to carry out a large-scale demonstration by Mongolian citizens in Ulaanbaatar to protest China's gross violation of human rights of the Mongolian people in China.
As to why the Government of Mongolia denied the citizens' application to mount a protest China's human rights policies in Southern Mongolia, Munkhbayar explains: "our government claims that this type of protest will harm our country's friendly relationship with China. But, what our government is denying is the citizens' right to free speech, free press and free assembly."
"Almost all types of public demonstrations are prohibited in our country today. People who try to have demonstrations without obtaining permission are being punished and sent to jail. Mongolia is increasingly becoming a country where citizens have no right to speak and demonstrate freely," Munkhbayar strongly criticized the government of Mongolia in a video footage taken during the press conference.
"If any protest against any country really does any harm to that country, then why is the Government of Mongolia allowing Mongolians in London to protest U.K.'s arrest of the Mongolian spy master Khurts Bat? Isn't U.K. a country? If Mongolia really denies her citizens' right to demonstrate, then Mongolia should go ahead and declare to the world that Mongolia is not a democratic country," Munkhbayar added.
After summarizing the continuing resistance movement of Southern Mongolians, Munkhbayar read the statement prepared for the planned demonstration.
"Southern Mongolians are our brothers and sisters. We are the same people belong to the same family. How can we keep quiet when our brothers and sisters are being brutally colonized and completely deprived of all of their human and national rights?" the statement continued.
"Is it the goal of the so-called Sino-Mongolia Strategic Partnership to make Southern Mongolia's today Mongolia's tomorrow?" the statement criticized China's increasingly expanding influence in Mongolia, not only economically, but also politically and environmentally.
"We are here today not only to defend the rights of Southern Mongolians but also to protect our own national interest, independence and sovereignty. If we do not defend Southern Mongolia today, then our independent country will become an Autonomous Region of China tomorrow," Munkhbayar said in the statement.
The second speaker Ms. Sarnai brought to the attention of Mongolian citizens the case of the Southern Mongolian political prisoner Hada and his family members.
After completing his 15 years prison term in 2010, Hada was expected to be freed according to the Chinese law. Yet, not only did the Chinese authorities not free Hada but they arrested and detained Hada's wife Xinna and son Uiles before the scheduled release date of December 10, 2010. Currently the three are still being detained separately in the regional capital Hohhot City.
To urge the Chinese authorities to release Hada immediately, Sarnai translated Amnesty International's recent "Urgent Action" (dated 07/20/2011) into Mongolian and urged Mongolian citizens during the press conference to send the "Urgent Action" appeal letter to the Chinese authorities.
"Many of our fellow Mongolian citizens are not familiar with the situation of Southern Mongolia," Sarnai commented after reading the Amnesty International Urgent Action letter, "Southern Mongolians are our true heroic brothers and sisters who fought tirelessly to defend the national interest of Mongolia, a greater Mongolia, as a unified nation."
"If we do not recognize their strong Mongol national identity, then we do not have the right to call ourselves proud Mongols of Chinggis Khan," Sarnai added.