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Inner Mongolian dissident speaks on human rights and terrorism




Northern European Branch of Southern Mongolian

Human Rights Information Center

Stockholm, Sweden

May 15, 2004



On May 15, 2004, dissidents from Eastern Turkistan, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet held a conference called "The Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Mongols Are Not Terrorists" in Stockholm City, Sweden. Mr. Norovzamsiin Soyolt, an exiled dissident from Inner Mongolia, spoke at the conference on the deteriorating human situation in Inner Mongolia. The following is the original statement by Mr. Norovzamsiin Soyolt to conference:


Statement by Norovzamsiin Soyolt,

an exiled dissident from Inner Mongolia

May 15, 2004


Ladies and Gentlemen,

My name is Norovzamsiin Soyolt and I am a native Mongol exiled from Inner Mongolia. I am grateful to the Sweden Uyghur Committee for giving me the opportunity to make this presentation about my homeland which is still under the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal regime.

Inner Mongolia is home to 5 million indigenous Mongolian people and in 1947 the Chinese Communist Party occupied the region against the wishes of the Mongols. Over the past 57 years, the Chinese government policy encouraging Han Chinese population transfer into the region has turned the Mongols into a minority in their own lands and the ratio of Han Chinese to Mongols today is 5:1. The pattern of repression of the Mongols over this 57 year period has been documented elsewhere so I will focus my comments on the current human rights situation.

From many prominent human rights violation cases in Inner Mongolia, here I would like to introduce two specific cases. The first concerns Mr. Hada, an ethnic Mongolian prisoner of conscience, and the second, the ongoing forced eviction of Mongolian herdsmen from their traditional pasturelands.

Mr. Hada who was born in eastern Inner Mongolia's Horchin Right Wing Front Banner (banner is a geographical designation). In May 1992, Mr. Hada and other Mongolian students and intellectuals established the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance (SMDA), with Mr. Hada as President. The mission of this organization was to promote and preserve Mongolian language, history and culture and to peacefully find ways to obtain greater autonomous rights for ethnic Mongols in the region as guaranteed by the Chinese constitution. In December 1995, the authorities denounced the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance as an illegal organization "engaging in separatist activities" and arrested Mr. Hada along with more than 70 members and demonstrators. In December 1996, Mr. Hada was sentenced to 15 years jail for "separating the country and engaging in espionage". The vice president of the SMDA, Mr. Tegexi, was sentenced to 10 years jail for "conspiracy to subvert the government and separate the country". Currently, Mr. Hada is serving his sentence in Inner Mongolia Jail No.4 at Chifeng City. Hada's wife, Ms Xinna, and young son Uiles have been subject to police intimidation and allowed only limited visitation rights. According to Ms Xinna, because of the hard labor and constant torture by the police and inmates, Mr. Hada's health condition is extremely poor. Ms. Xinna has also reported that Mr. Hada was beaten by inmates with rubber clubs provided by prison guards and on two occasions, a gun was held to his head by a prison official who threatened to kill him. Equally disturbing, in June 2001, the "Mongolian Study Bookstore" owned by Ms. Xinna was shut down and denounced as an "illegal business" by the authorities. Mr. Hada's wife and young son have been denied the right to pursue a livelihood. Mr. Tegexi was released from the jail a year ago, but he is still under the authorities’ close monitor and strict control.

The second case concerns the Chinese government's on-going coercive displacement of Mongolian herding populations. The Inner Mongolian grasslands were considered to be one of the finest natural grasslands in the world, perfectly suited for a herding lifestyle. However, according to the Chinese official data, 81 % of the territory of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region has turned to desert and soil erosion areas. The officials do not state that the desertification is primarily due to the intensive over-cultivation of the grasslands by the millions of Han Chinese farmers, as documented by scientific studies, but instead have made the Mongol herders bear the brunt of the new polices aimed to end the continuing desertifiation. The Chinese Government has recently adopted a new policy targeting Mongolian herding populations under the pretext of "giving rest to the grassland and recovering the eco-system". This policy is called "Environmental Immigration" (Sheng Tai Yi Min in Chinese) whose aim is the forced eviction of the Mongolian herding populations from their native lands to overwhelmingly Han Chinese populated agricultural and urban areas. Over the past three years, at least 160,000 ethnic Mongolians have been forcibly relocated from their pasturelands. We see no mention of Han Chinese farmers being relocated. Hundreds of thousands of Mongolian herders have lost their homes, livestock and lands; Mongolian traditional culture and lifestyle have forcefully been altered and abolished; most of the Mongolian language teaching schools in rural areas at elementary and middle levels have been removed as the direct result of this policy.

Dear friends, today, Mongols who struggle to maintain and promote their distinct culture continue to be subjected to harassment and intimidation. Recent cases of individuals arrested for distributing ‘separatist’ literature and another arrest for merely wanting to celebrate Chinggis Khan’s birthday attest to the continuing pattern of repression. In addition, since 1998, at least 5 expatriate Inner Mongolians have been refused entry into China and forced to return directly from the airports in Beijing and Hong Kong, apparently for being associated in one form or another with individuals the Chinese government has blacklisted. We also know of 6 cases of expatriates (5 of them are United States green card holders and 1 of them is even a US citizen) being detained, questioned and monitored by the authorities during their visit to Inner Mongolia. Recently, we have obtained information regarding the cases of many ethnic Mongolian students who currently study in Japan and have been detained and brutally treated by the Chinese authorities during their visits to  Inner Mongolia for the suspicion of possible contact with exiled organizations and individuals. The latest case we know of concerns an ethnic Mongolian student who was detained last month for two weeks during his home town visit from Japan for organizing a peaceful gathering to protest against a Hong Kong company’s illegal occupation of the local Mongolian herders’ pastoral land.

Dear brothers and sisters, as you know, since 1949, the Chinese Communist Party has kept one of the worst human rights records in human history. After the September 11, 2001, this brutal regime has accelerated its crack down on all kind of peaceful movements by the ethnic minorities especially our Uyghur friends under the excuse of “fighting against terrorism”. In fact, the Chinese Communist Party is the largest terrorist organization in the world because it is abusing a quarter of the world’s population including the Mongols, Uyghurs, and Tibetans.  

Thank you! 

Norovzamsiin Soyolt




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Close to Eden (Urga): France, Soviet Union, directed by Nikita Mikhilkov

Beyond Great WallsBeyond Great Walls: Environment, Identity, and Development on the Chinese Grasslands of Inner Mongolia

The Mongols at China's EdgeThe Mongols at China's Edge: History and the Politics of National Unity

China's Pastoral RegionChina's Pastoral Region: Sheep and Wool, Minority Nationalities, Rangeland Degradation and Sustainable Development

Changing Inner MongoliaChanging Inner Mongolia: Pastoral Mongolian Society and the Chinese State (Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Grasslands and Grassland Science in Northern ChinaGrasslands and Grassland Science in Northern China: A Report of the Committee on Scholarly Communication With the People's Republic of China

The Ordos Plateau of ChinaThe Ordos Plateau of China: An Endangered Environment (Unu Studies on Critical Environmental Regions)
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