|March 21, 2013|
|Enghebatu Togochog (left 2) speaks at the UNHRC side-event "Enforced Disappearance in China --- Vanishing Vulnerable Voices" in Geneva on March 13,2013|
The following is a speech by Enghebatu Togochog, Director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) at the United Nations Human Rights Council side-event "Enforced Disappearance in China --- Vanishing Vulnerable Voices" held in Geneva, Switzerland on March13, 2013:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Good afternoon. My name is Enghebatu Togochog. I represent the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, a New York based human rights organization dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights of the Mongolian people in Southern Mongolia or commonly known as “Inner Mongolia”.
In light of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and other internationally accepted standards on enforced disappearance, here I would like to bring to your attention some of many cases of enforced disappearance of Mongolian dissidents, activists, writers, students and ordinary herders in Southern Mongolia.
First such case is the case of Mr.Hada and his family members. Mr.Hada was arrested in 1995 and sentenced to 15 years in jail in 1996 by the Chinese authorities on charges of “splitting the country and engaging in espionage”. He had served his full sentence term in the Inner Mongolia Jail No.4 in Chifeng City. According to China’s own law, Hada should be freed on December 10, 2010 upon the completion of his 15 years jail term. Not only did the Chinese authorities refuse to free him, but also they arrested and detained his all family members including his wife Ms.Xinna and his son Mr.Uiles a week before Hada’s expected release date.
Instead of being released, Hada was secretly transferred to the Autonomous Region capital Hohhot and held in a secret prison there since December 2010 without any legal justification by the Chinese authorities. Family members and relatives are denied the right to visit him regularly. His health condition has been deteriorating due to the terrible prison condition and inhumane treatments by the authorities.
After about a two-year long extrajudicial detention, Ms.Xinna was sentenced to 3 years in jail with 5 reprieve last year on a trumped up charge of “engaging in illegal business”, referring to her Mongolian bookstore. Their son Uiles was also detained about one year on a trumped up charge of “involvement in drug possession”.
Both mother and son have been placed under what is called the “residential surveillance”, a form of house arrest. They have been denied the right to liberty, right to movement, right to communication and right to employment. They are not allowed to communicate with others in particularly foreign news media and human rights organizations.
Recently we confirmed that both Xinna and Uiles have disappeared again. Whereabouts and health conditions of the entire family remain unknown.
Second case I would like to bring to your attention is the case of Ms.Huuchinhuu, a human rights activist and dissident writer. She was arrested in November 2010 by the Chinese authorities for rallying the Mongols through the Internet to cheer for Hada’s scheduled release. Since then she has disappeared. Reportedly once she was taken to a hospital in eastern Southern Mongolia’s Tongliao City for her deteriorating health condition. The information we received indicated that later on she was kept in a hotel and guarded by a dozen of Public Security personnel around the clock.
Pictures we received during her disappearance show that Huuchinhuu was severely beaten up by the Chinese police. Most recent updates we have obtained recently indicate that she was tried behind closed door on charges of “leaking the state secret to foreign hostile organization and endangering the state security”. Reportedly she has been placed under “residential surveillance” in one of her relatives home. Yet, her exact location and whereabouts still remain unknown.
The third is the case of Mr.Sodmongol, an indigenous right activist and cyber dissident, who was arrested at the Beijing Capital International Airport on April 18, 2010 by the Chinese authorities as he was departing China to attend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) 9th Session in New York.
We immediately brought the case to the attention of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
At the request from the UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples Dr. James Anaya’s request on the case, the Chinese Government responded in a letter dated July 5, 2010 stating that Sodmongl “engaged in counterfeiting book registration numbers and illegally publishing and selling books, and is suspected of being involved in illegal crimes, on 20 April 2010, he was arrested and detained by the Liaoning Chaoyang Public Security Office. His case is currently being tried.”
It has been almost three years since his disappearance. His whereabouts, health status and the outcome of the trial remain unknown.
The fourth is the enforced disappearance of Mongolian students and ordinary herders who have been advocating and participating protests and demonstrations against the Chinese authorities violations of human rights of the Mongols, eradication of Mongolian culture, and destruction of Mongolian grassland.
More than a hundred Mongolian herders and students were arrested, detained, and placed under “residential surveillance” during and after the large-scale protest in May 2011. In some cases, a number of Mongolian students from the Hohhot Nationality College disappeared for period of times ranging from several weeks to several months. Most of them became mentally unstable when returning to the school. A Mongolian student from the Ulaanhad Normal School who managed to breakthrough the police surveillance and joined the demonstration in May 2011 had disappeared. After few days his body was found in a suburban sewage pool of Ulaanhad City.
In an ongoing pattern, hundreds of Mongolian herders have been picked up by local Chinese Public Security authorities and the so-called “livestock grazing prohibition team” for protesting against the Chinese authorities’ unscrupulous appropriation of their grazing land for mining and destroying their natural environment. Often these herders are placed under extrajudicial detention or sent to labor camp for an arbitrary period of time without any legal due process. Many have been tortured and injured. No medical treatment was provided to those injured.
Lastly, in the historical context of enforced disappearance against the Mongols by the Chinese authorities, I would like to bring to light the massive yet largely unreported state-sponsored enforced disappearance during the genocide committed against the entire Mongolian population of Southern Mongolia by the Chinese in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
According to the Chinese authorities’ official data, 16,222 Mongols were killed, 87,188 were tortured and maimed, and 346,220 were persecuted as the members of “national separatist political party ‘Inner Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party’”.
These Mongolian victims were often picked up by the Chinese police, soldiers and officials with the collaboration of ordinary Chinese peasants and cadres, and sent to torture facilities, detention centers, jails and labor camps. Whereabouts, health conditions and fate of the victims were never informed to their family members and relatives.
More than 40 years past since the Mongolian genocide of 1968. The human rights conditions in China have never improved. It rather worsened. Mongols, Uyghurs, Tibetans as well as the Chinese are still subjected to massive enforced disappearance. New type of prison facilities including secret or black jails have been built to contain exponentially growing population of political prisoners, activists and petitioners; new form of enforced disappearance such as enforced “tea-drinking” (“bei he cha”) and enforced “traveling” (“bei lv you”) have emerged to threaten and silence any form of dissent and aspiration for freedom, human rights and democracy.
Although China is not a signatory to the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, it is the responsibility of China as an equal member of the United Nations to respect basic human rights and fundamental freedom of its citizens as well as the Mongols, Tibetans and Ughurs.