|April 25, 2013|
|Gao Xiaosong, a Chinese talk show host and musician, stated that the Mongols are "a group of uncivilized illiterates"|
In his online video talk show “Morning Call” (“Xiao Shuo” in Chinese) streaming through the tightly censored Chinese version of YouTube called You Ku, when elaborating on place names in Beijing, Gao Xiaosong stated that “Beijing was first built by a group of uncivilized illiterates including the Manchus and the Mongols who conquered the world on horseback”.
Gao Xiaosong commented that the Mongols “were illiterate and even unable to speak Chinese fluently” and consequently that the names of places in Beijing given by the ‘uncivilized illiterates’ were awkward and unauthentic. It is true that Beijing was indeed designed and built by the Mongols as one of several capitals of the Mongol Empire during the 13th century.
These comments were perceived as both insulting and disrespectful towards the Mongolians. Southern Mongolians responded by posting strongly worded messages via Chinese social media outlets demanding Gao Xiaosong make a public apology to the Mongolian people.
“Full of national hatred and ethnic discrimination, his statements not only insulted the national dignity of the Mongolians but also created an extremely vicious social effect,” an “Appeal to All Fellow Mongolians Regarding Musician Gao Xiaosong’s National Hatred and Discrimination towards Mongolian Nationality” posted by a Mongolian netizen, Araashdorjee, on his microblog. He also called on “the Mongols from all walks of society to join together to defend their national dignity” and “give Gao Xiaosong a maximum punishment through legal means”.
In hundreds of angry responses, some Southern Mongolians suggested filing a lawsuit against Gao Xiaosong in accordance with Articles 249 through 252 of the Chinese Criminal Law which states that individuals who “instigate national hatred and advocate national discrimination” shall be “punishable to 3 to 10 years in imprisonment” depending on the severity and nature of the act.
“Gao is an American citizen. His statements already constitute a serious crime of ‘discrimination’ from the American legal perspective,” wrote a netizen who identified himself as a former legal assistant practicing law in California. He suggested it will be troublesome to Gao Xiaosong if some overseas Mongolians sue Gao Xiaosong in a U.S. court.
Under such intense criticism, Gao Xiaosong wrote on his microblog, “I apologize! The Mongols who conquered China at that time were very civilized, very modern, and were never unpolished,” apologizing twice to the Mongolians.
In an effort to deflect the Mongolian rage away from himself, Gao wrote, “there are many articles claiming that the Mongols killed, enslaved and raped the Chinese,” referring to publications that eulogized Chinese national heroes who resisted the Mongols and fought against the Yuan Dynasty. Gao Xiaosong also asked not to escalate the issue by stating that “the Mongolians are open-minded forgiving people not like us narrow-minded Chinese.”
Heated discussions on this topic have also taken place among overseas Southern Mongolian communities via social media including Facebook and Twitter.
“The illusion of so-called ‘ethnic harmony’ has long disappeared,” a netizen named “Voice of Southern Mongolia” said on Facebook, “and Gao Xiaosong correctly admitted that the Mongols are foreigners and the national border between the Mongols and Chinese is the Great Wall.”
“The Chinese Government distorts history and eradicates national education,” “Voice of Southern Mongolia” continued on his Facebook page, “in fact what Gao Xiaosong said is an expression of the deep-rooted attitude of all Chinese toward the Mongolians: discrimination”.