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Statement by Enhebatu Togochog, president, Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China

  August 5, 2002

Ladies and Gentlemen:

My name is Enhebatu Togochog and I am a native Mongol from Inner Mongolia. I am grateful to the Commission for giving me the opportunity to make this presentation about my homeland which I left for political reasons in 1998.

Inner Mongolia is home to 4.5 million indigenous Mongolian people and is that part of the historical Greater Mongolia which was ceded to China by Stalin following World War II against the wishes of the majority of the Mongol leaders in the region. Over the past 50+ 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 50 year period has been documented elsewhere so I will restrict my comments to the current human rights situation. In the addendum of the written report, I have provided additional examples and references.

I will bring to the Commission’s attention two specific cases. The first concerns two individuals, Mr. Hada and Mr. Tegexi and the second, the forcible displacement of Mongolian herdsmen from their traditional pasturelands.

The first individual is 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". 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 born in Horchin Left Wing Rear Banner and was the Vice President of the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance. He was also arrested in December 1995. In December 1996, Mr. Tegexi was sentenced to 10 years jail for "conspiracy to subvert the government and separate the country". Currently, Mr. Tegexi's prison situation and health condition and even the prison location are unknown. His family members and friends have been denied the right to visit him.

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 “Inner Mongolia Daily News”, 81 % of the territory of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region has turned to desert. 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 seems to be the relocation of the Mongolian herding populations from their native lands to overwhelmingly Han Chinese populated agricultural and urban areas. Over the past two years, at least 160,000 ethnic Mongolians have been forcibly relocated from their pasturelands. We see no mention of Han Chinese farmers being relocated. The Mongolian herders who have already lost their homes, livestock and lands have been relocated with little regard to their social and other needs, nor has appropriate compensation been made for their losses. These polices are targeted to the wrong populations and their discriminatory nature are a violation of human and civil rights.

Members of the Commission, 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.

Let me end by noting that recent releases of Tibetan political prisoners indicate that the United States government's dialogue with China and international pressure in general regarding human rights issues can have some positive results. I would like to ask the commission to urge the Chinese government to: 1. release Mr. Hada and Mr. Tegexi immediately and restore Ms Xinna’s right to open and run her bookstore, 2. provide adequate compensation and social services to Mongols displaced by the anti-desertification programs and stop the upcoming larger displacements, 3. allow expatriates to return to visit their friends and relatives. Finally, I request the commission to hold a special hearing devoted to Inner Mongolian human rights issues.

Thank you!

Enhebatu Togochog,

Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC)

37-40 79 Street
Tel & Fax: (718)899-8391

Jackson Heights NY 11372




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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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