Inner Mongolian League for the Defense of Human Rights
The Inner Mongolian League for the Defense of Human Rights was founded by Mongolian scholars and students in 1981 to protest the Chinese Communists' Document # 28, which proposed to send millions of Chinese immigrants into Inner Mongolia, so Inner Mongolia would eventually lose its Mongolian identity.

The goals of the League are :

1. to condemn and focus international attention on the mistreatment of the Mongolians by the Chinese Communists over the past 50 years,

2. to protect human rights in Inner Mongolia,

3. to struggle for true autonomy in social, political and economic spheres,

4. finally, to establish a free and independent Inner Mongolia.

For more than a decade, the members and the supporters of the League have fought against the cruel and ruthless treatment by the Chinese Communists. Some of our members have been in and out of jail, some are still in prison, and others are forced to live in hardship in places far from their families and home towns. Despite personal danger and hardships, they continue to struggle for human rights in Inner Mongolia.

Declaration of the Free Mongolia Movement protesting the policies of the government of China:

Mongolian culture has been systematically destroyed through repression of the language and customs,

The human rights of the Mongolian people have been continuously violated since the inception of the current government, with thousands killed and brutal repression of any kind of political dissent,

The ecology and the steppe lands have been destroyed through policies favoring Chinese agriculture over ancient Mongolian traditions which respect the harmony with nature.

Suppression of Mongolian Culture:

In early May 1991, the Chinese authorities launched a secret campaign of repression against ethnic Mongolian intellectuals in China's third largest administrative area, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR).

The campaigns of repression began in May 1991 with the crushing of two small private study groups - called the Ih Ju League National Culture Society and the Bayannur League National Modernization Society - which had been formed the previous year or so by like-minded Mongolian intellectuals and Party cadres in an attempt to regenerate the region's long suppressed Mongolian ethnic and cultural identity. The groups operated openly with the full knowledge of senior officials and had even applied for legal registration.

Given Beijing's current siege mentality on the issue of political opposition, international scrutiny of the human rights situation in Inner Mongolia and other ethnic-minority regions of the People's Republic is henceforth likely to become more urgent and necessary. Asia Watch, excerpted from: Continuing Crackdown in Inner Mongolia (1992 Report)

The Chinese authorities use a double standard in handling political problems of different nationalities. The Mongolians do not enjoy equal political rights as the Han people. In China, the political persecution of minority nationalities is more severe and the latter's human rights conditions are worse. Any word or deed that upholds ethnic interests or shows dissatisfaction with the status quo would be labeled by the authorities as 'creating national splits' or 'undermining the unification of the motherland and the unity of nationalities'. And such charges can be trumped up at will according to the needs of the authorities.

In order to step up the repression, the Beijing authorities have transferred large numbers of experienced public security and state security agents from Beijing, Hebei, and Shanxi to Inner Mongolia... More and more people are being secretly questioned, watched and followed. An increasing number of students, teachers, cadres, and workers are becoming suspects. Some high-ranking Mongolian officials have also become targets of investigation. Panic and unease are spreading. According to sources, the authorities have expanded their investigations to ethnic Mongolian college students studying in universities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and in Gansu, Liaoning and Henan provinces. These students are or soon will be facing persecution. At the end of 1990, [Chinese authorities] proposed at the Conference on Education Work in Inner Mongolia that, beginning with first graders, the study of the Han (Chinese) language would be mandatory for all pupils of ethnic Mongolia primary and middle schools, that thereafter, minority education in Mongolia would be conducted as much as possible in the Chinese language, and that fewer special fields of study and fewer students would be taught in the Mongolian language at the universities. ... These participants held that the instructions were tantamount to compulsory sinicization of the Mongolian nation and the total destruction of Mongolian culture and education.

Report on Human Rights in Inner Mongolia(II)
Burghud of the Inner Mongolia League for the Defense of
Human Rights (June 30, 1991). Excerpted from Asia Watch
report "Continuing Crackdown in Inner Mongolia"

Unrest in Inner Mongolia

By Irja Halasz

ULAN BATOR, Feb. 28 (1996) (Reuters) - Human rights activists in Mongolia called on Beijing on Wednesday to free ethnic minority dissidents detained in Inner Mongolia and other regions of China for opposing Chinese communist rule.

The Union of Human Rights in Inner Mongolia, the Inner Mongolia Revival Movement and Inner Mongolian Youth Centre said in a published appeal that global pressure was needed. "We call for help and support for the peoples of Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang who are fighting for freedom and independence," said the appeal seen in the Il Tovchuu newspaper. It demanded that China free "thousands of innocent Tibetans, Uighurs, Kazakhs and other non-Chinese" from detention and halt "policies against the people of Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang to eliminate them by Sinicising them by force."

"We call on the international community to put political and economic pressure on China's government to immediately release Ulanshuvu, Hada and hundreds of other Inner Mongolians fighting for human rights who been arrested by the Chinese." Ulanshuvu, a history professor arrested in 1991, and Hada, a bookseller and founder of the Southern Mongolian Democracy Alliance detained in December, are among scores held in the Inner Mongolian capital of Hohhot, the activists said. "China's government and Communist Party started brutal activities against Inner Mongolians in December 1995," Altanbat, an activist based in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, said in an interview. On several dates in December, Chinese security officials "by force dispersed the peaceful gatherings and courageous protests of teachers, students and intellectuals," he said. Some 30 students and teachers of the Inner Mongolian Teachers University and Mongolian Language College, both in Hohhot, were rounded up after they protested the December 10 arrest of Hada and fellow activist Heilong, he said. Some of the students raised pictures of 12th century Mongol ruler Genghis Khan and sang Mongolian nationalist songs during the protests, he told Reuters. Members of Hada's alliance were accused by Chinese police of taking part in a subversive organization that aimed to engage in ethnically divisive activities, the U.S.-based pressure group Human Rights in China said on February 1.

Chinese authorities are extremely nervous of any independent political organizations that could threaten the Communist Party's absolute rule and are particularly suspicious of ethnic groups that could jeopardize national unity. The communist regime, founded in 1949, inherited the borders of the ancient Chinese empire, which contained dozens of non-Chinese ethnic groups. Despite its anti-colonialist rhetoric, Beijing has steadfastly suppressed calls for independence by any ethnic minority regions. Inner Mongolia, Tibet and largely Moslem Xinjiang ostensibly enjoy autonomy but in reality are tightly controlled by ethnic Han Chinese sent from Beijing. Beijing has buttressed its rule in minority areas by resettling millions of Han from crowded parts of China. Mongolia, which has a pact with China in which the neighbours agreed not to interfere in each other's domestic affairs, was unlikely to support the appeal, the activist said.
The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition - July 9, 1996

Ethnic Separatism in China:

Threat or Smoke?


A recent surge in Chinese media reports of separatist violence raises a question: Who is stirring the pot? The Chinese government certainly seems to be turning these isolated incidents into a national issue. After years of denying the existence of separatists and stressing China's "national unity," official reports have recently detailed terrorist activities in the three border regions of Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia.

For example, in the northwestern Uighur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, the Xinjiang Daily reported five serious incidents since February, along with a crackdown that rounded up 2,773 terrorist suspects, 6,000 pounds of explosives, and 31,000 rounds of ammunition. In Tibet, the official newspaper admitted that a bomb that exploded on March 22 outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region government compound was the sixth attack on Chinese and regional Tibetan administrative facilities in the last nine months.

Even Inner Mongolia, whose population is only 14% Mongol, has apparently experienced a restive spring that brought separatist threats. Liu Mingzu, Communist Party secretary of Inner Mongolia, in a speech reported in the Inner Mongolia Daily, warned against "ethnic splittists" and urged people to "resolutely attack hostile separatist forces with Western backing that are trying to destroy the unity of the motherland."

The truth is belied by such alarmist talk. China's separatists are small in number, poorly equipped, loosely linked and vastly out-gunned by the People's Liberation Army and People's Armed Police. Local support for separatist activities, particularly in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, is ambivalent and ambiguous at best given the economic disparity between these regions and their foreign neighbors, which are generally much poorer, or even, in the case of Tajikistan, driven by a three-way civil war. Memories in the region are strong of mass starvation and widespread destruction during the Sino-Japanese and civil wars in the first half of this century, not to mention the chaotic horrors of the Cultural Revolution.

Many local activists are not calling for real independence. More often they are expressing concerns over environmental degradation, anti-nuclear testing, religious freedom, over-taxation and recently imposed limits on child- bearing. Many ethnic leaders are simply calling for more of the autonomy promised by Chinese law for the five autonomous regions, which are each led by Han Chinese First Party Secretaries controlled by Beijing.

And the external forces that the Chinese authorities often blame for separatist activities are nothing new. The Istanbul-based groups working for an independent Xinjiang have existed since the 1950s, and the Dalai Lama has been active since his exile in 1959. Separatist actions have taken place on a small-scale, but regular basis since the expansion of market and trade policies in China. With the opening of six overland gateways to Xinjiang in addition to the trans-Eurasian railway since 1991, there seems to be no chance of closing up shop. In his 1994 visit to the newly independent nations of Central Asia, Premier Li Peng even called for the opening of a "new Silk Road." Given that separatist activity has persisted at a low level for years, what is the Chinese government's motivation for changing tack and publicizing the "internal affairs" in which foreign governments are so often accused of interfering? The answer can be found in China's domestic politics. In an interview last November, Liu Binyan, the former Xinhua journalist and now dissident Chinese writer living in exile in the U.S., suggested: "Nationalism and Han chauvinism are now the only effective instruments in the ideological arsenal of the CCP. Any disruption in the relationship with foreign countries or among ethnic minorities can be used to stir 'patriotic' sentiments of the people to support the communist authorities."

Beijing's official publicization of the separatist issue thus is a useful tool with which to promote Han unity. Recent moves suggest efforts to promote Chinese nationalism as a "unifying ideology" that will prove more attractive than communism and more manageable than capitalism. By highlighting separatist threats and external intervention, China can divert attention away from Han China's own sources of instability: rising inflation, increased income disparity, displaced "floating populations," Hong Kong's re-unification and the post-Deng succession. Perhaps nationalism will be the only "unifying ideology" left to a Chinese nation that has begun to distance itself from communism, as it has from Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism. As Bruce Kapferer has noted, nationalism "makes the political religious."

Any event, domestic or international, can be used as an excuse to stir nationalist sentiments and the building of a new unifying ideology. As the Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang revealed in his statement concerning the most recent Sino-U.S. trade dispute: "If the U.S. goes so far as to implement its trade retaliation, China will, according to its foreign trade law, take counter measures to safeguard its sovereignty and national esteem." Trade and separatism become obstacles not to economic and political development, but to preserving national esteem. This attitude recalls the ominous words contained in the Chinese national anthem: "The Chinese race is at a most crucial moment, and we should stand up and build up a new Great Wall with our blood and flesh."

The most unsettling question is what will happen to those Chinese citizens living in the country's border regions should a nationalist movement rise up that sees them not as part of a China that is multinational and multiethnic, but as a threat. If nationalist sentiments prevail during this time of transition, what will happen to those who live within the Chinese state, but beyond the Great Wall?