WASHINGTON, July 25-The Chinese government has deported the estranged wife of an Inner Mongolian opposition leader, apparently for political reasons, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.
Authorities at Beijing Airport refused to allow Tao Li, a Chinese citizen who lives in Germany, to enter the country after her flight landed there July 23. She was deported back to Germany two hours after landing in Beijing, according to her husband, Inner Mongolia People's Party chairman Temtsiltu Shobtsood. Tao flew to Beijing on Tuesday with the couple's 16-year-old daughter and the seven-year-old son of a German friend, Shobtsood said in an interview with RFA�s Mandarin service.
Before leaving Germany, Tao had telephoned the Chinese embassy about her planned visit and was told it would pose �no problem.� She was turned back on two previous attempts to enter China, in December 1998 and July 1999, Shobtsood said. After Tao failed to enter China in 1999, an official at the Chinese embassy in Germany told her she had been barred from her native country because of "evidence she had participated in politics."
The couple's daughter and the German boy were allowed to enter and travel on to Hohhot, capital of China�s Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, where they planned to visit Tao's widowed mother.
"My wife is not interested in politics and has never participated in any political activity or organization," Shobtsood said. "This is guilt by association, especially since my wife and I have been separated for two years."
"My wife holds a valid Chinese passport. She is a Chinese citizen," he said.
Oyunbilig, executive chairman of the Inner Mongolia People's Party, described his organization as an advocate for human rights and democracy in the Mongolian region under Chinese control. Because of Mongolia's relative proximity to Beijing, he said, the Chinese central government imposes stricter controls on the region than on Tibet or Xinjiang. Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet all ostensibly enjoy autonomy, although the Chinese government in fact keeps all three regions under tight control.
Dissidents have long been active in Inner Mongolia--a vast, arid region of about 24 million people that came under Chinese communist control in 1947--but news reports about them are extremely rare.
In its annual review of human rights around the world, Human Rights Watch noted that in 2001, Inner Mongolian police had �detained activists associated with the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance, which seeks to promote Mongolian traditions and cultural values.� The government accuses the group of �splittist� activities, the New York-based organization said.
Also in 2001, police detained Altanbulag, a young musician, for distributing materials relating to human rights and ethnic problems in Inner Mongolia. Authorities also banned works by two young Mongolian poets and in October detained one of them, Unag, for several weeks, Human Rights Watch said.
Radio Free Asia (RFA) broadcasts news, information, and cultural programming to Asian listeners who lack regular access to full and balanced reporting in their domestic media. Through its broadcasts and call-in programs, RFA aims to fill a critical gap in the lives of people across Asia-giving them a voice as well as a means of connecting with the world and with one another.
Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest standards of journalism and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content.