Mongolian Activist Feared Detained

Rights groups call on Chinese authorities to release information about an activist and his family.

2011.01.10
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hadareunion305.jpg Pictures posted anonymously on Boxun.com and dated Dec. 10, 2010 purportedly show Hada and his family together at an unknown location.
Boxun.com

The whereabouts of an ethnic Mongolian activist and his family are unknown a month after he completed a 15-year prison term, rights groups said Monday, calling on the Chinese authorities to shed light on the case.

Hada, 55, who was to have been released Dec. 10 after serving the lengthy sentence for “splittism” and “espionage," may be held in “some sort of soft detention,” said Corinna-Barbara Francis, Amnesty International’s researcher on China.

“There is no legal basis for his continued detention. He’s served his full term of 15 years,” Francis said.

“We are calling on the authorities to provide an explanation for his whereabouts … [and] to release him immediately. We are considering that this may be an enforced disappearance if it persists without any sort of explanation.”

Public security officials detained Hada’s wife Xinna and son Uiles just before Hada’s prison term expired last month.

Xinna was charged with “illegally operating a business” and Uiles was accused of “being involved in drug dealing.”

Francis said Hada’s immediate relatives were also experiencing “some sort of restriction on their liberty.”

“We haven’t been able to get through on their phones, which also suggests that it’s not only Hada who is experiencing some form of restriction on his liberty but his family members and friends as well.”

Enhebatu Togochog, a spokesman for the New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), said Hada and his family are most likely still in detention because they refuse to accept "ideological work" forced on them by authorities.

"In other words [the authorities] asked them to cooperate with the government, but most likely they are not cooperating which may be the reason they continue to keep them in police custody," he said.

Worldwide support

Hu Bisi, the secretary-general of the Inner Mongolian People’s Party, who currently lives in exile in Japan, said that on Jan. 8, activists in Mongolia, Japan, the U.S., Sweden, France, Netherlands, and Germany gathered to demonstrate in front of Chinese embassies in support of Hada.

“We would like to especially call on the Chinese government to abide by its own constitution and release Hada and his family immediately,” Hu, who is also a member of a panel campaigning for Hada's release, said in an interview.

Hu said he suspects that Hada is being detained somewhere in Hohhot, the capital city of China’s Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region.

“He was taken by a lot of armed police. Public security personnel and government cadres were warned in private not to disclose the secret. A lot of Mongolians knew … that Hada was being sent to Hohhot.”

Hu said that if there is still no news about Hada’s situation by the Feb. 3 Lunar New Year in China, Hada’s supporters will once again hold protests in front of Chinese embassies worldwide.

Scant information

Extended family members waited for Hada’s release from prison on Dec. 10, but were given no information by authorities about why he was never set free. Little is known about what happened to Hada and his family in the days that followed.

On Dec. 11, Hada’s sister-in-law, Naraa, was anonymously sent a CD-ROM containing five images, dated a day earlier, of Hada having dinner with his wife and son, according to a statement by SMHRIC.

Two days later, Hada’s uncle, Haschuluu, received a text message said to be from Hada, urging him not to worry as both he and his son had been released. Haschuluu received no answer to a reply he sent to the sender.

On Dec. 14, a member of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau visited Naraa and told her that the photo CD-ROM had been delivered to her by the Public Security Bureau and that Hada and his family were “enjoying a family reunion” in a “five-star luxury hotel,” but that they needed “a bit [of time] to plan their next step.”

Demand for release


Naraa and Haschuluu have been the only sources of information about Hada and his family, but calls to their cell phones have gone unanswered since Dec. 18, SMHRIC's Togochog said.

"On that day, Haschuluu told us that he was taken away by the police for one day and he was warned not to tell anything about Hada's situation to the foreign news media. Also, he told me that he was followed by the state security personnel and also he told us that Naraa's cell phone was confiscated by the Chinese police," he said.

"Most likely they are [being] guarded or followed, and watched closely by the Chinese authorities. Most likely they are under [something] similar to house arrest, but they probably have some freedom of movement."

Some ethnic Mongolian rights activists refer to the province of Inner Mongolia as Southern Mongolia in reference to the Republic of Mongolia on its northern border.

Mongols are a recognized ethnic minority in China and number around six million according to government statistics.

Reported by Sun Jian for RFA’s Mandarin service. Translated by Jennifer Chou. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

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