The wife of jailed veteran ethnic Inner Mongolian dissident Hada says Chinese authorities have stepped up their “persecution” of her family after her online postings allegedly angered top officials.
Hada’s wife Xinna said in a statement that the authorities have denied their son, Uiles, his legal right to visit his father in jail in Inner Mongolia’s regional capital Hohhot and have threatened to arrest her and their lawyer.
“The reason they gave was that I published posts on the Internet making the higher-ups unhappy,” she said in a Sept. 20 video statement released by the U.S.-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC).
“During the past several months, the persecution that we mother and son have been subjected to, has gone from bad to worse,” Xinna said.
Hada, who is in his mid-50s and suffers from deteriorating mental health, remains imprisoned by Chinese authorities despite having already served a 15-year sentence on charges of “separatism” and “espionage” after he campaigned for greater autonomy for China's six million ethnic Mongolians.
Last month, Inner Mongolian authorities sent two officials—one from the Political and Legal Affairs Committee and one from the Public Security Bureau—to Beijing to threaten the family’s attorney, Khas, Xinna said.
The officials informed him that Xinna would be arrested soon because of a new crime she committed and that he would be liable for his actions linked to her activities, she said.
They told Khas that Xinna’s crime was rallying people on the Internet to unite to end China’s one-party dictatorship, which constituted overthrowing the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
They also said Khas’s freedom of movement would be restricted and legal action would be taken against him for informing Xinna that publishing posts online was part of her right to free speech guaranteed by law, she said.
“Considering the claim the authorities have been making to arrest and detain me, I think it is necessary for me to publicize to the world the unfair treatment of us, mother and son’s living condition, as well as the ugly conduct of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee and the Public Security Bureau in their flagrant violations of the law,” Xinna said.
After Xinna wrote an open letter to Chinese president Xi Jinping in March, calling for her husband's immediate release amid growing fears for his health, she said her Internet and phone service was restored and harassment by Inner Mongolian authorities had been reduced.
The authorities also allowed Hada to write an appeal himself, which he discussed with Khas during a prison visit in early June.
But because of Hada’s confusion with emphasizing his 15-year detention instead of his “illegal and extrajudicial detention of the past four years,” Khas agreed to write the letter for him.
On June 19, however, two officials told Uiles that Hada was still writing his own appeal letter, which he soon would submit.
They also said Uiles and Xinna could not have a copy of the letter to prevent them from sharing it with foreign rights organizations.
In response, Xinna, who feared that the authorities might be manipulating her husband, wrote a letter to Hada urging him to submit a copy of his appeals document to her and the attorney first.
But on July 2, Xinna and Khas wrote their own document in the form of a letter of grievance addressed to Xi Jinping, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the U.S. Congressional Committee on Human Rights prior to a preparatory meeting of the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue, a mechanism to discuss human rights concerns.
As a result, authorities in Inner Mongolia turned hostile and began their current round of persecution, including harassment by cell phone, warnings not to publish posts on overseas websites, Internet service cut-offs, and threats to punish Xinna for publishing “illegal” posts online, she said.