Ethnic Mongolian dissident Hada has lodged an appeal with China's supreme court, in a bid to put pressure on Chinese officials over his torture during 19 years of incarceration, and continuing harassment and restrictions on himself and his family.
Hada, 60, was released from extrajudicial detention in December 2014, four years after his 15-year jail term for "separatism" and "espionage" ended, but has remained under close police surveillance and numerous restrictions, including a travel ban and frozen bank accounts.
In the appeal, Hada takes issue with his alleged "confession," to the charges, saying that it was obtained under torture and after being given unidentified drugs.
"[This confession] was extracted through cruel torture including application of some unknown drugs," the appeal document said, citing a "type of tea" given to him on Dec. 11, 1995 that left him with an erratic heart rate and symptoms of a mental breakdown.
"[Officers] Liu Fulin and Yu Gui all admitted that torture was applied to me," it said. "At that time, investigators, detention center personnel and many inmates had been part of the torture for an extended period of time."
Previous official complaints about Hada's treatment at the hands of the authorities were ignored, the statement, translated by the New York-based Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) said.
"Instead, even today the authorities still seem to consider all the torture methods they used are a normal acceptable practice," it said.
Hada, who currently lives in Hohhot, regional capital of Inner Mongolia, told RFA he had to continue with his attempts to appeal his original sentence, because he had been framed as a dangerous "separatist" simply for his support for the ethnic Mongolian cause.
"There were plenty of holes in the evidence, and yet they still sentenced me to 15 years, plus another four years [of extrajudicial detention] on top of that, which makes 19 years," he said.
"It's now nearly two years since I have been held under house arrest at home, which isn't that much different from being in jail," he said.
Heating and water cut off
He said he expects to stay locked up for as long as the ruling Chinese Communist Party remains in power.
"If they say they want the rule of law, then they must investigate this, and overturn the verdict," Hada said. "They should pursue those who are criminally responsible."
Hada is living in an apartment allocated to him following his release from an unofficial "black jail," so that police are now able to control every aspect of his daily life, he said.
"They have stopped the heating supply this winter, and they cut off the water supply a while back," he said in an interview on Tuesday. "We have to pay the water bill ourselves, and I had paid it with money donated by the [ethnic Mongolian] herders."
"Now they are trying to force us to pay the heating bill, and we haven't done that," he said. "All of this is an attempt to force me to cooperate with them and give up my ideas, and then I'll have whatever I want."
"They are doing all this to try to make me surrender ... they are afraid that the Mongolians will use me as a figurehead to launch some kind of ethnic revolt that will spread across the country and topple the Communist Party from power," he said.
Hada's wife Xinna said the authorities also detain anyone who tries to visit him. "It's actually jail-at-home," she said. "We have no source of income right now ... they are demanding 3,000 yuan for the heating bill, and we have no way at all of paying that."
Xinna said the authorities are determined to silence Hada, and to force him to "admit to his crimes."
She said the couple had turned down requests of social subsistence payments from the government, because they came with strings attached.
"I told them we don't want your subsistence payments," she said. "We want you to stop oppressing us."
Mongolian-language education suffers
Elsewhere in the region, ethnic Mongolian parents have been protesting the end of Mongolian-medium education in two local kindergartens.
Parents in Ulaanhad (in Chinese, Chifeng) city have issued open letters and petitions calling on the authorities to overturn a ban on the use of Mongolian in the kindergartens.
"Depriving the Mongolians of their right to speak and use their native language is ethnic discrimination," their open letter said.
"The words and actions of [the recently appointed Han Chinese kindergarten principals] are nothing but a flagrant demonstration of typical Chinese chauvinism," it said, calling the moves "hate speech and hate action" that was akin to the behavior of a colonial power.
Ethnic Mongolian parents say there is now an overall shortage of school places for their children, as an increasing proportion of pupils winning places are from the majority Han Chinese ethnic group.
According to recent research by Hada, the number of Mongolian students enrolled in Mongolian elementary schools fell to 19,000 in 2009 from 110,000 in the early 1980s.
In spite of police restrictions forbidding him to engage in political matters, Hada has continued to speak out on behalf of ethnic Mongolian herders, who are increasingly in conflict with the government and state-own companies over the exploitation of their traditional grazing lands.
Ethnic Mongolians, who make up almost 20 percent of Inner Mongolia's population of 23 million, increasingly complain of widespread environmental destruction and unfair development policies in the region.
Clashes between Chinese state-backed mining or forestry companies and herding communities are common in the region, which borders the independent country of Mongolia.
Hada has said routine evictions of herders from their traditional grazing lands, often in the name of ecological protection, are part of a calculated program of ethnic cleansing in the region.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Ng Yik-tung for the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.