Authorities in China’s northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have detained the son of a prominent ethnic Mongolian political prisoner after detaining the man’s wife earlier this week.
Police in the regional capital Hohot acted just days before the expected release of Hada, who has been serving a lengthy jail term for seeking peaceful independence of Inner Mongolia from China.
On Dec. 4, the Hohhot City Saihan District Public Security Bureau detained Hada’s son Uiles at an Internet café shortly after he issued a statement to the media calling for the release of his mother, Xinna, who had been detained shortly before.
Uiles was released from police custody shortly before midnight, but detained again the following morning by the same branch of the public security bureau.
He is currently held at the Inner Mongolia No. 1 Detention Center, where his mother is being held, according to the New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), which confirmed Uiles’ whereabouts with a friend in Hohot.
Xinna, 55, was detained by local police in Hohhot at her Mongolian Studies Bookstore on the evening of Dec. 4 and has been accused of “running an illegal business” by public security authorities.
Uiles was able to escape from the shop during the raid, but was later tracked down by police in a nearby Internet café.
Police also seized hundreds of books, CDs, souvenirs, and the store’s account book and computer. It was the third raid on the store in a week.
Xinna had opened the bookstore with her husband before his arrest. She has spoken out about her husband’s situation and in support of Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto co-authored by imprisoned Chinese Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo.
She suffers from a serious heart condition that requires daily medication. Uiles told SMHRIC during his brief release from detention that he had tried to deliver his mother’s medicine to her but was refused admittance to the detention center.
Xinna’s current health condition remains unknown.
Hada, also 55, is scheduled to be released from prison on Dec. 10 after serving 15 years in jail for “splitting the country and engaging in espionage” by forming the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance in 1995 with the goal of independence from China.
Hada will also be subject to an additional four-year suspension of political rights after his release.
Hada is the author of a book entitled The Way Out of Southern Mongolia and editor of a Mongolian journal titled The Voice of Southern Mongolia.
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.
Mongolians are a recognized ethnic minority in China and number around 6 million according to government statistics.
Reported by Joshua Lipes.