Clinton: A Letter from the Wife of an Imprisoned Inner Mongolian

HRW Disclaimer:
Human Rights Watch takes no position on independence or autonomy for the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. In posting this letter, Human Rights Watch wishes to draw attention to the Chinese government's imprisonment of Mongolians who peacefully express their views and to its persecution of their families.

June 1998

From: Xinna, A citizen of the People's Republic of China, and wife of Hada

To: The President of the United States

Mr. President:

Under pressure from the U.S. and other countries, the Chinese government has released some political prisoners such as Wei Jingsheng and Wang Dan. All family members of political prisoners including me are gratified at the results. Before you visit China, I write this letter to say something about my husband, Mr. Hada. I hope you and the international community will pay attention to the national problems of Inner Mongolia and the difficulties of my husband.

1. A brief introduction to Hada

Hada, age 43, was born in South Hortsen Banner, Inner Mongolia. In 1978-83, he studied in the department of Mongolian language and literature, Inner Mongolian Teacher's College for Nationalities. After graduation, he worked as an editor in the Inner Mongolian People's Publishing House for three years. In 1986-1989, Hada studied in the department of political education, Inner Mongolian Teacher's University, graduating with a Master's degree in philosophy. In October 1989, he started a book store called the Mongolian Book Store.

Hada organized the South Mongolian Democratic League, published the journal Voice of Southern Mongolia, wrote a book entitled The Way Out of Southern Mongolia, and introduced Mongolian history, international law, and human rights to the people of Inner Mongolia. Because of these activities, he was arrested by the Inner Mongolian Public Security Bureau (IMPSB) on December 10, 1995 and sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment on December 5, 1996. Although he appealed to a higher court, the court affirmed the original sentence. He is now in prison in Chifeng (Inner Mongolia Prison No.4).

Hada's living conditions in the prison have improved in accordance with his request and that of his family. But his health problems are not taken seriously by prison authorities. He has several diseases such as cholecystitis (inflammation of the gall bladder), coronary heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. We have asked the prison authorities to:

(1) change the prison from Chifeng to one in Hohhot where his family is living so as to let his family take care of him more easily;

(2) allow him to go to hospital for medical treatment when his health is bad.

We have not yet received a response from the prison.

2. Hada's family's difficult conditions

In 1995, after the arrest of Hada, both Hasa, who is my older brother, and I were illegally imprisoned by the IMPSB for three months. They searched my house and confiscated my property including video tapes, cassette tapes, address books, research papers, and even a portable phone which was used once to give an interview to VOA (Voice Of America). They said that my portable phone is the kind of instrument that jeopardizes the nation's security.

On July 26, 1996, the IMPSB closed down my book store (all my family income is from this book store) and on August 13-14 took away all the books and other properties in the store without going through the necessary legal formalities.

I am now in such difficulties that I cannot even afford my everyday expenses. The IMPSB placed my apartment under surveillance on September 3, 1996. I lost my basic human rights.

In March 1997, I went to Chifeng to see my husband. Immediately after I arrived back in Hohhot, the IMPSB telephoned me to request that I confess to them what I said to my husband. They interfered with my freedom of speech.

In July 1997, during the 50th anniversary of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, four persons from the IMPSB came to my apartment and kept watch on me for 24 hours and then took my son and me to Chifeng and Ulaanhot. In the city of Ulaanhot, my son and I were illegally imprisoned by the local police for two days until the representatives of the Chinese central government left the city. After my return to Hohhot, I several times requested that the IMPSB give back my books and let me reopen my book store. But I have not as yet received any response from them.

Given my situation, I requested that the authorities concerned solve my problems, but they have paid no attention to me. I must depend on the help of relatives and friends. Within China, I can do nothing about my difficulties and problems. My hope is that I can get assistance from the international community. As a matter of fact my requests are not many. I have only the following requests:

(1) the IMPSB prove with facts that my book store is illegal;

(2) the IMPSB provide me with the legal grounds preventing my book store from reopening on the university's street.

3. I hope the international community will urge Inner Mongolian and Chinese authorities to face up to national problems and solve national antagonisms and contradictions on the bases of democracy and the legal system.

The arrest of Hada and one hundred other Mongolian intellectuals in 1995 is once again a cruel suppression of a minority. This mean action is beautified as dispensing justice. On January 1, 1998, the Inner Mongolian Daily reported the news that the IMPSB was awarded a class one collective commendation. These unfair facts impel the bare-handed Mongolian victims to think over their national suffering and the existing problems in Inner Mongolia.

According to China's constitution all Chinese citizens enjoy freedom of speech, publishing, meeting, assembly and association, and parade and demonstration. So I think my husband Hada's activity was not illegal. On the contrary, it should be protected by law. Moreover, Hada advocated national self-determination, which is in conformity with the view of the Chinese Communist Party on national theory and with the U.N. human rights treaties. Since the founding of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, southern Mongolian people have not suspended their pondering of their national future. Many intellectuals such as Maohai, Xiasu, Husten, Oilai, Tsedendorj, Monhbat, Boyan, Ulaaxibo, advocated national self-determination by peaceful means. And their advocacy did not violate China's constitution or international law. But all of them are suppressed. Now some of them are in prison and others have died.

These facts show that China's Communist Party did not keep their promise to minorities. During their 50 years in power, the Communist Party has violated the laws and stifled the cry of justice from minorities. There are many serious national problems in Inner Mongolia such as population, education, religion, culture, land, etc. All of the problem concerned are the result of deprivation of the Mongolian minority's right to self-determination. From these facts, we know that it is not the minority that creates dissension, but the majority which bullies and oppresses the minority. This long-term unfair treatment to minorities results in the deterioration of national contradiction (sic) in China.

From Hada's and my encounters, we know the cruel suppression of minorities in China. But China is, after all, only one member of the international community. I think the international community (should enforce) the Chinese government's implementation of its own laws and of international treaties. I hope, Mr. President, you will urge the Chinese government to do the following during your visit:

(1) allow all Chinese people including minorities to enjoy the real right of freedom such as speech, publishing, meeting, assembly and association, and parade and demonstration as stipulated in China's constitution;

(2) strictly abide by Chinese and international law, and provide minorities with the real right of self-determination;

(3) release my husband Hada and other political prisoners and stop the suppression of minorities.

I think the crux of the national problem is democracy and human rights. I hope the Chinese government can face up to its national problems and solve its national problems on the bases of democracy and the justice system. Finally, I believe that if China moves towards democracy and justice, the Chinese people and other people in the world will together hand in hand carry forward the historical task of freedom and democracy.

US-China Summit (June 1998) and Human Rights - Campaigns Page

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