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Chinese Authorities Put “Separatism” Charges on Mongolian Writer

Chinese government policies, the group said, are "based on deep-seateddiscrimination that characterizes Mongolian pastoralism as 'backward,archaic, unscientific and uncivilized' way of life and advertises the Chinese way of life as 'advanced, civilized and scientific'.

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Ethnic Mongolian historian and author Lhamjab A. Borjigin, 74, who is facing for prosecution for "separatism" and "sabotaging national unity," in undated photo. RFA

Chinese authorities in the northern region of Inner Mongolia have tried an ethnic Mongolian writer in secret on “separatism” charges, a rights group said on Friday.

Lhamjab A. Borjigin, 75, stood trial on April 4 on charges of “separatism” and “sabotaging national unity,” the New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) reported.

“The trial started at 9:00 a.m. on April 4 and ended around 12:00 p.m. at the Shiliinhot Municipal People’s Court,” the group quoted a recorded audio message from Lhamjab as saying.

“None of my family members were allowed to attend,” he said. “I was denied the right to bring my lawyer to defend myself.”

A native of Heshigten Banner, a county-like division in Inner Mongolia, and a member of the state-backed Shiliingol League Literary Association, Lhamjab has been a prominent voice in ethnic Mongolian culture in China, as well as documenting the region’s oral history.

He specializes in survivor testimonies of the political violence and social chaos of the Cultural Revolution, publishing his book “China’s Cultural Revolution” in 2006.

Lhamjab said he had refused to speak Chinese during the courtproceedings, and had “reluctantly” been allowed to bring an interpreter into the courtroom.

“It was a typical closed-door trial,” Lhamjab said. “Only eight people, namely three judges, three procurators, myself and my interpreter were present in the small courtroom with the door tightly closed.”

Lhamjab has rejected the charges pending against him, saying that he only wrote the historical truth.

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The authorities began confiscating copies of the book and placed Lhamjab under house arrest on July 11, 2018.
Pixabay

Case directly ordered by regional government

The court has yet to announce its verdict in the case, which was brought under direct orders from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regiongovernment, according to Lhamjab.

“When the [prosecutors] accused me of engaging in ‘national separatism,’ ‘sabotaging national unity’ and ‘illegal publication and illegal distribution,’ I defended myself by asking whether those who committed the genocide in [Inner] Mongolia or the ones like myself who talked about this genocide should be considered [to be] ‘sabotaging national unity’,” he said.

“The [prosecutors] candidly told me that it is not up to them,” Lhamjab said. “It was because the Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau and State Security Bureau are pressuring them to prosecute me on these charges.”

Lhamjab said he had maintained his innocence throughout the trial, andrefused to plead guilty to any of the charges.

“I am determined to appeal to the highest court because this is an unjust trial not only against me but also against our entire Southern Mongolians who have been subjected to a series of mass killing and political persecution but are not even allowed to speak of these atrocities.”

For his book, Lhamjab gathered oral testimonies of survivors of violence against ethnic Mongolians during the Cultural Revolution, a task that took him 20 years.

The book accuses the ruling Chinese Communist Party of state-sponsoredgenocide in the region, detailing torture techniques and detentions in a brutal campaign that claimed the lives of at least 27,900 people andimprisoned and tortured 346,000.

Lhamjab published the book unofficially, at his own expense, after state-run Chinese publishing houses refused to publish it.

“The book became popular among Mongolians not only in [Inner]Mongolia, but also in the [neighboring] independent country of Mongolia,” SMHRIC said.

Destroying nomadic civilization

Last year, an abridged audio version of the book went viral among ethnic Mongolians on Chinese social media platforms, especially WeChat, the group said.

The authorities began confiscating copies of the book and placed Lhamjab under house arrest on July 11, 2018.

The writers’ group PEN America has called on Beijing to drop the charges and release Lhamjab.

Ethnic Mongolians in exile have repeatedly also called on Chineseauthorities to end human rights violations, systematic andinstitutionalized discrimination against ethnic Mongolians within China’s borders, as well as longstanding policies aimed at ending their traditional, nomadic way of life.

In a submission to the International Convention on the Elimination ofRacial Discrimination (CERD), which is currently reviewing Beijing’s record, SMHRIC called on the Chinese government to release all ethnic Mongolian prisoners of conscience, including members of herding communities who have been “arbitrarily arrested, detained, and imprisoned for defending their grazing land from illegal appropriation.”

The group is calling for the immediate withdrawal of all “extractiveindustries, tourist companies and power plants that not only occupy and appropriate large tracts of Mongolian grazing lands, but also devastate the ecosystem, deplete the underground water and pollute the air and water.”

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“None of my family members were allowed to attend,” he said. “I was denied the right to bring my lawyer to defend myself.” Pixabay

It is also campaigning against the Chinese authorities’ “massivepropaganda campaign to justify their destruction of nomadic civilization and … the natural environment.”

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Chinese government policies, the group said, are “based on deep-seateddiscrimination that characterizes Mongolian pastoralism as ‘backward,archaic, unscientific and uncivilized’ way of life and advertises the Chinese way of life as ‘advanced, civilized and scientific’.”

The authorities should also prosecute “hate crimes and hate speech byChinese individuals, private or public entities and government bodiesagainst Mongolian language, customs, tradition, way of life and identity,” it said. (RFA)

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Pakistani-Canadian Author Tarek Fatah: University Campus is not Immune to Politics

Seek freedom from burqa 1st, not CAA, says Tarek Fatah

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Tarek Fatah
"Those who keep their wives and daughters in Burqa at home, send them for protests," says Tarek Fatah. Wikimedia Commons

BY VIVEK TRIPATHI

Pakistani-Canadian author Tarek Fatah has said that those opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) are prone to a “separatist mindset”. Raising questions on Muslim womens’ participation in anti-CAA demonstrations, he said before seeking freedom from the new citizenship law, they must seek freedom from the veil (burqa) first.

In a special interview with IANS, Fatah said that as far as the issue of anti-CAA protest is concerned, it began first in West Bengal, where some politicians have vested interests and are keen to expand their sphere of influence into state politics. Those who have settled here from Bangladesh or the erstwhile East Pakistan want to make West Bengal a Muslim majority state in order to increase their vote share. They are the people who are opposing the new law and some politicians are backing them.

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Fatah said, “NRC is still far away. But, as far as the CAA is concerned, what we have learnt from Assam is that it must be implemented. Pixabay

He said, “They are not like Indians. They think that if illegal migrants are not given citizenship, their plan which is all about Muslim Nationhood, will never succeed. This reflects their separatist mindset. So they have no solid ground for opposing the CAA.”

Fatah said, “NRC is still far away. But, as far as the CAA is concerned, what we have learnt from Assam is that it must be implemented. The government has openly said that it is a right step. Even Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan have such laws. I do not understand why people are opposing the CAA. If government wants to correct the data, well and good.”

Speaking about Muslim women’s participations in the protests, he said, “Those who keep their wives and daughters in Burqa at home, send them for protests. If you have the courage, why do you send your wives and children to protest. This is nothing but exploitation of children.”

Tarek Fatah India
Regarding the National Citizenship Register (NRC), Fatah said, “It seems to me that Muslims fear that if the displaced Hindus in Bengal get citizenship, then the minorities will lose their place in Bengal. Pixabay

Fatah recalled meeting a Sikh from Kabul in Delhi, saying, “He faced an identity crisis in Afghanistan and came back to India. This law is for those who have already come to India due to religious persecution, people should understand it.”

On the question of CAA protests at educational institutions, he said university campus is not immune to politics. But it should be in the right direction.

Regarding the National Citizenship Register (NRC), Fatah said, “It seems to me that Muslims fear that if the displaced Hindus in Bengal get citizenship, then the minorities will lose their place in Bengal. The entire matter is of Muslim nationality.”

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On the issue of triple talaq, Tariq Fatah said that it has nothing to do with secularism. If we speak of secularism, what is the need of Muslim Personal Law Board. And there is definitely a need of uniform civil code. Seeking secularism in CAA and boycotting triple talaq is double standard of Muslims.”

On coming to Ayodhya, he said, “I have come here for the first time. For me it was like a Haj. The decision has been made. We have to be grateful to the people who have sheltered us in India. Here is a five thousand year old civilization, Muslims came here later, they came from outside. You cannot rule here by coming from outside. This is just as the Soviet Union cannot be ruled by America.” (IANS)