The Communist regime in China has been at the forefront of the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities in InnerMongolia. During a webinar[pdf] titled, ‘Global Campaign for Democratic China: Uniting Against Chinese Communist Party’s Repressive Regime’ held on October 1 by an Indian think tank named Law and Society Alliance, the Director of Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre Enghebatu Togochog emphasised on how China is wiping out millions of nomadic tribes from border areas.
Southern Mongolia, also called Inner Mongolia by the CCP, has a population of about 6 million Mongolians. Enghebatu Togochog pointed out that since the annexation of Southern Mongolia by China, the Communist-ruled country has butchered around half a million Mongolians. He said that the population of Mongolians has decreased from 6 million to about 1.5 million over the years.
China imposes land-use restrictions on local herders
Highlighting the cultural suppression policy of the CCP, he stated, “In the 1980s, China started cultural assimilation and millions of Southern Mongolian peasants were tortured and pushed towards marginalisation.” He added that local inhabitants have been restricted from using land for large-scale farming since the past 2 decades. “They have enforced the entire Mongolian population from the centre to corners. Staying on grasslands is considered a crime. Herders who work on their own land get imprisoned or persecuted. China has wiped out millions of nomadic populations in the border areas,” Enghebatu Togochog noted.
China resorts to enforcement of its draconian linguistic policy
He reiterated how China subverts ethnic culture by the imposition of its linguistic policy. He noted that the National language, Mandarin, is being forced upon the ethnic Mongolians and how it is going to become the language of instruction in school textbooks. He stated, “In this final blow to the Mongolian culture, the entire Southern Mongolian people have risen up. From kindergarteners to middle school students, from musicians to taxi drivers, from government officers to party members, all have risen up against the Chinese authorities’ new attempts of cultural genocide. Mass arrests and enforced disappearances have become common practices. 4000-5000 Southern Mongolians have either been detained or disappeared in the past month alone.”
Enghebatu Togochog also pointed out other forms of persecution of Mongolians at the hands of the Chinese Communist regime. “Firing people from jobs, suspending herders from availing social benefits, denying access to bank loans, confiscation of properties, denial of degrees to students are some of the examples of this indirect torture. This also enables the CCP to command control over the local population,” he added.
Protests break out in China over forced Mandarin use
This decision was not well-received by the people living in Inner Mongolia. The people of Inner Mongolia have been successful in ‘preserving their traditional Mongolian alphabet’, unlike independent Mongolia. The latter, under the influence of Russia, uses the Cyrillic script. The Mongols in Inner Mongolia fear the same with the new Chinese policy.
The authoritarian Communist party was taken aback when parents launched widespread strikes along with 3,00,000 students. As such, when the school opened in this month, only 40 Mongolian students registered for the term while only 10 students showed up on Day 1. Parents of Mongolian children had earlier announced that they would keep their wards home instead of accepting the new language of instruction.