Authorities Heighten Persecution of Detained Mongol Rights Advocate's Wife and Son

December 13, 2012

Authorities in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia (IMAR), tightened restrictions on the freedoms of movement and communication of Xinna, the wife of 56-year-old detained Mongol rights advocate Hada, and the couple's son, Uiles, between October and December 2012. The heightened restrictions began after Xinna spoke to Western media and rights groups about Chinese authorities' treatment of Hada in extralegal detention and his deteriorating mental condition. Both Xinna and Uiles reportedly remain under home confinement. Hada remains in official custody without apparent legal basis, despite the expiration of his 15-year prison sentence on December 10, 2010. As noted in the Congressional-Executive Commission on China Political Prisoner Database, authorities imprisoned Hada after he organized peaceful protests for Mongols' rights in 1995. Hada's continued extralegal detention underscores the repercussions Mongols have faced from the Chinese government for promoting their rights and seeking to preserve their culture, language, and pastoral livelihoods.

The U.S.-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) reported on November 7, 2012, that the organization had lost contact with Xinna and Uiles for two weeks. Xinna and Uiles lost contact with the outside world again in early December, according to Radio Free Asia, which reported on December 5, 2012, that it was unable to contact Xinna or Uiles by phone. On December 10, SMHRIC published letters that each had written in November to Chinese officials. In his letter, Uiles appeals to incoming President Xi Jinping to "please send your Public Security personnel to execute me and my mother or arrest and take us away lest we die at home of hunger and suffering."

Both SMHRIC and New York-based rights group Human Rights in China (HRIC, 22 October 12) conducted lengthy interviews with Xinna in October 2012, during which she described her husband's condition during her last visit with him on September 17, 2012. Xinna stated that Hada appeared "sluggish" and in poor mental health. In several interviews, Xinna stated that Hada is suffering from depression, and that a doctor who observed Hada had urged that he be transferred to a mental health hospital or receive specialized psychiatric care, but authorities refused to allow this. (Associated Press via The Guardian, 15 October 12) She also stated that authorities at Jinye Ecological Park, the location in eastern Hohhot where he is currently being detained, were maltreating him, denying him toilet paper for more than a year and restricting his access to newspapers. She told Radio Free Asia (23 October 12) that police informed her she would not be allowed to visit her husband in October 2012, due to interviews she had given to foreign media.

In interviews with SMHRIC and HRIC, Xinna also spoke of authorities' treatment of her and her son in recent months, describing how authorities had placed them under intense surveillance, restricted their movements, limited their telephone and Internet access, forbidden them from speaking to overseas media, and prevented them from earning a living. She said that following the interviews she had recently given to overseas media, police and domestic security officials had threatened to arrest her if she continued speaking with foreign journalists. She also spoke of suffering from heart problems and other health conditions that had worsened following her arrest and detention in 2010. In addition, she stated that authorities had threatened and harassed her relatives, including her 84-year-old mother and her siblings, in an effort to stop her family from speaking publicly about their situation.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle on November 23, 2012, Xinna said that her phone connection had been restored just two days earlier. In this and earlier interviews, she said authorities had forbidden her from running a bookstore as she had previously done in order to earn a living.

In an interview with Radio Free Asia on November 20, 2012, Uiles said authorities had recently intimidated both former bookstore customers and his classmates, for having contact with him and his mother. He expressed frustration that authorities had denied him permission to visit his father for more than a month, in spite of his compliance with authorities' requests that he not speak out in public about his father's treatment. He said authorities regularly delayed monthly subsidies to him and his mother while depriving him of his right to work. He stated that more than 10 domestic security personnel followed him whenever he went out to attend photography classes.

Authorities reportedly released Xinna from the Hohhot No. 1 PSB Detention Center in April 2012, after handing her a three-year suspended prison term for "running an illegal business." Public security officers arrested Xinna in December 2010 around the same time as Uiles' arrest, on the eve of the expiration of Hada's prison sentence. In October 2012, Xinna told the Associated Press that authorities had detained her and subsequently placed her under home confinement over the past two years in an effort to silence her family. Uiles was detained for nine months in the Hohhot No. 3 PSB Detention Center beginning in December 2010 after being accused of "illegal drug possession," and was reportedly released after signing an agreement not to accept interviews from foreign journalists. Xinna and Uiles have asserted that authorities trumped up the charges against them in an effort to silence their public expressions of concern over Hada's situation.

Xinna told HRIC that she and Uiles had been allowed to live with Hada on three occasions since December 2010, but the total amount of time the family spent together was less than 50 days. In September 2012, she wrote to an official with the IMAR Political and Legal Affairs Commission to request Hada's release from illegal detention and an end to officials' harassment of her and her family members. In addition, the letter requests that regional authorities take disciplinary action against prison officials who are directly responsible for Hada's treatment.

For more information on authorities' treatment of Hada and his family and conditions in the IMAR, please see previous CECC analysis and Section II—Ethnic Minority Rights in the CECC 2012 Annual Report.