Thousands Held in Inner Mongolia As Crackdown on Language Protesters Continues

Chinese authorities in the northern region of Inner Mongolia have detained at least 8,000 ethnic Mongolians amid regionwide resistance to plans to phase out the use of the Mongolian language in schools."An estimated 8,000–10,000 [ethnic] Mongolians have been placed under some form of police custody since late August," the New York-based Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) said in a statement on its website.The ruling Chinese Communist Party has carried out mass arrests, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, house arrests, and "intensive training" across the region, which borders the independent country of Mongolia, after parents and students organized a region-wide class boycott and took to the streets in protest at changes to the curriculum, sources in the region and overseas rights activists have said.Khubis, an ethnic Mongolian activist living in Japan, told RFA that rights lawyer Hu Baolong and activist Yang Jindulima remain in custody.He said some detainees have refused officially appointed lawyers, in the hope of appointing a defense attorney of their own.Hu was detained by police in his home city of Tongliao along with at least eight others on suspicion of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," a charge often used to target peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.U.S.-based ethnic Mongolian Nomin, a former colleague of Hu's, said she had been unable to get in touch directly with anyone connected with Hu or Yang.Yang hails from Abag Banner in Shilingol League, which borders Mongolia."I talked to Yang [before the protests], and she told me she wouldn't be taking part because she had just gotten married," Nomin said. "She had opened a restaurant in Xilinhot, but the police still had her under constant surveillance.""A couple of police officers would just go and sit in her restaurant every day without saying anything," she said.The authorities have also fired ethnic Mongolian parents, blacklisted and expelled their children, confiscated assets, and denied bank loans to protesting parents, SMHRIC said.Local governments, party committees, Communist Youth Leagues, state prosecutors, and courts have issued wanted notices across the region for anyone engaging in protest activity, it said."The Chinese regime has really shown its weakness, ineffectiveness, and arbitrariness before this massive nonviolent civil disobedience," group director Enghebatu Togochog said."It is laughable that five different authorities including the court and procuratorates, who really have no business in this matter, piled up their rubber stamps on a single document to intimidate Mongolians," he said.Prominent dissidents detainedAmong the thousands placed in some form of detention are prominent ethnic Mongolian dissidents and their families, rights activists, writers, lawyers, and leaders of traditional herding communities.Ethnic Mongolian dissident writer Hada, who remains under house arrest following a 15-year jail term for "espionage" and "separatism," is now completely incommunicado, while the whereabouts of his activist wife Xinna and the couple's grown son Uiles are currently unknown, SMHRIC said.Dissident writer Lhamjab Borjigin, author of China’s Cultural Revolution, and dissident writer Sechenbaater are also incommunicado and under house arrest, it said.In Shuluun-tsagaan Banner, a county-like administrative division, writer and poet Nasanulzei Hangin is under criminal detention after rallying 500 Mongolians in a protest against the new language policy in schools.In Ordos, musician Ashidaa is under criminal detention for taking part in protests, and has been denied visits from family members, while rights attorney Huhbulag remains in detention without charge, SMHRIC said.Herding community leaders Yanjindulam, Bao Guuniang, Manliang, Yingeer, Urgumal, Davharbayar, and Zhao Baahuu remain incommunicado, whereabouts unknown, it said.The group said it was concerned about the growing number of references to "intensive training" in official documents during the crackdown, indicating that a "re-education" program is already under way across the region.It cited a Sept. 14 official document as saying that "parents and guardians who fail to send their children back to school on time will be given legal education training."One school issued a notice to parents declaring "war" on organized resistance to the language policy."Special task forces from the government, party, law enforcement, and judiciary branches are already stationed in our school," the notice issued by Chavag No. 2 High School said. "This is a war."According to SMHRIC, first-graders in elementary schools are now required to undergo military training similar to that undergone by first-year college and university students across China.Resistance to the loss of mother-tongue teaching in schools continued, even on China's Oct. 1 National Day celebration, despite the crackdown, SMHRIC said.Secondary school students in Bayanhushuu held up a large poster with a portrait of Ghengis Khan, inscribed with a slogan supporting Mongolian as their ancestral language, while hundreds of ethnic Mongolian sports competitors near Ordos sang the new anthem of the resistance movement, titled "My Mongolia, an eternal flame that should never be extinguished."Ethnic Mongolians in China have migrated to other available social media platforms after their group chats were shut down by WeChat.Protests in the US, FranceIn California, ethnic Mongolians have held six protest rallies one after another in the past month.Protest organizer Tuyaa Bliss, who now works as a teacher in the Bay Area, said they had protested outside the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, at San Francisco City Hall, and in Oakland, with dozens of people taking part throughout September and October."The Mongolian language is now under threat in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region," Tuyaa told one protest. "This new policy from the Chinese authorities will force the Mongolian language and culture into extinction."Some non-Mongolian residents of California also took part."We have seen terrible human rights violations against Uyghurs and Tibetans, so when we know that Mongolians have become another target, we are not very surprised," a protester who gave only the name Anna told RFA at a recent protest. "So Americans need to be told what happened."On Oct. 13, a French museum announced it was shelving an exhibit about Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan, citing interference by the Chinese government, which it accused of trying to rewrite history.The Château des ducs de Bretagne history museum in the western city of Nantes said it had decided to put the show on hold after the Chinese authorities demanded that certain words, including “Genghis Khan,” “Empire,” and “Mongol” be taken out of the show. Subsequently, it said that they asked for editing power over exhibition brochures, legends, and maps.Reported by Qiao Long and Sun Cheng for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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Ethnic Chinese Creative Workers Say Hollywood Has a China Problem

Creative workers overseas have hit out at Hollywood over what they say is the movie industry’s long-running failure to stand up to China over human rights abuses, which include the mass incarceration and persecution of Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.Following Disney’s release last month of the live-action remake of Mulan, the media empire sparked an international outcry after it thanked Xinjiang branches of China’s feared state security police, who are closely linked with a network of internment camps, a program of cultural genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups, and the regionwide monitoring, harassment, and surveillance of residents.U.K.-based writer Ma Jian said Disney’s unapologetic use of locations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)  just a few miles away from incarceration camps was a scandal, and showed that Disney was only too happy to collude with China’s repressive regime.“It’s truly disgusting that China built concentration camps and that the Disney production team just passed close by and even thanks [the authorities],” Ma told RFA. “All those people had lost their liberty, locked up in concentration camps, while they were making a movie right there.”“Disney clearly had no concern for what was going on in the background. What were they thinking, shooting there?” he said.Disney released its U.S. $200 million live-action version of the popular 1998 animated film “Mulan” about a young woman who pretends to be a man so that she can join the military on behalf of her sick father on its streaming platform Disney+ on Sept. 4.In the credits, the company thanks several entities known to have contributed to Beijing’s repressive rule in the XUAR, where authorities are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a vast network of internment camps since April 2017.Among those thanked in the credits are the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda commission in the XUAR, which has sought to justify the camps as voluntary “vocational centers,” despite reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service which has found that detainees are mostly held against their will in poor conditions, where they are forced to endure inhumane treatment and political indoctrination.Disney also thanked the Turpan (in Chinese, Tulufan) prefectural branch of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, which in July was sanctioned by the Trump administration for its role in abuses in the region.A longstanding problemAccording to Ma, the problem of filmmakers kowtowing to the Chinese Communist Party is a longstanding one for Hollywood.“Disney aren’t the only ones to betray the values of their country of origin by welcoming the Chinese Communist Party, even laying out the red carpet for them.”Actress and former Miss Canada Anastasia Lin, who has been outspokenly critical of China’s human rights abuses in the past, said little appears to have changed in Tinseltown."Nobody puts a gun to the heads of Hollywood screenwriters and asks them to produce work that will please Beijing, but they still do it,” Lin told RFA.“Although they are free to speak out on behalf of the Chinese people, they choose not to do that, which is very disappointing,” she said.Lin said her own career in Hollywood has been negatively affected by her human rights activism, as major Hollywood studios continue to form joint ventures with state-owned Chinese companies that are entirely controlled by the Communist Party."This has created an economic incentive for self-censorship,” Lin said. “You can be pretty sure that no project that is critical of the Chinese Communist Party will see the light of day.”Lawmakers demand answersOn Sept. 11, the co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts led 17 other U.S. lawmakers in writing an open letter to Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek, demanding clarification on the company’s cooperation with XUAR agencies.You Ziwei, director and producer of the Hollywood production company Light & Shadow Pictures, said the letter had likely had little impact in Hollywood, however."In the entertainment industry, everything is still all about commercial success." You told RFA.  “People generally avoid talking about social justice in case it has an impact on commercial value.”The exile group World Uyghur Congress told RFA that the Turpan police department has been directly involved in the running of internment camps for Uyghurs.“The Mulan credits publicly thank a violent organization in China,” group spokesman Dilshat Rashit told RFA. “The search for profit has blunted any sense of ethics at many companies, and helped to spread China’s genocidal propaganda against Uyghurs.”“We call on people who care about human rights to publicly boycott Mulan, and call on moviegoers not to ally themselves with organizations involved in extreme forms of persecution,” he said.U.S. movie director Judd Apatow recently chimed in with criticism of Hollywood in comments made to a chat show on MSNBC.“Instead of us doing business with China and China becoming more free, what has happened is a place like China has bought our silence with their money,” Apatow told the network’s Mavericks with Ari Melber show.“As a result of that, we never wake up our country or the world through art or satire that people are being mistreated in our country or other countries. So that’s very dangerous,” he said.A local official told RFA earlier this month that detainees at an internment camp in an area of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where Disney shot part of Mulan, are being subjected to forced labor making socks and crushing gravel.Turpan, where the film was shot in part, is a prefecture-level city in eastern Xinjiang whose population of around 650,000 people is some 75 percent Uyghur. The ancient Silk Road city is known as being one of the earliest to have rolled out a campaign of “transformation through education” of Muslims, beginning in August 2013.RFA recently learned from local police officers that as many as eight camps are in operation within the prefecture’s boundaries, despite claims in Paris earlier this month by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that all those sent to camps in the XUAR have been released and placed in employment.Reported by Mia Chieh-ping Chen for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Ng Yik-tung and Sing Man for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.m

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Police Step Up Patrols in Northeast China As Korean Phased Out of Schools

Authorities in northeastern China have stepped up security in areas with a significant population of ethnic Koreans as the ruling Chinese Communist Party introduces changes to the national curriculum that will phase out Korean-language teaching from the region's schools.Plans to end the use of the Mongolian language have sparked weeks of class boycotts, street protests, and a region-wide crackdown by riot squads and state security police in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, in a process described by ethnic Mongolians as "cultural genocide."Since the start of the new semester, schools that previously offered Korean-medium teaching will start using Mandarin Chinese instead, phasing out any Korean-language teaching materials, according to media reports and a local resident who spoke to RFA.An ethnic Korean living in the northeastern province of Jilin who asked to be identified only by a nickname, Kim, said there is now tight security on the streets of his home region."There are police everywhere on the streets right now," Kim, who hails from the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, told RFA on Friday. "At least four police officers are deployed at every intersection.""On the first day of the new semester, there were a lot of police cars and armed police vehicles patrolling the area," Kim said. "The atmosphere is pretty somber, and it's been that way for a long time now.""Personally, I think this is an attempt to prevent the sort of mass incidents we have seen in Inner Mongolia," he said.Kim, who is now in this 30s, said he had a Korean-medium education throughout primary school."Basically, all the classes were taught in Korean with the exception of Mandarin Chinese classes," he said. "Even then, all of the vocabulary we learned there was explained in Korean.""It looks as if the new teaching materials are now all the same across both Korean schools and Chinese schools," Kim said. "The Korean schools are now having to use the same teaching materials as the Chinese schools."'Education for national unity'South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper recently reported that Korean schools in China had started replacing Korean-language teaching materials with Chinese-language equivalents since the start of this semester.The new emphasis on "education for national unity" had sparked concerns that the Korean language would be marginalized as a result."Some Korean schools are replacing Korean textbooks in other subjects with Chinese textbooks used by Han Chinese [schools]," the paper quoted an anonymous source as saying in a Sept. 14 report."Although there isn't the same obvious centrally led policy like they have in Inner Mongolia, they are also trying to strengthen Chinese-medium education [in ethnically Korean areas]," the source said.The report traced the "education for national unity" policy back to a September 2019 speech by ruling Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping, who told a conference on national unity: "The Chinese nation is one big family, and we will build the Chinese dream together."China is home to roughly 2.3 million Koreans, according to government figures from 2009, the largest population outside of the Korean Peninsula, of whom just under two million are Chinese nationals of Korean ethnicity.Kim said ethnic Koreans in China have until now been allowed to sit national university entrance exams in their own language, although it was unclear whether that policy will remain in the absence of Korean-medium teaching in schools.But he said many Korean parents also preferred to send their children to Chinese-medium schools in the hope of boosting their life chances."More and more people are switching to Chinese-language college entrance exams in ethnic minority areas these days," Kim told RFA.He said there is an endemic problem with corruption in some areas."A lot of teachers want bribes," he said. "Many Korean parents hate all of that and send their children to Chinese schools instead.""The proportion of Koreans in Chinese schools is very high; sometimes nearly half of the people in a class are Koreans," Kim said.Reported by Gao Feng for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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