Thursday, June 5, 2008

Inner Mongolia: Dissident Arrested in Beijing

Inner Mongolian dissident, Jiranbayariin Soyolt has been arrested in Beijing on false accusations. His whereabouts remain unclear as Chinese officials refuse access to him.

Below is an article published by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center:

Jiranbayariin Soyolt, a Southern (Inner) Mongolian dissident in exile and a citizen of Mongolia, was arrested in Beijing Capital Airport on January 6, 2008, while on a business trip to China along with two other Mongolian citizens Mr. Purevsuren, President of Mon-Energeo HHK, and Mr. Bat-Erdene, partner of Purevsuren. The three left Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia, on January 6 [2008], 11:45 AM, with Air China airline and arrived at the Beijing Capital Airport on January 6 [2008], 1:00 PM.

According to a written communication to SMHRIC [Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center] by Ms. Tuyaa, wife of Soyolt, Purevsuren and Bat-Erden entered the airport customs check followed by Soyolt. After waiting for Soyolt outside the customs check for two hours, Purevsuren and Bat-Erden returned to the customs counter to inquire about the reason for Soyolt’s delay. At the customs counter, they saw Soyolt in handcuffs surrounded by 5 policemen. Upon seeing them, Soyolt told them that he has been arrested by the Chinese police and asked them to contact his family and the Mongolian Embassy in Beijing immediately on his behalf. Purevsuren contacted Soyolt’s family immediately to inform the family members of what had happened to Soyolt in Beijing.

Soyolt’s family members in Ulaanbaatar immediately sent an appeal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia calling for Soyolt’s immediate release. The Ministry acted promptly to contact the Chinese authorities and assigned Soyolt’s case to its foreign affairs officer, Mr. Boldoo. Since the arrest, Soyolt’s family has been in frequent contact with the foreign affairs office.

On January 11 [2008], according to Tuyaa, Soyolt was forced by the Chinese authorities to contact Purevsuren by telephone from Beijing to tell him that he is still being held in Beijing for “some issue” with his passport, and asked Purevsuren and others not to reveal anything about his arrest to any foreign news media in order not to “make things worse”. Under this threat, family members and friends of Soyolt have kept quiet and waited for his release until fairly recently. However, a series of official notes and requests by the Mongolian Government regarding the case have been completely ignored by the Chinese Government.

Soyolt’s wife, Ms. Tuyaa accompanied by Mr. Purevsuren travelled to Beijing on January 28 [2008], and met with officials of the Embassy of Mongolia to Beijing. On January 31 [2008], on behalf of Soyolt’s family members, Mr. Badamnyambuu, director of the Consular Office of the Embassy, and Purevsuren visited Public Security authorities in Beijing and met with a top official there to express their concern on Soyolt’s case. The Beijing Public Security authorities confirmed that Soyolt did enter China through Beijing Capital Airport on January 6, 2008 even though they had previously repeatedly denied any knowledge of Soyolt’s whereabouts.

SMHRIC has contacted the Consular Office director Badamnyambuu in Beijing however he declined to provide any information on the case, stating that “it is inappropriate for me to explain it over the phone”. SMHRIC also contacted the Beijing Airport Security Department and the Custom Check Office over the phone. All refused to provide any information on the case.

Jiranbayariin Soyolt, a long-term dissident, human rights activist and one of the founding members of several exiled groups based in Mongolia, was born in central Southern Mongolia’s Shiliin-gol League. He was one of the leaders of the 1981 Mongolian Student Movement, a mass protest by ethnic Mongolian students and intellectuals against the Chinese Central Government’s plan for migrating 600,000 Hans into Southern Mongolia without any consultation with local Mongols. In 1992, he went into exile in the independent country of Mongolia and continued his human rights activities, criticizing the Chinese Government’s ethnic policy and defending the human rights of the Mongols in China. In 1993, Soyolt attended the World Mongolian Alliance First Congress in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and gave a speech publicly criticizing China’s gross human rights violations in Southern Mongolia and called the Chinese ethnic policy as “a policy of ethnic cleansing and cultural genocide”. Later he was granted political asylum in Mongolia, and in 1997 he was granted citizenship of Mongolia under the Naturalization Act of Mongolia.

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