Key Issues of Southern Mongolia

Compiled by
Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center
New York

  • Home to 6 million Mongolians, Southern Mongolia, known as “Inner Mongolia”, was the first nation to be occupied by the People’s Republic of China;
  • As the first and exemplary “National Minority Autonomous Region” which later was depoliticized to “Ethnic Minority Autonomous Region”, Southern Mongolia has been the testing ground of China’s all forms of ethnic policies including large-scale genocide, ethnic cleansing, political purge, economic exploitation, cultural eradication, linguistic assimilation, social marginalization, resource extraction and environmental destruction;
  • Even few years before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Southern Mongolia was occupied by the Chinese Communist Party that implemented the so-called “Land Reform Movement” to kill tens of thousands of Southern Mongolians to effectively confiscate Mongolian land and distribute it to the Chinese peasants;
  • During the 1950s, at least 20,000 Southern Mongolians intellectuals and elites were persecuted as “national rightists” for urging the newly established Chinese Government to materialize its promise for “national autonomy”;
  • From the late 1960s through the early 1970s, Southern Mongolia had experienced a large-scale genocide campaign carefully designed by the Chinese Central Government and carried out by the People’s Liberation Army and Chinese settlers. At least 100,000 Southern Mongolians were brutally tortured to death, and a half million persecuted. One third of the Mongolian population was effected by this unprecedented scale of genocide;
  • In the early 1980s, the Chinese Central Government escalated the Chinese migration to Southern Mongolia. As a result, in 1981, a large-scale Southern Mongolian student movement took place. After a three-month long region-wide student protest, the Chinese Government cracked down on the protest and arrest, detain and jail the student leaders and supporters;
  • In the early 1990s, Southern Mongolian intellectuals established several underground organizations protesting Chinese colonization and demanding national freedom. All of them were harshly crushed by the Chinese authorities. In 1995, the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance (SMDA) whose goal was to achieve the total independence of Southern Mongolia and ultimately to merge with the independent country of Mongolia was cracked down on by the Chinese authorities. The President and the Vice President, Mr. Hada and Mr. Tegexi, were arrested and sentenced to 15 years and 10 years in jail respectively on charges of “separatism and espionage”. Nearly 70 other members were arrested, detained and sent to jail ranging from 3 months to a year. Mr. Hada is still under house arrest today after serving 15 years imprisonment and an additional 4-year extrajudicial detention.
  • In 2001, China started implementing a cultural genocide aiming at the total eradication of Mongolian traditional nomadic way of life. Two sets of policies, namely the “Ecological Migration” and “Ban over Livestock Grazing” [Livestock Grazing Ban??] were adopted to forcibly displace the entire Mongolian herders population from their ancestral lands to overwhelmingly Chinese-populated urban and agricultural areas. Mongolian pastoralist way of life and nomadic civilization were effectively wiped out. [Mongolian left with no jobs and no adequate and affordable housing. They became the second class citizen and face daily harassment and discrimination from Han Chinese. ] See the Chinese State Council announcement on this:
  • In 2009, the Chinese Government announced that Southern Mongolia became “China’s Energy Base”. Chinese extractive industries rushed into Southern Mongolian lands confiscated from the herders. Here are some statistics on Southern Mongolian natural resources plundered by the Chinese colonial regime:
    • World’s 95% of rare-earth production takes place in Southern Mongolia’s Bogot&Bayan-oboo Mine. Local Mongolians were kicked out of their lands and their ancestral lands became the “rare-earth capital”. China monopolizes rare-earth to extort the world;
    • Southern Mongolia became China’s largest coal producer. Entire north-China and coastal-Chinese areas completely depend on Southern Mongolian energy. A series of new projects such as “Western Development”, “Western Energy to East”, “Western Gas to East”, “Shen Hua Coal Liquidation”, “Western Coal to East” were launched to plunder Southern Mongolia’s natural resource effectively;
    • China’s largest natural gas deposit was found in Ordos basin of Southern Mongolia to supply almost 1/3 of China’s natural gas;
    • China’s largest uranium deposit is found in Southern Mongolia recently. According to the Chinese official announcement, this mine alone has a “world-level uranium deposit”;
    • Known as “Grassland Steel City”, Southern Mongolian city Bogot (Bao Tou in Chinese) became one of China’s four top steel producers and the largest base of Chinese military industrial complex. China’s heavy artilleries, missiles and nuclear weapons have been produced there and tested in Southern Mongolian grasslands.
  • China’s resource extraction has been a resource curse to the Southern Mongolians. The entire grassland ecosystem has completely been destroyed. Indigenous Mongolians are forced to leave their land and abandon their way of life. For their survival Southern Mongolians are rising up. In 2010, a region-wide large-scale protest by Mongolian herders and students “shook the very foundation of the regime” according to a western news media report.
  • Sandstorm that threatened not only Beijing but also Korean Peninsula, Japan and even the west coast of the United States is a direct aftermath of environmental atrocities committed by the Chinese in Southern Mongolia. Once beautiful grassland is now covered with mining pits across Southern Mongolia; lakes and rivers dried up; underground water is depleted. Industrial wastes and toxic pollution irreversibly destroyed the natural environment of Southern Mongolia.
  • Today, protests, demonstrations and petitions by Mongolian herders are taken place on daily basis. Thousands of Mongolian herders and activists who defended their rights to their lands have been arrested, detained and sent to long term jail. In a latest such case, at least 200 Mongolian herders were arrested, beaten and pepper sprayed in eastern Southern Mongolia’s Bairin Left Banner in early July, 2020.
  • As the last phase of the cultural genocide campaign, in June 2020, the Chinese Government educational authorities announced to implement a new wave of “bilingual education. Starting this September, aiming to wipe out Mongolian schools and educational system once and for all across Southern Mongolia, the Chinese educational authorities is requesting Mongolian schools to teach students in Chinese as the primary language instead of Mongolian. Recently all walks of Southern Mongolian society are standing up to defend their last defense of national identity: Mongolian language.
  • In sum, this is the tragic fate of the proud nation of Southern Mongolia under the Chinese colonial occupation in the past seven decades:
    • Territorially annexed to China in 1949;
    • Politically reduced from a nation to a mare-cultural entity of “ethnic minority” in 1950s;
    • Physically crippled through a large-scale genocide in the 1960s through 1970s;
    • Economically crumbled in the 1980s through 1990s;
    • Environmentally wiped out starting 2001;
    • Culturally eradicated in the past two decades;
    • Linguistically decimated in 2020 in the final blow of cultural genocide.

Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC)

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 917-698-4367