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April 16, 2001

Hada was sentenced to a 15-year prison term on November 11, 1996, for “separatism” and “espionage”. He is being held in Inner Mongolia’s No. 4 Prison, and suffers from pneumonia and intestinal problems.




Hada, 46, was born into a Mongolian family on November 29, 1955. In early 1981, he became an active participant in the growing Inner Mongolian student movement, which sought to develop mechanisms that would help preserve Mongolian ethnic identity in Chinese-controlled Inner Mongolia. After graduating from university in 1983, Hada published a number of articles on political theory in the Mongolian language. In 1996, he became a research student in the political theory department of Inner Mongolian Normal University, and upon completing his MA, devoted his energy to promoting indigenous Mongolian culture. As an outlet for his activism, Hada and his wife, Xinna, later opened a Mongolian studies bookstore in the capital of Inner Mongolia, Hohhot.

In May 1992, Hada and fellow activist Tegexi set up the Mongolian Culture Rescue Committee (later renamed the Mongolian Culture Enlightenment Committee), and began to recruit members. The Committee’s operative principles and constitution, both penned by Hada himself, were passed at the organization’s first conference in May 1992.

A second conference was held in September 1994, and the group began publishing a periodical, Voice of Southern Mongolia, to promote the principles of the group, which had by then been renamed the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance. At a third meeting in August of 1995, the operative principles and constitution were revised, and Hada was re-elected as chairman. The new draft of the constitution outlined the Alliance’s chief mission as “opposing colonization by the Han people and striving for self-determination, freedom and democracy in Southern [Inner] Mongolia.”

Three months later, on December 10, 1995, Hada’s home was ransacked by police from the Inner Mongolian Public Security Bureau. Numerous documents on the Alliance were confiscated. A list of members’ names, as well as the names and addresses of over 100 international scholars that Hada had been corresponding with, was also taken. The following day, the authorities detained Hada, and interrogated him about the Alliance’s activities. He was formally arrested on March 9, 1996.

The Hohhot People’s Procuratorate formally charged Hada with “espionage”, “separatism”, “stealing secrets for the enemy” and “organizing counterrevolutionary forces” on August 19, 1996. In a closed hearing, the Hohhot Intermediate People’s Court tried Hada, announcing a sentence on November 11, 1996. He was given 12 years in prison for separatism and an additional 10 years for espionage. The court’s verdict ordered Hada to serve 15 years in prison and four years’ deprivation of political rights, a combination of the two sentences. Hada lodged an appeal with the Inner Mongolia Higher People’s Court, but this was rejected.

Strangely, even after Hada’s arrest, official media carried articles praising his efforts to preserve Mongolian culture. On December 29, 1995, the Guangming Daily ran a story on the bookstore Hada and his wife had opened in Hohhot, calling it “the home of Mongolian studies.”

Following Hada’s arrest, more than 10 prominent Mongolian intellectuals were also detained. Many Mongolian high school and college students went to the bookstore to find out what had happened to Hada and other members of the movement. On December 16, Xinna posted a note on the front door informing people about Hada’s detention and the crackdown on fellow activists. The students, angry with the authorities’ actions, proceeded to make speeches and protest against the repression. When authorities arrived to halt the demonstration, 12 students were arrested. Xinna herself was also taken into custody and investigated for “inciting students to cause a disturbance”.

On January 12, 1996, due to the efforts of her relatives, Xinna was released on bail. Then, after giving an interview to an overseas journalist, Xinna was arrested for the second time on January 28, 1996. Although never formally charged, Xinna was held for just under four months, and was not released until April 12, 1996.

The Public Security Bureau has since closed down the bookstore in Hohhot, leaving the family with no source of income. Xinna remains under surveillance, her phone calls are monitored and she is not always allowed her monthly prison visit with her husband. Her teenage son, Wenasi, has reportedly been beaten by police.

Hada is reported in an extremely poor state of health. He has contracted gastroenteritis and a serious case of pneumonia. He has been subjected to beatings by other inmates in his prison cell.

Joseph Chaney and Cai Jiquan






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