Oct 28, 2011

Southern Mongolia: Internet Sites Shut After Human Rights Abuses Rise

Internet sites which have been a connection to Mongolian communities around the world have been shut down by the Chinese Government, following uproar over the death of a local herder.

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

As the Chinese authorities intensify their surveillance over the Internet in Southern (Inner) Mongolia following the death of Mr. Zorigt, the second herder who was killed by a Chinese trucker in Uushin Banner of the region in defending his grazing land from the Chinese truckers, popular Mongolian language Internet sites including Boljoo (www.boljoo.com), Mongolian BBS (www.mglbbs.net) and Medege (www.medege.com) have been shut down.

Boljoo, the only Mongolian Classic Script instant messenger system and one of the most popular Mongolian language Internet discussion forums in Southern Mongolia, with its own integrated standalone Mongolian Classic Script input method, was shut down by the Chinese authorities on October 27, 2011. The founder and administrator of Boljoo, Mr. Sechent, issued a short message on the site notifying that “the site will be shut down until November 15 in accordance with the notice given.”

With tens of thousands of users, Boljoo has played a key role in disseminating information regarding the issues the Southern Mongolians are facing and promoting Mongolian language, culture and identity among the Southern Mongolians. According to an email communication received by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), Boljoo served as a platform of exchanging ideas and distributing news for the Mongolians from not only Southern Mongolia but also the independent country of Mongolia, Buriyat and Kalmyk of Russian Federation and overseas Mongolian communities around the world.

Another popular Mongolian language discussion forum, Mongolian BBS, (www.mglbbs.net) was shut down on the same day for posting articles related to the herder’s death and call for a protest. With thousands of regular members, Mongolian BBS obtained and disseminated among the Mongolians a great deal of first-hand information, including pictures and video clips regarding human rights violations of the Mongolian people by the Chinese authorities.

Mongolian language news site Medege (www.medege.com) was also shut down by the Chinese authorities for its failure to have "ICP (Internet Content Provider) registration". The site is currently directed to a plain page with a short message in Chinese stating that "the site you are trying to access has been shut down due to its failure to have ICP registration in accordance with the Order No.33 issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People Republic of China". The message urges the site administrator to visit the Ministry's official website (http://www.miibeian.gov.cn) to complete the registration immediately.