Oct 24, 2012

Southern Mongolia: Free Hada Now!

Hada’s prison sentence is one of the longest given to a political prisoner in China. In December 2010, when human rights activist Hada was released after completing a 15-year prison sentence, he was taken directly to secret detention and has since been under custody. 

Below is an article published by Human Rights In China:


In December 2010, when he was released after completing a 15-year prison sentence on conviction of espionage (间谍罪) and separatism (分裂国家罪), Mongolian dissident Hada (哈达) was taken directly to secret detention and has been under custody since. His wife, Xinna (新娜), told Human Rights in China (HRIC) that Hada, 56, has been showing obvious psychiatric symptoms but is denied medical treatment. She and their son Uiles (威勒斯) were previously sentenced for "illegal business operation" (非法经营罪) and "illegal drug possession” (非法持有毒品), respectively, charges they contend were trumped up. Xinna said that she has been forbidden to work, and the family is facing extreme difficulties and is in “a living hell.”

Hada’s prison sentence is one of the longest given to a political prisoner in China. Before his arrest, he owned a bookstore in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. For more than 20 years until his arrest in 1995, he had actively promoted his native Mongolian culture and language, as well as the political participation by the Mongolian people. In 1992, he established the Mongolian Culture Rescue Committee, later known as the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance (SMDA), and sought greater autonomy for Southern Mongolia. Hada was detained on December 10, 1995 and sentenced in November 1996. In addition to the prison sentence, he was subjected to four years of post-release deprivation of political rights. During his imprisonment, Hada suffered torture and mistreatment. 

Xinna told HRIC that when she last visited Hada in September 2012, he looked sluggish, seemed paranoid and anxious, and was mentally closed off. She said that doctors confirmed that Hada has mental problems and needs to see a specialist. But the request was rejected by the authorities. She added that during her prior visit in July, she had noticed deteriorating conditions in the detention facility: the food had worsened, and Hada had had no access to toilet paper for one year. Xinna said that the authorities deployed more than 100 people to watch and guard Hada, who had been shuttled among different places of detention since his prison release. She and her son were allowed to live with Hada three times since December 2010, totaling fewer than 50 days. (Included below are the notes of HRIC’s conversation interview with Xinna.)

The authorities have actively blocked information regarding the Hada family from reaching the public. Right before Hada’s release in December 2010, Xinna was detained on suspicion of “illegal business operation.” Their son Uiles was also taken away by police for interrogation but was later released. But the day after Uiles told others about his mother’s situation, he was charged with “illegal possession of drugs.” He was detained for nine months, and was released after he signed a guarantee that he would not accept interviews by foreign media. The authorities did not permit Xinna to operate a bookstore, or even peddle or beg on the street. Xinna does not know when Hada, whose health is deteriorating, will be free. She said that her dream of the whole family reuniting someday—even if they have to live in a remote place and are impoverished—has been shattered. She wants the world to know the truth, and appeals to the international community for help.

During Hada’s imprisonment, the international community had paid close attention to his situation. In 2002, the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment published a report documenting the torture Hada experienced while in prison. In 2006, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders—along with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the Special Rapporteur on torture—sent an urgent appeal to the Chinese government on behalf of Hada. In 1997, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, asking that the Chinese government reopen the trial of Hada and other arrested SMDA activists "in the presence of international observers."