Mar 24, 2016

Southern Mongolia: Crackdown on Herders Continues

Photo: Herders Mr.Burdee (left) from Left Uzumchin Banner detained for "inciting illegal gathering on the Internet" and Mr.Enkhbat (right) from Right Uzumchin Banner detained for "inciting illegal gathering on the Internet" (SMHRIC photos, 2016-03-24)


Police have arrested and detained at least five more Mongolian herders since 21 March 2016 for “instigating illegal gatherings, protests and demonstrations via the internet’. The herders have refused to be cowed and have vowed to maintain their “fight for justice”.


Below is an article published by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC)


Following the recent arrest and detention of six Mongolian herders from western Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Right Uzumchin Banner, at least five more Mongolian herders from multiple areas have been arrested and detained for “instigating illegal gatherings, protests and demonstrations via the Internet” since March 21, 2016.

On March 21, three Mongolian herders, including Mr. Burdee and Mr. Achilalt from Left Uzumchin Banner and Mr. Enkhbat from Right Uzumchin Banner, were arrested by the local Public Security Bureau for “instigating illegal gatherings via the Internet”. On March 23, the three herders were placed under a 10-day administrative detention order on the same charge.

According to the detention notice given to family members, Enkhbat was detained by the Right Uzumchin Banner Public Security Bureau for “inciting and plotting illegal gathering, protest and demonstration”.

On March 22, Left Uzumchin Banner Propaganda Platform, an official mouthpiece of the local government, posted a message on the Internet, stating that “a certain netizen called A (referring to the herder Achilalt) and another netizen called Bu (referring to Burdee)” were detained for “inciting extreme actions of illegal activities among netizens via WeChat”.

The statement includes a warning from police authorities, claiming that “the Internet is a public and open space. Internet surfing must be done in a civilized way. Laws and regulations must be voluntarily abided by. Acts of disturbing public order, obstructing social management, sabotaging public interest and violating the laws must be strictly investigated and harshly punished by the police authorities”.

Another herder from Shuluun-huh Banner (“zheng lan qi” in Chinese) of central Southern Mongolia went missing on March 21. “Peaceful Shuluun-huh Banner”, official WeChat propaganda platform by the Shuluun-huh Banner Public Security Bureau, posted a statement to confirm that “the suspect certain netizen named Su candidly confessed that he incited and plotted illegal gatherings, protests and demonstrations via WeChat groups he is subscribed to”.  The statement confirmed that the herder was placed under a 15-day administrative detention order.

Ms. Odongerel, a herder from western Southern Mongolia’s Urad Middle Banner (“wu la te zhong qi” in Chinese), was taken away police from her home around 10:40 AM today (March 24) as she was expressing her concern over the arrest and detention of other herders through WeChat herders’ groups.

“My daughter was taken away by police two hours ago,” Ms. Deemjidmaa, mother of Odongerel, told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC). “I am proud of my daughter, and I have always refused to sign any documents the Public Security authorities brought to me every time when my daughter was arrested.”

“The more the coward police arrest us, the more we feel our strength,” another herder named Oyuumchimeg said in a WeChat group. “Go ahead and arrest tens of us and hundreds of us. As long as we are not executed immediately, we will continue to fight for justice to death.”