Jan 11, 2019

Southern Mongolia: School Under Investigation for Displaying Flag of Independent Mongolia

Chinese authorities are investigating the Ulaanhad Mongolian No 1 High School for displaying the national flag and emblem of independent Southern Mongolia in their classrooms. The Chinese authorities have levied allegations concerning “national separatism” against the academic institution. The public state-run media has stated that any such attempt to go against the common destiny of what Beijing considers all Chinese people, is doomed to fail. This event is in line with the recent trend in Southern Mongolia, which has seen an increased display of nationalist sentiment over the past few years.

This article was published by Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center:

The Ulaanhad Mongolian No. 1 High School of Southern Mongolia’s (known as “Inner Mongolia”) Ulaanhad Municipality (chi feng in Chinese) is under official investigation by Chinese authorities for hanging national flag and emblem of the independent country of Mongolia in its classrooms. Chinese social media accused the school of “engaging in national separatism” and called on the Chinese authorities to imprison the teachers.

The Global Times (huan qiu wang in Chinese), a Chinese official mouthpiece affiliated with the state-run press People’s Daily, published a piece entitled “Ulaanhad No.1 High School ‘Hangs Mongolian National Flag and Mongolian National Emblem?’ Educational Bureau Response: Investigation Already Underway” yesterday on its website, revealing that Chinese authorities are carrying out a serious investigation into the matter.

“We were alerted of the act yesterday and are calling an urgent meeting today. The Municipal Propaganda Department has already dispatched a mission to carry out the investigation. An official response will become available shortly,” the Global Times quoted an official from the Municipal Educational Bureau as saying.

Pictures posted in the news article show students in traditional Mongolian dress dancing in their classroom with a Mongolian national flag on the wall in the background. In an apparent celebration of the New Year, students of the high school enjoyed traditional Mongolian food and took group pictures in their classroom which was decorated with a large national emblem of the independent country of Mongolia, a map of the Mongol Empire, and paintings of Mongol Khans.

“Any thought or act of anti-‘Chinese national sense of common destiny’ is against the historical trend and is doomed to failure,” the article added.

“Although it is said there are 56 nationalities in China, in fact there is only one nationality, which is the Chinese nationality or the ‘zhong hua nationality.’ Anyone who is engaging in national separatism must be harshly punished. We must strike hard on those terrorists who are engaging in national separatism,” a Chinese blogger from the north-eastern Chinese province of Heilongjiang commented on the site Xinlang.

Another Chinese netizen from Beijing wrote on the same thread, “This absolutely is not a small matter. It didn’t happen on a whim. Those students have carefully planned it. Benefiting from and blessed by China, they don’t have any feeling of appreciation. Their hearts are still beating for the former traitors.” Undoubtedly, “traitors” is referring to the independent country of Mongolia which in the Chinese view was a country of traitors who “split the mother nation of China” a century ago.

In recent years, it has been commonplace among Southern Mongolians to hang the national flag of the independent country of Mongolia in their homes, print it on their cars, put it in social media profiles, and even tattoo it on their bodies.

“Genocide, killing, torture, and imprisonment for over 70 years have not really helped the Chinese to wipe out our national identity. We are still who we are, and our heart and soul have never accepted the Chinese,” Mr. Tumenulzei Buyanmend, a Southern Mongolian dissident writer in exile, commented on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Enkhbayar Batmunkh @Flickr