Jul 26, 2007

Southern Mongolia: China Denies Mistreating Prisoner

Southern Mongolia’s governor denied the claims that political prisoner Hada had been mistreated. Jailed for his pro-democracy views, Mr. Hada is reportedly in very poor health.

Below is an article written by Reuters and published by the Guardian:

China has not mistreated an ethnic Mongolian Chinese political prisoner despite accusations by his wife and a rights group, an official said on Wednesday [25 July 2007], adding he would serve his full jail term.

Hada was tried behind closed doors in China's northern Inner Mongolia region in 1996 and sentenced to 15 years in jail for separatism and spying and his support for the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance, which sought greater rights for ethnic Mongolians.

Amnesty International considers Hada a prisoner of conscience and has expressed fears that he had been tortured and about his health.

"According to the information that we know, this has not happened," Inner Mongolian Governor Yang Jing told reporters on the sidelines of a news conference in Beijing. "He receives equal treatment before the law.

"He was judged according to the law, and we cannot interfere in the legal process," he said, when asked if Hada may be released early as a good will gesture ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

"We can understand this hope. China has its own laws and we will act according to those laws."

Hada's wife, Xinna, told Reuters that her husband was still being treated poorly in jail.

"Everything he (Yang) said was rubbish," she said by telephone from Inner Mongolia's capital, Hohhot. "I send Hada newspapers in jail but he never gets them. His health is very poor."

He was in jail in Chifeng, a city in Inner Mongolia northeast of Beijing.

Hada ran a Mongolian-language bookshop in Hohhot, along with Xinna. Inner Mongolia is supposed to have a high degree of autonomy, but like Tibet and Xinjiang in the far west, Beijing in practice keeps a tight rein on the region, fearing ethnic unrest in the country's strategic border areas.