China cracking down on Mongolians protesting imposition of Mandarin based school teaching

Mongolians protest at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, against China's plan . (Photo courtesy: AFP)

(, Sep04’20) – The ethnic population of Chinese ruled Inner Mongolia has launched a civil disobedience movement by refusing to send their children to school after the government announced plans to end Mongolian-medium teaching. China has launched a crackdown, seeking the leaders of protests and the organizers of school boycotts among the region’s 4.2 million ethnic Mongolians.

In Xing’an League and Ulanhot city, police were looking for school-age ethnic Mongolian children to force them back into school, reported the Mandarin service of Sep 3.

However protests were continuing. The report cited Japan-based ethnic Mongolian scholar Khubis as saying high-school students in Shiliin-Gol League had begun a hunger strike over the plan to end first-grade classes in the Mongolian language.

Besides, “more than 300 ethnic Mongolian employees of the state-run Inner Mongolia Radio Station signed a petition saying that they could not accept the new Chinese-medium education policy,” he was quoted as saying.

Khubis has also said that new editions of Mongolian-language textbooks were found to have had chapters on Mongolians’ pride in their homelands and love of their language deleted, while sections in Chinese had been added to the text.

Determined to push the sinicization move, authorities in Urad Middle Banner – a county-like division – put out urgent directives ordering all ethnic Mongolian civil servants or public employees to return their children to schools by Sep 2, or face immediate firing and disciplinary action, the report said.

“Many roads between banners and counties have been blocked since Sep 2,” the report quoted ethnic Mongolian academic Arichaa as saying. “At the border between Naiman and Kulun, there have been clashes between parents and police.”

Police in Kezuohou Banner were reported to have issued a notice on Sep 2, calling on nine people involved in recent protests and class boycotts in Ganqika, Agula, Hailut and Gilgalang townships to turn themselves in. And anyone with information leading to their detention was being offered a 1,000 yuan reward.

In Mongolia, academics have organized a protest outside the Chinese embassy in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.

New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) has estimated that on the first day of the new semester on Sep 1, around 300,000 ethnic Mongolian students had joined the boycott.

It led to more than 100 people being listed as wanted by police in Horchin district of Tongliao city, Zaruud Banner, Naiman Banner, Tongliao Development Zone, Horchin Left Wing Middle Banner, and Horchin Left Wing Rear Banner. Police posters were stated to accuse the people on the list as suspects for “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble”.

At least two Mongolian parents were reported to have committed suicide in protest at the authorities’ extreme pressure to send their children to school.


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