The Education Department of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region announced that, starting with the new semester on September 1, all elementary and middle schools in the region will adopt what is called the bilingual teaching model. That is, the three subjects related to China, which are history, ethics, and the rule of law, will be taught in Chinese instead of the traditional Mongolian language. The move triggered a strong backlash from the locals in Inner Mongolia. Mongolian rights organizations in the U.S. also condemned China for suppressing Mongolian freedom of speech and destroying their national identity. They called it “cultural extermination” in Inner Mongolia.
The Mongolian teachers in Erenhot City launched a strike. Many Mongolian parents plan to teach their children at home instead of sending them to school. Herders also held simultaneous demonstrations in major cities across Inner Mongolia to protest the “cultural extinction.” Thousands of local students dressed in traditional Mongolian costumes participated in the demonstrations. Video footage of the protests also circulated on Twitter.
The Inner Mongolia Human Rights Information Center reported that, as the scale of the protests continues to escalate, the authorities also started to suppress the demonstrators. Hundreds of parents from the Mongolian language school in Zalut Banner gathered in front of the school and demanded the immediate release of the children detained in the school’s dormitory. The local police, however, blocked them from entering into the school. In Horqin Zuoyizhong Banner, the police beat the parents. In Hohhot, students and their parents from the Inner Mongolia Normal University Affiliated School protested in front of the school and launched a petition. Many parents said that if the appeal fails, they will not send their children to school. There are also reports that several hundred Mongolian activists were either detained or under house arrest because they participated in organizing the protests.
1. Secret China, August 30, 2020
2. Twitter Post