The People of Inner Mongolia in China recently launched large-scale rallies to demand that the authorities cancel the so-called bilingual education to be implemented in the region in the new school year. [Editor’s note: three core subjects in Inner Mongolia are supposed to be taught in Mandarin, China’s official language. Many ethnic Mongolians view the move as a threat to their cultural identity.]
However, the authorities have refused to give in. According to Mongolian herders, the government has blamed the large-scale protests on “being incited by overseas forces.”
A Mongolian scholar Aricha told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that the roads between several banners and counties were blocked and the communications between the parents and teachers were severed. In addition, the authorities are searching for and arresting the demonstrators. A large number of armored personnel vehicles have been seen on the streets every day.
On Wednesday September 2, the police of Horqin Left Rear Banner issued a notice that demanded nine suspects to surrender. The police alleged that the nine persons mentioned gathered in elementary and middle schools in a number of towns in the Banner between August 28 and 30, and were suspected of breaking the law. Everyone who gives information to the authorities is rewarded with RMB 1,000 (US$146).
Farmers and herdsmen from Urad Middle Banner and Hure Banner in Tongliao City told RFA that to express their opposition, the vast majority of parents refused to send their children to school. In recent days, classrooms in Mongolian schools have been empty. In Hinggan League and Ulanhot, the local police are hunting down Mongolian students and forcing them to return to school.
The Urad Central Banner issued an “emergency notice” to all towns and villages, ordering Mongolian public servants to take their children to school before Wednesday evening to report. Those who do not attend school before noon on Thursday (September 3) will be subject to disciplinary sanctions and be expelled directly.
Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, former President of Mongolia, issued a video statement to urge the Chinese government to respect the ethnic rights of Mongolians to maintain their mother tongue and called on Mongolians around the world to show support.
Source: Radio Free Asia, September 3, 2020