No word on Inner Mongolian activist's release in China

By CARA ANNA,Associated Press
BEIJING – A relative of a Mongolian activist set to be released Thursday from a Chinese prison said the man's wife and son are now in police detention and he himself is being warned to keep silent.

Unrest among ethnic Mongolians in China is not as well known as that among ethnic Tibetans and Uighurs, but the scheduled release of Hada, who like many ethnic Mongolians uses just one name, has brought a round of complaints about police harassment.

Hada, 56, helped found the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance seeking to establish an independent nation in China's Inner Mongolia region. China declared it "an illegal organization" and banned it.

Hada's bookstore in the Inner Mongolia capital of Hohhot became the center of the movement, and more than 200 people demonstrated in front of the store on Dec. 30, 1995, singing and holding up images of Genghis Khan, the legendary 13th-century Mongolian conqueror.

Hada was sentenced to prison the next year after being accused of separatism and spying.

The uncle of Hada's wife said by telephone Thursday that police have detained his wife and only son, and there was no word on Hada's scheduled release.

"Last week the police came to visit me twice, once at home and once at my workplace. They said it would be better if I didn't pick up telephone calls from outside," Mascholu said. "Definitely I'm being watched. The police told me to be careful."

The main telephones for the No. 4 prison in Chifeng city, where Hada served his prison sentence, and the Inner Mongolia Regional Detention Center in Hohhot city rang unanswered Thursday.

Hada's son, 28-year-old Wei Lesi, told The Associated Press by telephone Saturday that police had raided the family bookstore and taken away his mother, Xinna, who has been outspoken about her husband's treatment. He said police told him the bookstore did not have the proper license.

Wei Lesi said he had sent a letter to Zhou Yongkang, secretary of the ruling Communist Party's political and legislative affairs committee, including the plea, "I hope you can bring these evil law enforcers to justice and let us enjoy a hard-won family reunion after 15 years."

Shortly after that, police took Wei Lesi away, Mascholu said.

Mobile phones for Wei Lesi and Xinna were turned off Thursday.

The U.S.-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center said several Mongolian dissidents in China have been unreachable recently, including the writer Govruud Huuchinhuu, who was detained last month and put under house arrest for trying to organize a rally to welcome Hada's release.

"We were able to contact Ms. Naraa, Xinna's sister," Enghebatu Togochog with the center said in an e-mail Thursday. "According to Naraa, Xinna has still been accused of an 'running illegal business,' and Uiles is accused of 'being involved in drug dealing.'" Uiles is another spelling for Wei Lesi.

Source: Associated Press
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