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Poet detained and placed under house arrest by Chinese authorities

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New York - Southern (Inner) Mongolian poet Mr. Zhao Baahuu, who goes by the pennames Soliyoot Shulegchin (“Crazy Poet” in Mongolian) and Cao Yuan Nu Huo ( “Fury of Grassland” in Chinese), was detained and placed under house arrest after publishing poems online criticizing China’s ethnic policies toward Southern Mongolians, Tibetans and Uyghurs over the past 70 years. 

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According to the detention warrant dated September 11, 2019 issued by the Horchin Right Wing Middle Banner Public Security Bureau, Baahuu was placed under a 15-day administrative detention from September 11 to September 26, 2019. 

Regarding the reason for the detention, the warrant states that “investigations revealed that on September 4, 2019, Horchin Right Wing Middle Banner Shin-Zam Sum Township resident Zhao Baahuu published poems entitled ‘Dark Night Journey’ and ‘Mongolian Grassland’ in classic Mongolian scripts under the penname of ‘Fury of Grassland’ in a WeChat Group named ‘Mongolian Affairs 2’, launching a vicious attack on our ethnic autonomy policy, instigating netizens to hype up the matter, arousing nationalistic sentiment, stirring up ethnic relations, and creating ethnic conflict.”

In an audio statement to the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, Baahuu stated that he has been confined to his residence after he was released from detention. 

“My detention and loss of freedom is nothing compared to the crisis our entire Southern Mongolian nation is facing. We have lost our most basic right to survive, and the situation here is unbearable,” Baahuu said in the statement.

The 48-year-old poet has been an outspoken critic of Chinese policies in Southern Mongolia, especially through Chinese social media. Baahuu was particularly critical of China’s mining, land grabbing and environmental destruction as well as the ban on livestock grazing China imposed on Southern Mongolian pastoralist communities. 

In “Mongolian Grassland,” one of the two recent poems that cost him a 15-day detention and an indefinite house arrest, Baahuu writes:

“Water is depleted, land is parched, thanks to unregulated mining,

Grass is scarce, land has shrunk, thanks to unstoppable land grabbing,

Livestock is thin and weak, dying in the fence,

Herders are poor and desperate, unable to make ends meet;

Sucked up our juice, and they say this is development,

Sucked up our blood, and they say this is policy.”

In the other poem, “Dark Night Journey,” Baahuu writes, 

“Autonomy, a name of nonexistence,

Given to the captive three --- Mongolians, Tibetans and Uyghurs,

Three nations, suffering under the massive oppression,

Seventy years, sailing on the ocean of misery,

With regret we dismounted the horse,

Though we hope to see the sunrise at the end of our dark night journey.”

As China escalates its repression of freedom of speech and press in Southern Mongolia, Mongolian writers and bloggers have continually been arrested, detained and placed under house arrest. In a recent case, Mongolian writer Mr. Lhamjab Borjgin was sentenced to one year in prison with a two-year reprieve on charges of “national separatism” and “illegal business” for publishing a book entitled China’s Cultural Revolution.
Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC)
68-37 108th Street,6A
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Tel/fax : 001-718-786-9236
Cellular: 001-917-698-4367


Oct 14, 2019

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