News

Protesters Muzzled Amid Chinese 'Communication Blackout'

Combined Shape

Police in China’s Inner Mongolia region have detained at least 23 people following protests last week against a new policy that replaces Mongolian-language textbooks with Chinese ones in classrooms.

The push to use the new textbooks, which started in other ethnic minority regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet in 2017, has prompted protests and school boycotts by ethnic Mongolians in at least five cities and counties in Inner Mongolia.

The 23 detentions were across eight counties. The reasons range from “organizing and collecting signatures for a petition” to “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble.”

Others were for “flagrantly insulting a deceased former leader of the country” and “sharing videos in a WeChat group to obstruct the implementation of the national textbooks policy.” WeChat is a popular messaging app in China.

The local government is also exerting pressure in other ways. Authorities in Zhenglan county announced Saturday that they had suspended two members of the ruling Communist Party without pay for failing to carry out the policy.

Trending:
Watch: Biden Stumbles, Struggles to Speak for 41 Seconds Straight

Police in Chifeng city said Monday they handed over Communist Party members, including two elementary school teachers, to a local party disciplinary committee for investigation.

“There are still many young people, middle-aged people and herders who cannot use Mandarin for basic communication,” according to a Q&A published by the state-backed Inner Mongolia Daily.

“This has become an obstacle to lifting individuals out of poverty, impacting local economic and social development, and an important factor limiting the ethnic unity and harmony in our region.”

Information about the situation has become harder to get, according Enghebatu Togochog, the U.S.-based director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, an activist group for Mongolian rights.

“Before these things happened, we were able to get relatively accurate information through WeChat groups,” he said. “Now, it’s almost a communication blackout.”

Togochog said many people in rural areas are not sending their children back to school, based on private messages his group has received. But he was unable to say how many.

A high school student who left school with others last week said a teacher had told them to come back to class, and that classmates said their parents’ jobs had been threatened.

“I have a feeling I may be in trouble soon, the parents of a lot of students have been caught. I spoke out, telling everyone to persist,” the student said on Sunday via a messaging app. “But I’ll be deleting this app. You won’t be hearing from me anymore.”

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →






We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , ,
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation