Parliamentary question by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission and answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

Parliamentary questions
by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission
(17 October 2002)

Subject: Persecution of the wife and son of Mr Hada, detained leader of the Southern Mongolia Democratic Alliance

Ms Xinna, wife of the Inner Mongolian political prisoner Mr Hada arrested in 1995 for having founded the Southern Mongolia Democratic Alliance and sentenced in 1996 to 15 years' imprisonment for "separatist activities and espionage", reports that her 17-year old son Uiles is being brutally treated by the Chinese authorities in a prison in Inner Mongolia. In 2002 Mr Hada's son was accused of involvement in robbery and sentenced to 2 years in jail. He is currently being detained in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region No.1 Juvenile Prison. According to a report by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre, Uiles shares an 8m2 cell with 13 other young offenders and is forced to do 13 hours' hard labour every day. He is under constant pressure from the prison authorities to break off all relations with his mother. During a recent visit to her son Mrs Xinna was physically abused by prison guards because she spoke in Mongolian. She also revealed that during her visit she had seen evidence of torture on her son's body; his hands and feet had been bound with a chain weighing over 20 kg for more than 40 hours because he had resisted ill-treatment by prison guards and his cellmates. Following her husband's arrest in 1995 the police shut down the Mongolian Study Bookstore and Mongolian Study Reading Club run by Mrs Xinna and had Uiles expelled from school shortly afterwards for having resisted acts of brutality against him. The report by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre alleges further that after Mr Hada's arrest, Ms Xinna was detained for 3 months for having granted an interview to Voice of America. In 1997, during celebrations in Huhhot City marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, Ms Xinna and her son were forcibly taken to the region's eastern border area and detained there for two days. During Chinese leader Jiang Ze-Min's visit to Inner Mongolia in 1999, Ms Xinna was put under house arrest and kept under round-the-clock police surveillance.

What information can the Commission provide about the degrading and inhuman treatment to which Ms Xinna and her son have been subjected, and what initiatives has it taken or does it intend to take to ensure that the Chinese authorities respect civil, political and human rights in Inner Mongolia? What information can it provide about the Mr Hada's state of health and that of the other members of the Southern Mongolia Democratic Alliance arrested by the Chinese authorities? In view of the abuses of fundamental rights reported above, Beijing's policy of oppression against the people of Inner Mongolia, and in particular its relentless pursuit of those who champion democracy and the rule of law, what initiatives does the Commission intend to take in order to win genuine autonomy for Inner Mongolia's people from the Chinese authorities?

Answer given by Mr Patten
on behalf of the Commission
(12 November 2002)

The Commission has taken note of the particular situation of the wife and son of Mr Hada, imprisoned leader of the Democratic Alliance of Inner Mongolia.

The Commission follows closely the human rights situation in China. The Union-China bilateral human rights dialogue which was established in 1996 offers a valuable opportunity to express our concerns in this area to the Chinese authorities.

In this dialogue, the Commission regularly addresses issues such as, freedom of expression and association and respect for the civil and political rights of minorities. In this context, the Commission has paid particular attention to the situation of individuals who have been persecuted because of their beliefs and convictions.

The Commission is concerned about respect for civil and political rights in China and will continue to monitor the situation with particular attention.