Protesters demand the release of ethnic Mongolians arrested in Inner Mongolia. Beijing wants to suppress the use of the Mongolian language in the region’s schools. The Mongolian government comes under fire for not protesting with Beijing.
Ulaanbaatar (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Dozens of protesters came together in the Mongolian capital last Thursday (1 October) to demand the release of ethnic Mongolians arrested in China in September.
Last month, ethnic Mongolian students turned against the authorities in Inner Mongolia, a Chinese autonomous region, because of a government plan to reduce the use of their native language in school curricula.
These protests and rallies in Inner Mongolia were the largest in decades, but were quickly suppressed by China with armoured vehicles deployed near the schools were tensions were the highest.
In Mongolia itself, anti-Chinese protests broke out a few days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the country. The senior Trump administration official is currently scheduled to visit Japan and South Korea as well but not China.
Some protesters, who wore protective masks against the coronavirus, were dressed in traditional Mongolian clothing, and carried banners showing images of alleged atrocities perpetrated by China in Inner Mongolia.
They fear that the Chinese decision to limit the use of their language in schools will lead to the extinction of Mongolian culture.
Last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Ulaanbaatar sparked protests. For Mongolian activists, Mongolian leaders should have called for the release of those arrested in Inner Mongolia.