July 19, 2008

Dear PEN friends,

My name is Xinna, and I am the wife of Mr. Hada, an ethnic Mongolian writer imprisoned in China.

During the early 1990s, my husband Hada and I ran a Mongolian bookstore called “Mongolian Studies Bookstore” in Hohhot, capital city of the so-called “Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region” (IMAR). Hundreds of Mongolian intellectuals concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation and the ever intensifying political repression and cultural assimilation by the Chinese authorities gathered in our bookstore to exchange ideas and discuss ways to preserve Mongol identity and culture.

In 1992, my husband organized the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance (SMDA) whose mission is to preserve and promote Mongolian culture, tradition, and identity and obtain greater autonomy for the Mongols as guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution and the Ethnic Regional Autonomy Law. Later, my husband wrote a book entitled The Way Out of Southern Mongolia and edited a journal entitled The Voice of Southern Mongolia. 

On December 10, 1995, when people around the free world celebrated Human Rights Day, a dozen Chinese police raided our bookstore and arrested my husband. The following day, hundreds of Mongolian students took to the streets and urged the Chinese authorities to release Hada immediately. The Public Security authorities of IMAR mobilized hundreds of police and police vehicles to arrest the protestors and members of SMDA. A new crackdown had begun.

After a year-long detention, my husband was tried behind closed doors and sentenced to 15 years in jail with the charges of “splitting the country” and “engaging in espionage.” Another member of SMDA, Mr. Tegexi, was sentenced to 10 years in jail with similar charges. Hada was not allowed to find a lawyer to defend himself, and all our appeals were turned down without any legal reason and legal procedure.

Currently Hada is imprisoned at the Inner Mongolia Jail No.4 in Chifeng City. During these past 12 years, my son Uiles and I have not been allowed to visit Hada regularly even though the Chinese Prison Law allows family members to visit prisoners twice a month. 

Since my husband’s arrest in 1995, my son and I have become the target of harassment and intimidation by the Public Security and State Security authorities. We have been detained, questioned and beaten up numerous times by the police without any legitimate reason. In 2002, the Public Security authorities arrested my son Uiles on a groundless allegation of “involvement of robbery” and sentenced him three years in jail without any proper legal process. We were not allowed to hire a lawyer to defend ourselves. I was given a notice about my son’s trial only 30 minutes before the court opened. 

During his now 13 years in prison, my husband Hada has been frequently tortured by the prison guards and inmates; he has been regularly placed under “solidarity confinement” and once as long as 66 days; there is no TV, no newspaper available to him. His health is deteriorating: he has serious digestive system and nerve system problems that are not only untreated but have worsened in prison; recently he has experienced severe leg pain and deteriorating vision. June 20 of this year, prison authorities took him to an unidentified hospital and examined him. He was put in handcuffs and shackles during his hospital visit. The results of the medical examination were not given either to me or my son or to Hada himself. 

When we are able to visit him, we don’t see any improvement of his prison condition. The only thing that has encouraged us to live through this extreme hardship is that he has never given up what he believes. 

We rarely see a smile on his face when we visit him. But he smiled last time when I told him that freedom-loving friends around the world are encouraging and supporting us not to give up what we believe is right.

Thank you very much.

Xinna, wife of Hada

July 19, 2008