SMHRIC New York
The following is an essay by Cheel Borjigin regarding his mother Ms.
Huuchinhuu, an ethnic Mongolian dissident writer, who has been put
under house arrest recently by the Chinese authorities for rallying
the Mongols to greet the prominent ethnic Mongolian political
prisoner Hada upon his release on December 10, 2010:
Dec 7, 2010. By Cheel Borjigin. Minnesota, U.S.A.
It has been 48 hours since I¡¯ve been able to contact my mother. For
the past two nights, I¡¯ve had less than 3 hours sleep, and it¡¯s
affecting me both physically and mentally.
I write this not to express any kind of political view or bring up
issues related to national security, but just to express my thoughts
about family and humanity.
Human Rights Day of December 10 has a very special meaning to me for
a very personal reason. 15 years ago, Mr. Hada, my mother¡¯s
classmate and good friend was put into jail as a prisoner of
conscience and sentenced to 15 years in jail. From that day on, the
police became unwelcome and frequent visitors which ended my
formerly peaceful life forever.
During these past 15 years, China has seen a fast growing economy
while her human rights record has not improved much. 15 years
earlier, the only way people obtained ¡°news¡± was by shortwave
receiver, while now people use the Internet. I think, even if there
is a Great Firewall, the web still has advantages over shortwave
signals which are easily jammed. During these past 15 years, modern
communications technology has brought about positive changes. The
Internet and cell phones have brought people closer even if
separated by thousands of miles. 15 ago, I was a child in elementary
school with divorced parents. When that disaster came into my life,
I took my mother¡¯s side, except for ten days prison which caused her
to get sick with rheumatism. Now I am living my life in America, I
blame myself that I could not take care of my old and weak mother,
but thanks to internet and cell phone, I can reach my mom whenever I
want or whenever she wants. For a lone and sick old woman, a call
from her son is a great magic to cure pretty much everything.
I cannot imagine, how much suffering 15 years of jail must bring.
Yet, this hero never faltered, like most great people of our
contemporary world, Mr. Hada showed the kind of character that only
a ¡°great man¡± would display. Dec. 10th of 2010, Mr. Hada is
scheduled to be set free, though it would still be limited freedom.
At the same time, as that day approaches, Mr. Hada¡¯s family and
close friends¡¯ freedom is being more and more limited, including my
mother¡¯s. On Nov 11, my mother was officially put under house
arrest. I was not there, however the memory of 15 years earlier
tells me that at this moment, she needs me more than ever. I worry
about her for she is suffering from cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and
high blood pressure; as a well-respected teacher she has dedicated
her whole life to Mongolian education and national freedom. Now she
is under house arrest and has no Internet access. She has to ask
permission from police for her every single daily activity. Visiting
her friends or accepting visitors are banned. Even worse are the
curses and harangues from uneducated policemen who guard her.
Talking to her son could not change any of these tough situations;
yet, it helped her feel she was not alone, and also helped me to
fool myself that her health is fine.
In Southern Mongolia where I grew up, all the crimes and violations
of the Constitution committed by the government hardly made me angry
or desperate. These things are so common and ordinary there that
people have accepted it as the natural state of affairs. The
government can violate its own constitution, but what is the bottom
line for the people? I guess, as it is a country founded by humans,
so this state of affairs itself has to be viewed as just humanity
acting in a human way. That¡¯s the only standard we can appeal to in
judging what is happening. Family love and humanity is a standard
that is even more basic than the institution of laws. Law tells us
about what a good man is and humanity tells us what we are, beast or
My mom called me and told me that her laptop had been confiscated
and the home phone cut off; now her cell phone might be next. Two
hours later, I couldn¡¯t connect to my mother¡¯s cell phone, It
appears to be powered off even up to now and it has caused me a
great deal of worry. I know the police have threatened my mom with
imprisonment more than once. And similarly, Mr. Hada¡¯s family are
now ¡°upgraded¡± to a real jail from house arrest. Right now I have no
idea about whether my mom is at home or taken to jail, nor do I have
any information about her health condition. I know that the police
have my house under complete surveillance, so therefore I am not
willing to ask any of my relatives or friends to visit and see how
my mom is. My request to any of my relatives and friends would
probably not be refused, but the price they would pay is to become a
new target for the police, like being placed on a blacklist.
Some friends told me to wait until after Dec. 10th, after Mr. Hada
is released, everything should be OK. Well, I want to believe this,
but I also know that there are no guarantees. I am not sure about
whether I will be able to reach my mom after Dec. 10th; to find out
about her state of health and safety. I am suffering from the
uncertainty, and agonizing over the belief that communication
between mother and son is not only a basic right guaranteed by the
Chinese constitution but also a basic right of humanity. So, I am
here asking the police and the government of China, please restore
my mom¡¯s cell phone and internet access as soon as possible, so that
I can make sure she is well. Asking for, or begging, whatever words
you want to hear, I will be so grateful to hear from my mom.