Inner Mongolian Dissident's Wife Cut Off From The Internet

Xinna in the storeroom of her bookstore in an undated photo.Photo courtesy of Xinna
Chinese authorities in Inner Mongolia have cut off the phone and Internet services of Xinna, wife of jailed veteran ethnic Mongolian dissident Hada, after she tried to use overseas websites to raise awareness of his case.

Hada, in his mid-50s, is being held under de facto house arrest after 15 years in jail on charges of "separatism" and "espionage."

Family members and rights activists say that he is suffering from deteriorating mental health and has been denied medical treatment under extrajudicial detention at the Jinye Ecological Park in the regional capital of Hohhot.

Authorities say they are keeping Hada under house arrest because he and his family will not "cooperate" or stop speaking out about his case.

Xinna, who is herself under threat of detention by police, wrote that she had received a visit from state security police last week after posting an open letter to the Hohhot police department.

"On Aug. 11 my phone was interfered with ... and on the morning of Aug. 15, I was visited by police from the Hohhot surveillance team, who tried to frighten me by saying I'd broken the law with some of the posts I'd made on overseas social media sites," Xinna wrote.

"Citizens are granted freedom of expression under the law ... and yet I have the police at my door, saying I have 'contravened the relevant laws and regulations'!"

Internet cut

She told RFA on Monday that her Internet service provider had claimed she was behind on her payments.

"I was writing something online [Sunday] morning ... when I suddenly realized the Internet connection had been cut off by [the authorities]," Xinna said in an interview on Monday.

"Then they tried to find an excuse, saying that we hadn't paid the bill. But I signed up for this connection in March, and I paid for the whole year," Xinna said.

"How could my account be in arrears?"

Xinna said the authorities have continued to harass the family since holding Hada following his release from jail in December 2010.

"It's not just about Hada being in a black jail," Xinna said. "I and my son [Uiles] are constantly being harassed at home."

"I am extremely angry about this, and I hope the international community will pay attention to our plight," she said.

She said local officials appear to be continuing the policies of retired former security czar Zhou Yongkang, who is under internal investigation by the ruling Chinese Communist Party for "serious violations of discipline."

"They are pursuing the Zhou line in the absence of Zhou himself," Xinna said.

"Why won't they resolve the issue, now that Zhou has fallen?"

'Moving backwards'

The couple's grown son Uiles said that harassment by police has meant the family couldn't arrange their regular monthly visit to Hada this month.

"The way things are right now, they can cut off our Internet access whenever they want," Uiles. "We are living less-than-human lives."

He said President Xi Jinping's administration appears to have a worse human rights record than that of the previous government, for all its talk of "reform."

"We think they are moving backwards," Uiles said.

"There is no freedom of expression, and they can't even show any evidence against us, so they just pull the plug on our Internet service and use political campaign tactics against us."

Hada was arrested in 1995 for his activism advocating for greater autonomy for China's six million ethnic Mongolians.

His sentence also included an additional four years' "deprivation of political rights," which under China's Criminal Law includes restrictions on voting, as well as on freedom of speech and association.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Hai Nan for the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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