Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 24, 2023

Mongolian Youth Tells United Nations -- China's Cultural Genocide Costing Lives and Language

Mongolian youth describes China's cultural genocide at U.N. Indigenous Permanent Forum.

Mongolian Youth Tells United Nations -- China's Cultural Genocide Costing Lives and Language

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

NEW YORK -- A Mongolian youth representative told the United Nations that China's cultural genocide in Mongolia has cost lives, and now the Mongolian language is at risk during the widespread crackdown in the name of 'Chinese supremacy.'

"Eleven Mongolians lost their lives in defense of the rights to their Mother Tongue," she told the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

"On behalf of 6 million Mongolians, I would like to bring to your attention the ongoing cultural genocide committed by the government of China," she said, representing the Society for Threatened Peoples.

"Starting in 2020, the government of China has banned the Mongolian language entirely across Southern Mongolia in the name of the national common language policy."

She said 300,000 Mongolian students went on a total school strike and the Chinese authorities responded with mass arrests. An estimated 10,000 protesters have been arrested, detained, imprisoned, and placed under house arrest, she said.

The heavy-handed crackdown was a full-scale cultural genocide campaign and the scope has extended far beyond the simple switch of language in schools, she said.

"'Learn Chinese' and become a civilized person has been an official slogan publicly promoting Chinese supremacy," she said, pointing out that China was overriding its own laws.

Mongolian language programs have been removed from radio, television and newspapers.

To justify the campaign, the Chinese National Congress announced that minority language education is unconstitutional -- overriding its own constitution and national minority autonomy law, she said.

Mongolian language programs have been removed from classes, from kindergarten to college, and extracurricular activities for learning Mongolian are banned.

The arts are forced to adopt a Chinese style to reflect the superiority of Chinese culture. Mongolian monuments and street signs have been taken down.

Mongolian publications are banned, and books are removed from shelves. Services for printing and copying Mongolian language materials are denied. Postal services are ordered not to deliver any Mongolian books or publications.

Training for the firm inculcation of the Chinese National Common Identity was launched. The entire Mongolian population is being subjective to this training program to denounce their own language and culture. Mongolian sacred places are being destroyed.

China is a signatory to the United States Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and must be stopped from the ongoing cultural genocide of 6 million Mongolians, she said, receiving a roar of applause from the 22nd session of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues.

Next: China Denies Cultural Genocide in Mongolia 

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News

NEW YORK -- China's representative to the UN Indigenous Peoples Forum passionately denied that China is guilty of cultural genocide in Mongolia. While denying that China is engaged in cultural genocide, China's representative redirected the focus to the genocide of Indigenous Peoples in residential schools.

"China does not have Indigenous Peoples." China has regional ethnic autonomy, said China's representative at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

About the author

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 40 years. She began as a reporter for Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She was a correspondent for Associated Press and USA Today on the Navajo Nation. After serving as a longtime staff writer for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated in 2006. She created Censored News, which is now in its 17th year as a collective with 22 million page views and without ads, salaries or revenues. She has a masters degree in international health. 

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