Thursday, August 29, 2013

Immoral judges undermine sport's principles

I witnessed an extremely unprofessional  and unacceptable judgement by some judges at Judo World Championship Senior 2013  in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. It is not something new in sports. We talk about not tolerating any kind of discrimination in sports, and   even though we do  rarely  see any racist behavior by athletes or  judges, we  witness often a  "hidden" discrimination  by judges in  treating athletes  differently, favoring one over the other one. Almost with no exclusion, the athletes from  "poor" countries become victims of this unfair treatment by judges and lose the match. Especially in sports where the judges decide whom he or she wants to see win. In other words, it happens in sports where judges give the scores and make the decision. That includes boxing, wrestling, soccer (referee can refuse or give a penalty, or expel player etc.) or other sports with human involvement in decision making process.  One can "feel" the "taste" of certain judges sometimes when he or she favors particular athlete based on the color of the skin.

With 44 seconds left, Khashbaatar  (in white) was "awarded" three times with penalty for being more active, while defending Legrand  (in blue) stays "clean"
One suspects that whoever gives a favor to a  "rich-country-athlete", that judge will be "compensated" in some way later on. The question of how much and when should be kept secret, and nobody knows.  Who would like to receive  all the blaming and cursing on him/herself for upsetting an athlete for "no reason" and would put his/her credibility and prestige on risk?  The decision is not reversible and the judge is protected by the organization which pays the judge, so the athlete is the one who gets hurt badly. All his/her  efforts and dreams  are ruined. Especially in world class competitions, like World Championship or Olympic Games, "victimizing" of athletes fall hard on them for they have prepared long time for those important matches and had set a goal to achieve certain success. And it is ridiculous  when a stupid judge ruins the athlete's goal  by putting him/her at a disadvantage for own personal gain. And more stupid is the fact that the organization which hired the judge does nothing afterwards, and that is the reason why this kind of  "discrimination" still exists. The world organization of that particular sport is like encouraging this kind of behavior of  judges by keeping silent and doing nothing.

Ts. Khashbaatar (Mongolia)
Mongolian athletes fell  victim many times   to this kind of  discrimination for many years now and we couldn't do anything but to curse the judges and the organization which organized  the competition.
Latest victim was  Tsagaanbaatar Khashbaatar  who competed in weight category of 73 kg at Judo Senior World Championship 2013 in Brazil. His opponent was the French judoka  Ugo Legrand whom the judge did  a favor by punishing the Mongolian judoka in the beginning with 2 penalties within a  minute for "no reason".  The match ended scoreless, but  Tsagaanbaatar  was "defeated"  because of these  unjustified and excessive penalties  given by  the judge.  With that,  Tsagaanbaatar was  "robbed"  of his possibility maybe  to win in his  group B and qualify for the semifinal and then who knows what. He is a top athlete in his weight category and was a World Champion once.
With all due respect, I must say that Legrand went all the way to Silver thanks to the support and sympathy given  by certain judges, especially by the one who oversaw the  match with Khashbaatar.

U. Legrand (France)
The penalty score issue  needs to be addressed in judo because this was one of the most discussed and controversial  topic during this  Championship in Rio de Janeiro. Some judges gave to both athletes penalties at the same time when the one was clearly aggressive  and attacking,  while the other one avoided  fighting and stepped  back, defending. That is ridiculous. I don't mean the "false attack" and/or   pretending to be active.
One example: In the woman's 57 kg  repechage match between the Japanese Anzu Yamamoto and  the Slovene  Vlora Bedeti, Yamamoto got her second penalty score when she was  more active than her opponent,  being all over her. In contrary Bedeti got not punished for being passive. I see here a discrimination based on the color of skin. There is no other explanation, unless  there was   a bribery issue. This judge "robbed" the Bronze medal from Yamamoto and gave it to Bedeti by punishing the Japanese 3 times straight with the penalty (shido score). In the last minutes he gave Bedeti 2 penalties pretending he was fair to both. No, he wasn't!

With 55 seconds left, Yamamoto was punished with three penalties for doing all the hardwork and going forward 
The athletes representing "poor" countries or those who have a different skin color than one "prefer", must  be way too strong and capable of making scores any judge  cannot deny, in order to win  surely. That means, they should always keep in mind  that they have a disadvantage and have no chance to win unless they overpower their opponent. Both in boxing and wrestling, "poor" athletes must dominate if they want to win. The K.O is the  guarantee for  winning in boxing, for example. I am positive that not one  judge can declare an unconscious "rich" boxer as the winner. Our trainers should keep this in mind all the time and prepare their athletes to make them superior to others if they want to see some success. Being evenly strong like  the world class athletes alone does not guarantee a thing. We must dominate to overcome this discrimination if we want to make names in the world level. Unfortunately the officials in the world sport organisations do not enough to put an end to this unacceptable attitude shown by some judges again and again, so we shouldn't expect anything better or any improvement in near future. If there is no will, there will be no change.
Until then let's keep pretending that  we all don't tolerate any kind of discrimination in  sports and that everything is fair and just.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chinese murder Mongolian herders

Chinese worker attack Mongolian herders
An another herder is killed by Chinese  workers.  Now, for those  who have no clue about these Mongolian herders, I must give an explanation here. We are talking about Mongolian nomads living in so called Inner Mongolia, a piece of territory used to belong once upon a time to Mongolia.  China has it annexed , with support from Russia and against the will of the native inhabitants- Mongolians, thus making them the minority nationals in China. Mongolian mainland was cut in three parts, and two smaller portions are now behind the border of proper Mongolia:  Inner Mongolia is included in  China and Buryat Mongolia in now part of Russia. Mainland Mongolia borders with Inner Mongolia (China) to  south, southeast and east, and with Buryat Mongolia (Russia) to  north.

Buryat Mongolia's territory (red, part of Russia)
Inner Mongolia (yellow border line, now part of China)

So, this incident happened in Inner Mongolia and we are talking about the  native Mongols living in that region, now part of China. This is the fifth murder committed by Han-Chinese against the Mongolian herders who suffer more and more from the Chinese migration and occupation in their lands. 
SMHRIC (Southern Mongolian Human Right Information Center) reported about this murder on its website. Let's first read about  what happened there:

One more Mongolian herder killed by the Chinese, defending his grazing land 
August 20, 2013
New York

On August 19, 2013, around 5:30 pm local time, Mr.Bayanbaatar, a 58-year old Mongolian herder from Dalan-tsetseg village, Tohootai Gachaa (a Gachaa consists of several pastoral villages), Tug Sum (Sum is equivalent to township), Uushiin Banner of western Southern (Inner) Mongolia, was brutally beaten to death by Chinese railroad workers while he was defending his grazing land.  His son was severely injured. Several other herders were also beaten. Bayanbaatar's body was left in the Uushin Banner People's Hospital for cremation.

According to written communications received by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), several Chinese workers from China Railway Bureau No.23 started the brutal beating when Bayanbaatar and other herders protested the Railway Bureau's occupation of their grazing land without proper compensation. Arrogant and rude as shown in the pictures, the Chinese railroad workers not only threatened to kill the herders if they continued to protest but also sent some of their fellow workers to bring knives to carry out the killing. The local police arrived late to the scene, but reportedly refused to carry out any arrest  of the killer or other offenders.

"Our deep sorrow and sincere condolences to Mr.Bayanbaatar who was beaten to death by the Chinese railway workers from China Railway Bureau No.23 while defending his grazing land", posters, messages of condolences and pictures by Mongolian netizens spread quickly through major Chinese social media including  Renren, QQ, Tencent Weibo, Webchat and Sina Weibo before they were deleted.

Since 2010, at least five Mongolian herders including Mr.Bayanbaatar have lost their live at the hands of Chinese workers while defending their rights to their grazing lands as well as their right to maintain their traditional way of life.

In 2010, a Mongolian herder from Sobrog Sum of Bairin Right Banner was stabbed to death by Chinese from the  "Livestock Grazing Prohibition Team" ("jin mu dui" in Chinese), a special police task force set up by the Chinese Government to ban livestock grazing by Mongolian herders on their own grazing lands.

In May 2011, a Mongolian herder named Mergen from Shiliin Gol League was brutally run over by Chinese coal-hauling truck while he was defending his grazing land from coal miners.  His death sparked large-scale protests and demonstrations by Mongolian herders and students across Southern Mongolia.

In October 2011, a Mongolian herder named Zorigt from Huhtolgoi Gachaa, Uushin Banner of Ordos Municipality was killed by a Chinese oil transport truck as he tried to protect his grazing land from Chinese oil mining trucks.

In July 2013, an angry and desperate herder from Ongniud Banner of Ulaanhad Municipality committed suicide after stabbing and killing the head of the "Livestock Grazing Prohibition Team" and seriously injuring another official while defending his right to graze his livestock on his grazing land.

Becoming the largest coal and natural gas source in China and producing 95% of the world's rare earth supplies, Southern Mongolia has recently been named  "China's energy base".
Chinese mining giants Shenhua Coal and Chang Qing Oil as well as thousands  of private miners have rushed to Southern Mongolia chasing their fortune.  Grazing lands have been illegally occupied and opened up for mines. Herders have forcibly been removed from their land without adequate compensation and proper resettlement.

In response to this unprecedented level of destruction of their grazing lands, Mongolian herders are standing up to defend their right to pursue their livelihood and traditional way of life.
Hundreds of herders have been beaten, arrested and detained in clashes with the Chinese on an almost daily basis. In the latest such case, 13 Mongolian herders were arrested and detained last week in Ar Horchin Banner for protesting a Chinese gold mine's illegal occupation of their grazing land; hundreds of Mongolian herders stormed into the government building of Urad Middle Banner to carry out a mass sit-in a few  days ago.

An update on this case has been made by SMHRIC recently. More detailed information is given by the victim's daughter-in-law by phone. 

Central Government involved, family rejects negotiation

August 22, 2013
New York

The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information  Center (SMHRIC) has been closely monitoring the case. Additional pictures were received showing further details of beating that led to the herder's death.
In response to the Chinese authorities' denial on the cause of death as murder as reported on some news media, the SMHRIC was able to interview the victim's daughter-in-law Ms.Chyandmuun who provided further details and confirmed that her father-in-law was unquestionably  beaten to death.

Fearing possible large-scale demonstrations, the Chinese Central Government is directly managing the fall out from the incident.  An attempt is in progress to negotiate with the murdered herder's family, offering them 500000 yuan (approx. USD 82,000) to settle the case. The family members rejected any sort of negotiation and stated that "We Mongolians do not want and do not need any money. What we want is dignity and justice".
About 80 people including the family members and relatives of the victim have been placed under police custody in a funeral house near the Uushin Banner People's Hospital.
Reportedly an unknown number of Mongolian herders from the same area have been arrested yesterday on suspicion of possible unrest sparked by the case. The following is the full interview conducted over the phone by SMHRIC :

SMHRIC : Hi, this is the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, calling from the United States. We talked to Mr.Batchuluu yesterday about his father's unfortunate death. May we talk to him again?
Chyandmuun : Sorry, my husband is not available at this moment.

SMHRIC : We would like to obtain further details on your father-in-law's death. The Chinese authorities seem to be determined to deny the facts of the beating death of your father-in-law. They are claiming that he "possibly had some pre-existing heart problem". How credible is this claim?
Chyandmuun : My father-in-law was a very healthy man who had no health problem at all. He had no pre-existing medical conditions whatsoever. It is an undeniable fact that my father-in-law was beaten to death by the Chinese.

SMHRIC : We know it is difficult for you to recall the details of this tragic event. But, for the sake of clarity, is it possible for you to give us some details about how exactly the beating took place? Did the offenders use any weapons such as knives? How many of them were involved in the beating?
Chyandmuun : Although they claimed to kill us with knives, they didn't use any knife. My father-in-law was beaten to death by the Chinese who violently kicked and used their fists on him. Most of the beating was done by one man in a white shirt.

SMHRIC : One of the pictures shows that a man in white is holding his fists tight and carrying out the attack. In another picture, the same man was holding a big rock and targeting someone to hit.
Chyandmuun : Yes, exactly, he was the murderer. But, actually the big rock he threw didn't hit my father-in-law, it hit another herder who was lucky to narrowly escape with minor injuries.  My father-in-law collapsed under his fists. When my husband tried to help him stand up, he said he felt serious discomfort on his chest.
Unable to stand up, he fell on the ground again. My husband tried to rush to bring him to a hospital nearby.
But what was even more egregious was that the Chinese workers intentionally blocked our way and stopped us from taking him to the hospital for more than 30 minutes. It was clear that the killing was intentional, malicious and brutal.

SMHRIC : What was the Chinese workers' attitude toward you at the beginning of the incident?
Chyandmuun : Their attitude was very rude and arrogant. They seemed to have come for the purpose of carrying out a killing, not for construction.  They started using  their fists as soon as we started to protest their illegal occupation of our private road on our land.  Especially, the killer asked the other Chinese to bring a knife from his car. He said he would kill all the Mongolians one by one.

SMHRIC : What is the response from the government? Any word on prosecuting the murderer by the authorities? 
Chyandmuun : No, no word on the prosecution has ever been received. Instead, the government is holding all of us  hostage at the funeral house. We are about 80 people including all of our family members and relatives.  The entire funeral house is put under tight police surveillance, and we are not allowed to leave the funeral house. Our every single move is monitored closely. Our phones are tapped. Police are escorting us everywhere around the clock, even when we go to the toilet. We have completely lost our freedom here.
What the government is trying to do is to negotiate with us.  They said, they can give us 500,000 yuan (approx. USD 82,000). We said no negotiation, eye for an eye. The murderer must be brought to justice to be executed in front of our eyes.  We told them, unlike you Chinese we Mongolians do not measure human life with money.   We Mongolians do not want and do not need money. What we need is dignity and justice. The murderer who claimed to kill us Mongolians one by one must be executed, and the government must apologize publicly to the Mongolians in front of the eyes of the whole world.
Similar events are taking place too often and everywhere in Mongolian areas.  My father-in-law or my family is not the only victim. All Mongolians are victimized.

SMHRIC : You have mentioned that the government is trying to negotiate with your family. What department of what level of government is attempting to engage in the negotiation?
Chyandmuun : The government of Uushin Banner and the Central government. They told us that some special dispatches from the Central Government arrived here already to negotiate with us on behalf of the murderer. We do not engage in any type of negotiation.

SMHRIC : We learned that yesterday some other herders were arrested there. Is this arrest related to the case of your father-in-law? 
Chyandmuun : Yes, I heard that. Although I am not sure exactly how many herders were arrested, I know that they were herders from our Tug Sum. In terms of the possible connection, being Mongolian is enough for them to be subjected to arrest and questioning in relation to my father-in-law's case, fearing  possible unrest.

SMHRIC : Thank you very much for the further details on the case. We will continue to monitor events related to this case as it unfolds. 
Chyandmuun : Thank you for your concern and publicizing it to the world.

MY NOTE:  Even though those Mongols of Inner Mongolia are being considered as Chinese citizens, they are our brothers and sisters by blood and flesh, and that is why we care.  We, the Mongols living in Mongolia, condemn strongly this kind of brutal action by the Chinese against the Mongols, a minority in China, and demand immediate punishment of the killers. One could ask, how on earth the Chinese would expect any respect and  appreciation from the minorities in China, like the Mongols, Tibetans or Uighur, if they treat them  this way?  Such attitude and behavior on part of the Chinese toward the minority will cause nothing but hatred and resentment against Chinese. The Chinese will not only hated by those affected, but also the world society  dislikes their murderous  actions  as well.  Such hostile attitude, bullying and disrespect against the native Mongols and other minorities in that matter, will lead to nothing but  disgust and  antipathy. We hope that is not what Chinese people want.  We also hope that as a member of the world society, the Chinese care well about their reputation and standing among the world nations.  So, the conclusion is crystal clear:  Show some respect and  acceptance towards the minorities who have different life styles and own ways of existence. There is no other way to be respected and accepted by others than to respect and accept the other ones. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A tiny info-mosaic

It's been a while since my last post in June. So, what has  happened since then?  Here is a  list of some events which got the most attention:

N. Enkhbayar (former President of Mongolia)
- Former  President N. Enkhbayar got pardoned by the current President Elbegdorj. He flew to South Korea to get some treatment because  his health condition got worse after his  "dry" hunger strike in prison. He was sentenced to 2.6 years of prison for his abuse of power.

- Mongolian People's Party (MPP- former communist party)'s Conference is scheduled  on October 27 this year. MPP has been "knocked down"  5  times in a row, in  last elections, and they will discuss at their meeting how to stop this  downslide and make a come back. Major changes in party leader positions are expected.

- Oyutolgoi project has put on hold  its underground developments and sent its 2000 workers home, temporarily. It is not clear whether Rio Tinto uses it as a tool to "tease" the Mongolian Government and/or the Parliament, or was it because of the lack of financing the underground expansion  which is the key of reaching to the major deposits of this mine. It says, Mongolia  still has 22 disputes with Rio Tinto over Oyutolgoi - a world class copper and gold  mine in the south Gobi in Mongolia.

New Boeing 767-300 ER
- Mongolia has bought a brand new Boeing 767-300 ER. Two additional Boeing 737-800 will arrive in 2015.  Mongolian Airlines (MIAT) has recently opened a new line to Ereen city (China) and plan to open additional new routes.

- Some  former and current high ranking  Government officials, and an MP are involved in money laundering crimes, bribery and either awaiting their cases been  decided at the court, or sent already to prison. All of them are MPP members since this party ruled in the last 8 years, making this country one of the most corrupt in the world.

Horse racing
- This year's Naadam fest was no exclusion with regards to losing  of children's lives during the horse racing. Two children have lost their lives after falling off their horses while racing. Few escaped with different level of injuries. The jockeys in Mongolian horse races are exclusively children ages of from  7 and up. This has been a big issue among Mongolians for some time, but it couldn't be solved yet. The supporters (race horse owners, mostly riches) say it should be kept as is it because it's been a tradition (a point which is disputable), and opponents argue we should stop using the children as jockeys.

Brown stallion secured an SUV for his owner
A Naadam is a traditional festival  where men compete in three competitions: horse racing, traditional wrestling and archery. There are lot of drinking and eating involved, and celebrated nationwide. Officially it lasts for three days but at the country sides it continues a bit longer. At the "Grand speed" (in Mongolian: Ikh Hurd) after Naadam,  the winner was awarded  with an SUV (Toyota Land Cruiser) and the next runner-ups  from second place to fifth place received  20 mil, 16 mil., 14 mil., and 10 million MNT respectively. (Mongolian Tugrik-MNT and USD rate is currently  1568 : 1 ). The best  stallions and horses of 5 years and up, from around the country compete in 2 categories in  distances  of 22 km and 24 km.  

Horse rider parade (with 11500 participants)
- Mongolians are being  addicted to beat Guinness records any way they possibly can. It might look harmless than a marijuana addiction but it did cost a child's life during the recent event- a  race of 4249  horses (18 km = 11 miles).   Organized by the Mongolian  Federation of Horse Racing Sports  and Trainers  (MFHRST) ,  this race was officially registered as  world record by Guinness officials who came to Mongolia and witnessed the event.  MFHRST  has also organized a parade  of 11 thousand horse riders, a something that had  not an important point except to show the world that Mongolia has lot of horses and we are a nation  proud of our  horses.