SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: May 03, 2023

Attack Types: Imprisonment


Region & Country:Eastern Asia | Mongolia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On May 3, 2023, Chinese police arrested Lhamjab Borjigin, an exiled Chinese historian and writer, at his residence in Ulaanbaatar. Borjigin was deported to China shortly after.

Borjigin, who is 80 years old, was living in Mongolia after fleeing from China in March 2023. Previously, in 2018, Borjigin had been detained, placed under house arrest, and then imprisoned from 2019 to 2021, in connection with a book he had written and self-published about the Cultural Revolution (see report). Following his release from prison, he was placed indefinitely under “residential surveillance,” a form of house arrest.

According to the South Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, during the week leading up to his arrest, Borjigin had reported that Chinese authorities had threatened his family members in southern Mongolia, urging them to turn him in.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the imprisonment and deportation of a scholar in connection to his academic work. State authorities have a responsibility to refrain from restricting or retaliating against academic and expressive activity, so long as it is nonviolent and responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, arbitrary detentions and prosecutions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.