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Friday 25 April  
Four-part series about illegal aliens in the Netherlands
Klaas den Tek's picture
Ter Apel, Netherlands
Ter Apel, Netherlands

Sain – an illegal alien in the Netherlands

Published on : 25 May 2011 - 3:30pm | By Klaas den Tek (Graphic: RNW)
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They don’t have valid papers and often lead solitary lives – illegal aliens. The government wants to make it a criminal offence to live in the Netherlands without a residence permit. But who are these people? Part 1 of a series about illegal aliens in the Netherlands: Sain from Inner Mongolia (China).

“Has anyone been making inquiries about me?” 33-year-old Sain asks her Dutch contact Vincent. She’s nervous, because questions have been asked about her in the past. Sain thinks the Chinese secret service may have her under surveillance. For now, Vincent manages to calm her worries.

Illegal aliens in the Netherlands

This is part one of a four-part series about people who have sought refuge in the Netherlands and are living here without a residence permit.

Part 2: Mohamed Barrie, an illegal alien in the Netherlands

Chinese secret service
The weeks in the Netherlands creep by for Sain. She shares a home with a number of others. There’s little privacy. A Dutch charity provides them with food. Sain often goes to the library to read or look something up on the internet.

“I don’t feel safe. I’m scared of the Dutch police who could pick me up, and of the Chinese secret service. I think they’re keeping watch on me, but I’m carrying on working for human rights in Inner Mongolia. Informing people about the situation there, that’s still my aim!”

Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is one of China’s autonomous regions. Nowadays, 80 percent of its population is Han Chinese. The latest figures show ethnic Mongolians account for only 17 percent of the people in the region.

Sain’s family run a stud farm. Her ancestors were nomads who lived on the steppes. The Chinese authorities forced the Mongolian people to give up their traditional way of life and set up farms. The change led to the steppes becoming a desert.

Chinese rule in Inner Mongolia is authoritarian, with Mandarin the only language allowed in schools. Sain, whose mother tongue is Mongolian, found it difficult to compete with Mandarin-speaking students.

“We weren’t allowed to learn about our own history,” she complains. “I fought for my language and culture. I talked to students at university about the history of Inner Mongolia, about their identity. The Chinese viewed me as a danger to the state.”

She was kept under surveillance by the Chinese authorities because of her human rights activities. This was the reason she fled to the Netherlands in 2008. She requested asylum, was granted temporary residency and lived for a number of years in a government-run centre. She has never been given permanent residency.

“The Immigration and Naturalisation Department say I lied. I couldn’t give the name of a lake and a mountain in my place of birth. I was able to give other important details. I gave a perfect description of where I was born, but that wasn’t enough. They kept going on about that one mistake.”

Sain wants to stay in the Netherlands come what may. Her application for Dutch nationality is ongoing. If she fails, she will try to go to the European Court in Strasbourg.




François 8 June 2011 - 1:49pm / Netherlands

Hiram1 and PeterNY, fighting for or show-casing human rights abuses is positive. Indeed it is the driving force of the western world. When you preach human rights and democracy for other countries but choose to ignore them in your own it's called hypocricy. The hatred some people in the Netherlands have in general against immigrants is regretable and inhumane not to mention in some cases purely racist and bigoted. Offcourse majority of these type of people are to be found in the PVV and to a lesser extent in the VVD. When dealing with matters infringing human rights which could lead to death, torture or cruel and degrading treatment it is best to err on the side of caution rather to send some individual to undue hardship or death. It maybe that some abuse the system but the IND should'nt run on the assumption that everyone is abusing the system. Everyone must be given the benefit of the doubt and presumed to be telling the truth until proved otherwise. When the immigration authorities make a mistake it sometimes can't be undone. However when an asylum seeker makes a mistake a permit can always be withdrawn. Legislation needs to be passed to punish immigration authorities in this country when they make mistakes, which they do with abandon. Thanks to RNW for your invaluable work in the fight for human rights and especially those that have no voice in this country.

Hiram1 26 May 2011 - 6:15pm

"Why does NRW to choose political activism?"...Because they recieve funds from governments who support the immigration system. When you play music for your friends, do you play music that displeases them or do you play what they want to hear? It is an agenda of change. The change is slow in order for the people to realise that they have been duped. It is nothing more then political propaganda by the powers to be. They make "assertions" of an event but they do not investigate the event. They want the readers to accept the event as being a fact. It is not just RNW. The propaganda techniques are used by numerous "news agencies" around the world in order to control the minds of people. They are propoganda machines. Didn't Herr Hitler use his news agencies to persuade people that it was okay to murder the Jews? He was a master of propaganda.

PeterNY 26 May 2011 - 4:02pm / USA

Why does NRW to choose political activism? That is not the role of objective journalism. Instead of always showcasing people and trying to pitch the government as inhumane NRW can also choose to showcase the abuse of the immigration system!

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