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Chinas Ethnic Minorities Kara Abramson Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

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Presentation on theme: "Chinas Ethnic Minorities Kara Abramson Congressional-Executive Commission on China."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chinas Ethnic Minorities Kara Abramson Congressional-Executive Commission on China

2 Shǎoshù Mínzú

3 Mínzú

4 56

5 Historical Overview Minzu in Chinese history Minzu in the PRC –System of categorization –Soviet Tradition Ethnic groups as fixed Stalinist definition –Common territory, language, economy, and psychological nature

6 The PRC project: Mínzú shíbié –Stalinist criteria with attention to stage in history –Also: Han traditions, local consciousness –Outcome: Chinese White Paper on Minorities: So far, 56 ethnic groups have been identified and recognized by the central government –Once identified, the mínzú gōngzuò can start

7 China is a united multi-ethnic state with long history. […] Under the old social system it is impossible for all ethnic groups to enjoy equality in the modern sense of the word, and strife, conflicts and even wars among them were inevitable. Still, the long-standing existence of a united, multi-ethnic state in Chinese history greatly enhanced the political, economic and cultural exchanges among different ethnic groups, and constantly promoted the identification of all ethnic groups with the central government, and their allegiance to it.

8 Minzu Today 8.41% of the population, including: –Tibetan –Korean –Mongol –Russian –Tajik –Uighur (Uyghur/Uygur)




12 Also: –Zhuang –Hui –Miao –Lhoba –Yi




16 Location: –About 5/8ths of Chinas total area Languages: –Over 60, at least 5 different language families Religions: –Muslim, Buddhist, minority religions, Christian



19 Legal Framework The regions inhabited by ethnic minorities in compact communities are large, and rich in natural resources. But compared with other regions, particularly with developed regions, the level of economic and social development in these regions is relatively backward. Regional autonomy for ethnic minorities enables them to bring into full play their regional advantages and promote exchanges and cooperation between minority areas and other areas, and consequently quickens the pace of modernization both in the minority areas and the country as a whole and helps achieve common development of all regions and prosperity for all ethnic groups.

20 Regional Autonomy By end of 2003: –5 Provincial-level autonomous areas –30 autonomous prefectures –120 autonomous countries

21 Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law (REAL) -Applies throughout China -Grants additional legislative powers -Self-governing regulations -Specific regulations -Alterations

22 REAL Freedom to use and develop minority languages Freedom of religious belief Preferential policies Administration of finances Education in minority languages

23 REAL limitations Vague wording Legislation must be submitted to higher bodies for approval No enforcement of monitoring methods General Rule of Law issues

24 Implementing Provisions Issued in 2005 Require ethnic affairs commissions at every level of government to monitor implementation and submit findings Inspection teams now underway

25 Special Focus: Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

26 XUAR Xīnjiāng Wéiwúěr Zìzhìqū History –Xiongnu –Uighur Empire, –Karakhanids –Qing dynasty –Islam Sufi traditions

27 XUAR 1950s population –4.87 million, 6% Han Chinese, 75% Uighur Current Population: million –2000 census: 40.57% Han, 45.21% Uighur Also: Hui, Kazaks, Other Turkic groups, Tajiks, Mongols, etc.

28 XUAR XUARestablished 1955 –Han Settlement –Uighur, Kazak emigration –Bingtuan

29 XUAR Post-Cultural Revolution –1980s –1990 turning point –Develop the West –Human Rights Concerns

30 Issues Language and Education –School systems and Exams Mínkǎomín and Mínkǎohàn –Right to use own languages –Bilingual Education -Recent news:

31 Language Xinjiang Official Describes Plan to Expand Use of Mandarin in Minority Schools Within the next 10 to 20 years, education in all ethnic minority schools in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) will be bilingual starting in first grade, Ma Wenhua, deputy director of the XUAR Education Department, told the South China Morning Post (SCMP), […] -…the government has already decided to subsidize bilingual education in seven rural prefectures in the southern XUAR, and would implement comprehensively its bilingual pre-school program in The government will pay 1.5 yuan per day to pre-schoolers who receive bilingual education and 400 yuan per month to teachers. A leading official of the XUAR Party Committee said that supporting bilingual education in lower levels of schooling would raise the "quality" of ethnic minorities and contribute to the modernization drive.

32 Migration Freedom of movement issues Incentives to migrate Qinghai-Tibet railway

33 Attitudes Minority culture as backward (Chinese White Paper) Exoticization of minority culture Commodification of minority culture Anti-Muslim sentiment Assimilation Opportunities

34 Religion Freedom of religious belief in China 5 religions Minority religions as minority customs Harsh Controls esp. over Islam in the XUAR and Tibetan Buddhism


36 Health AIDS –Ministry of Health to Distribute AIDS Prevention Guides in Minority Languages The Ministry of Health (MOH) will give out 90,000 free AIDS prevention guides to members of China's ethnic minority communities, according to an MOH announcement on November 30 reported in Xinhua. The MOH subsidized publication of a Chinese-language guide translated into Uighur, Tibetan, Kazak, Korean, and Mongolian. It will give out the guides to village-level health care facilities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Tibet Autonomous Region, and the provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai, Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang. […]announcement –Yunnan province, the XUAR, and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region are among the five provincial-level areas that reported more than 10,000 people infected with HIV by the end of September – Drug Use



39 Jobs Head of Autonomous govt to be ethnic minority Other priorities provided for in law Reality is far different

40 Xinjiang Government Says Ethnic Han Chinese Will Get 500 of 700 New Civil Service Appointments The Xinjiang government will hold open examinations for 700 civil service positions, according to Tianshan Net, a website jointly managed by Xinjiangs Propaganda Department and the Peoples Daily. 500 of these positions will go to ethnic Han Chinese, while ethnic nationalities will fill the remainder. Examinees with the highest scores will go to southern Xinjiang to serve for six-year terms in county and village-level government positions. Uighurs make up more than 95 percent of the population in southern Xinjiang. The government also said that it will not assign successful examinees to their examinationssouthern Xinjiang

41 Zhāopìn Hànzú fúwùyuán

42 Advocating for Rights Rebiya Kadeer Hada Nurmuhemmet Yasin

43 Terrorism 9/11 Changes East Turkistan Islamic Movement Shanghai Cooperation Organization Three Evil Forces Outside Government Assessments

44 Resources Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law – showsingle=9507 showsingle=9507 Implementing Guidelines for REAL – phpd?showsingle=33642 phpd?showsingle=33642

45 PRC Sources Tianshan Net – –Posts news stories from Xinjiang newspapers China Ethnicities News ( ) – –In-depth articles related to minzu and religion State Ethnic Affairs Commission – –News and regulations from the governments highest agency in charge of ethnic affairs. Also posts regional news Communist Party United Front Web site – Local Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission Web sites and local government Web sites, such as: –Zhejiang Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission Web Site –Yili City Government Web site Islam-related news sites and chat rooms, such as –China-Muslim Net –Green China Islam Net

46 Overseas Web Sites Uyghur American Association / Uyghur Human Rights Project – and –Information on conditions in Xinjiang Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center – –Monitors events in Inner Mongolia Introduction to Uighur Culture and History by University of Toledo Professor Nathan Light – –Contains a bibliography Mongolia Society Directory of Scholars – US Universities –University of Washington –Indiana University –Harvard

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