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Minority Report



III. Monitoring Compliance With Human Rights


China’s Ethnic Minorities and Minority Policy | Legal Framework For Minority Rights | Self-governance and minority representation | Economic autonomy | Educational autonomy | Religious freedom | Cultural expression | Language policy | Freedom from discrimination | Rights Violations in Xinjiang


  • Minorities that are willing to accept state controls and the official depiction of their ethnic groups and histories have been able to preserve their cultures while joining Party and government ranks. Minorities that demand greater effective autonomy and control over their cultural identities, however, regularly confront government policies that violate the Constitution and the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law. Government policy in Tibetan areas and in Xinjiang most often contravenes the Chinese Constitution and law. The government grants minorities in southwest China that have accepted central authority, like the Zhuang, Yao, and Yi, more freedom to exercise their lawful rights.
  • Since 2000, China’s autonomous regions have experienced increased economic output and improved transportation and communication networks, but central control over development policy and financial resources has weakened economic autonomy in minority areas and disproportionately favored Han Chinese in Tibetan, Uighur, and other border areas. Central government investment has expanded educational access for minorities since 1949, though minority literacy rates and levels of educational attainment remain below those of the Han. Government-sponsored Han migration to minority areas has exacerbated ethnic tensions, particularly in Tibetan areas, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia.

China’s Ethnic Minorities and Minority Policy

China’s ethnic makeup is complex.1 Fifty-five minority groups speak more than 60 languages2 and practice a variety of religions. Though they constitute less than 9 percent of the total population, minorities are spread across almost two-thirds of the Chinese landmass, chiefly along international borders. More than 30 minority groups have ethnic counterparts in neighboring countries,3 and Communist Party policies in minority areas stress loyalty to China. Government concerns over the loyalty of minorities have increased with the growth of popular movements in neighboring Central Asian states.4

Minorities are typically much poorer than members of the Han majority.5 Chinese authorities argue that tensions between the Han and minorities result primarily from uneven levels of economic development. Officials stress that “all minority problems” can be resolved by promoting socialist development and increasing propaganda on the interdependence of the country’s nationalities and on the “correct interpretation of ethnic histories.”6 Not all minorities support the central government’s development approach, contending that economic advancements disproportionately favor Han Chinese.7 Nevertheless, central authorities report marked improvements in social and economic development within the autonomous areas. When the Party assumed power in 1949, less than 20 percent of the minority population had even limited Mandarin language competency, illiteracy rates were high,8 poverty was widespread, and transportation and communication infrastructure was nearly non-existent. Discrepancies in wealth between minorities and Han Chinese have increased since market reforms began in 1978,9 and literacy rates in many minority areas remain far below the national average.10 Central government investment in minority regions has, however, raised overall educational levels,11 improved transportation and communication networks, and trained a corps of minority cadres willing to work in government.

The Chinese Constitution, the 1984 Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law (REAL),12 and a number of related laws and regulations define minority rights. The Constitution entitles minorities to establish autonomous governments in territories where they are concentrated, but like all Chinese citizens, minorities must accept the leadership of the Party,13 “safeguard the security, honor, and interests of the motherland,” and place the interests of the state “above anything else.”14 The REAL grants autonomous governments the authority to formulate regulations reflecting local minority culture as long as they do not directly contravene central policy.15 The law allows autonomous governments to alter, postpone, or annul national legislation that conflicts with local minority practices, but the next higher level of government must approve such changes and they may not contradict the basic spirit of national policies.16

Implementation of the REAL varies greatly by region and by minority group.17 The Chinese government prohibits all Chinese citizens from expressing sentiments that “incite splittism” or “divide nationality unity,” but monitors minorities more closely than Han Chinese.18 The government grants a degree of local autonomy to ethnic groups that accept the central government’s authority, but silences those who attempt peacefully to advocate their rights under Chinese law. Mongol activist Hada, for example, is serving a 15 year prison sentence for organizing peaceful demonstrations for rights provided in the REAL. Minorities in the southwest have had more freedom to exercise their autonomy because they rarely challenge central authority.19 The government tightly restricts religious practices and expressions of cultural identity in Xinjiang, Tibetan areas, and Inner Mongolia, however. In contrast to southwestern minorities, the Tibetans, Uighurs, and Mongols live in cohesive communities largely separated from Han Chinese, practice major world religions, have their own written scripts, and have supporters outside of China. Relations between these minorities and Han Chinese have been strained for centuries.

The government continued to violate minority rights in Tibetan areas and Xinjiang throughout the year, but elsewhere Chinese authorities took some steps to improve the treatment of minorities. In May 2005, the State Council announced new Regulations on Implementing the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law (REAL Implementing Regulations). The Regulations include provisions increasing compensation requirements for central government extraction of natural resources from autonomous regions,20 strengthening the monitoring and reporting mechanisms on REAL implementation,21 and developing guidelines for penalizing government officials who violate minority rights.22 The REAL Implementing Regulations also require local governments to educate minorities about their rights and to draft specific measures to protect their rights and interests.23 A university and several governments in autonomous areas announced new legal aid and social services centers throughout the year.24 In March, a group of Darhad Mongols successfully invoked rights provided in the REAL, United Nations regulations, and the national Land Administration Law to bar the construction of a Han Chinese-owned Genghis Khan theme park on a site overseen by Mongols since 1696.25

Despite these positive steps, the REAL Implementing Regulations also increase the role of the central government in autonomous areas, reflecting a broader national campaign to increase Party controls over society. All of the new State Council measures are binding on autonomous governments, including specific economic development projects, language policies, and migration policies that the autonomous governments previously had the authority to determine themselves.26 Central authorities also tightened controls over minority cultural representation and launched an extensive propaganda campaign on the role of China’s minorities in building a united, multi-ethnic nation.27 The same campaign stresses that future prospects for minorities depend on cooperating with the Han majority.

Legal Framework For Minority Rights

Minority rights protected under Chinese law may be roughly divided into seven categories: self-governance and representation, economic autonomy, educational autonomy, religious freedom, cultural expression, language use, and freedom from discrimination. Although the laws themselves contain provisions ensuring central control over minority areas,28 much of the discontent among minorities with central authority stems from uneven and incomplete implementation of the law rather than flaws in the legal framework itself.

Self-governance and minority representation

The Constitution entitles minorities living in concentrated communities to establish autonomous governments,29 though their autonomy remains limited in practice. The 1984 REAL grants autonomous governments all of the powers awarded other local governments and the right to formulate three additional types of regulations: self-governing regulations, separate regulations,30 and separate alterations to national laws. None of these regulations may contradict the “basic principles” of national laws or policies, though the local regulations may adapt national laws, regulations, and policies to suit local minority customs.31 Self-governing regulations establish each autonomous government’s organizational structure and local economic, cultural, and public service development plans. Self-governing regulations must be approved by the next higher-level government before final submission to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC). To date, the NPCSC has not approved any self-governing regulations of the five provincial-level autonomous regions,32 although 133 of the country’s 30 autonomous prefectures and 120 autonomous counties have issued local self-governing regulations.33 Most of these self-governing regulations were passed between 1984 and 1992, and a number of their provisions have not kept pace with continuing changes in central government political, economic, and social policies.34

Autonomous governments have passed 383 separate regulations and 68 alterations to national laws, but they are vaguely worded and address only a limited set of state-approved topics.35 Most of these rules lower the legal marriage age for minorities, and only a few give greater fiscal autonomy or control over local natural resources to the local governments.36 Several Chinese scholars argue that autonomous regulations fail to reflect local minority conditions, rendering the concept of regional autonomy “purely cosmetic.”37 The inability of autonomous governments to pass effective local regulations, combined with the poor implementation of such regulations and a lack of trained minority legal personnel, undermines the development of the rule of law in minority areas.38

Chinese legal analysts note that minorities would better accept the formal legal system if autonomous regulations accurately reflected minority customs.39 One minority scholar laments that minorities “often simply give up on litigation and handle matters privately, through customary minority practice” because the courts “ignore the existence of minority customs” and lack financial and political independence.40 Autonomous governments in Muslim areas, for example, have yet to pass legislation to legalize Islamic inheritance customs that directly conflict with the National Inheritance Law.41

The Chinese government has passed a number of laws and policies designed to increase minority representation within the government and state-owned enterprises, but minorities remain underrepresented and fill a disproportionate number of low-level positions in the government.42 The REAL requires that the head of each autonomous government be drawn from the titular minority and that state personnel be drawn equitably from local minority groups. The government has funded 13 institutes of higher education to train minority students and mid-level officials, and promotes minorities with “solid political viewpoints” that match state policies.43 But the educational level of minority government employees remains lower than their Han counterparts,44 and minorities are inadequately represented within economic agencies.45 Although minorities are well represented in the National People’s Congress,46 the legislature remains subordinate to the Party and individual deputies wield little power.

Chinese law makes no provision for minority representation within the Party apparatus, where minorities constitute only 6.3 percent of the total membership and rarely hold high-level positions.47 In 2000, each of the 125 regional, prefectural, municipal, and county-level Party first secretaries in Xinjiang was Han, as were the first secretaries of all five provincial-level autonomous regions.48 Reflecting the sensitivity of the subject, neither the press nor scholarly journals discuss minority representation in the Party.49 The Party’s official atheism, reflected in a rule prohibiting Party members from practicing religion, also undermines minority participation in Party affairs.50

The central government continues to place Han Chinese “from the interior” into key technical and political posts in autonomous areas and to encourage Han laborers and farmers to move into these regions.51 The government contends that this is necessary to “lead” economic development in these areas and combat efforts to undermine ethnic unity by “hostile domestic and foreign forces.”52 The policy has undermined minority autonomy and increased ethnic tensions, most dramatically in Xinjiang and Tibetan areas. Central and local directives emphasize that Han leadership is needed to spur development in autonomous areas due to the dearth of educated minorities,53 but the government encourages technically trained minorities to leave the autonomous areas while supporting the influx of both skilled and unskilled Han workers.54 The REAL Implementing Regulations require autonomous governments to “guide and organize” local residents to go to “other areas” in search of jobs and business opportunities.55 By government decree, officials that have been relocated to autonomous areas are better compensated than local administrators. The REAL Implementing Regulations increase the central government’s commitment to transferring Han personnel “from all fields and all levels” to minority areas, extending a policy that the State Ethnic Affairs Commission boasts has already sent “tens of thousands of cadres to the border areas since 1982.”56

Economic autonomy

Although the economies of the minority regions have grown substantially since 1949, central authorities often determine development strategies with little input from minority residents. Central authorities provide autonomous governments additional funds and financing options beyond those provided non-autonomous governments.57 At the same time, autonomous areas have become increasingly dependent on central subsidies to support their local operating budgets, particularly since the launch of the Great Western Development program in 2000.58 More than 60 percent of Xinjiang’s economy is state-owned, for example, and centrally funded infrastructure projects and major natural resource extraction projects since 2000 have increased the central government’s share of the Xinjiang economy. Minorities often complain that they are not benefiting from the central economic development programs,59 though such allegations are difficult to confirm given tight controls over reporting on certain types of economic information.

Chinese law grants autonomous regions the right to manage and protect their natural resources,60 but state policies often ignore such provisions. The Chinese Constitution states that all natural resources are owned by “the state, that is, by the whole people,” but the REAL grants autonomous governments the right to assign ownership of the pastures and forests within these areas and requires the state to give minorities some compensation for all natural resources extracted from their territories.61 Human rights groups and Western analysts note that central government grasslands policies threaten to destroy the nomadic lifestyle of many Mongols and Tibetans. These analysts also say that the minorities have been denied a voice in grasslands management.62 Increased Han immigration into Xinjiang has increased pressure on scarce water resources and contributed to rapid desertification.63 Many minorities complain privately that Han developers are stripping away their natural resources and that Han Chinese monopolize high paying jobs in resource extraction projects. The REAL Implementing Regulations require that all natural resource extraction projects in autonomous areas benefit local economic development and employment, though it is too early to tell if the Regulations will result in policy changes. The Regulations also mandate new compliance monitoring and reporting mechanisms and impose administrative and criminal penalties on those violating the Regulations,64 which may encourage greater compliance with the Regulations by developers.

Educational autonomy

Although the REAL grants autonomous governments the right to control their educational systems,65 the central government retains tight control over the curricula and promotes the use of Mandarin Chinese in the classroom. Autonomous governments and the central government have developed an array of special schools and programs for minorities, increasing the total number of ethnic students enrolled in classes more than 17-fold since 1949.66 Minorities accounted for only 1.4 percent of the total student population in institutes of higher learning in 1949, but the figure rose to 6 percent by 1999.67 Minorities are allowed to enter universities with lower test scores than Han and are eligible for special scholarships. The government has established special year-long preparatory classes for minorities requiring remedial assistance before they enter universities. More than 9,000 students attended such classes in 2001.68 The government has also set up special mobile classes catering to nomadic minority communities.

Minorities are entitled by law to set their own curricula, but in practice the central government strictly controls the content of teaching materials in minority classes to ensure “the proper understanding of nationality relations and advanced socialist thinking.”69 Educators in autonomous areas report that the government controls the content of history textbooks strictly. They complain that textbooks written in the local minority script are translations of the standard Chinese texts.70 One Western study found that minority students have difficulty relating to the material in the standard Chinese curriculum and thus lose interest in learning.71

Religious freedom

The Constitution entitles minorities, like all citizens of China, to freedom of religious belief, though Uighurs and Tibetans have been effectively stripped of this right. Religion is the central marker of ethnic identity for many minorities, and the government often equates the religious activities of these groups with “ethnic chauvinism” and “local splittism.” 72 The government represses Uighur and Tibetan religious practices [see Section III(d)¡XFreedom of Religion and Section VI¡XTibet], though official policy concedes that minority religious beliefs are a “long-term issue” and “cannot be forcibly resolved in the short-term.”73 Minorities outside of Xinjiang and Tibetan areas who belong to one of the five officially recognized religions are generally allowed to practice their religions in registered religious venues managed by state-licensed clergy. Many minorities practice religions unique to their ethnic groups (and not one of the five state-recognized religions), which the government tacitly allows as a “minority custom” rather than as a religion per se.74 Autonomous governments are required to teach “scientific thinking,” a Party catchphrase for atheism, in the public school system and must prevent religion from “infiltrating” the educational system.

Cultural expression

The central government has tightened controls over political expression during the past 12 months throughout the country [see Section III(e)¡XFreedom of Expression], including in minority areas. The government increased already strict controls over how minority cultural traits, histories, and religions are depicted in popular media and schools as well as in academic circles. Officials also tightened controls on cultural expressions about minority relations with Han Chinese and increased propaganda in 2005 highlighting both the achievements of Party minority policy and the official view of minority relations.75 In May, Central Chinese Television broadcasted a series of documentaries on the accomplishments of the regional autonomy system and a feature film set in Tibetan areas and Yunnan depicting “the great melding of nationalities into a single whole, bound by blood and affection.”76 Since 1949, the Party has monitored all forms of expression in autonomous areas to assure that minorities accept official Party historiography.77 As recently as 2002, authorities held public book burnings of minority-authored works that conflict with official histories depicting relations among the minorities as harmonious.78 To co-opt the histories of minority groups, the central government has invested in ethnic “cultural enterprise centers” where minorities conduct officially sanctioned research and attend approved cultural festivities and performances.79 The State Council’s February 2005 White Paper on Regional Autonomy hails the expansion of minority language publications and broadcasts, artistic troupes, museums, libraries, and histories,80 but also stresses the role of the central government in each of these cultural enterprises.81

Language policy

The REAL entitles minorities to use and develop their own spoken and written languages,82 though in practice language policy varies by region and ethnic group.83 The law says that minorities should use textbooks written in their own languages “whenever possible” and use these languages as the medium of instruction. Though many minorities continued to use their native languages in primary and some middle schools,84 the central government increased its efforts this year to promote universal competency in Mandarin Chinese throughout the country.85 In some minority areas, local groups reported decreased government support for minority language use, but few overt restrictions.86 In Xinjiang the policy appeared more coercive, as discussed later in this section [for more on language policy in Tibetan areas, see Section VI¡XTibet]. Upward social, economic, and political mobility is increasingly dependent upon one’s ability to use Mandarin Chinese. Many minority groups welcome the opportunity to develop their Mandarin skills, while emphasizing the importance of promoting their own minority languages.

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region government passed a new regulation in May which, if properly implemented, promises to expand the use of the Mongol language. The regulation calls for increased use of Mongolian in regional colleges, economic incentives for students in Mongolian language schools, merit increases for bilingual government workers, and increased Mongolian media broadcasts. It also mandates greater regional funding for minority language publications and broadcasts.87 The regulation contains more specific provisions for promoting the Mongol language and elevating the status of Mongolian speakers than found in national laws or other local regulations.88 The new regulation also contains enforcement clauses, making it more likely to be implemented than earlier official statements supporting minority language use.

Freedom from discrimination

The Chinese Constitution states that all minorities are equal and prohibits all acts that discriminate against or oppress nationalities. Nevertheless, ethnic discrimination continues to exist throughout China, in both the government’s controls over cultural and religious expression and in private and governmental hiring practices. Many Han Chinese entrepreneurs with businesses in autonomous areas intentionally recruit Han workers from neighboring provinces rather than work with local minorities.89 Employers favor those with fluent Mandarin language skills and, in some areas, certain job listings bar specific minorities from applying.90 In the Tibetan Autonomous Region, the highest paying jobs are largely staffed by Han Chinese.91 The central and Xinjiang governments announced personnel decisions in 2005 that explicitly favored Han Chinese over minorities. In April 2005, for example, the government specified that 500 of 700 new civil service positions in southern Xinjiang, where over 95 percent of the population is Uighur, would be reserved for Han Chinese.92 The government actively recruited Chinese from outside of Xinjiang to assume key posts in the autonomous region, while providing insufficient incentives to stem the flow since 1979 of more than 200,000 trained personnel from Xinjiang to the east coast.93 Han Chinese now constitute over 40 percent of the population in Xinjiang, compared to less than 6 percent in 1949. In April 2005, 9,000 workers from Han-populated poor counties in Gansu accepted “long-term contracts” to work on Production and Construction Corps farms in Xinjiang, despite high levels of unemployment among minorities living nearby.94

Rights Violations in Xinjiang95

Since the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 and independent states were established in Central Asia, the Chinese government has tightened controls over Uighur expressions of ethnic identity.96 Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the Chinese government has equated peaceful expressions of Uighur identity with “subversive terrorist plots.”97 The Xinjiang government has increased surveillance and arrests of Uighurs suspected of “harboring separatist sentiments” since popular movements ousted Soviet-era leaders in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan.98 In May 2005, the Xinjiang government intensified its “strike hard” campaign against activities it characterizes as ethnic separatism, religious extremism, or international terrorism.99 In September 2005, Chinese authorities declared the “East Turkestan forces” the primary terrorist threat in China, and acknowledged that Xinjiang authorities have increased police surveillance and political controls throughout the region this year.100

Recent government policies only exacerbate ethnic tensions in Xinjiang. The government’s promotion of rapid economic development in the region disproportionately benefits Han Chinese and, together with restrictions on religious, linguistic, and cultural freedoms, and government-supported, large-scale Han migration into the area, has increased Uighur resentment and fears of coercive cultural assimilation.101 Although the extensive security apparatus in Xinjiang102 appears for the present to have crushed Uighur calls for greater autonomy, scholars report that “the majority of Uighurs are unhappy with the system of autonomy and the course of politics.”103 One prominent Western scholar notes that “repression on this scale may temporarily succeed in subduing the expression of ethnic identity but in the long-term it can only increase the resentment that Uighurs feel . . . and fuel deeper conflict in the future.”104

Many of the rights granted by the REAL are given to autonomous area governments rather than to individual citizens, and the government carefully controls the appointment and training of all Uighur officials. According to one U.S. scholar, “in the estimation of ordinary Uighurs, those Uighurs who have risen to top leadership positions have been selected not for their responsiveness to popular concerns but because of their tractability.”105 Uighur officials, like ethnic officials in Tibetan areas, are subject to rigorous political indoctrination. As part of the ongoing national “Advanced Culture” campaign, the Xinjiang government insists that all Party members, who must be atheists, carefully study the “correct relationship between religion and advanced socialist culture.”106 A 2004 article in the Party’s main theoretical journal reported that Xinjiang is intensifying political education for all government workers, particularly for those with “paralyzed thinking . . . who fail to clearly distinguish between legitimate and illegal religious activities.” 107

The government continued its campaign to restrict the use of the Uighur language in favor of Mandarin Chinese, despite provisions in the REAL protecting the right of minorities to use and promote their own languages. Government efforts to limit Uighur language use began in the 1980s, but have intensified since 2001 and throughout the past year.108 In May 2002, the Xinjiang government announced that Xinjiang University would change the medium of its instruction to Mandarin Chinese. A March 2004 directive ordered ethnic minority schools to merge with Chinese-language schools and offer classes in Mandarin.109 Despite a severe shortage of teachers in Xinjiang,110 the government is forcing teachers with inadequate Mandarin Chinese out of the classroom.111 Party Secretary Wang Lequan noted in April 2005 that Xinjiang authorities are “resolutely determined” to promote Mandarin language use, which he found “an extremely serious political issue.”112 The government favored Mandarin speakers when setting school admission requirements and in hiring government personnel.113

Uighurs have not been able to determine their own school curricula as provided by the REAL. The government demands that teachers place primary emphasis on political instruction over other subjects.114 Any mention of religion in the public schools is strictly prohibited. Primary and middle schools are barred from offering Arabic language instruction because according to the government “Arabic has never been a language used by any of our minorities and has only been used as a religious language by a small number of people.”115 In January 2005, Wang urged the Party to rewrite textbooks and “increase the regulation of classroom instruction, academic forums, seminars, and community activities.”116 He emphasized the importance of “politicians managing education and politicians operating schools.” Throughout the province, schools became the “battlefront for strengthening the Party.” 117 The Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture Educational Department criticized teachers for “putting too much emphasis on teaching and not enough on politics.”118 In April 2005, Wang announced that more than 1,700 college teachers had completed 20-day training classes on increasing political controls in schools.119

Government controls over expression increased in 2005 as the Xinjiang and central authorities “waged war” against what they called “new plots” to divide the country by those “raising the banner of ‘human rights,’ ‘nationalities,’ and ‘religion.’ “120 A Xinjiang prefectural Party secretary alleged that splittists were using DVDs, popular music, movies, and literature to promote separatism. He also claimed it was necessary to intensify controls over all forms of media and art, increase Party propaganda, use loudspeakers and banners in every village, and remain diligent so that the Party can maintain national unity.121

The government continues to arrest Uighur journalists and authors who write news articles or literary pieces that the government charges “incite separatism” or “disclose state secrets.” The Xinjiang authorities define any discussion of “important” ethnic policies as a state secret.122 In February 2005, the Kashgar Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Uighur author Nurmemet Yasin to 10 years imprisonment for publishing a short story in the Kashgar Literature Journal allegedly containing allegories “inciting splittism.”123 Doctoral candidate Tohti Tunyaz continues to serve an 11 year sentence imposed in 1999 for “revealing state secrets” in Japanese publications on Uighur history.124

The government has sentenced many Uighurs to long prison terms for peacefully expressing discontent with government policies. In August 1999, a Xinjiang court sentenced a group of 18 Uighurs to prison terms of up to 15 years for alleged separatist activities, none of which involved violence.125 The alleged leader of the group, Shirmemhemet Abdurishit, is serving a 15 year sentence.126 Although in March 2005 the government released Uighur businesswoman Rebiya Kadeer several months before the end of her eight year sentence for “leaking state secrets,” hundreds of Uighur prisoners of conscience remain in prison.127 Authorities began harassing Kadeer’s relatives in Xinjiang after she publicly discussed the plight of the Uighurs from her new home in the United States.128
Notes to Section III(a)—Special Focus for 2005: China’s Minorities and Government Implementation of the Regional Autonomy Ethnic Law

1 The Chinese government uses a Stalinist formula to determine which groups constitute unique minzu, variously translated as “nationalities” or “ethnic groups.” Accordingly, to be considered a nationality, a group must have a common language, territory, economic life, and culture. Stalin, J.V. “Marxism and the National Question,” in Works (Moscow: Foreign Languages University Publishing House, 1953), 302. More than 400 groups registered as separate nationalities in the 1953 census, with more than 240 requesting recognition in Yunnan Province alone. The government was only able to winnow the number to 55 after awkwardly gerrymandering ethnic boundaries by sending work teams of anthropologists and government officials to the countryside to determine which groups “objectively” constituted unique nationalities. Many groups continue to contest the government’s classification system. For details on the classification process, see Katherine Palmer Kaup, Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Press, 2000); Katherine Palmer Kaup “Regionalism and Ethnicnationalism in the People’s Republic of China,” 172 China Quarterly, 863–884 (2002); and Fei Xiaotong, Collected Works of Fei Xiaotong [Fei Xiaotong xuanji] (Fuzhou: Haixian Wenyi Chubanshe, 1996), 285.

2 S. Robert Ramsey, The Languages of China (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), 157–292. Many of the minority languages are further divided into mutually unintelligible dialects.

3 The Uighurs, Kyrgiz, Kazahks, Uzbeks, and Tajiks in Xinjiang, for example, all have ethnic counterparts in neighboring countries, as do the Zhuang, Miao, Dai, and Shui in Yunnan and Guangxi.

4 The Chinese government and the other five members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) signed an agreement on June 2, 2005, to take “specific steps to step up the efficiency of cooperation in ensuring stability and security, including holding joint antiterrorist training exercises, training personnel and exchange of experience in fighting terrorism, separatism, and extremism.” “Kazakhstan: SCO Officials Express Concern Over Terrorist Levels in Central Asia,” Almaty Interfax-Kazakhstan, 2 June 05 (FBIS, 2 June 05).

5 Chinese President Hu Jintao noted in May 2005 that the per capita GDP in minority areas is only 67.4 percent of the national average and rural per capita income only 71.4 percent of the national average. Hu Jintao, “Opening Speech to the Ethnic Affairs Work National Conference” [Hu Jintao zai zhongyang minzu gongzuo huiyishang de jianghua], State Ethnic Affairs Commission Web site, 27 May 05. This figure, however, does not indicate the severity of economic discrepancies, as Han Chinese within minority areas typically have higher incomes than the minorities. The government tightly controls statistics on Han-minority economic discrepancies, and published statistics report figures based on regional differences rather than providing breakdowns by ethnic groups. Kaup, Creating the Zhuang, 149–53. Numerous factors contribute to minority poverty. Minorities are concentrated in harsh geographical terrains on China’s periphery and lack the capital needed to extract natural resources in their territories. Poor infrastructure and low educational levels also contribute to their poverty. Government policies have exacerbated discrepancies in wealth between the minorities and Han. See Katherine Palmer, “Nationalities and Nationality Areas,” in China Handbook, ed. Chris Hudson (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997), 276–85. Several Western analysts report that central development strategies in Xinjiang since the launching of the Great Western Development campaign in 2000 have disproportionately favored Han Chinese. Nicholas Becquelin, “Xinjiang in the Nineties,” 44 The China Journal 65, 82–3, 85 (2000); Gardner Bovingdon, Autonomy in Xinjiang: Han Nationalist Imperatives and Uyghur Discontent (Washington: East-West Center Washington, 2004), 39. Uighur human rights advocate Rebiya Kadeer testified that the Great Western Development policies have had a deleterious impact on the Uighurs and resulted in the “bleakest period in Uighur history.” Congressional Human Rights Caucus Members Briefing, The Human Rights Situation of the Uighurs in the People’s Republic of China, 28 April 05.

6 Hu Jintao, “Opening Speech to the Ethnic Affairs Work National Conference.”

7 Tibetans Lose Ground in Public Sector Employment, Tibet Information Network (Online), 20 January 05; “China’s Influence in Central Asia (Part 5): Uighurs Count the Cost of China’s Quest for Stability,” Radio Free Asia (Online), 24 November 04.

8 A Ningxia government report notes that only 5 percent of the minority populations in Ningxia and the Tibetan Autonomous Region were literate in 1949. By 1998, that figure had risen to 89.5 percent and 48 percent respectively, though these rates remained below the national average. “Implementing the Regional Autonomy System” [Shixing minzu quyu zizhifa zhidu], Ningxia Government Web site.

9 Wen Jun, “Assessment of the Stability of China’s Minority Economic Policy 1949–2002″ [Zhongguo shaoshu minzu jingji zhengce wendingxing pinggu], Development Research, No. 3, 2004, 40–45. Han-minorities discrepancies in per capita income more than tripled in the first decade of reforms. Yang Zuolin, A General Discussion of Minority Economics [Minzu diqu jingji fazhan tongsu jianghua] (Kunming: Yunnan People’s Press, 1993), 12. Minorities have had difficulty attracting foreign capital given their poor infrastructure, poorly trained labor force, and low levels of trade and private enterprise. 1994 tax revisions further exacerbated discrepancies in wealth.

10 The Tibetan illiteracy rate (47.55 percent), for example, is five times the national average (9.08 percent). Tabulation drawn from 2000 Population Census of the People’s Republic of China (Beijing: China Statistics Press, August 2002), Table 2–3.

11 “Implementing ‘China’s Minority Education Regulations’ Placed on Agenda,” [“Zhongguo shaoshu minzu jiaoyu tiaoli” de zhiding lierule yishi richeng], State Ethnic Affairs Commission Web site, 16 June 05.

12 Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law [hereinafter REAL], enacted 31 May 84, amended 28 February 01.

13 The relationship between minority areas and the central government is reflected in an official news report, “The Central Party Puts Forth A Strategy for Xinjiang’s Development and Stability” [Zhonggong zhongyang zuochu Xinjiang fazhan yu wending zhongda zhanlüe bushu], Xinhua (Online), 18 May 04. The report describes a meeting of the top-ranking government officials in Xinjiang called “to transmit the Central Party’s Comprehensive Work Plan Regarding Xinjiang’s Economic Development and Social Stability, and to develop plans for implementing it.” At the meeting, Wang Lequan, Politburo member and Party General Secretary of Xinjiang, urged “all party and government officials from all levels within the autonomous region to earnestly study and adopt the spirit of the Center’s comprehensive plan. We must focus all of our thinking on the spirit of the Center’s directive, and, with a strong sense of enthusiasm and duty, quickly develop concrete implementation measures that blend each localities’ and departments’ concrete circumstances in order to rigorously promote all of these Xinjiang projects.” Xinjiang’s autonomy rests in how best to implement central directives according to local circumstances. In many cases, this results in policies more restrictive of individual liberties than those promoted by the central government. The report cited here, for example, advocates strengthening the role of the predominately Han, paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in order to promote regional stability.

14 REAL, art. 7.

15 Ibid., arts. 4–7, 19.

16 Ibid., arts. 4–7, 20.

17 The Chinese government has imposed the fewest controls on minorities that accept central authority, which in turn have made these groups more willing to cooperate with Han Chinese. Mutual distrust between Han authorities and several minority groups has led to tighter government controls in some areas, however, exacerbating ethnic tensions according to both Chinese and Western analysts. See, for example, Ma Mingliang, “Muslims and Non-Muslims Can Coexist in Harmony in China, as They Do in Malaysia, If They Understand Each Other’s Culture Better,” Islam in China, 31 Jul 05 (FBIS, 6 September 05); Bovingdon, Autonomy in Xinjiang: Han Nationalist Imperatives and Uyghur Discontent.

18 REAL, art. 9. Authorities sentenced four Uighur boys to three and a half years in prison after a schoolhouse brawl in April 2005, on the charge of “undermining the friendship of the nationalities.” “Uighur Youths, Teacher Detained After School Brawl, Residents Say,” Radio Free Asia (Online), 21 June 05.

19 Minorities in southwestern China live in closer proximity to Han Chinese than do Tibetans and Uighurs, who are separated from predominately Han-populated regions in central China by mountain ranges and deserts. Although many of the minorities in southwestern China live in single-ethnicity villages, often these villages will be interspersed in close proximity to those of other minority groups. Southwestern minorities tend to be segregated by villages rather than by larger administrative areas, whereas distances between communities of different ethnic groups tend to be greater in the Northwest. Many of the southwestern minority groups are also internally divided and have little interest in mobilizing against Han Chinese authority. For further detail see Kaup, Creating the Zhuang, 171–81; and Thomas Heberer, “Nationalities Conflict and Ethnicity in the People’s Republic of China, With Special Reference to the Yi in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture,” in Perspectives on the Yi of Southwest China, ed. Steven Harrel (Berkeley: University of California, 2001), 232–7.

20 State Council Regulations on the Implementation of the REAL, issued 11 May 05, art. 8.

21 Ibid., arts. 30 and 34.

22 Ibid., arts. 31 and 32.

23 Ibid., art. 2.

24 “South-Central Nationalities University Opens Legal Aid Clinic” [Zhongnan minzu daxue chengli falü huanzhu zhongxin], Tianshan Net (Online), 21 March 05; “Suzhou Wujiang City Establishes New Social Services System for Migrant Minority Workers” [Suzhou Wujiang shi chuang xin wailai liudong shaoshu minzu fuwu tizhi], State Ethnic Affairs Commission Web site, 18 August 05; “Jiangsu’s Qiansu City Aggressively Expands New Approaches to Help Minority Migrants” [Jiangsu Qiansu shi jiji shensu xinshi xia fuwu “wailai” yu “waichu” shaoshu minzu de youxiao tujin], State Ethnic Affairs Commission Web site, 18 August 05.

25 “Open Letter from the Darhad Mongols,” Southern Mongolia Human Rights Watch (Online), March 2005.

26 For example, Articles 15, 17, 18, and 22 of the State Council Regulations for the Implementation of the REAL require autonomous regions to give priority to border regions and minorities with small populations when making investment decisions. Bilingual education must be promoted, and autonomous governments are required to “guide and organize” local populations to seek jobs outside of their localities. Although the central government often encroaches on the autonomous governments’ authority to determine their development strategies independently, the REAL in theory gave the autonomous regions the authority to control these policy decisions which are now determined by the central government.

27 The Party monitors and imposes strict controls on how minority cultures are represented in popular, official, and scholarly discourse. Controls over minority representation have been imposed on all minority groups, not simply on those who have strained relations with Han Chinese and the predominately Han government. For example, though authorities regularly arrest Uighurs who display overt signs of ethnic pride, government authorities in Guangxi have criticized Zhuang authors who display too little ethnic pride. Kaup, Creating the Zhuang, 118–9.

28 Article 7 of the REAL requires autonomous governments to “place the interests of the state as a whole above anything else.”

29 The Constitution provides for the establishment of provincial-level autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures, and autonomous counties. The government began creating autonomous townships and villages in 1993 with the State Council’s passage of the Regulation on the Administrative Work on Ethnic Villages [Minzu xiang xingzheng gongzuo tiaoli], issued 29 August 93.By 2003 the government had established five provincial-level autonomous regions, 30 autonomous prefectures, 120 autonomous counties, and 1,173 autonomous villages. The government decided which areas would be granted autonomous status “through consultation between the government of the next higher level and the representatives of the minority or minorities concerned.” General Program for the Implementation of Regional Autonomy for Minorities [Zhonghua renmin gongheguo minzu quyu zizhi shishi gangyao], issued 8 August 52, art. 9.Some members of the larger minority groups express concerns privately that the regional autonomy policy disproportionately favors smaller groups. Commission Staff Interviews. Many Uighurs and Zhuang note that within the provincial-level Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, several minority groups have their own autonomous prefectures or counties. Once established, these smaller autonomous areas are eligible for special development assistance funds that the central and provincial governments earmark for county-level autonomous governments. The Bayinguoleng Mongol Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang contains one-quarter of Xinjiang’s total land. Although only 4.46 percent of the Bayinguoleng population is Mongol and 34.25 percent is Uighur, the Chinese Constitution and the REAL require that the head of the prefectural government be Mongol. In another example, a portion of Guangxi’s poverty alleviation funds is earmarked for minority counties, which means that Bama Yao Autonomous County (17.24 percent Yao and 69.46 percent Zhuang) is eligible for certain development assistance programs not available to nearby Jingxi County, which does not have autonomous standing despite the fact that over 99 percent of its population is ethnically Zhuang. Article 16 of the Election Law also allows minorities with small populations a greater number of People’s Congress delegates. PRC Election Law for the National People’s Congress and Local People’s Congresses, enacted 1 July 79, amended 10 December 82, 2 December 86, 28 February 95, 27 October 04. Some Western experts believe the government consciously pitted minorities against one another when establishing regional autonomous areas in order to weaken their ability to confront the state. Gardner Bovingdon, “Heteronomy and Its Discontents ‘Minzu Regional Autonomy’ in Xinjiang,” in Governing China’s Multiethnic Frontiers, ed. Morris Rossabi (Seattle: University of Washington, 2004), 117–154; Becquelin, “Xinjiang in the Nineties,” 86. Since 2000, the central government has explicitly stated that nationality development work will place a priority on the 22 smallest minority populations. Tang Ren, “Ethnic Minorities Need Help: Government Pledges Another Round of Poverty Alleviation Reforms to Save the Country’s 22 Small Ethnic Groups,” Beijing Review (Online), 26 July 05. The May 2005 REAL Implementing Regulations require provincial-level governments to give priority to smaller minorities in their economic development and investment plans.

30 Non-autonomous governments may also pass local legislation on issues not addressed by national law, but the autonomous areas have the power to pass local legislation expounding upon, or altering, national laws to suit minority customs.

31 PRC Legislation Law, enacted 15 March 00, art. 66.

32 Xinjiang has gone through eight drafts of its self-governing regulation since 1981. The Xinjiang People’s Congress announced in January 2005 that it would restart the drafting process after the passage of the REAL Implementing Regulations, noting that “many issues [in the self-governing regulation] require reaching a compromise between national and local interests so the process has been slow.” “Ten Issues Handled” [Shi jian yianjian jiande dao chuli], Xinjiang Capital Daily (Online), 20 January 05.

33 Article 19 of the REAL states that the self-governing regulations of autonomous regions must be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for approval before they go into effect. Self-governing regulations of autonomous prefectures and counties must receive the approval of the Standing Committees of the People’s Congresses at the provincial or directly administered municipal level before becoming effective and then be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

34 Governments in many autonomous areas have been revising their self-governing regulations over the last few years. Yunnan Province announced in October 2004 that all 29 of its autonomous counties and 8 autonomous prefectures would revise their self-governing regulations. “Yunnan Province Comprehensively Pushes Revisions of Autonomous Prefectures and Counties Self-Governing Regulations,” State Ethnic Affairs Commission Web site, 12 April 05.

35 These alterations predominately deal with marriage, inheritance, elections, and grasslands legislation according to the State Council Information Office White Paper. “Regional Autonomy for Ethnic Minorities,” State Council Information Office Web Site, 28 February 05; Cheng Jian, “Autonomous Statutes and Thoughts on Their Legislation in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region” [Lun danxing tiaoli: Neimenggu zizhiqu danzing tiaolifa xiancun wenti tanqi], Journal of Inner Mongolia University Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 34, No. 6, November 2002, 49–52; Chao Li, “Thoughts on Autonomous Areas’ Autonomous Legislative Powers” [Dui minzu zizhi difang zizhi jiguan lifa quan de sikao], Journal of Southwest University for Nationalities, Vol. 23, No. 7, July 2002, 137–141; Ma Linlin, “Construction of Our Nation’s Minority Economics Law” [Woguo shaoshu minzu diqu minzu jingji de fazhi jianshe], Academic Forum, No. 7, 2004, 57–9.

36 Chen Wenxing, Legislation Must Appropriately Reflect Changing Circumstances: On the Promotion of Yunnan’s Autonomous Areas’ Legislation” [Lifa gongzuo bixu shishi huiying qingshi bianqian: lun yunnan minzu sizhidifang lifa de tuijin”], Academic Exploration, No. 12, December 2004, 60–3; Li Baoqi, “On the Theory and Practice of the Financial Transfer Payment System in National Autonomous Areas” [Caizheng zhuanyi zhifu zhidu zai minzu zizhi difang de lilun yu shixian], Journal of Yanbian University, Vol. 37, No. 1, March 2004, 51.

37 Zeng Xianyi, “The Legislative Base of the Autonomous Government Regulations” [Lun zizhi tiaoli de lifa jichu], Journal of South-Central University for Nationalities—Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 24, No. 4, July 2004, 7. Chinese scholars regularly call for autonomous governments to exercise their right to formulate meaningful self-governing regulations, though these discussions do not appear in the popular press.

38 Zhou Li, et al, “Autonomous Legislation in the Course of Modernization” [Xiandai huajin chengzhong de zizhi lifa], Yunnan University Journal- Legal Studies Edition, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2004, 88; Li Zhanrong, “On the Application of Minority Economic Law” [Lun minzu jingjifashiyong], Journal of the Guangxi Cadre Institute of Politics and Law, Vol. 20, No. 1, January 2005, 18; Li Chaokai, “Brief Analysis of Yunnan’s Legal Personnel Training and Law School Reforms” [Yunnan falü rencai peiyang yu faxue jiaoyu gaige qianxi], Seeking Truth, Vol. 6, 2003, 58.

39 Li Chaokai, “Brief Analysis of Yunnan’s Legal Personnel Training and Law School Reforms,” 57; Chen Wenxing, “Legislation Must Appropriately Reflect Changing Circumstances,”60–3; Li Zhanrong, “On the Application of Minority Economic Law,” 15–20.

40 Li Zhanrong, “On the Application of Minority Economic Law,” 15–20.

41 Article 32 of the Inheritance Law mandates that the property of a deceased person with no survivors reverts to the state. PRC Inheritance Law, enacted 10 April 85. The customary practice of many Islamic groups, however, requires that such property be donated to the local mosque. No alterations or supplements to the National Inheritance Law have yet been passed. Li Zhanrong, “On the Application of Minority Economic Law,” 19.

42 6.9 percent of government workers are minorities though minorities account for almost 9percent of China’s total population. Ling Yun, “Analysis of Major Issues and Theories in Our Nation’s Minority Nationality Cadre Education” [Woguo minzu ganbu jiaoyu cunzai de zhuyaowenti ji lilun fenxi], Journal of South-Central University for Nationalities, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2004, 17; Wang Xiubo, “Research and Thoughts Regarding The Current Situation Of Minority Nationality Cadres Corps Talent” [Guanyu shaoshu minzu diqu ganbu rencai duiwu xianzhuang de diaocha yu sikao], Progressive Forum, March 2004, 24–5; Yang Guocai, “Building a Minority Nationality Cadres Corps Is the Crux to Developing Minority Nationality Areas” [Shaoshu minzu ganbu duiwu jianshe shi minzu diqu fazhan de guanjian], Yunnan Nationalities University Journal, Vol. 21, No. 4, July 2004, 84–6. The proportion of technically trained minorities placed in high- or mid-level positions is 19 and 45 percentage points below the Han average according to Na Canhui, “In- Depth Analysis of Our Nation’s Minority Nationality Cadres’ Training” [Woguo shaoshu minzu ganbu peiyu jizhi shenxi], South-Central Nationalities University Journal, Vol. 24, April 2004, 183–4. The absolute number of technically trained minorities has increased substantially. One Chinese scholar reports that the number rose from 238,000 in 1979to over 1.7 million in 2002. Zhang Linchun, “Policy Decisions and Successful Experience Regarding Minority Cadre Training and Use” [Woguo shaoshu minzu ganbu peiyang he xuanbo shiyongde zhengce guiding he chenggong jingyan], Tianshui Government Administration Academy, Vol. 2, 2002, 18.

43 Zhang Linchun, “Policy Decisions and Successful Experience Regarding Minority Cadre Training and Use,” 15–8. In July 2002, the State Council approved the joint appointment of State Ethnic Affairs Commission officials to 20 government ministries and bureaus. Though these officials are not necessarily ethnic minorities, the majority of SEAC cadres are. The decision also helps assure that minority issues will be raised in each of these government offices. “State Ethnic Affairs Commissioners Joint Appointment to Other Commissions and Their Responsibilities” [Guojia minzu shiwu weiyuanhui bingzhi weiyuan danwei ji zhize], State Ethnic Affairs Commission Web site, 8 February 05.

44 Ling Yun, “Analysis of Major Issues and Theories in Our Nation’s Minority Nationality Cadre Education,” 171–3. Government investment in education in Xinjiang in 2000 was only 45.45 percent of the national average, according to Gu Huayang, “Research on the Current Situation and Policy of Xinjiang’s Educational Development” [Xinjiang jiaoyu fazhan de xianzhuangji duice yanjiu], Seeking Truth, No. 2, 2004, 74–7. The same article notes that although a higher percentage of people in Xinjiang have college degrees than the national average, the percentage of people receiving high school and middle school degrees is only 58.43 and 38.15 percent of the national average respectively.

45 Wang Xiubo, “Research and Thoughts Regarding the Current Situation of Minority Nationality Cadres Corps Talent,” 24–5. Wang Xiubo also notes that many autonomous governments are having difficulty recruiting government employees under the age of 35. The State Council Implementation Decision calls for “vigorous training” of younger minority cadres to ensure that a corps of minorities is being trained to assume mid- and upper-level positions in the years ahead.

46 In the 10th People’s Congress, for example, 13.91 percent of the deputies were minorities, well above the 8.9 percent they represent of the total population. State Council White Paper on Regional Autonomy, issued 28 February 05. The Election Law also allows ethnic groups not residing in autonomous areas to hold separate elections for congressional delegates “based on the local circumstances,” though how these should be carried out remains unclear. Article 9 of the Election Law says that the State Council may allow autonomous people’s congresses 5 percent more seats than they would normally be allowed on the basis of their population size. PRC Election Law for the National People’s Congress and Local People’s Congresses.

47 “Number of CPC Members Reaches 69.6 Million,” China Daily, 24 May 05 (FBIS, 24 May 05). Because the party represents the interests of the entire nation without bias, it would be “unscientific” to require specific minority representation within the party ranks, according to the official party position. Guo Zhengli, The Theory and Practice of Regional Ethnic Autonomy with Chinese Characteristics [Zhongguo tese de minzu quyu sishi lilun yu shijian] (Urumqi: Xinjiang University Press, 1992), 92.

48 Nicholas Becquelin, “Staged Development in Xinjiang,” 178 China Quarterly 358, 363 (2004).

49 In a widely studied speech in May 2005, Hu Jintao stressed the need to increase party control over nationality work. He highlighted the need to “increase the contingent of nationality work cadres” while avoiding any mention of increasing the number of ethnic minority Party members. Hu Jintao, “Opening Speech to the Ethnic Affairs Work National Conference.”

50 Central Personnel Office Notice on the Correct Handling of Party Members’ Believing in Religion [Guanyu tuoshan jiejue gongchan dangyuan xinyang zongjiao wenti de tongzhi], issued20 March 93; Chinese Communist Party Notice on “Our Nation’s Basic Understanding and Policies Toward Religion in the Current Stage of Socialism” [Zhonggong zhongyang yinfa “guanyuwoguo shehuizhuyi shiqi he jiben zhengce de tongzhi”], issued March 1982. Religion is a central marker of ethnic identity for many in China, including the Tibetans and the country’s ten Muslim minorities.

51 The Chinese government distinguishes between those from “the interior, advanced regions” and those from the “borderland, autonomous areas.”

52 “Assist Tibet, Xinjiang, and Border Areas Cadre Policy” [Yuan zang, yuanjiang zhibianganbu], State Ethnic Affairs Web site.

53 Louisa Lim, “Uighurs Lost Out in Development,” BBC (Online), 19 December 03.

54 The Xinjiang Propaganda Department praised a local technical college for placing 60 minority graduates in the coastal city of Shenzhen. The school plans to send another 180 by year’s end. “60 Xinjiang Minority Technical School Graduates Take Jobs in Shenzhen” [Xinjiang 60 ming shaoshu minzu zhongzhuansheng Shenzhen jiuye], Tianshan Net (Online), 14 April 05.

55 State Council Regulation on the Implementation of the REAL, art. 18.

56 “Assist Tibet, Xinjiang, and Border Areas Cadre Policy,” State Ethnic Affairs Web site.

57 Wen Jun, “Assessment of the Stability of China’s Minority Economic Policy 1949–2002″ [Zhongguo shaoshu minzu jingji zhengce wendingxing pinggu], Development Research, No. 3,2004, 40–45.

58 Calla Weimer, “The Economy of Xinjiang,” in Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland, ed. S. Frederick Starr (Washington, DC: Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, 2004), 163–189; Nicholas Becquelin, “Staged Development in Xinjiang,” 362; David Bachman, “Making Xinjiang Safe for the Han? Contradictions and Ironies of Chinese Governance in China’s Northwest,” in Governing China’s Multiethnic Frontiers, ed. Morris Rossabi (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004), 165–168.

59 Uighurs also regularly report that they are discriminated against in the broader job market, with offices publicly posting help wanted signs stipulating “Uighurs need not apply.” “China’s Influence in Central Asia (Part 5),” Radio Free Asia. Graham E. Fuller and Jonathan N. Lipman state that “members of the Han majority appear to advance more rapidly than similarly qualified Uighurs, while even in Kashgar many specialized occupations are reserved for the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and other Han-dominated work units.” Graham E. Fuller and Jonathan N. Lipman, “Islam in Xinjiang,” in Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland, ed. S. Frederick Starr (Washington, DC: Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, 2004), 325. Economist Calla Weimer demonstrates statistically that Uighurs have less earning power than Han living in the same area. Calla Weimer, “The Economy of Xinjiang,” 188.

60 REAL, art. 20.

61 Ibid., arts. 27 and 65; PRC Constitution, art. 9.

62 “Complaint Against the Chinese Government’s Forced Eviction of Ethnic Mongolian Herders,” Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (Online); Hong Jiang, Fences, Ecologies, and Changes in Pastoral Life: Society and Reclamation in Uxin Ju, Inner Mongolia, China, paper presented at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference in Chicago, IL, 3 April 05; Enhebatu Togochog, Ecological Immigration and Human Rights in Inner Mongolia, paper presented at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, 3 April 05.

63 Stanley Toops, “The Ecology of Xinjiang: A Focus on Water,” in Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland, ed. S. Frederick Starr (Washington, DC: Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, 2004),271; Becquelin, “Xinjiang in the Nineties,” 84.

64 State Council Regulation on Implementation of the REAL, arts. 30 and 32. Article 8 requires the central government to compensate autonomous governments who have suffered financially after implementing ecological development projects. Many of the central government’s largest ecological protection programs are in minority regions, which must share the financial burden of implementing the center’s plans. The “three returns” plan of 2000 (returning farmland to forest, farmland to grasslands, and pasturelands to fallow) cost each of the affected banners in Inner Mongolia an average of 200,000 yuan annually, for example. Zhuang Wanlü , “Discussion of Minority Areas’ Various Types of Poverty: The Problem of Local Government Financial Resources Poverty” [Lun minzu diqu de linglei pinkun—difang zhengfu caizheng pinkun wenti], Journal of Southwest University for Nationalities, Vol. 24 No. 6, June 2003, 23.

65 REAL, art. 36. Minority governments have established a number of special schools to increase literacy among adult minorities. In these short courses, local education departments within the autonomous areas tailor textbooks to student needs. Some courses use local minority scripts to teach farming techniques and personal hygiene, for example. The government carefully monitors the depiction of minority history in all fields of publication, however, including textbooks. All textbooks must reflect official historiography showing “family ties and deep affection among the nationalities” and “common struggle towards prosperity of all the minorities within a multinational unitary state.” Teachers are not allowed to include course segments on a particular minority group’s distinct history. Commission Staff Interview.

66 “Education for Ethnic Minorities,” China’s Education and Research Network Web site.

67 Minorities Statistical Yearbook 2000 [Minzu tongji nianjian 2000], Ethnic Publishing House Web site. The percentage of minorities in the total student population in secondary technical schools rose for that same period from 0.4 percent to 6.6 percent, in teaching institutes from 2.1 percent to 10.7 percent, in middle schools from 2.6 percent to 6.8 percent, and primary schools from 2.2 percent to 9 percent.

68 More than 10,000 attended similar classes in preparation for secondary school. “Education for Ethnic Minorities II,” China’s Education and Research Network Web site.

69 Wang Lequan, “Maintain the Dominant Position of Marxism in Ideological Work and Adhere to the Four Cardinal Principals,” Seeking Truth, 16 January 05, No. 2, (FBIS, 1 February05).

70 Commission Staff Interview.

71 Steven Harrell and Ma Erzi (Mgebbu Lunze), “Folk Theories of Success Where Han Aren’t Always Best,” in China’s National Minority Education: Culture, Schooling, and Development, ed. Gerard A. Postiglione (New York: Falmer Press, 1999), 220–1.

72 These are terms the government uses to deride those it believes promote the interests of their own ethnic group over the interests of the state as a whole or who favor the creation of a separate state for their minority group.

73 Chinese Communist Party Notice on “Our Nation’s Basic Understanding and Policies Toward Religion in the Current Stage of Socialism.”

74 Central Personnel Office Notice on the Correct Handling of Party Members’ Believing in Religion.

74 Hu Jintao stressed the importance of “conducting nationality solidarity propaganda and education campaigns on an extensive scale” in his May address to the National Conference on Ethnic Minority Work, while Xinjiang’s Party secretary announced that the region would “vigorously step up propaganda to reveal that the fallacies spread by national separatists are outrageous lies.” Wang Lequan, “Maintain the Dominant Position of Marxism in Ideological

75 Work and Adhere to the Four Cardinal Principals.” On June 29, 2005, the central State Ethnic Affairs Commission met with more than 20 media organizations, including the Party’s main theoretical journal and the national People’s Daily, to discuss increasing propaganda work. “State Ethnic Affairs Commission Holds Meeting with Media Representatives”[Guojia minwei juban xinwen meiti zuotanhui], State Ethnic Affairs Commission Web site, 28 June 05.

76 “The Teahorse Road” [Chama gudao], State Ethnic Affairs Commission Web site, May 2005.

77 One scholar argues that the Party in essence “created” certain ethnic groups through careful manipulation of ethnic cultural markers, widespread Party propaganda about the groups’ histories and cultures, and banning of unofficial critiques of minorities’ cultures. Kaup, Creating the Zhuang.

78 Michael Dillon, “Uyghur Language and Culture Under Threat in Xinjiang,” Diplomatic Observer (Online), 14 August 02.

79 Members of some minority groups report that they are pleased to highlight their ethnic heritage in these and other state-sponsored forums. Numerous Zhuang scholars, peasants, and government workers, for example, participated with enthusiasm in the construction of a “Zhuang Village” display near the capital of Yunnan in 2001. Commission Staff Interviews.

80 The White Paper notes that over 50 million copies of 4,800 separate book titles have been published in minority languages, and more than 200 magazines and 88 newspapers.

81 The Paper notes, for example, that it was the central authorities who “organized” 3,000 experts and scholars to compile a five-part series of books on each of China’s ethnic minorities. The White Paper also reports that “the state has set up institutions to collect, assort, translate and study in an organized and programmed manner the three major heroic epics of China’s ethnic minorities.”

82 REAL, art.10.

83 Minglang Zhou, Multilingualism in China: The Politics of Writing Reforms for Minority Languages 1949–2002 (New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 2003). Not all of the minorities had unified written scripts when the Communist Party came to power in 1949. Practical challenges, such as determining which dialect should form the foundation for new phonetic scripts, limited many minorities’ ability to utilize their own scripts rather than any concerted efforts by the central government to limit their use.

84 Select universities in the TAR, Inner Mongolia, and the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture offer coursework in minority languages, though generally minority language use is limited to primary and middle schools. In many areas, minority languages are used only in the lower levels of primary school until students master Chinese and are able to take all of their classes in Mandarin.

85 The REAL Implementing Regulations instruct autonomous areas to promote “bilingual teaching.” Whereas Article 37 of the REAL previously only stipulated that “Han language and literature courses” should be offered in the senior grades of primary school or secondary school, the new Regulations encourage the use of Mandarin with minority languages in all courses. Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer reports that the Uighur language has been banned in schools throughout Xinjiang. Commission Staff Interview, 22 August 05.

86 Mette Halskov Hansen, “The Challenge of Sipsong Panna in the Southwest,” in Governing China’s Multiethnic Frontiers, ed. Morris Rossabi (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004), 69.

87 Regulation on Spoken and Written Language Work in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region [Neimenggu zizhiqu menggu yuyan wenzi gongzuo tiaoli], enacted 26 November 04.

88 Ibid. Article 18, for example, increases the number of translators in each government office and assures that they receive the same rank and compensation as others in their office. Article 14 states that offices and businesses should give priority in hiring to students who received their education in Mongol technical schools.

89 Mette Halskov Hansen, “The Challenge of Sipsong Panna in the Southwest,” 62.

90 A survey conducted in Xinjiang in 2003 revealed that over 67 percent of those interviewed felt strong Mandarin language skills were the most important qualification for hiring minorities. Wang Jianjun, “Develop Social Surveys, Train Qualified Talent” [Kaizhan shehui diaocha peiyang shiyingxing hege rencai], Advanced Scientific Education, No. 6, 2003, 64–7. “China’s Influence in Central Asia (Part 5): Uighurs Count the Cost of China’s Quest for Stability,” Radio Free Asia.

91 Tibetans Lose Ground in Public Sector Employment in the TAR, Tibet Information Network. For detailed analysis, see Section VI—Tibet.

92 Moreover, these new cadres would not be allowed to serve in their own hometowns, despite a 1993 central government decision specifically exempting minorities from a national ban on local officials being placed in their home locales. “Xinjiang Will Hold Open Civil Service Exams for 700 Civil Servants to Enrich Southern Xinjiang” [ Xinjiang jiang mianxiang shehui zhaokao700 ming gongwuyuan chongshi nanjiang ganbu duiwu], Xinjiang Daily, reprinted on Tianshan Net (Online), 7 April 05; Temporary Regulations on Public Officials [Guojia gongwuyuan zhanxing tiaoli], issued 19 August 93; Wang Lequan, “Those Who Master Minority Language Will Be Exempted From Civil Service Examination,” [Wang Lequan: zhangwo minyu baokaogongwuyuan ke mianshi], Urumqi Evening News, reprinted on Tianshan Net (Online), 25 July 05.

93 “To Establish Scientific Development Views: Xinjiang Urgently Needs to Address the Challenge of Its Talent Loss” [Luoshi kexue fazhanguan Xinjiang jidei huajie rencai liushi kunju],Workers’ Daily, reprinted on Tianshan Net, 1 May 05. The government has created some special programs to encourage minorities with doctoral degrees to conduct their research in autonomous areas. The government has set aside a million yuan each year since 2000, for example, to fund research projects by minority scholars. The applicant pool for these funds is a group of 516 minority scholars sent for one to two years of advanced scientific training outside of Xinjiang between 1992 and 2001. “The Clear Success Over the Last Five Years of The Scientific Research Program for Those in Xinjiang’s Special Training Plan for Minority Technical Talent” [Xinjiang shaoshu minzu keji rencai teshu peiyang jihua keyan xiangmu shishi 5 nianlai chengxiaoxianzhu], Hami Information Outlet Web site, 12 June 05.

94 Official press coverage stressed that the flow of new workers would lead to “mutual prosperity” for both Xinjiang and Gansu. “Jointly Prosper: 4,000 Gansu Households Begin Work in Xinjiang’s Construction and Production Corps,” Gansu Daily, 21 April 05, reprinted on TianshanNet, 22 April 05.

95 Xinjiang is home to 8.2 million Uighurs, who are largely Sunni Muslims of Turkic descent. Several other minorities live in the region, including Tajiks, Kazahks, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, and Mongols. Xinjiang supplies over 35 percent of China’s oil and gas, and borders eight countries.

96 Human Rights Watch, Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, April 2005; Bovingdon, Autonomy in Xinjiang: Han Nationalist Imperatives and Uighur Discontent.

97 He Ruixia, “Political Thought Work In the Course of Strengthening and Improving the Struggle Against Nationality Splittism” [Jiaqiang he gaijin fandui minzu fenliezhuyi douzhengzhong de sixiang zhengshi gongzuo], Seeking Truth, No. 2, 2004, 22–4.

98 Commission Staff Interview. “Press Conference on the 50th Anniversary of the Founding of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region” [Zizhiqu chengli 50 zhounian xinwen fabuhuizhaokai], Tianshan Net (Online), 25 August 05.

99 “In the Midst of Glory and Hope: Key Points in Propaganda for Xinjiang 50th Anniversary”[Xinjiang zai huihuan yu xiwang zhong fengyongqianjin: qingzhu Xinjiang weiwuer zizhiqu chengli 50 nianzhou xuanchuan jiaoyu yaodian], Xinjiang Daily, reprinted on Tianshan Net (Online), 19 May 05; “AFP: Xinjiang Ribao Carries ‘Editorial’ Against Separatism as Uzbek President To Visit,” Agence France-Presse, 25 May 05 (FBIS, 25 May 05).

100 “Xinjiang Has Become the Main Battlefield For China’s Antiterrorism Struggle,” China Youth Daily, 6 September 05 (FBIS, 7 September 05).

101 Human Rights Watch, Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang; Arienne M. Dwyer, The Xinjiang Conflict: Uighur Identity, Language Policy, and Political Discourse (Washington: East-West Center Washington, 2005); Bovingdon, Autonomy in Xinjiang: Han Nationalist Imperatives and Uighur Discontent.

102 “Police Patrolmen in China’s Xinjiang Capital Get Sub-Machine-Guns,” Urumqi News, 1 March 05 (FBIS, 1 March 05).

103 Gardner Bovingdon, “The Not-so-Silent Majority: Uighur Resistance to Han Rule in Xinjiang,” 28 Modern China 39, 39–78 (2002). For similar findings, see Jay Todd Dautcher, “Reading Out-of-Print: Popular Culture and Protest on China’s Western Frontier,” in China Beyond the Headlines, eds. T.B. Weston and L.M. Jensen (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000),273–295; Justin Rudelson, Oasis Identities: Uighur Nationalism Along China’s Silk Road (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997); Joanne Smith, “Four Generations of Uighurs: The Shift towards Ethno-Political Ideologies Among Xinjiang’s Youth,” Vol. 2, No. 2 Inner Asia 195, 195–224 (2000).

104 Michael Dillon, “Uighur Language and Culture Under Threat in Xinjiang.”

105 China’s Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law: Does It Protect Minority Rights?, Staff Roundtable of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, 11 April 05, Testimony of Gardner Bovingdon, Assistant Professor, Department of Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

106 Wang Lequan, “Maintain the Dominant Position of Marxism in Ideological Work and Adhere to the Four Cardinal Principals.”

107 He Ruixia, “Political Thought Work In the Course of Strengthening and Improving the Struggle Against Nationality Splittism,” 23.

108 Linguist Arienne Dwyer dates the beginning of a policy of forced linguistic assimilation to the mid-1980s. Dwyer, The Xinjiang Conflict: Uighur Identity, Language Policy, and Political Discourse.

109 “China Imposes Chinese Language on Uyghur Schools,” Radio Free Asia (Online), 16 March 04. Xinjiang residents previously had the choice of attending minority schools, in which classes were conducted in minority languages, or Chinese schools, where Mandarin was used. Graduates with Mandarin Chinese language skills are more competitive in the job market, and some Uighurs may welcome the opportunity to study the language. The government is demanding a rapid transition to bilingual schools, however, and is placing higher emphasis on Mandarin language use than on local minority language use. Uighurs in exile report that the government has banned Uighur language use in schools and that Uighurs fear “cultural annihilation” through the weakening of their language. Commission Staff Interview with Rebiya Kadeer, 22 August 05.

110 Teacher-student ratios in Xinjiang’s colleges are 1:333 compared to the national average of 1:144, according to an article in the party’s main theoretical journal. While more than 800new teachers are needed to bring Xinjiang’s teacher-student ratio in line with the national average, Xinjiang actually lost more than 530 higher education teachers between 2001–2004. Gu Huayang, “Research on the Current Situation and Policy of Xinjiang’s Educational Development” [Xinjiang jiaoyu fazhan de xianzhuag ji duice yanjiu], Seeking Truth, No.2, 2004, 74–7.

111 Dwyer, The Xinjiang Conflict: Uighur Identity, Language Policy, and Political Discourse, 40.

112 “Wang Lequan Stresses: Firmly Implement the Principle of Politicians Managing Education” [Wang Lequan qiangdiao: jianding luoshi zhengzhijia ban jiaoyu yuanze], Xinjiang Economic News, reprinted on Xinhua (Online), 26 April 05.

113 “Xinjiang Will Hold Open Civil Service Exams for 700 Civil Servants to Enrich Southern Xinjiang,” Xinjiang Daily.

114 “Wang Lequan Stresses: Firmly Implement the Principle of Politicians Managing Education,” Xinjiang Economic News.

115 “How to Handle the Issue of Religion Interfering in Education in Minority Areas with a Majority of Religious Believers” [Zai yixie duoshuren xinjiao de minzu diqu, rehe chuli zongjiao ganyu xuexiao jiaoyu wenti], State Minorities Bookstore Web site.

116 Wang Lequan, “Maintain the Dominant Position of Marxism in Ideological Work and Adhere to the Four Cardinal Principals.”

117 Zhang Jian, “Speech at the All-County 20th Teachers’ Day Award Ceremony” [Zai quanxian qingzhu di ershi ge jiaoshijie ji biaozhang dahuishang de jianghua], Buerjin County (Xinjiang) Communist Party Office Web site, 10 September 04.

118 He Ruixia, “Political Thought Work In the Course of Strengthening and Improving the Struggle Against Nationality Splittism,” 22–4.

119 “Wang Lequan Stresses: Firmly Implement the Principle of Politicians Managing Education,” Xinjiang Economic News.

120 He Ruixia, “Political Thought Work In the Course of Strengthening and Improving the Struggle Against Nationality Splittism,” 22–4.


122 Human Rights Watch, Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, Appendix III.

123 The story tells of a wild pigeon who commits suicide rather than submit to being caged by humans who feed him well, but deny him his freedom. “RFA Publishes First English Translation of Noted Uighur Story,” Radio Free Asia (Online), 29 June 05.

124 Tohti Tunyaz’s doctoral advisor in Japan denies any such publications exist. Tunyaz was arrested for obtaining state secrets, which according to the sentencing record were publicly available library materials he obtained from a state- employed librarian at Xinjiang University. “Honorary Members: Tohti Tunyaz,” Pen American Center Web site.

125 The charges included “inciting to split China, organizing meetings, taking oaths, accepting membership and possessing illegal publications and counterrevolutionary videos for propaganda purposes.” “Bingtuan Supreme Court Affirms Jail Terms for Uighur Youths,” Radio Free Asia (Online), 23 December 03.

126 The names of the other defendants have not been disclosed. Human Rights Watch, Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, 49.

127 Ibid., 6.

128 “Police Raid Forces Uyghur Dissident’s Son Into Hiding,” Radio Free Asia (Online), 16 May 05.

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