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(Image: New York Times. Xi Jinping meeting members of minorities in 2015)

Everyone is Chinese in Xi’s China

Chris Buckley, Vivian Wang and Joy Dong of the New York Times report in their article One Nation Under Xi: How China’s Leader Is Remaking Its Identity how in the name of national unity, Xi and the CCP have embarked on a policy of relentless assimilation of Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians and other non-Chinese people. 

The separate and distinct history and identity of the above communities are being systematically stripped away and Chinese officials are rewriting history and making the claim that the various non-Chinese communities are all one people with “shared heritage dating back over 5,000 years.” 

The authors say “the nationalist impulse behind this campaign is increasingly central to Mr. Xi’s efforts to reshape China, with far-reaching consequences for education, social policy and politics. While appeals to the motherland have long been part of the party’s tool kit, Mr. Xi has taken the imperative to new heights, calling for a unified “community of Chinese nationhood” as a bulwark against threats at home and abroad.”

After decades of passive and token policy of accommodating the linguistic and cultural diversity represented by the non-Chinese that makes up close to nine percent of China’s population, this hard pivot to full assimilation in the name of national unity represents an existential threat to the language, culture and identity of the Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, Hui Muslims and others. 

The article touches on how under Mr. Xi, “the space for local languages shrank and shrank,” how he “has sharply accelerated a drive to instill Chinese language and culture in ethnic minorities,” how he has promoted officials who hold the view that “ethnic minorities’ particularity, traditional culture and right to self-government,” should no longer be given preference and “stronger efforts to integrate minorities” should be supported.

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