China to favor minority officials
in ethnically-diverse regions
By Zuo Yuanfeng, Hu Longjiang and Cheng Zhuo
In a document released on Monday of December 22, the central government promised to cultivate and appoint more officials from minority groups and ensure they are given “full trust”.
The document — “Opinions on Strengthening and Improving Ethnic Work in New Situations” — gives special attention to the cultivation of intellectuals in ethnically-diverse regions, especial those from minority backgrounds.
The guideline also outlines promoting understanding among different ethnic groups and the cultural identity of the Chinese nation.
“Vigorously foster, audaciously select, fully trust and use officials from ethnically-diverse [backgrounds], and cultivate experienced Han officials in ethnically-diverse regions,” said the guideline by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council.
The document called on ethnic minority officials to master Mandarin Chinese, while urging Han officials, the dominant ethnic group in China, to learn the local dialects of the areas where they work.
Stressing an overall language education in ethnic regions, the guideline laid out policies to help bilingual teachers who can teach students Mandarin while respecting the local tongue.
China officially has 56 ethnic groups speaking more than 80 languages. Ethnic autonomous areas account for 64 percent of the country’s total land territory.
The guideline does not miss the opportunity to talk about the rule of law in ethnic affairs. Regional autonomy law must be implemented; laws and rules concerning ethnic minorities must be revised and improved; issues in ethnic affairs must be addressed within the boundaries of the law. Civil and criminal problems cannot be classified as ethnic issues nor can ordinary conflicts in ethnic areas.
“China is a country built by all ethnic groups of the nation; Chinese culture is made up of the culture of all 56 ethnic groups; Chinese civilization is created by all ethnic groups; and the Chinese nation is a community of all ethnic groups,” said the guideline.
Financial policies, including greater support from banking, securities and insurance sectors, were urged and support was called for ports, infrastructure construction and better connectivity in ethnic regions.
During a conference in September attended by President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, leapfrog development, mixing policy incentives with regions’ natural strengths, was proposed for ethnic regions.
A statement after the conference said different regional policies should be applied to border areas, impoverished regions and ecological preservation areas.