Posted by: becketfund | December 16, 2008

China: Ethnic Unity to be Taught in Classrooms

BEIJING – The Education Ministry has announced that Chinese children will study “ethnic unity” in the wake of the violent religion-related riots in Tibet and unrest in the north-western Muslim region of Xinjiang leading up to and during the 2008 Olympics, Reuters reported on December 16. According to the Ministry’s release, the new classes will incur 14 hours of the school year to help students “recognize the superiority of our government and Communist Party’s ethnic policies,” and a “basic awareness of the vital nature of ‘encouraging ethnic unity, protecting national unity and opposing ethnic separatism.’” China has 56 officially recognized ethnic groups with the dominant Han Chinese making up over 90 percent of the population. Most minorities either have small populations or have largely been assimilated. There are still areas where widespread resentment among non-Han exists, who fear their culture, religious faith and language are threatened by Beijing’s rule. China’s constitution guarantees religious freedom and equal treatment for all minorities, but both Tibetans and Uighurs regularly complain that their worship is restricted and that they face discrimination in areas such as employment.

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