January 27, 2024
Northwest China’s Xinjiang region is the first area to implement a government policy promoting integration among ethnic groups to achieve President Xi Jinping’s goal of establishing a unified national identity, Chinese media reported.
The regulation calls for the creation of mixed housing, themed venues and cultural parks, and sports and cultural activities that highlight characteristics of Chinese culture and promote zhonghua minzu — a single Chinese nationality that transcends ethnic divisions.
The policy has raised concern among China watchers and scholars, who say its goal is to further erase the cultural identity of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples and subsume them into the dominant Han Chinese culture.
The measure, known as the “Regulation for Promoting Interaction, Communication, and Integration Between Ethnic Groups,” went into effect on Jan. 1 in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, a nearly 270,000-square-kilometer multiethnic area that borders Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia, according to a Jan. 16 report by China’s People’s Daily.
A mix of Han Chinese, Kazakhs, Uyghurs, Kyrgyz and other ethnicities live there.
Ili is serving as a test for the policy before the Chinese government rolls it out in other parts of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, experts say.
The policy implemented in the prefecture’s capital Ghulja “aims to dismantle the Uyghur mentality”, serving as a continuation of ethnic genocide and systematically dismantling Uyghur culture, World Uyghur Congress warns.