Beijing does not intend to be overwhelmed on the cultural question in the region of Inner Mongolia. Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Friday (March 5th) to strengthen the use of Mandarin in this vast territory of northern China, which has some 25 million inhabitants, a fifth of whom are Chinese of Mongolian ethnicity. .
Most are proud of their cultural and linguistic proximity to Mongolia, the independent state further north. Since the start of the school year, all schools in the region must teach Chinese from an early age. A new policy at the expense of the Mongolian, which sparked an uproar in September. Quite unusual, large demonstrations had shaken the territory. And many parents had also refused to send their children to school, in protest.
Xi Jinping calls for increased use of Mandarin in Inner Mongolia “Common national language”, and to promote in schools in the region “National educational tools”, according to the official New China news agency.
Similar policies in Tibet and Xinjiang, including
It is thus a question of correcting “False ideas” on culture and nationality, argued the strongman from Beijing to representatives of Inner Mongolia, on the sidelines of the plenary session of the National People’s Congress (PNA).
Similar policies have been put in place in other regions populated by large ethnic groups: notably in Tibet (Tibetans) and Xinjiang (Uighurs), where the authorities seek to contain identity movements.
There are more Mongols in Inner Mongolia, a vast region of grasslands, deserts and forests, than in neighboring Mongolia, and many fear gradual assimilation. The authorities argue that a better command of standard Chinese gives ethnic minorities more opportunities for development, employment and professional mobility in China.