China’s Muslim minority banned from using their own language in schools

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Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 04 August 2017| 11 Zhul Qadha 1438

A Muslim-majority group in China have been banned from using its language in schools.

The Uighur population in the restive western Xinjiang province are ethnically distinct from China’s majority Han population.

Recent years have seen bloody clashes in the region, which the Chinese government blames on Islamist militants and separatists. But rights groups say the unrest is more a reaction to repressive policies, and argue that the new measures may end up pushing some Uighurs into extremism.

Although the Chinese government recognises 56 different ethnic minorities – including Uighurs – in the country, they have tried to crack down on expressions of individuality to create a homogenous society under Communism.

In late June, the Education Department in Hotan province (Hetian in Chinese) issued a five-point directive which forbade teaching in the Uighur language in schools.

Schools must “insist on fully popularising the national common language and writing system according to law, and add the education of ethnic language under the bilingual education basic principle”, Radio Free Asia reported.

It said schools must ban the use of Uighur language in “collective activities, public activities and management work of the education system” and “resolutely correct the flawed method of providing Uighur language training to Chinese language teachers”.

When children go back to school in the Autumn, it said that Mandarin “must be resolutely and fully implemented” for the three years of preschool, and then “promoted” from the first years of elementary and middle school “in order to realise the full coverage of the common language and writing system education

Source – Independent