Sun, Mar 17, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Show of harmony masks tensions in China

AFP, BEIJING

“Most of these delegates are the people who think about their own personal interests,” she told reporters in an e-mail relayed by the WUC. “They don’t care about their people and their suffering.”

Several hope to do good, she added, but find the “bitter reality” is that they cannot speak out in Beijing. Giving them the opportunity to do so, she added, “could have eased the tensions and helped to foster integration in China.”

Reza Hasmath, lecturer in Chinese politics at Oxford University, said there was strong pressure for minority ethnic groups to conform with the authorities.

“This is mainly due to the fact that minorities who cast their lot with the establishment can access Han social networks, which provides greater opportunities to higher status, and better paying jobs,” he said by e-mail.

However, Beijing’s policies can prove counterproductive, Hasmath said. Chinese authorities have slowly phased out the use of the Uighur language in most Xinjiang schools and universities, he noted, leaving Mandarin Chinese the main mode of instruction.

While the intent was to promote amalgamation, “at the same time, it creates greater ethnic tension,” he said.

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