Everything old is new again – Inner Mongolia
If you’ve gotten tired of depressing news from Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong, there is a new oppression to watch in Inner Mongolia. As in the other provinces comprising mostly non-Han people, the new policy requires forced language change and erasing of traditional culture.
It’s a new oppression with an old mode of operation, same as used in the other provinces – forced acculturation, sterilizations, threats to school kids and old people and everyone else, threats of loss of job for parents whose kids don’t conform, disappearances and torture and jail sentences for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” the usual charge against dissidents, lawyers, writers, journalists, and activists of any stripe who fail to meet CCP standards of obeisance.
Also included are the standard threats, disappearances, and roughing up for foreign journalists reporting on local events. Alice Su, Beijing Bureau Chief for the LA Times, is the latest victim, presumably while researching her article in the Times China cracks down on Inner Mongolian minority fighting for its mother tongue.
It is remarkable how well CCP follows prescriptions outlined in 1984 and Animal Farm. Double-think is a prerequisite. An example - we know from the Chinese Constitution that all nationalities are equal …
Article 4. All nationalities in the People's Republic of China are equal. The state protects the lawful rights and interests of the minority nationalities and upholds and develops the relationship of equality, unity and mutual assistance among all of China's nationalities. Discrimination against and oppression of any nationality are prohibited; any acts that undermine the unity of the nationalities or instigate their secession are prohibited. The state helps the areas inhabited by minority nationalities speed up their economic and cultural development in accordance with the peculiarities and needs of the different minority nationalities. Regional autonomy is practised in areas where people of minority nationalities live in compact communities; in these areas organs of self- government are established for the exercise of the right of autonomy. All the national autonomous areas are inalienable parts of the People's Republic of China. The people of all nationalities have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages, and to preserve or reform their own ways and customs.
… but quite clearly, some nationalities are more equal than others.
From Alice Su’s article –
“All ethnic groups must embrace tightly like the seeds of a pomegranate,” read a slogan from Chinese President Xi Jinping printed in Mandarin on the wall.
So we are in the realm of doublethink already, if Mongolians are being forced to abandon their language and culture. But the Constitution always has an out – read article 4 above, again, and note - . The state helps the areas inhabited by minority nationalities speed up their economic and cultural development in accordance with the peculiarities and needs of the different minority nationalities. Sort of in the same realm as, “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.”
Alice Su, again -
Bao said her grandson had to come back to class because his parents’ workplaces threatened to fire them otherwise. “We had no choice,” she said. “We want our grandson to go to school, of course, but not to forget his mother tongue.”
“It’s too outrageous,” her husband added. “What century are we living in? They’ve snatched away our rights.”
Now you might think promotion of “rights” in China is a western concept that would make one subject to arrest. But remember these sections from the Constitution –
Article 35. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.
Article 36. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. The state protects normal religious activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state. Religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination.
Article 37. The freedom of person of citizens of the People's Republic of China is inviolable.
The people of Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia have equal rights with other Chinese. Its just that ... well, you know. Animal Farm.
Bill Bishop at Sinocism has more. Before we get too high-hat about this, the US has its own terrible history with racial and ethnic minorities. But when Chinese media and foreign representatives go on about conditions in the US, remember that most of the time the American government has worked to protect rights of minorities. The Chinese government works to define their rights away. Too often, we forget that with rights come responsibilities. In China, the responsibilities include those of obeying CCP.