Woeser: “On Changing China’s Ethnic Policy”

ChinaGeeks translates a recent post from Tibetan writer and blogger Woeser in which she discusses imprisoned Uighur academic Ilham Toxti [also spelled Ilham Tohti]:

There have never been more problems with China’s ethnic policies than there are today. If these problems aren’t faced squarely and resolved, in the future there will be even more grave consequences. There was the Tibet incident last year, the Xinjiang incident this year, what will happen next year? As ethnic quarrels gradually become violent racial conflict, [I] believe there’s no one who would dare to slap their chest and say ‘in the future, this won’t become a major reason for the collapse of China.’ Actually, [this] topic has already attracted wide-ranging contemplation and discussion. What’s worth paying attention to is that on this issue, voices inside and outside the system have reached an unprecedented level of agreement; mainstream scholars and dissenters have never agreed this thoroughly before that the problem is coming from China’s [ethnic minority] autonomous regions and admonished the authorities for giving ethnic minorities too much special treatment and strengthening the factors that lead to disloyalty and “split-ism” in the autonomous regions. [Some even say that] when the system of ethnic self government is abolished, China should adopt the American model, and not bother with artificial distinctions between ethnicities.

Ilham Toxti was harshly critical of this idea, saying that getting rid of ethnic minority self-government was a lousy idea that, if pursued, was sure to run counter to its intended goal and lead to even more trouble. [He says] that at present, the issue is that the autonomous region polices haven’t been truly implemented, so that there have been problems in terms of protecting the culture, language, and religious freedoms of ethnic minorities when compared to regular citizens. Since there’s no real system of ethnic self-government in Xinjiang or Tibet right now, where did the problem of eliminating the autonomous self-government system come from?


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