US Congressional Hearing: Growing Constraints on Language and Ethnic Identity in Today’s China

US Congressional Hearing: Growing Constraints on Language and Ethnic Identity in Today’s China

Chinese Communist Party and government officials have engaged in a years-long campaign of “sinicization,” requiring greater conformity with officially sanctioned interpretations of Chinese culture. Under this framework, authorities have promoted a policy of “bilingual education,” which largely replaces instruction in ethnic minority languages with instruction in Mandarin Chinese. Authorities have also sought to dismantle frameworks of regional and local autonomy and replace them with policies aimed at eroding ethnic minorities’ language and identity. At the same time, only a fraction of the languages spoken or signed in China today receive official recognition and support, threatening the ability and rights of unrecognized language communities to use and develop their languages, as promised by the Chinese Constitution.

This hearing will look at the issue of language rights and ethnic identity in China, including through a discussion of government policy toward ethnic minorities, language rights, and educational policy. The hearing will examine recent developments in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and elsewhere in China where authorities have restricted the language and cultural rights of ethnic minority communities.

Hearing will be livestreamed on the CECC YouTube Channel.

Witnesses:

Gerald Roche, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Politics, Media, and Philosophy, La Trobe University; Co-Chair, Global Coalition for Language Rights

Enghebatu Togochog, Director, Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center

Lhadon Tethong, Director, Tibet Action Institute

Abduweli Ayup ,Founder of Uyghur Hjelp, linguist, poet, and former political prisoner

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