Ethnic Initiatives Since the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2012-10-08 15:13
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The Leading Party Group of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission of the People's Republic of China 

The decade since the holding of the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC has witnessed great progress in China’s ethnic initiatives. Over the past ten years, the CPC has adhered to the principle of unity and common prosperity among all ethnic groups. On this basis, it has united and led people of all ethnic groups in a pioneering surge forward, bringing about new economic and social advances among ethnic minority groups and in ethnic minority areas. This has opened up a new chapter in our socialist ethnic relations, which are characterized by equality, solidarity, mutual assistance, and harmony. During the course of these efforts, we have not only made significant advances on the theoretical side of our ethnic initiatives, but also accumulated a wealth of valuable experience in practice.

I. The CPC has reviewed its ethnic theories and policies, found the answers to the most fundamental questions concerning ethnic initiatives at the present, and further promoted the development of socialist ethnic theories with Chinese characteristics

Following the Sixteenth National Party Congress, the CPC Central Committee, with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, has drawn on its profound insight into the contemporary features of China’s development and the laws that govern ethnic initiatives, and accurately summarized the ethnic theories and policies of the Party in 12 points. These 12 points contain a detailed exposition on the basic features of our nation and the laws that govern its development; the basic connotations of ethnic issues and the fundamental means for the resolution of ethnic issues in China; and the basic principles of the CPC’s ethnic policies. Moreover, they have given us the answers to the most fundamental questions concerning ethnic initiatives in contemporary China, namely: What are ethnic issues? How should we resolve current ethnic issues? This represents the latest achievement in the effort to adapt Marxist theories on ethnicity to China’s conditions, signaling that the CPC’s understanding of contemporary ethnic issues as well as the laws governing the development of ethnic initiatives has reached a new high.

Over the past ten years, the CPC has deployed the ethnic theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics to equip its Party members and guide its initiatives on the ethnic front. These efforts have been met with great success. The CPC has continued to approach the study and handling of ethnic issues from an overall strategic perspective. On this basis, it has placed the resolution of ethnic issues and ethnic initiatives in the wider historical context of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, and achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The Party has approached and planned its ethnic work in this wider context. Through these efforts, ethnic initiatives have become more proactive, more forward-looking, more systematic, and more creative. The CPC has identified ethnic policies and ethnic solidarity as constant themes in the moral education of citizens and in the development of a socialist ethical culture. These educational campaigns are targeted towards both the general public and cadres, so as to ensure that all members of society show greater initiative and resolve in implementing ethnic policies and maintaining ethnic solidarity. The Party has taken development as the top priority and ethnic solidarity as the prime obligation. It has adhered to the fundamental system of regional ethnic autonomy, and attached great importance to the development of cadres from ethnic minority groups. By bringing the enthusiasm of all sectors of society into full play, it has succeeded in focusing a huge level of support behind ethnic initiatives.

Selected as one of the events for the Fourth National Ethnic Arts Festival by the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the song and dance performance “Grand Beauty of Xinjiang” was staged at Beijing’s Baoli Theater on June 30, 2012. Grand Beauty of Xinjiang consists of two story elements: the development of the Uygur Twelve Muqam, and the story of Alimjan Halik, who received the 2011 Touching China award. Bringing together song, dance, music, multimedia images, and theatrical performances, “Grand Beauty of Xinjiang” demonstrates the rich diversity of ethnic arts in Xinjiang as well as the thriving development, ethnic solidarity, and harmony that the autonomous region is now enjoying. / Xinhua

II. The CPC has advanced a theme for ethnic initiatives in a new century and a new phase, approached ethnic work from an overall strategic perspective, and further defined the targets and orientation of ethnic work in the new period

Hu Jintao has clearly pointed out that the theme of the Party’s ethnic initiatives in the new phase must be to promote unity and common prosperity among all ethnic groups.

Since the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC, the Party’s initiatives in regard to ethnic issues have continued to revolve around the core theme of promoting unity and common prosperity among all ethnic groups. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council made a series of important decisions at the first central conference on ethnic initiatives to be held in the new century. During the conference, overall plans were set out to strengthen ethnic initiatives under the current situation and promote economic and social development among ethnic minority groups and in ethnic minority areas. Since then, the central government has successively convened the Fifth Forum on Work in Tibet, the Forum on Work in Xinjiang, and the Work Meeting on the Large-Scale Development of the Western Region, during which targets, tasks, and requirements were set forth for achieving leap-frog development and long-term stability in China’s western ethnic minority regions, especially Tibet and Xinjiang. The government has also held two more national conferences to commend people for outstanding contributions to ethnic solidarity and progress, aiming to encourage ordinary people and cadres from all ethnic groups to work with one heart and one mind in the effort to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. These major efforts have helped us to identify where our ethnic initiatives stand in the drive to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. They have promoted constant advances in the cause of ethnic solidarity and progress.

III. The CPC has identified development as the key to resolving ethnic issues, formulated a sound framework of policies, and promoted sound and rapid development among ethnic minority groups and in ethnic minority areas

Hu Jintao has clearly stated that accelerating economic and social development in ethnic minority regions is the major task of ethnic initiatives at the present and the fundamental means of resolving ethnic issues in China. This statement constitutes an extremely important guideline for narrowing the developmental gap between different regions, promoting the balanced development of different regions, achieving the common prosperity of all ethnic groups, strengthening ethnic solidarity, consolidating border defense, and safeguarding the unity of the country.

Taking into consideration the realities in ethnic minority regions, the Party and the government have adopted a series of major polices for the development of ethnic minority areas since the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC. These policies revolve around the principles of assistance from the state, support from developed areas, and independent efforts by ethnic minority areas themselves. In addition to major policies with a bearing on overall initiatives, the Party has also formulated dedicated plans that take local circumstances into account and dedicated policy measures aimed at special groups and specific regions. These preferential policies have helped to bring about sweeping changes to the economic strength, the infrastructure, and the appearance of urban and rural areas in ethnic minority regions. The fastest developing provinces over the past decade have almost all been found in China’s western regions and ethnic minority regions. Of these provinces, Inner Mongolia has maintained the highest rate of economic growth nationally for 9 consecutive years. Tibet was one of the very first places in China to establish a relatively sound social safety net covering both urban and rural areas. In doing so, it was ten years ahead of the rest of the country. Over the past decade, ethnic minority regions have received greater support and achieved faster development than ever before, while the people in these areas have enjoyed unprecedented tangible benefits and improvements in the quality of life. Feeling the warmth of the motherland, the people of all ethnic groups have enjoyed the fruits of China’s reform, opening up, and modernization, and this has laid down stronger material foundations for the great solidarity of all ethnic groups in China.

IV. The CPC has summarized the basic features of ethnic relations in China, carried out campaigns to promote ethnic solidarity and progression, commended organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions in this regard, and worked to create a social atmosphere in which people cherish and uphold the solidarity of all ethnic groups

The top priority of our ethnic initiatives is to develop sound ethnic relations and maintain the solidarity of all ethnic groups. Hu Jintao has pointed out that China’s socialist ethnic relations are characterized by equality, solidarity, mutual assistance, and harmony. He has also emphasized the importance of mutual respect, mutual learning, mutual cooperation, and mutual help between people of different ethnic groups in the consolidation and promotion of the great solidarity of all ethnic groups in China. The CPC Central Committee has pointed out that the great solidarity of all ethnic groups is the lifeline of the Chinese nation, the source of our strength, and the foundation of our hope. It has emphasized the importance of public involvement in the effort to promote ethnic solidarity and progress in accordance with the spirit of the times and the realities in China. On this basis, it has sought to enhance the appeal, the affinity, and the influence of this cause, so as to lay down solid ideological foundations and rally popular support for the solidarity of all ethnic groups. These important statements demonstrate the Party’s profound new insight into the essential nature of ethnic relations and ethnic solidarity as well as the rules that govern their development.

In an effort to further consolidate and develop China’s socialist ethnic relations under the new situation, the CPC has held high the banner of ethnic solidarity, worked to inform and educate the public on the importance of unity and progress for all ethnic groups, and commended organizations and individuals that have excelled in this regard. The CPC Central Committee and related departments have adopted a series of new measures to raise awareness of the theories, policies, rules, and regulations of the Party and the government on ethnic issues and promote greater understanding of ethnic groups. Stern action has also been taken to rectify illegal acts that infringe on the rights and interests of ethnic minorities, so as to eliminate potential threats to ethnic solidarity and relations. Numerous vanguard figures and progressive role models for ethnic solidarity have emerged from various sectors of society. These people have played a guiding role, helping to raise social awareness that the Han needs the minorities, the minorities need the Han, and the minorities need each other.

V. The CPC has introduced a set of requirements for the resolution of ethnic issues, which have been effective in maintaining social stability and national unity

Social stability is the basis for the well-being of all ethnic groups, while national unity is the highest interest of all ethnic groups in China. Therefore, maintaining social stability and national unity is both the historic mission and the major duty of our ethnic initiatives. Following the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC, the Party, drawing on the experiences and lessons of the past, has clearly required that cadres and members of the public from all ethnic groups should be more able to identify with the motherland, the Chinese nation, Chinese culture, and socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is conducive to pooling the wisdom and strength of people of all ethnic groups, and bringing them together in a common struggle for the prosperity, unity, and security of China. In addition, cadres and members of the public from all ethnic groups are also required to be more able to uphold social stability, the socialist legal system, the fundamental interests of the people, national unity, and ethnic solidarity. These guidelines have not only identified new roles and demands for our ethnic initiatives under the new situation, but also act as a criterion for the handling of ethnic issues and disputes.

The CPC has always attached great importance to issues that have a negative bearing on ethnic unity. The resolution of these issues should be approached on the basis of principles, laws, policies, and strategies. At the same time, we should strictly distinguish between the natures of different contradictions, and take prudent and proper measures to handle them in accordance with the principle of maintaining ethnic solidarity. Respective issues must be viewed specifically in their own contexts and handled in accordance with the circumstances involved. General civil disputes and criminal cases involving members of ethnic minority groups should not be categorized as ethnic issues. We should trust and rely on the majority of cadres and ordinary people, exert the role of influential figures from minorities and religious groups, and use education, guidance, and resolution of contradictions as the means of resolving ethnic issues, thereby avoiding the escalation of issues and conflicts. All violations of the law must be handled in accordance with the law, regardless of the ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs of the persons involved. The CPC has made painstaking efforts to introduce major policies that are conducive to the long-term peace and stability of Tibetan ethnic areas and Xinjiang. At the same time, it has taken the proper steps to address occurrences that threaten to undermine ethnic solidarity, thereby ensuring social harmony and stability and national unity and security.

VI. The CPC has developed a major thesis concerning the system of regional ethnic autonomy, ensured the practice of autonomous governance in ethnic autonomous localities in accordance with the law, and made great progress in the effort to uphold and improve the system of regional ethnic autonomy

Regional ethnic autonomy is the fundamental policy of the CPC for the resolution of ethnic issues. As a basic political system conforming to conditions in China, regional ethnic autonomy is essential for the development of socialist democracy and socialist political civilization. Hu Jintao stated that “Regional ethnic autonomy is a basic experience of the CPC that cannot be questioned; a fundamental political system of China that cannot be shaken; and an important strength of China’s socialism that cannot be weakened.” The report to the Seventeenth National Congress of the CPC stated that we must “guarantee the right of ethnic autonomous areas to exercise autonomy pursuant to law.” These statements bear testament to the role that the system of regional ethnic autonomy plays in the overall initiatives of the Party and the government. They have demonstrated the strong resolution of the CPC in adhering to and improving the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and represent the direction and the requirements that we must work towards in order to improve it.

Since the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC, the Party and the government have engaged in an ongoing initiative to strengthen legislation concerning ethnic minorities. These efforts have served to improve the system of regional ethnic autonomy. Efforts made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress to evaluate the enforcement of the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy have provided a strong impetus for the implementation of ethnic laws and regulations. The State Council has formulated Several Measures Regarding the Implementation of the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, which is the first set of supporting administrative regulations for this legislation. As of the present, the governments of ethnic autonomous localities have passed nearly 700 autonomy statutes, specific regulations, and amendments and supplementary provisions for existing laws and regulations. These regulations have further improved China’s framework of ethnic laws and regulations, providing an important basis for the practice of autonomous governance in accordance with the law in ethnic autonomous localities. Over the past decade, China’s five ethnic autonomous regions have respectively celebrated the passing of another decade since their establishment. The coming of these celebrations in close succession has demonstrated the superiority and the vitality of our system of regional ethnic autonomy. The major measures that have been taken represent a significant step forward in the effort to uphold and improve the system of regional ethnic autonomy.

VII. The CPC has expounded on the important standing and role of minority cultures, developed cultural undertakings for minorities, and promoted the development of a common cultural identity for the Chinese nation

The culture of ethnic minorities represents an important part of Chinese culture. As such, the development of cultural programs for minorities is vital to the development of China’s socialist culture. The CPC has expounded on the important position and role of minority cultures, stating the need to promote the prosperity and development of minority cultures and accelerate the development of culture among ethnic minorities and in ethnic minority areas. This is an essential requirement not only for the implementation of the Scientific Outlook on Development and the sound and rapid development of ethnic minority areas, but also for guaranteeing the basic cultural rights and interests of minorities and satisfying the cultural demands of ethnic minority groups. At the same time, this is not only an essential requirement for developing the fine cultural traditions of the Chinese nation, making Chinese culture more dynamic, and promoting the thriving development of socialist culture, but also for preventing the penetration of foreign cultures, safeguarding the country’s cultural security, and promoting ethnic solidarity and social harmony.

Since the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC, our efforts in regard to the development of minority cultures have led to major achievements in three aspects. First, new life and vitality has been injected into the fine cultural traditions of our ethnic minorities, and large numbers of cultural and literary talent, high-quality films, and song and dance performances have emerged from ethnic minority areas. Second, the basic cultural rights and interests of minorities have been safeguarded, government-organized cultural schemes for public benefit have been pushed forward, and cultural services for the public in ethnic minority areas have been constantly improved, thereby enriching and improving the cultural lives of people from all ethnic minority groups. Third, great progress has been made in the development of a common cultural identity for the Chinese nation. As an inseparable part of Chinese culture, minority cultures are playing an increasingly important role in consolidating and expanding the stronghold of advanced socialist culture, safeguarding cultural security and national interests, and enhancing the cohesion and creativity of the Chinese nation.

VIII. The CPC has stressed that bolstering the ranks of cadres from minority backgrounds must be approached as a matter of fundamental importance and far-reaching significance, and has also stepped up the development of personnel in ethnic minority areas, so as to support ethnic initiatives with a solid foundation in regard to organization and personnel

The CPC has always made great efforts to train and select cadres and other personnel from ethnic minority groups, viewing this as an important task for strengthening and maintaining ethnic solidarity. Hu Jintao has stated that bolstering the ranks of cadres from minority backgrounds must be approached as a matter of fundamental importance and far-reaching significance. Therefore, we should make a sustained effort to formulate detailed plans, define clear targets and tasks, improve policies and mechanisms, and organize their implementation. He has also pointed out that the development of personnel in ethnic minority areas is a strategic task. As such, we should formulate and implement specific schemes for the fostering of personnel in ethnic minority areas, establish and improve working mechanisms for the management of personnel, and strive to foster the various kinds of talent required to underpin the modernization of ethnic minority areas. With regard to cadres from ethnic minority groups, the Party has pointed out that we should devote major efforts to their training, be courageous enough to select the right people, be willing to give them our full trust, and be prepared to give them a free hand in their work.

Over the past decade, governments and departments at all levels have carefully implemented the policies of the central government and taken more effective steps to give greater emphasis to initiatives concerning cadres and personnel from ethnic minority groups. We now have more than 2.9 million cadres from ethnic minority groups, and the overall competence and composition of these cadres have been constantly improved. This large contingent of cadres from ethnic minority groups, who are as virtuous as they are talented, is assuming a greater level of responsibility in a wide range of initiatives and on a wide range of fronts. They have made a major contribution to ethnic solidarity and reform, development, and stability in ethnic minority areas.

IX. The CPC has identified the resolution of ethnic issues as an important criterion for judging the ability of the Party to govern and the capacity of Party organizations to lead. On this basis, it has strengthened the leadership of the CPC over ethnic initiatives and enhanced the Party’s ability to handle ethnic issues under the new situation

Strengthening the Party’s ability to lead ethnic initiatives is fundamental to the promotion of ethnic solidarity and progress. Hu Jintao stated that “an important criterion for judging the ability of the CPC to govern and the capacity of Party organizations to lead is whether or not they can correctly handle ethnic issues and perform well in ethnic initiatives.” The need to enhance the capacities of leading bodies and leading cadres in the promotion of ethnic and religious initiatives under new circumstances was clearly stated at the Fourth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth Party Central Committee.

Since the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC, the Party has further strengthened its leadership over ethnic initiatives and enhanced its ability to handle ethnic issues under new situation. Notable progress has been made in three aspects. First, institutions and mechanisms have been improved. The number of member institutions of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission has been increased to 24. In addition, the system concerning institutional members has been further standardized, which has allowed the commission to give full play to its advantages. Local governments have strengthened working mechanisms for ethnic initiatives in accordance with their own circumstances. On this basis, we have been able to develop a framework for our ethnic initiatives in which Party committees play a leading role and various departments, each with their own duties, act together in close coordination. Second, the regional layout of our ethnic initiatives has become more favorable. In addition to emphasizing ethnic work in western ethnic minority regions, we have stepped up efforts to carry out work in cities and in central and eastern regions where minority groups are scattered. Third, our ethnic initiatives have become increasingly diverse. Our ethnic initiatives have been constantly expanded to cover development and solidarity, economy and culture, and the development of the legal system and supervision and investigation. In addition, an increasingly wide range of methods have been adopted. As a result, our ethnic work is now being carried out in all respects, on multiple levels, and across a wide range of domains.


(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.11, 2012)

  

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