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Published on : 3 September, 2020 8:26 am

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Ethnic Inner Mongolians protest Chinese language policy:

Protests have continued for a week in Inner Mongolia.


In 2017, the ruling Communist Party created a committee to overhaul textbooks for the entire country. Revised textbooks have been pushed out over the last few years. The new policy for Inner Mongolia affects schools where Mongolian is been the principal language of instruction.


Literature classes for elementary and middle school students at the Mongolian-language schools will be switched to a national textbook and Chinese Mandarin will be taught. And in the following year the politics and morality course will also switch to Mandarin, as will history classes starting in 2022. Remaining classes, such as math, will not change their language of instruction.Students will also start learning Mandarin in first grade. Previously, they started in second grade.


The move follows similar ones in other ethnic areas. In Tibet and Xinjiang, the primary language of instruction in such schools has become Mandarin, and the minority language is a language class.


The education bureau in Inner Mongolia has not responded to the current situation till now. China has been changing education under a new model of assimilation into the Han majority culture that leaves behind Soviet-inspired policies of promoting minority language education.


The Chinese President Xi has said that if people don’t speak the same language, it is difficult to communicate and achieve understanding.
“The ethnic minority schools, if they study well the language of communication in the country, it will be of great benefit to them in employment, in learning modern scientific and cultural knowledge and allow them to integrate into society,” he said at a Central Ethnic Work conference in 2014. His words were quoted in the most recent policy document.


But for ethnic Mongolians, the new directive is creating fear that they will lose their mother tongue.In the city of Tongliao, parents decided to take their children home from a boarding school on Monday. Many parents only found out about the policy after they had dropped off their children at school.But authorities backed by police also have been refusing to let parents take back their children according to sources. There were multiple clashes as parents and others rushed at the police, trying to get into the school.
Now the Mongolian-medium schools sit quiet in Tongliao while the local Communist Party leaders have been visiting each family to try to get the students to return.

What are Mongols doing on this decision of the government?

They are PROTESTING.
Ethnic Mongolians, including students and parents, in China’s autonomous province Inner Mongolia are demonstrating their rage in public protests against a new bilingual education policy that they claim is endangering the Mongolian language. According to the protestors although the bilingual education policy doesn’t directly affect now, this will have a greater negative impact in the future. The policy, announced on Monday ahead of the start of the new school year, requires schools to use new national textbooks in Chinese, replacing Mongolian-language textbooks. Many parents have decided to continue to keep their kids at home, until Mongolian language is brought back to classes.


Thousands of Mongols have taken to the streets to protest against this policy. This Protest has been going on for the last one week. People say that they have only their own language left in the name of culture. If it is finished, there will be no trace of Mongolian identity. Women, children, youth, elderly are all included in this protest. Those whose children have completed their education are also participating.

According to Radio Free Asia, on August 30, during the Protest, a school child jumped from the fourth floor of the school and died. This is because the police took his mother into custody. In many places there is news of children being locked inside the school. In many places, police have used sticks on protesters. Dozens of people have also been arrested.


Ethnic Mongolians, including students and parents, in China’s autonomous province Inner Mongolia are demonstrating their rage in public protests against a new bilingual education policy that they claim is endangering the Mongolian language. According to the protestors although the bilingual education policy doesn’t directly affect now, this will have a greater negative impact in the future. The policy, announced on Monday ahead of the start of the new school year, requires schools to use new national textbooks in Chinese, replacing Mongolian-language textbooks. Many parents have decided to continue to keep their kids at home, until Mongolian language is brought back to classes.
The only social media site in Mongolian language has been closed

The more the demonstrations are increasing, the fiercer the government is. Mongolian language books have been removed from local bookstores. Mongolian-language accounts are also being closed on social media. A social media account named Bainu has also been closed. It was the only social media site in Mongolian language in China.

Despite this strictness of China, Mongol population is not ready to calm down. The Mongols are so serious about this protest that the Mongol community policemen are refusing to run sticks on the Protesters of their own community. Mongol government officials have also disobeyed the government’s decision not to participate in the Protest. According to the news, there has not been such a big display here in the last decade.

It is good to learn a new language. Knowing many languages is a blessing. But this does not mean that the language of their forefathers is forcibly passed from the people. There are about seven thousand languages left in the world. One-third of these languages are such that less than a thousand people are left speaking. According to the UNESCO Atlas of the World Languages, a language is ending every two weeks. The last person to speak him is dying.
By the next century, 50 to 90 percent of languages will disappear like this. Think, with these languages, how much knowledge, experience of how many generations will also be lost from the world.

The reason for the protests against China in Inner Mongolia?

Nelson Mandela once said a lovely line. He had said that if you talk to a person in such a language that he understands, then the matter will reach his mind. But if you talk to him in his language, then it will go straight to his heart.


Every person has their own natural language. He has a habit of thinking, feeling the language with which the knowledge of his forefathers, his heritage is associated. What if a government snatches its own language from the people? If this happens, it is very possible that people will revolt. Something similar is happening in our neighboring country of China. Thousands of people have taken to the streets in one area there and in the area where this is happening, the Chinese government has been oppressing a lot. More than one lakh people were killed there in the name of cultural revolution. Hundreds of Buddhist temples were demolished. What is the matter, we are going to explain in detail:

Chinese cultural revolution

The story begins with a secret court proceeding held behind closed doors a year ago. This is the matter of April 4, 2019. This day a court case was started against a man from China. The name of this person was LamajabBorjigin. The 75-year-old is a historian. In 2006, he wrote a book – China’s Cultural Revolution. There was something written in this book that no Chinese publisher agreed to print it.LamajabBorjigin had to publish this book secretly through his own resources.

When the Chinese government found out about this, the book was banned and it was ordered that all copies of the book was to be ceased. But only 836 copies out of 2000 were ceased and the remaining 1164 copies were never recovered even though the government tried its level best.


The fierce Chinese government filed a false case against him with allegation of carrying out separatist activities and endangering national unity. They were put under house arrest. The trial for this case lasted in the court for three hours only inside closed doors and LamajabBorjigin was proved guilty and later put on house arrest.And thus, he was in a state where he could not speak, meet anyone or publish anything.

LamzabBorjigin, who wrote the book China Cultural Revolution. (Photo: pen.org)

What was it that Lamajab wrote that made the Chinese government so shocked ?

Actually, Lamzab had written the history of a massacre by the Chinese government. Lamjab worked hard for 20 years roaming from place to place, to record the details of those who suffered that oppression. Then he put it in front of the world.

Which history did Lamzab write?

He wrote the history of cultural oppression by China in inner Mongolia. Around one lakh people were killed in this campaign which started in the 70s. Nearly three and a half million people were arrested and tortured. All this only for one reason – to transform the ethnic Mongolians of inner Mongolia into Chinese and destroy their ethnic culture and identity .

What is Inner Mongolia?

Inner Mongolia is an autonomous province of China. (Google Maps)

There are five autonomous provinces in China. One of them is Inner Mongolia. On the map, Inner Mongolia is in the northern direction of China. Adjacent to this is Mongolia, which is a separate country. It is also called outer Mongolia in many places. Do you remember an archery photo of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi? This is a photo of May 2015, when the Indian PM visited Mongolia.

(PM Modi in Mongolia, during his visit to China in 2015, Photo: PIB)


Inner and Outer Mongolia used to be part of Greater Mongolia. It was here that Genghis Khan laid the foundation of the Mongol Empire. His grandson Kublai Khan laid the foundation of Yuan dynasty and spread his empire to China. The Yuan dynasty collapsed in 1368. After this came the first Ming and then the Ching Empire in China. The Ching Empire merged Mongolia into China. The Ching rulers divided Mongolia into Outer and Inner units in view of administrative convenience.

Genghis Khan laid the foundation of the Mongol Empire in Mongolia. (AFP)

China changed the mathematics of the settlement of Inner Mongolia

The Ching Empire came to an end in 1911. There was a successful revolution in China against the Ching Empire the same year. The monarchy ended and China became the Republic of China. Now in Mongolia, the feeling of independence got stronger. Russia helped Mongolia in this. Mongolia became independent in 1924 with the support of Russia. But the whole Mongolia did not get this freedom. Only Outer Mongolia, bordering Russia, became an independent country. China managed to keep Inner Mongolia adjacent to the Chinese territory.

Inner Mongolia is 12 percent of the total land area of China. But only 2% of Chinese people live here. Mongolians are native to Inner Mongolia, as the name suggests. But China started changing the mathematics of settlements here from 1911. The majority of Chinese Han began to be settled and by the time of the communist revolution of 1949, Mongols became a minority in Inner Mongolia.

In later decades, China continued to impose its culture on the people here. This attempt to end Mongolian culture became the most brutal in the 70s when Mao launched the Cultural Revolution in China in 1966. Do not go in the name of this campaign. There was nothing like revolution in it. This Cultural Revolution was a horrific massacre at the hands of China’s communist power. According to estimates, about four and a half million people died in it.

Mao Tse-Tung (Photo: AFP)

What happened to Inner Mongolia in this campaign?

China feared that the separatists here might try to get free from Soviet help. In such a situation, China has trampled this spirit of separatism in the name of Cultural Revolution. More than one lakh people died here. Local Mongol leaders were selectively murdered. Whichever human could unite the local population. Could have influenced them. Every person was targeted.

Did cultural repression stop in Inner Mongolia after this?
The answer is no. Like the Buddhists of Tibet and the Uigars of Xinjiang have been harassed. The same has happened with the Mongol population of Inner Mongolia. Their problem is that they did not find any leader like Dalai Lama. Such a leader, through which his suffering can be highlighted before the world.

What kind of trouble?

The problem of being pushed beyond the margins. Their lands were taken away from the Mongols here. Their pastures for mining were destroyed. Mandarin was loaded on them. Most of the Mongols were Buddhists. Their religion was forcibly taken away from them. Their temples and monasteries were destroyed. His ancient literature was burnt. Today, the total population of Inner Mongolia is around two and a half million. In this less than 20% people are ethnic Mongols. People of these count also do not get opportunities. From government jobs to mining and other industries too, the majority is the Han.

Now you will ask that this has been going on for a long time. Then why are we telling you all this today?

That is why we are saying that there is a big news from Inner Mongolia. The Chinese government has taken a decision to crush the remaining identity of the Mongols. Under this, Mongolian language is being phased out in schools in Inner Mongolia. There, teachers of primary and middle schools will not teach children in Mongolian language. They will use the Mandarin language instead.

You would say, what is the big deal in this? It is a big deal. Primary and middle school, is the child’s early years. In this, the child will be used to think in Mandarin language. Mongolian is used at home. But because all the studies are in the mandarin, his understanding of things to see and understand will become accustomed to the mandarin. That is, the coming Mongolian generations including these school children will forget to keep their native language in everyday life.

The same is happening with all the minority indigenous people of China. Their methods are considered useless and uprooted like weeds.

Reference:

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/students-in-inner-mongolia-protest-chinese-language-policy/2020/09/02/8e67e362-ed0d-11ea-bd08-1b10132b458f_story.html?fbclid=IwAR2MWVAWXJZWNp3w8RN-NUspz01aIBC5dCl-yN2eLYf5VNi8SKzBPnuho30
  2. https://www.thelallantop.com/bherant/why-are-people-protesting-against-china-in-inner-mongolia/?fbclid=IwAR3oIlhYXLAe7fm7Jhb31cbs20eJom6sD_BhiE3eYa0FgJcZZeZmouAMQyI
  3. https://www.dw.com/en/dissidents-remain-unheard-in-inner-mongolia/a-16410162

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