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Xi outlines ethnic affairs for new era

Updated:Aug 30,2021 11:10 AM China Daily

Community of Chinese nation emphasized to protect national sovereignty, security

China has set out its blueprint on ethnic affairs in the new era-with forging the community of the Chinese nation at the center-in order to promote the equal development and common prosperity of all ethnic groups and safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

Addressing the central conference on ethnic affairs held in Beijing on Friday and Saturday, President Xi Jinping stressed consolidating the sense of community for the Chinese nation and unswervingly taking the correct approaches with Chinese characteristics to handling ethnic affairs.

The conference is the fifth on ethnic affairs since China began its reform and opening-up in 1978, with the last one taking place in 2014. The conference is of great significance for the country's overall development in the new era, observers said. China is a unified multiethnic country and the proper handling of ethnic affairs affects modernization efforts as well as the lasting security and prosperity of the entire country.

In his speech, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said the Party's work on ethnic issues in the new era must be understood from the strategic perspective of national rejuvenation.

Guiding all ethnic groups to jointly strive to build a modern socialist country must be a crucial aspect of the CPC's work on ethnic issues in the new era, Xi noted.

While highlighting the importance of improving the modernization of China's governance system and its capacity on ethnic affairs, Xi called for more resolute efforts to prevent grave risks and hidden dangers in this area.

Ethnic affairs must be governed in accordance with the law, and national sovereignty, security and development interests must be resolutely safeguarded, Xi said.

Ethnic separatism and religious extremism should be eliminated at all times, he said, underlining the need to strengthen international cooperation on anti-terrorism efforts.

Xi also stressed fostering a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, an idea he put forward at the 2014 central conference on ethnic affairs, which was officially written into the Party's Constitution at the 19th CPC National Congress in October 2017.

Xi said that consolidating a sense of community is a critical element of safeguarding the fundamental interests of all ethnic groups.

Only through fostering this notion, and through all ethnic groups jointly safeguarding national security and social stability, can the infiltration and subversiveness of extremist and separatist ideas be resisted and the aspirations of people of all ethnic groups for a better life be fulfilled, Xi said.

Only in doing so can powerful ideological support be provided for the prosperity and enduring stability of the Party and the country, Xi said, urging efforts to forge a community with a shared future for the Chinese nation with a stronger sense of national identity and a deeper bond of attachment among people of all ethnic groups.

Ethnic groups should be guided to always place the interests of the Chinese nation above everything else, with an awareness of serving the Chinese nation as a whole, Xi said. Efforts should also be made to see that the interests of ethnic groups are part of the realization of the overall interests of the Chinese nation, he added.

Neither Han chauvinism nor local ethnic chauvinism is conducive to the development of a community for the Chinese nation, he stressed.

China has 56 ethnic groups. Besides the Han, who make up over 90 percent of China's population, there are 55 ethnic groups in the country, each with their own costumes, festivals and customs. Among the 55 non-Han ethnic groups, 28 have a population smaller than 300,000 each.

Xi has said on various occasions that not a single ethnic group should be left behind, be it in the nation's drive to eliminate absolute poverty, build a moderately prosperous society in all respects or establish a modern socialist country.

The country's latest census, released in May, indicated steady growth in the overall population of ethnic minority groups. China's total population of minority ethnic groups stands at 125.47 million, up by 11.68 million, or 10.26 percent, compared with the last census figure in 2010.

Meanwhile, from 2013 to 2019, GDP and per capita income in both urban and rural areas in the eight provinces and autonomous regions with relatively large populations of ethnic minority groups grew faster than the national average. Poverty among over 30 million of these people was reduced, with the proportion of impoverished people dropping from 20.8 percent to 0.79 percent over the period, said the Ethnic Affairs Commission.

During the conference, Xi also called for promoting the use of spoken and written Chinese, protecting the spoken and written languages of all ethnic groups, and respecting and protecting the learning and use of spoken and written languages of ethnic minorities.

The system of regional ethnic autonomy must be upheld and improved, and the implementation of the CPC Central Committee's policies and decisions, as well as China's laws and regulations, must be guaranteed, he said, adding that the CPC's leadership on ethnic affairs must be upheld.