First Xinjiang, now Tibet passes rules to promote ‘ethnic unity’

Echo Xie

Regulations to “strengthen ethnic unity” will take effect in Tibet in May, four years after similar rules were introduced in Xinjiang, according to Chinese state media.

Officials in Xinjiang have occasionally cited similar regulations as justification for crackdowns on the region’s ethnic Uygur community.

Tibet’s people’s congress, the autonomous region’s legislature, endorsed the rules on Saturday to take effect from May 1, the official Tibet Daily reported on Sunday.

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The report did not release the full text of the regulations, saying only that they contained “dos and don’ts” for the local governments and society to promote ethnic unity.

Other neighbouring provinces, including Yunnan and Qinghai, approved similar regulations last year.

According to Tibet Daily, the regulation requires all levels of government, companies, community organisations, villages, schools, military groups and religious activity centres be responsible for work on ethnic unity.

A facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China's Xinjiang region. People in touch with state employees in China say the government in the far west region of Xinjiang is destroying documents and taking other steps to tighten control on information. Photo: AP

They should support efforts to develop local trade, tourism and handicraft industries and build local brands, the report said.

All types of companies are also encouraged “to integrate ethnic unity into the companies’ management and culture, recruiting employees from all ethnic groups”.

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Under the regulations, September is designated a month for activities to promote ethnic unity in the region.

Addressing a national conference on Tibet in August 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping said officials must focus on maintaining the unity of the nation and strengthening ethnic unity to promote the “sustainable, long-term and comprehensive stability of the society”.

Lin Qingzhi, deputy secretary general of the standing committee of Tibet legislature, said the regulations were designed to “unify the sense of community of the Chinese nation”, official news site Tibet.cn reported.

Tibet.cn also quoted an unnamed official overseeing the legislature as saying that “Tibet has entered a new era of long-term development with peace and stability. These regulations are to consolidate the practices and achievements in building harmonious ethnic relationships and to establish a model for all of the people and industries in Tibet.”

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