Monthly Archives: November 2010

A Visit to Tongxin Middle School

In a recent article published by Phoenix New Media, reporter Qi Rui describes a visit to Tongxin Middle School, a school comprised of Uyghur, Kyrgyz, Kazakh and Hui students located in an impoverished area of East Turkestan’s Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture. Qi’s visit is part of an exploration into the importance of promoting “bilingual education” and reducing poverty in the western-most sliver of Chinese territory. While the reduction of poverty is a praiseworthy endeavor, the tone of the article displays the patronizing approach that typifies official Chinese attitudes towards ethnic minorities who, in their view, should be grateful for the development bestowed upon them by the dominant culture. The “bilingual education” touted in the article, which is currently being promoted throughout East Turkestan, belies the true nature of a campaign to phase out the Uyghur language and other “ethnic minority” languages from all levels of instruction and replace them with Mandarin Chinese. Absent from Qi’s commentary is recognition of any value of preserving and promoting the Uyghur or Kyrgyz languages among the region’s schoolchildren, or in teaching these languages to non-native speakers. Continue reading

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