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Affirmative action in China

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In the People's Republic of China the government had instated affirmative action (WP) policies called Youhui zhengce (Template:Zh) when it began in 1949 and became an explicit policy in the mid-1980s. The policies giving preferential treatment to Wikipedia:ethnic minorities in China were modeled after those by the USSR (WP).[1][2] Three principles are the basis for the policy: equality for national minorities, territorial autonomy, and equality for all languages and cultures.[1] The dissolution of the Soviet Union was studied by China; economic inequalities and power imbalances were found to be the cause of the collapse, and the findings led to a new policy, Law on Autonomy for Minority Regions.[1]

Affirmative action policiesEdit

No taxes in minority regions are required to be sent to the central government; all of it can be spent locally.[3] Minorities receive Wikipedia:proportional representation in local government.[3] Higher-level jurisdictions ask lower-level minority areas to put forth "extensive efforts to support the country's construction by providing more natural resources" and in exchange gives them infrastructural subsidies such as personnel training, budgetary subventions, and disproportionate public works investments.[1][4] The Chinese government encourages business to hire minorities and offers no-Wikipedia:interest loans to businesses operated by minorities.[1][3] Prominent government posts may be filled with "model" citizens who are also minorities.[5]

Minority students applying to universities receive bonus points on the Wikipedia:National Higher Education Entrance Examination (gaokao).[1][5][6] In 2009 authorities in Wikipedia:Chongqing uncovered 31 high school students pretending to be members of a minority group in order to gain test points, and in 2011 Wikipedia:Inner Mongolia authorities uncovered about 800 students pretending to be members of a minority group.[6] There is a system of universities exclusively for minority students.[3] The government established bilingual programs to help minorities learn Wikipedia:Mandarin Chinese. Scholars are creating alphabets for minority languages that had not been previously written as a way of preserving those languages.[3]

The Chinese government officially allows minority parents to have two children per family instead of the one demanded for Han people as part of the Wikipedia:One Child Policy.[5] Singer wrote that "In practice, many minority families simply have as many children as they want."[3]

Rena Singer of Wikipedia:Knight-Ridder Newspapers wrote that the policies are meant to encourage assimilation instead of empowering minority blocs and "The idea is to give the minorities just enough power, education or economic success to keep them quiet."[3] An article by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times describes the opposite effect: families that might have preferred to assimilate by identifying as Han instead maintain their minority identity, for the increased opportunities.[5]

Historical precedents Edit

Wikipedia:Fuk'anggan, a Manchu military leader, recommended for an increase in the quota for Wikipedia:Hui people in the civil and military Wikipedia:suishi examinations during a 1785 memorial from the governor of Wikipedia:Gansu and Wikipedia:Shaanxi provinces. Li Zonghan (C: 李宗瀚, P: Lǐ Zōnghàn, W: Li Tsung-han), the Wikipedia:Hunan provincial education commissioner, requested a quota for Wikipedia:Miao people candidates for provincial examinations during an 1807 memorial. This is so the Han Chinese people, who had better preparation to take the examinations, would not crowd out Miao. Li Zonghan argued that local officials would need to have suspicion of Han pretending to be Miao in order to fit the quota criteria.[7]


Further readingEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Affirmative Action in China and the U.S.: A Dialogue on Inequality and Minority Education, pages 8-14
  2. Sautman, p. 77.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Singer, Rena. "China's Minorities Get Huge Affirmative-Action Benefits." (Archive) Wikipedia:Knight-Ridder Newspapers at Wikipedia:The Seattle Times. Tuesday August 26, 1997. Retrieved on January 4, 2014.
  4. Sautman, p. 78.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 The World; Affirmative Action, Chinese Style, Makes Some Progress, Nicholas D. Kristof, March 31, 1991
  6. 6.0 6.1 Wen, Ya. "Weight of privilege." (Archive) Wikipedia:Global Times. December 19, 2012. Retrieved on January 4, 2014.
  7. Elman, p. 169.


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