Beijing accelerates campaign of ethnic assimilation

In Inner Mongolia, a plan to expand Mandarin-language education and mandate the use of national textbooks over local versions sparked protests and school boycotts among students and parents concerned that the Mongolian language was in danger of being erased.

Part of the assimilation campaign relies on security infrastructure built to keep watch on and control over the population. It includes the rollout of high-tech police surveillance in areas with large minority populations—a strategy used in Xinjiang to keep constant watch on Turkic Muslims. The local government has said the approach is necessary for security in the area.

Those methods have now spread eastward to sedate regions like southwestern China’s Guangxi, home to the country’s largest minority group, the Zhuang, who follow an animist-based faith, and have little recent history of ethnic conflict.

In Tibet, where controls are already strict, local authorities launched a new program of “military-style” vocational training for rural Tibetans and passed new regulations to promote ethnic unity and patriotism in the region. Previously unreported government documents show that Chinese security forces are seeking to install cutting-edge surveillance and predictive policing systems that can forecast the activities of “people of interest.”