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Minority Education in China

Balancing Unity and Diversity in an Era of Critical Pluralism

Edited by James Leibold and Yangbin Chen

Publication Year: 2014

This edited volume brings together essays by leading experts exploring different aspects of ethnic minority education in China: among these are the challenges associated with bilingual and trilingual education in Xinjiang and Tibet; Han Chinese reaction to preferential minority education; the role of inland boarding schools for minority students; and the mediation of religion and culture in mul¬tiethnic schools. The book covers these topics from a range of different perspectives: Uyghur, Tibetan, Korean, Mongolian, Han, and those of the West, combining empirical field studies with theoretical approaches. Previous scholarship has explored the pedagogical and policy challenges of minority education in China; this is the first volume to recast these problems in the light of the Chinese party-state’s efforts to create ethnic harmony and stability through a shared sense of national belonging.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

List of Contributors

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pp. vii-x

List of Figures and Tables

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pp. xi-xii

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James A. Banks

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pp. xiii-xviii

Migration within and across nation-states is a worldwide phenomenon. The movement of peoples across national boundaries is as old as the nation-state itself. However, never before in the history of the world has the movement of diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious groups within and across nations been as numerous and rapid or raised such complex and difficult questions...

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pp. xix-xx

This volume, like most edited volumes, was several years in the making and would not have been published without the generous support and forbearance of numerous individuals and organizations....

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Introduction: Minority Education in China

James Leibold and Chen Yangbin

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pp. 1-24

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) promotes itself as a harmonious, stable multicultural mosaic, with fifty-six distinct ethnic groups, or minzu (民族) as they are termed in China, striving for common prosperity. It’s an image we remember well from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But beneath the rhetoric and the carefully orchestrated displays of harmony, interethnic discord and hostility...

Part I: Diversity in Unity or Unity in Diversity

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1. Education and Cultural Diversity in Multiethnic China

Gerard Postiglione

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pp. 27-44

Thirty-five years after Deng Xiaoping’s 1978 policy of economic reform and opening to the outside world, China inches closer to becoming the largest economy in the world, already with the largest system of higher education and more scientific publications than any other country except the USA (Bloomberg 2010). Students of China’s largest city even outperformed those in other countries...

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2. The Power of Chinese Linguistic Imperialism and Its Challenge to Multicultural Education

He Baogang

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pp. 45-64

China is a multilingual society and has practiced multilingual teaching for many years; this is likely to continue. The fifty-five recognized minorities in the PRC use more than 120 different languages (Sun 2004). The expansion of Chinese state power and the power of the market into all corners of China, however,...

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3. How Do You Say “China” in Mongolian?

Naran Bilik

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pp. 65-80

In this chapter, I employ the method of “nomenclatural archaeology,” which is supported by the revised version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (Lucy 1992; Gumperz and Levinson 1996), to explore the etymological anxiety that underpins multiculturalism and multicultural education in the PRC, arguing that behind mainstream educational thinking lurks a linguistic-cultural anxiety over...

Part II: Minority Education on the Frontier: Language and Identity

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4. Bilingual Education and Language Policy in Tibet

Ma Rong

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pp. 83-106

As a united multiethnic nation with thousands of years of history and a brilliant cultural tradition, China has developed a “pluralist unity” (duoyuan yiti 多元一體) pattern in language usage accompanying the process of political, economic, and cultural integration. Although many groups have their individual mother tongues and writing systems, Putonghua1 has been learned and practiced by...

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5. Popularizing Basic Education in Tibet’s Nomadic Regions

Gerard Postiglione, Ben Jiao, Li Xiaoliang, and Tsamla

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pp. 107-130

China has joined a number of other nations including Kenya, Nigeria, Iran, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, and Mongolia, where nomadic groups have traditionally been marginalized in education. This is especially true for nomadic groups that possess a cultural heritage, including language and religion, which deviates from the national mainstream and challenges state efforts to institutionalize basic education...

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6. The Practice of Ethnic Policy in Education

Zuliyati Simayi

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pp. 131-160

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government has sought to consistently guarantee the equal social and political rights of all ethnic groups in the country while adhering to the principle of ethnic equality and unity. The CPC has established a relatively complete system of ethnic policies that are premised on a...

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7. Trilingual Education and School Practice in Xinjiang

Linda Tsung

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pp. 161-186

China comprises a highly multilingual and ethnically diverse population. All of China’s fifty-five legally recognized minority nationalities possess their own spoken languages, with the exception of the Hui, She, and Manchus who used to speak their own languages but now mostly speak some form of Chinese. In fact, many of China’s minority groups tend to be multilingual, speaking at least...

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8. Multicultural Education and Ethnic Integration

Teng Xing, Yang Hong, and Yang Qixue

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pp. 187-198

Multicultural education seeks to ensure equal learning opportunities for all students without regard for their gender, class, race, culture, ethnicity, or religion. When it comes to equal educational access, we find that the research on the education of ethnic minority girls with multi-marginalized identities of great theoretical and practical significance. Therefore, this chapter uses girls’ education...

Part III: Educational Integration in China Proper: Pathways and Barriers

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9. Towards Another Minority Educational Elite Group in Xinjiang?

Chen Yangbin

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pp. 201-220

Recently Western countries such as Australia, Canada, and America have apologized at a national level for the previous boarding school policies aimed at their indigenous minorities, namely aboriginals in Australia and native Americans in Canada and America (Welch 2008; Brown 2008). Similar educational programs are still practiced in some Asian countries, for example, Vietnam and Laos ...

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10. Uyghur University Students and Ramadan

Timothy Grose

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pp. 221-238

On the eve of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan (Uy. ramizan) September 2006, I shared lunch with two Uyghur friends at one of the several Xinjiang-style restaurants adjacent to Beijing’s Minzu University of China (MUC).2 During our meal, my friends made a surprising confession: they would not observe the Ramadan fast (Uy. roza tutmaq).3 Considering Beijing’s relaxed political climate...

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11. The Trilingual Trap

Zhao Zhenzhou

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pp. 239-258

The acquisition of majority or global languages may constitute an investment in human capital and further empower members of culturally marginalized groups. Unsurprisingly, China has witnessed growing demand for trilingual proficiency among ethnic groups over the past decade, although the state does not coerce minority students to learn an international language (usually English) as...

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12. Identity and Multilingualism

Gao Fang

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pp. 259-276

Mindful of Fei Xiaotong’s (1991) “plurality within the organic unity of the Chinese nation” (Zhonghua minzu duoyuan yiti geju 中華民族多元一體格局) paradigm, which attempts to balance ethnic diversity and national unity in China within an assumed pluralistic framework, this chapter reconstructs the discursive position of Korean-Chinese teachers within complex and conflicting discourses,...

Part IV: Styles, Stereotypes, and Preferences: Hurdles for Minority Education

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13. Intellectual Styles and Their Implications for Multicultural Education in China

Li-fang Zhang

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pp. 279-298

Within the realm of multicultural education, much emphasis is placed on the unique characteristics of particular cultural groups. In contrast, this chapter places its stress on some of the commonalities as well as acknowledging the unique characteristics of students from different cultural settings with regard to their intellectual styles: that is, their preferences for information processing,...

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14. Han Chinese Reactions to Preferential Minority Education in the PRC

James Leibold

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pp. 299-320

A few weeks before the gruesome scenes of ethnic violence in Shaoguan and Ürümqi, the Chinese public was captivated by another ethnic scandal. On June 22, 2009, state-run media broke the story of how thirty-one Han students in Chongqing, including the top liberal arts student in the entire municipality, altered their ethnic identity in order to receive twenty extra points on the nationwide...

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15. How University Administrators View Ethnic Minority Students

Yu Haibo

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pp. 321-340

China is a multiethnic state. Shortly after the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the government sent a large number of linguists, ethnographers, and historians to identify the nation’s ethnic minorities. By 1979, fifty-six ethnic groups, including the Han majority, and fifty-five ethnic minority groups, had been officially identified (Fei 1981). The ethnic minority groups each have ...


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pp. 341-352


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pp. 353-394


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pp. 395-406

E-ISBN-13: 9789888268290
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888208135

Page Count: 416
Illustrations: 10 b/w illus.
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: 1