No major changes to ethnic minority policy

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 September, 2009, 12:00am

Mainland officials have reaffirmed there will be no major shift in ethnic minority policy in the wake of the recent unrest in Xinjiang , but the level of economic assistance will be increased.

It was the second time in a week the central government has defended its policy on ethnic autonomy, which was criticised after last year's Tibetan riots and again this year for failing to ensure stability.

Yang Jing, minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, said the ethnic autonomy policies had stood the test of time, and occasional disturbances were inevitable.

'Through the past six decades, our ethnic polices have proved to be correct and effective and we must stick to them for a long time to come,' Yang said.

A white paper issued yesterday, entitled 'China's Ethnic Policy and Common Prosperity and Development of All Ethnic Groups', said that 'under the unified leadership of the state, regional autonomy is exercised and organs of self-government are established in areas where various ethnic minorities live in compact communities'.

The central government has in recent years increased its economic assistance to minority-concentrated areas in the hope of improving living standards to foster social harmony. But the riots in Tibet and Xinjiang proved that economic assistance alone may not achieve that goal.

In ethnic clashes in Xinjiang's Urumqi in July, which left at least 197 dead, Uygurs complained about not sharing equally in economic growth.