state policies on minority cultures

The PRC’s basic policy on minority cultures is to promote and support them, provided they do not threaten the socialist state or risk separatism. The Law on Regional National Autonomy (see autonomous regions) bans discrimination against minorities or their cultures, but also forbids acts that undermine unity or instigate division. The policy defends the use of the local language in government, education and law (and see bilingual education). Publication in ethnic languages is encouraged as well, official statistics showing that the number of newly published books in ethnic languages rose from 1,385 titles and 11.24 million copies in 1989 to 1,473 titles and 18.96 million copies in 1999 (see ethnic minority literary collections; minority presses).
However, policy also requires the spread of Modern Standard Chinese (putonghua) and, with the exception of a few minorities like the Uighurs, Tibetans and Koreans, the local languages are seriously losing out to Chinese.
The state has invested heavily in collecting and preserving the traditional arts of the minorities, and in setting up cultural institutions such as professional song-and-dance and drama troupes and museums showcasing the minority arts. As China modernizes, these professionalized traditional arts are losing hold in most places, including among the minorities. Many of the troupes perform more for tourists than for local people. The number of personnel in professional ethnic song-and-dance troupes in the minority areas fell from 4,908 in 1994 to 3,897 in 1999.
See also: Tibetan theatre
Mackerras, C. (1995). China’s Minority Cultures, Identities and Integration Since 1912. New York: St Martin’s Press; Melbourne: Longman.
COLIN MACKERRAS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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