(TibetanReview.net, May01’19) – The Chinese government of the traditionally Tibetan territory of what is now Qinghai Province has launched a Rule to Promote Ethnic Unity and Progress of Qinghai Province, making it illegal to, among other things, interfere with others’ freedom of marriage in the name of religious belief. Ostensibly meant to emphasize protection of unique culture and freedom of marriage, the rule was officially released at a news conference on Apr 28 in Xining, capital of Qinghai, reported China’s official globaltimes.cn Apr 29. The rule also emphasizes all-round help for migrant workers.
People are banned from engaging in actions that affect national policy or hinder social order, or interfere with others’ freedom of marriage in the name of religious belief, the report cited officials as saying at the press conference.
The rule can easily be applied to criminally punish Tibetans who advocate preservation of Tibetan language, culture, and way of life. Spreading comments, collecting or producing information that is bad for ethnic unity or advocating religious extremism and sabotaging ethnic unity, inciting national separatism and damaging national security are not allowed, the report said, citing the new rule.
The report said the rule, which contains 36 articles and covers a wide range of topics, will take effect on May 1.
The report said Qinghai was now home to 55 ethnic groups – just one short of China’s officially recognized total number of nationalities – and had the second-largest Tibetan population outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. It added that ethnic minorities accounted for 47.7 percent of the province’s entire population, citing a China National Radio report Apr 28.
The report cited Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethnic studies at Minzu University of China in Beijing, as saying such a rule would improve ethnic unity and integration in the region where ethnic minority populations are concentrated, and that the concrete articles would guide future work.
Local Chinese leaders, including in Tibet Autonomous Region, have in the past advocated policies to encourage inter-ethnic marriages, especially between Tibetans and Chinese, and announced rewards to those who go for it.
The new Qinghai rule is also stated to stipulate that “services for migrant workers, and employment, their children’s education and legal assistance should be strengthened. A system should be built to share information to support migrant workers.”
Guizhou Province and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region were stated to have implemented similar rules in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Noting that different provinces and regions had different emphases on ethnic unity work, Xiong has said relations between Han (ie, Chinese) people and Tibetans were the key point for Qinghai.