“To control Xinjiang youth means to control the region’s future” seems to be the slogan behind the CCP’s campaign to educate Muslim children in the Han environment.
by Li Ping
Every year, the CCP methodically recruits large numbers of ethnic minority students from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to study in other parts of China. Not only are their tuition and all expenses covered by the government, but specially-assigned staff accompany them on trips from and to Xinjiang, otherwise assist and supervise them.
Nothing comes for free
But what lies beneath this seemingly favorable treatment? Many students in schools where Xinjiang youth are sent to seem to have similar questions.
“Why do people from Xinjiang come to study here? Don’t they have vocational schools over there?” an ethnic Han student at a vocational school in the northeastern province of Liaoning asked during a class.
The instructor explained that it is a “brilliant” move by the state leaders, adding that Xinjiang youth coming to other regions to study not only helps to “sinicize” them but also “prevents their parents from causing troubles.” “Their children are with ethnic Hans here, so they wouldn’t dare to riot,” the teacher said smugly.
The school has been admitting students from Xinjiang, 14 to 20 years of age, for 11 years in a row; it currently hosts over 480 such students, whose all expenses are covered by the government.
But nothing comes for free – they receive the “preferential treatment” in exchange for their freedom. The school exerts strict, military-like control over the students from Xinjiang: they cannot leave the campus whenever they want, and they are prohibited from any form of worshipping. Their living quarters are separate from those of Han students at the school. One of the school’s teachers told Bitter Winter that the Xinjiang students live in a six-story dormitory equipped with surveillance cameras. “Six to eight students live in each room. There are 26 teachers on duty at night, who are responsible for watching over these children,” the teacher added.
Han teachers don’t understand the native language spoken by Xinjiang students, and they need to spend more time, even sometime sacrifice their holidays, to supervise them. Because of the added hardships, teachers would instead not be assigned to Xinjiang youth, but they have no say in the matter. “It’s not an option. This is a political task the state assigned to us,” another teacher from the school said helplessly.
Nearly 500 students from Xinjiang, including Uyghurs and Kazakhs, study at Fushun Agriculture Specialty School in Liaoning. They are also supervised strictly: specially-assigned personnel accompany the students from home and back at the beginning and the end of each school year, and they are under close watch on campus, security guards escorting them to and from dorms.
On June 8, 500 students, supervised by specially-assigned personnel, boarded a train from Beijing to return to Xinjiang for their summer break. During the trip, additional railway police were present on the train.
“Sinicized” to embrace the Communist Party
A source from Tianjin, a coastal municipality in Northern China, administered directly by the central government, revealed to Bitter Winter that at the end of last August, a middle school in the city assigned nine of its teachers to fly to Xinjiang to bring back more than 300 students. To date, at least 11 schools in Tianjin have admitted students from Xinjiang, who are taught about Han culture and are required to speak Mandarin.
“When these Xinjiang children are sent to study in inland China, they are in contact with Han students and teachers, influenced by Han culture,” a Tianjin teacher told Bitter Winter. “Their interactions with their teachers and classmates will affect their outlook on life, their values, and how they judge things. After they return to Xinjiang to work, these students who have studied for a few years in inland China will readily accept the leadership of the Communist Party and support it.”
Another teacher revealed that the Ministry of Education is planning to send younger children from Xinjiang (aged 6 to 7) to schools in inland China to study Mandarin, with the aim to “sinicize” them, change their customs and diet.