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Ian Goodrum
China is not eradicating Islam. China is not eradicating Islam. China is not eradicating Islam. China is not eradicating Islam. China is not eradicating Islam. A thread.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
This is going to take a lot of explaining, because what I do is research things rather than post in all-caps about Evil China to rake in the Twitter points. Please bear with me.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
First, a (semi-) brief primer on Chinese ethnic policy. China is far more diverse than most in the West think. Officially, there are 55 recognized ethnic minority groups in China, and the PRC constitution lays out their rights.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
This includes the right to religious expression. There are Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Muslims and Jews in China, as well as practitioners of folk religions. The constitution gives protection to these groups, despite the PRC’s status as an atheist state.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Owing to the gap in development between minority groups (who make up about 8.5 percent of the population) and the majority Han people, the government has enshrined special rights into law for those groups. They are as follows.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Preferential policies include equal representation in government —in some cases, in excess of the population share — state-sanctioned use of ethnic minority languages in courts and media, and protection of indigenous customs.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Language development has been key. Shortly after its founding, the PRC spearheaded efforts to standardize scripts and alphabets for local languages.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
This extends to the school system, where bilingual education creates an immersive environment for minority children to learn Mandarin, the country’s lingua franca.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
As minority children mostly speak indigenous tongues at home, in practice this means classes are largely in Mandarin. The study of Uyghur or Tibetan, for example, would be similar to a foreign language class in the West.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Ethnic minorities have been given greater freedom than the majority Han people when it comes to family planning and the one-child policy. Officially, minority group families were allowed two children, but in many rural areas there are even higher limits.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
This thread isn’t about Tibet, but family planning policy has been incredibly lax for Tibetans in their autonomous region — a strange thing a country would do for an ethnic group Westerners claim the CPC sees as a threat.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
As a result of these policies, the total population of ethnic minority groups has increased since the establishment of the PRC, as has their share of the population.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Where religious freedom is concerned, a bevy of laws protects the expression of religious belief, as well as discrimination on the basis of religion.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Specifically in Xinjiang, thousands of mosques operate, as do many Islamic schools. Support is given to the publishing and translation of religious books.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Solidarity with Muslims within the party is encouraged through participation in religious events like the Hajj, and meetings between officials and religious groups are common.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Major institutions exist to train and educate students — mostly Uyghurs — in Islam. You can see for yourself here.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
The principle of ethnic unity is paramount in China, so special care is taken to emphasize its importance. This is why separatism is a matter of deep concern to the government. More on that later.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Along with these protections, the party and government have prioritized economic development in minority areas, which historically have been behind more populated regions of the country when it comes to industrialization and modernization.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Through infrastructure building, investment and trade, the fortunes of impoverished western regions of the country have skyrocketed, though there is still a long way to go.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
The PRC’s unbelievably successful poverty alleviation campaign has not found an exception in minority regions. Medical care has also improved exponentially. Now growth in these areas outstrips the national rate.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
I have specific economic development figures for Xinjiang I can post if people are interested, but this thread is already gonna be a million tweets long so I’ll keep it separate.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Now, the reason why people have been up in arms about China’s treatment of Muslims stems from counter-terrorism measures instituted in Xinjiang after a series of attacks in the region. Here’s a small sample of the violence.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
This does not include the riots which rocked Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi in 2009, killing hundreds and injuring thousands. Without getting into too much detail, there are Uyghur separatist groups determined to break the region away from China, and resort to terrorism to do so.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Some receive training in Syria and elsewhere, linking up with larger extremist movements.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Western reports dismiss this phenomenon, claiming attacks are a result of China’s policies rather than organized terrorist groups, often citing the separatists themselves. I question the wisdom of taking violent extremists at their word, but whatever. Let’s look at the facts.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
There is no doubt China has heightened security for at-risk areas — particularly in Xinjiang, where the majority of terrorist attacks have taken place. But even within the autonomous region, severity of implementation varies depending on threat level.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
For example, the restive prefecture of Kashgar has heavier surveillance and stricter controls than Turpan. This is due to the former’s more conservative religious traditions and its current status as a hotbed of anti-China sentiment.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
But in Turpan, a far greater degree of religious freedom exists — because the prefecture isn’t seen as a security risk.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
This has resulted in better relations between Uyghur and Han people in Turpan, and serves as an example of how things could function throughout the autonomous region. Ideally minus the poverty.
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Ian Goodrum 7 Jun 18
Replying to @isgoodrum
Outside of Xinjiang, another ethnic group of Chinese Muslims has even more freedom, as there is no meaningful history of separatist sentiment or extremism among them — the Hui people.
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