Affirmative Action for Ethnic Minorities in the Chinese Education System Today and its Potential Reforms

 

Affirmative Action for Ethnic Minorities
in the Chinese Education System Today and its Potential Reforms

Chu Jincong, Yale-NUS CollegeĀ 

(Initially published in YNUJ Volume 2, 2018)


Abstract

This paper questions, primarily through secondary research, whether the current affirmative action for ethnic minorities in the Chinese education system is able to serve its expected function; it then proposes amendments to the current collection of affirmative policies. This paper also adopts an analytical method that inquires into the challenges faced by policymakers and the likelihood of success of the proposed changes. Policies for ethnic minorities in China are under close scrutiny today, especially when ethnic conflicts intertwined with terrorism and separatism are on the rise, and the underlying tension between the majority Han and minorities over issues such as equality and religion is still simmering insidiously. The Chinese government has had a long history of offering the ethnic minorities affirmative action spanning across the rights to reproduction, education, religion, finance, and employment. Of all the supposedly favorable policies for the minorities, educational affirmative action is expected to fundamentally elevate their socio-economic status, and unite and stabilize the country. Although some educational affirmative action has benefited the minorities, others have actually hampered their advancement up the economic ladder, created reverse discrimination against the Han majority, and exacerbated the hostility between the Han majority and the minorities. This research discovers the inadequacy of current affirmative actions and advocates for educational policy changes and a related reform of the hukou (household registration) system.


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