Chinese President Xi Jinping, also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, inspected Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China on promoting ethnic unity from June 8 to June 10. Edited excerpts of Xi’s speeches on ethnic unity since 2014 follow:
The government will leave no ethnic group behind in the process of eliminating poverty, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and in the country’s drive toward modernization.
It represents the fine tradition of the Chinese nation and the great strength of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics to enable people of all ethnic groups to walk hand in hand into a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
-Excerpts from Xi’s remarks during his inspection at Jinhuayuan Community in Litong District of Wuzhong City, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China, on June 8
We will fully implement the Party’s policies concerning ethnic groups, heighten public awareness of ethnic unity and progress, and create a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation. We will encourage more exchanges and interactions among different ethnic groups, helping them remain closely united like the seeds of a pomegranate that stick together, and work jointly for common prosperity and development.
-Excerpts from the report delivered by Xi at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on October 18, 2017
Multi-ethnicity is one of China’s distinguishing features. It has played a key role in the country’s development. Over China’s 5,000-year history, many ethnic groups have come into being in the country. Through evolution, merging, and separation, 56 ethnic groups have emerged and now constitute the Chinese nation. They joined together in building our vast country, creating a long history and brilliant culture. They created numerous prosperous eras in China’s historical pantheon, such as the formidable Qin (221-206 BC) and Han (206 BC-AD 220) dynasties, the heyday of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and the flourishing reigns (1661-1796) of Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911). The unification of the 56 ethnic groups into one nation is an invaluable treasure bestowed by our ancestors, and one of the country’s great strengths.
As the highest national interest and common interest of all ethnic groups, unification serves as the premise and foundation for regional ethnic autonomy.
Regional ethnic autonomy involves both ethnic factors and regional factors. We must make it clear that regional ethnic autonomy is not exclusive to one ethnic group, and that an ethnic autonomous area does not refer to an area that belongs to a single ethnic group. If we fail to understand this, we will take a wrong path.
-Excerpts from Xi’s speech at the Central Conference on Ethnic Affairs on September 28, 2014
Professor with Yunnan University
Over the long history, all ethnic groups in China have lived together over vast areas, developed inclusive and diverse culture and become economically interdependent and emotionally close, uniting into one nation. Based on this reality, China has established the system of regional ethnic autonomy, which is an important step in handling ethnic affairs in a Chinese way and an institutional guarantee for China to preserve and deepen ethnic unity.
Sources: Xi Jinping: The Governance of China (II), Xinhua News Agency and People's Daily Online