China's Assimilationist Language Policy

The Impact on Indigenous/Minority Literacy and Social Harmony

Edited by Gulbahar H. Beckett, Gerard A. Postiglione

© 2012 – Routledge

242 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415596053
pub: 2011-10-27
US Dollars$165.00

About the Book

China has huge ethnic minorities – over 40 different groups with a total population of over 100 million. Over time China’s policies towards minority languages have varied, changing from policies which have accommodated minority languages to policies which have encouraged integration. At present integrationist policies predominate, notably in the education system, where instruction in minority languages is being edged out in favour of instruction in Mandarin Chinese. This book assesses the current state of indigenous and minority language policy in China. It considers especially language policy in the education system, including in higher education, and provides detailed case studies of how particular ethnic minorities are being affected by the integrationist, or assimilationist, approach.


"Beckett and Postiglione’s book is a solid introduction to the changing language policy

landscape in China and how these changes affect stability, especially in regard to education and social harmony among the minority population. The book leaves the reader with a clear conclusion that the Chinese government’s language policies work out differently in practice for different minorities and that education for minorities is a major key to achieving and maintaining social harmony… It is highly recommended to everyone interested in language and language education policies in China and to those interested in minority issues in China." - Heidi Cobbey, SIL International, East Asia Group; China Information 2012 26: 383

Table of Contents

List of contributors List of tables and figures Part I: Background and Historical Review 1. China’s Language Policy for Indigenous and Minority Education - Gulbahar H. Beckett and Gerard A. Postiglione 2. Historical Review of the PRC’s Minority/Indigenous Language Policy and Practice: Nation-State Building and Identity Construction - Minglang Zhou Part II: Empirical Research Studies 3. The Development of Minority Education and the Practice of Bilingual Education in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region - Rong Ma 4. Bilingual Education among the Dongxiangs: Experiment, Practices, and Implications - Yisu Zhou 5. China’s Minorities without Written Scripts: The Case of Education Access among the Dongxiang - Jiayi Wang and Gerard A. Postiglione 6. Bilingual Education in China: The Case of Yunnan - Linda Tsung, Ge Wang, and Qunying Zhang 7. Language Hegemony in its Relation to Chinese Marriage Migrants Mothers’ Adaptations to and Educational Involvements in Taiwan - Yi-Hsuan Chelsea Kuo 8. The Influence of Cultural and Linguistic Backgrounds on the Social and Academic Adjustment of Students at an Ethnic Minority University in China - Mei Wu, Jerry Tuchscherer, and Forrest W. Parkay 9. Language Issues in Chinese Higher Education: The Case of Korean and Mongol Minority Groups - W. James Jacob and Heejin Park Part III. Theoretical, Ideological, and Legal Issues 10. Chinese-English Bilingual Education in PRC: Implications for Language Education for Autochthonous Ethnic Minorities - Guangwei Hu 11. From Neo-Liberal Ideology to Critical Sustainability Theory for Language Policy Studies in the P.R.C. - Seoanaigh MacPherson 12. Minority Language Rights and Education in China: The Relevance of Human Rights Law and Substantive Equality - Kelley Loper

About the Editors

Gulbahar H. Beckett is Associate Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of Cincinnati, USA. Gerard A. Postiglione is Professor and Head, Division of Policy, Administration and Social Sciences, and Director of the Wah Ching Center of Research on Education in China of the University of Hong Kong.

About the Series

Comparative Development and Policy in Asia

The primary aim of this series is to publish original, high quality, research level work, by both new and established scholars in the West and East, on all aspects of development and policy in Asia. 

The scope of the series is broad, and aims to cover both comparative and single country studies, including work from a range of disciplines.  With particular reference to how Asian states have coped with the growing challenges of globalising economies and the ways in which national governments in Asia have changed their public policy strategies and governance models in order to sustain further economic growth, the series will bring together development studies, and public policy and governance analysis, and will cover subjects such as: economic development; governance models; the factors underpinning the immense economic achievements of different countries; the social, political, cultural, and environmental implications of economic restructuring; public policy reforms; technological and educational innovation; international co-operation; and the fate and political impact of people who have been excluded from the growth.  The series will include both empirical material and comparative analysis; and both single authored books and edited collections.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General