BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Chinese Vietnamese Burmese Thai Indonesian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Asia-Pacific  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 06:46 GMT 07:46 UK
Language blow for China's Muslims

Chinese authorities have ordered the top university in the western province of Xinjiang to stop teaching courses in the local Uighur language.

University officials say the change is needed to raise the standard of education at Xinjiang University but Uighur groups are condemning the change as a direct attack on their culture and identity.

For more than 50 years, Xinjiang University has offered its students the choice of learning in Chinese or Uighur, the native tongue to most of the province's Muslim population.

But from this September that choice will end.

The dean of Xinjiang University confirmed to the BBC that in future all first- and second-year courses will be taught exclusively in Mandarin Chinese.

Xinjiang
Uighurs fear their culture and society could disappear
The dean says the change is needed to raise the level of education of local Uighur students who, he says, often fall far behind their Han Chinese classmates.

He says there are also few textbooks translated into Uighur and that students who learn in Mandarin have a better chance of getting a job when they graduate.

But Uighur exile groups are calling the change an open attack on Uighur culture.

More than half of Xinjiang's population are Uighurs.

They are ethnically Turkic and they have little affection for their Chinese rulers.

Exile groups say the change is part of a concerted campaign by the Chinese Government to stamp out nationalist sentiment among Xinjiang's Uighur population.

They say the Chinese Government is using the 11 September attacks against the United States as a pretext to suppress all forms of dissent by the Muslim population of Xinjiang.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Professor Michael Dillon, Durham University
"The Chinese do tend to see the culture there as second rate"
See also:

22 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
08 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
15 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
12 Nov 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
19 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes