National Commentaries

As Chinese authorities began to introduce the new educational policy in Inner Mongolia, protests have been staged by ethnic Mongolian communities in Chinese northern provinces. The new educational policy, which has already been implemented in minority ethnic schools in autonomous regions of Xinjiang in 2017 and Tibet in 2018, requires three subjects—“language and literature,” “morality and law,” and “history”—to be taught in Mandarin Chinese instead of the minority languages. According to Christopher Atwood, the earlier introduction of this policy in Inner Mongolia failed in 1993 and 2018 in the face of quiet resistance.1 However, this time, the resistance quickly reverberated in Mongolia, an independent state with strong historical and cultural ties with ethnic Mongolian communities in China. With the democratic nature of their political system and global connections, Mongolian civil society actors and academics pressured their state officials and organized peaceful protests and petitions in Mongolia and abroad. These suddenly aroused domestic politics in support of Inner Mongolian brethren created an unfriendly setting for the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on September 15-16, unlike his previous visit in 2018, when he was welcomed warmly. The public, in general, does not seem pleased with the silence of Mongolian leaders during their meetings with Wang, simply committing to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs. Below I analyze Mongolia’s response to China’s new educational policy in Inner Mongolia and discuss potential implications for Sino-Mongolian relations, in general, and inter-Mongolian relations, in particular.    

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