Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

Ethnic Unity Law in Tibet


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : India-China Relations in context of Tibet

The People’s Congress of Tibet passed a law that makes ethnic unity in the region mandatory, reflecting the significant role that the autonomous Himalayan region plays in its economic and social development.

About the Law

  • The law makes it clear that Tibet has been an inalienable part of China since ancient times.
  • It states that it is the common responsibility of the people of all ethnic groups to safeguard national reunification and take a clear stand against separatism.

Ethnic Unity in China

  • This is not the first time that the phrase ethnic unity has been mentioned by China.
  • In October 2019 the Communist Party of China published a guideline for enhancing ethnic unity.
  • It stressed on efforts to improve the governance of ethnic affairs, guaranteeing the legal rights and interests of citizens of ethnic groups.
  • It called for cracking down on “criminal acts” that sabotage ethnic unity or cause ethnic separation.
  • Before this, in 2016, China began a campaign in the autonomous territory of Xinjiang to promote ethnic unity and called for people to respect the cultures of the minorities who call the region home.

Why such Law?

  • There are more than 40 ethnic minorities in the region, which account for 95 per cent of Tibet’s population of over three million.
  • Like Tibet, Xinjiang is another region of China that houses multiple ethnic minorities.
  • A similar legislation was passed there four years ago and in recent times, China has faced criticism for detaining at least a million Uighur and other Muslims, along with some ethnic Kazakhs and Uzbeks.
  • China has began “re-education camps” in Xinjiang, a region that has been claimed by China since 1949.
  • China has denied these allegations and maintains that the facilities where the detainees are housed are vocational training centers.

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