China – Inner Mongolia: Changes to Education Policy Endangers Linguistic Diversity and Undermines Free Expression

Ethnic Mongolian uses “Mother Tongue” face paint as a form of protest (credit: SMHRIC)


PEN International is concerned over recent education reforms in Inner Mongolia, which seek to prioritise instruction through Mandarin Chinese at the expense of the Mongolian language, a key marker of ethnic Mongolian identity in the region.

In Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region within the People’s Republic of China (PRC), recent changes to the educational system have led to mass demonstrations by ethnic Mongolians and a crackdown by the PRC government.

For many ethnic Mongolians in the region, these changes represent the latest effort by the PRC authorities to erode the usage of their mother tongue, which is a distinct marker of their cultural identity as a minority constituting under 20 percent of the region’s overall population.

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