Forging a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation must be the focus of the Party's work on ethnic affairs in the new era, President Xi Jinping said at a recently-concluded key meeting on ethnic affairs.
Acting upon the guiding principle put forth by Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, people of all ethnic groups are working to boost ethnic unity, in the pursuit of a modern socialist country for China.
ETHNIC AFFAIRS IN NEW ERA
Work related to ethnic affairs has always been a matter of significance for China, a vast and populous country consisting of 56 ethnic groups.
The sense of community for the Chinese nation was first put forward by Xi at the second central work conference on Xinjiang in May 2014. At a central conference on ethnic affairs held later in the same year, Xi once again highlighted the importance of laying a solid foundation for the sense of community for the Chinese nation.
The idea was enshrined in the Party's Constitution at the 19th CPC National Congress in October 2017.
At the central conference on ethnic affairs last week, Xi once again emphasized this point.
Liu Xinjian, an official in Hami, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, considered making the sense of community a matter of utmost significance. From his perspective, it helps to motivate all ethnic groups to strive for the further development and progress of the Chinese nation.
Ma Guoqing, a professor at Minzu University of China in Beijing, said Xi's latest speech is significant in terms of both ideology and theory.
"It represents the latest achievement in adapting Marxist theory on ethnic affairs to the Chinese context," Ma said.
UNITY BRINGS PROSPERITY
Xi stressed that guiding all ethnic groups to jointly strive for fully building a modern socialist country must be taken as a crucial task of the CPC's ethnic work in the new era.
China in February announced that it has eradicated absolute poverty. Continuous efforts are being made to enhance the sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security among people of various ethnic groups.
Shi Yongjun, a government official in the Tibet Autonomous Region, learned from his work experience that the focus of forging a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation could start from further improving people's livelihoods.
The case of Tibet is a prime example of how national unity has boosted local development. Home to 45 ethnic groups including Tibetan, Hui and Menba, the region has witnessed huge changes over the past 70 years since its peaceful liberation.
The regional GDP ballooned from 129 million yuan (about 19.9 million U.S. dollars) in 1951 to 190 billion yuan in 2020; all registered poor residents and counties had shaken off poverty by the end of 2019, meaning that the region escaped absolute poverty for the first time in history.
"Tibet could never have attained such achievements without ethnic unity," Losang Jamcan, director of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress, once said. "Tibet's development over the past 70 years has offered convincing evidence that solidarity and stability bring prosperity."
Identifying with the culture is the foundation for ethnic unity, Xi noted when joining deliberations with lawmakers from north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region during the annual meeting of the National People's Congress in March.
"To forge a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, we need to act in a concerted fashion. And more importantly, we need the people to identify with the Chinese culture," said Kong Qingju, an education official in Menyuan Hui Autonomous County in northwest China's Qinghai Province.
Kong suggested that efforts should be made to boost students' recognition of the Chinese nation, Chinese culture, the CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics.
"The fine traditional cultures of all ethnic groups are constituent parts of the Chinese culture," said Fu Jizhen, a resident from the Li ethnic group in south China's Hainan Province. A master of traditional Li spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidery techniques, Fu said she will carry forward Li culture and boost its communication with others.
In enhancing the recognition of the Chinese culture and boosting national cohesion in Xinjiang, local governments are launching education programs and activities for extensive exchanges and communication among ethnic groups, local officials said.
Si Qin, an official in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, said promoting educational programs on ethnic unity and progress are underway to boost cultural recognition among all ethnic groups. Herders, students, teachers, company employees will all benefit.