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China to Abolish Mongolian Language in Schools in an Inner Mongolia City

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is a Chinese province where most ethnic Mongols live and Mongolian has been the native language throughout its history.

Recently officials from the education bureau of Tongliao, a city in eastern Inner Mongolia, passed verbal notices to local schools that, starting from the second half of this year, all courses will stop using Mongolian as the major language for academic activities, except the Mongolian language course. The issue went viral among schools and local residents. Parents worry that, in the future, their children will not understand Mongolian.

A former teacher in Hohhot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia, told Radio Free Asia that most courses taught in the Mongolian language will disappear beginning on September 1st. The authorities will dispatch personnel to strengthen the supervision, and push through Chinese language education in the Mongolian region. In short, the mother tongue education in Inner Mongolia is facing an unprecedented crisis. Although China’s own Law on Regional National Autonomy guarantees the freedom to use its own native language for education, people are concerned that the policy will lead to the “disappearance” of the Mongolian culture.

The Inner Mongolian authorities have long intended to abolish education in the native language. At the end of 2018, due to the protests by the parents of students, the government aborted its plan to enforce Chinese language teaching in East Ujimqin Banner of Xilinguole League, in the northeast area of the Inner Mongolia. In mid-December 2017, the Bayinguoleng Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region suddenly stopped all courses taught in Mongolian, triggering strong dissatisfaction among the local Mongolians.

Source: Radio Free Asia, June 24, 2020