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A scene from Inner Mongolia; image by marywenstrom from Pixabay

China (MNN) — Students and parents from Inner Mongolia gathered to protest a new Chinese policy that would require students to use Mandarin textbooks, rather than learn in Mongolian.

Joe Handley of Asian Access describes Inner Mongolia (not to be confused with the independent country of Mongolia to the north) and its relation to China. “Imagine that China was like the United States. Inner Mongolia would be something like the state of Montana. It’s a region within the country that floats between autonomy and less autonomy. Most of these minority-based regions don’t have a lot of autonomy, though.”

Erasure of Inner Mongolian culture

This map shows Inner Mongolia highlighted in the north of China. Mongolia shares a long border to the North. (Photo credit: Das steinerne Herz / CC BY-SA https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)China’s goal? To unify the entire country into a single Chinese society governed closely by the Communist Party out of Beijing. And they won’t back away from erasing Inner Mongolian culture to satisfy this goal. Handley says:

“The Chinese government is imposing the education system to be predominantly in Mandarin Chinese. That means that the local, indigenous Inner Mongolian population will have less and less ability to train the next generation within their own cultural norms and language norms.”

Inner Mongolians identify more with Mongolia than much of Chinese culture, so the pressure to conform has been profound. With so much pressure to embrace a monolithic Chinese culture, Handley says many Inner Mongolians are simply fleeing the country, often up into Mongolia.

Loss of cultural identity

This kind of nationalism displayed by China can be seen in countries all over the world, as governments try to unite their people around common causes. But Handley says:

“You lose the richness of diversity of the people that have inhabited these regions for thousands of years in many cases. And so you lose a lot along the way. That sense of who am I? Who is my family? What’s my heritage?”

Unsurprisingly, this erasure of identity often makes it harder to share the Gospel with people as well. Handley says, “When the Bible is translated into a local language, people understand it better. So for instance, if your primary language is Mongolian, not Mandarin Chinese, then the Bible in Mongolian would speak more to your heart.”

Pray the people of Inner Mongolia would be able to retain their cultural heritage and pray they would be filled with the hope of Jesus Christ.


Listen to the broadcast (top story)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Sep04-2020.mp3


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Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.


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Mission Network News is a mission news service dedicated to keeping Christians informed on evangelical mission activity around the world. In doing so we hope to educate and motivate Christians to prayer, participation, and support of missionary work to help further the Great Commission.

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