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Community brings out best in people from all ethnicities

By Wang Ru in Beijing and Hu Dongmei in Yinchuan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-31 09:21
Members of the Furong community learn to play the hulusi, a traditional musical instrument, in Wuzhong, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, last month. [CHEN XINYU/CHINA DAILY]

Every weekend, children go to a community center in Wuzhong, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, to learn to play the hulusi, a traditional Chinese musical instrument.

The class is part of Furong community's effort to enhance ethnic solidarity and enrich residents' lives.

Of about 10,000 community residents, nearly half are members of an ethnic minority.

For a long time, the community has come up with various methods to promote ethnic solidarity and promote harmony, setting a good example for its peer regions and people from diverse ethnic backgrounds around the country.

According to Hu Shaojie, associate director of the Ethnic Affairs Commission of Ningxia, in addition to its many ethnic groups, the region features a large number of people who hold religious beliefs. Efforts to promote ethnic solidarity, therefore, are of great importance, he said.

He Fang, a community worker, said the Furong community holds a neighborhood festival each year to enhance people-to-people communication.

"During the festival, a variety of activities are offered. For example, they exchange fans symbolizing good-neighborliness as a way to open the door to strangers in the community," she said.

Residents get familiar with each other by attending lessons for hulusi and erhu - a stringed musical instrument - taking part in basketball matches or competing in singing contests, He noted.

"All the residents, regardless of ethnic background, are encouraged to join in the activities," He said, adding that the neighborhood festival is a platform on which people can meet and get to know one another.

Resident Pu Chuanyong said: "All of my family members have participated in the festival over the past 10 years. Despite having busy daily lives, we can gather together during the festival to do something interesting. That is much happier for us than just staying at home on our own."

A group of volunteers from different ethnic groups called the Sunshine Charity Association has also been established. The group lends a hand to those in need in the community.

"We once visited an old couple who had just lost their only son. Group members helped them clean their house and chatted with them. We tried our best to comfort them," said Yu Li, a member of the group.

Bonds between people from different ethnic groups has been built, she said.

Hu, the ethnic affairs commissioner, said: "This year, people in this community celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival and Eid al-Fitr on the same day. People enjoyed the shared festival very much by cooking together, despite the differences in their customs. The point is that we respect each other."

"Han people here were thoughtful enough to help Hui residents bring their cooking utensils to the kitchen in case they should feel uncomfortable using those of Han people. And the Hui people were grateful for this," Hu added.

The efforts have paid off. In 2015, the Furong community was awarded the title of "Demonstration Community of National Solidarity and Progress" by the government.

"Living in this atmosphere, we never judge each other by ethnic group. We are all ordinary people in each other's eyes, and we get on really well," resident Yu said.

Many other communities in Ningxia have followed suit and created neighborhood festivals.

The regional government also promotes the importance of ethnic solidarity through policymaking, child education and textbook compilation.

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