Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China
China effectively guarantees ethnic minority rights in administering state affairs. All 55 ethnic minority groups have deputies at the NPC and members in the CPPCC National Committee. The 13th NPC has 438 deputies from ethnic minority groups, accounting for 14.7 percent of the total number of deputies. In recent years, among the candidates passing the national civil service admission examination, ethnic minority candidates made up more than 13 percent, higher than the ethnic minority population ratio in the country (8.49 percent). The ethnic autonomous areas enjoy the right of autonomy in a wide range of fields as prescribed by law: politics, economy, education, science and technology, culture and health. In addition to the powers assigned to local authorities, the people's congresses of ethnic autonomous areas also have the power to enact regulations on the exercise of autonomy and other separate regulations in the light of the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the ethnic group or ethnic groups in the areas concerned.
The standing committees of all the people's congresses in the 155 ethnic autonomous areas have members of ethnic groups exercising regional autonomy acting as director or deputy director. The chairpersons of autonomous regions, governors of autonomous prefectures, and heads of autonomous counties are all citizens from the ethnic groups exercising regional autonomy of the said areas.
The ethnic minorities and ethnic minority areas have leapfrogged in social and economic development. Over the last 70 years, the state has treated the social and economic development of ethnic minorities and ethnic minority areas as an important element of national development. Through a series of strategic measures such as large-scale development of western China, actions to enrich border areas and their residents, efforts to develop smaller ethnic groups, efforts to preserve and promote ethnic minority style villages and towns, paired-up assistance, and special planning for ethnic minority undertakings, the Chinese government has increased its investment in the fight against poverty in ethnic minority areas, which has given a significant boost to local social and economic development. The total GDP of the five autonomous regions of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Tibet, Ningxia and Xinjiang, and the three provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Qinghai where there are a large number of ethnic minorities reached RMB9.06 trillion in 2018, an increase of 7.2 percent over 2017, which was 0.6 percentage point higher than the national average. The impoverished population in these regions dropped to 6.03 million, with the incidence of poverty reduced to 4 percent. Infrastructure, public services, and living conditions in ethnic minority areas are seeing rapid progress.