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Regional Autonomy for Ethnic Minorities in China
Updated: 2005-02-28 13:11

The Information Office of China's State Council on Monday, February 28, 2005 issued a white paper titled Regional Autonomy for Ethnic Minorities in China. The following is the fulltext of the document:

Regional Autonomy for Ethnic Minorities in China

Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

February 2005, Beijing


The People's Republic of China is a united multi-ethnic country.So far, 56 ethnic groups have been identified and recognized by the central government. The population of various ethnic groups differs greatly. While the Han ethnic group has the largest population, that of the other 55 ethnic groups is relatively small,so they are customarily referred to as "ethnic minorities." According to the fifth national census, conducted in 2000, the population of all the 55 ethnic minority groups totaled 104.49 million, accounting for 8.41 percent of the total population of China. People of all ethnic groups in China have made important contributions to the creation of a unified multi-ethnic country and the creation of the time-honored Chinese civilization, as wellas Chinese historical progress.

Regional autonomy for ethnic minorities in China means that, under the unified leadership of the state, regional autonomy is practiced in areas where people of ethnic minorities live in compact communities. In these areas, organs of self-government areestablished for the exercise of autonomy. The implementation of this policy is critical to enhancing the relationship of equality,unity and mutual assistance among different ethnic groups, to upholding national unification, and to accelerating the development of places where regional autonomy is practiced and promoting their progress.

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