Wednesday, September 03, 2014

To temper unrest in Western China, officials offer money for intermarriage...

Officials in the Xinjiang region of western China are offering cash and other incentives to encourage marriages between minorities and Han, the country’s dominant ethnic group, in an effort to soothe growing ethnic violence in the region.

The incentives are part of a new policy in Cherchen County in southern Xinjiang, where violence between ethnic Uighurs — a Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim people — and Han has flared in recent years.

Last week, officials in Cherchen County, known as Qiemo in Mandarin, began offering payments of 10,000 renminbi a year, or $1,600, for five years to newly married couples in which one member is Han and the other is from one of China’s 55 ethnic minorities. Official Chinese news reports this week said the payments were intended to help the couples invest in small businesses and start families.

The couples will also get priority consideration for housing or government jobs, as well as other benefits. Their households will receive as much as $3,200 a year in health care benefits. The children of these mixed marriages will have free education from kindergarten through high school. Children attending vocational schools will receive almost $500 a year in tuition subsidies, and those attending university will get an annual tuition subsidy of $800.

The policy, which was announced on the county’s official website, is similar to initiatives in Tibet. In the announcement, the county director, Yasen Nasi’er, said that interethnic marriages were “an important step in the harmonious integration and development of all ethnicities.” Full story...

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