Monday, August 19, 2019

Thailand should learn from China’s push to educate Muslims 

Feb 05. 2019
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Re: “Indonesia silent too long over China’s Muslim camps”, Opinion, February 4.

I refer to the article by Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch, insisting that Indonesia intervene in the internal affairs of China over its handling of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang. May I present some pertinent facts:

I visited Xinjiang few years ago and saw that the Uighur working in my hotel spoke Uighur with their friends but Mandarin with hotel guests. When my wife pointed out the government-built primary school, which looks like a mini-Disneyland, I realised why all young Uighur can speak the same language as billions of other Chinese.

In Thailand, we have allowed Muslims in the South to teach religion more than the Thai language (very few of them can speak Thai). This leads to religious piety, helps foster fanaticism, and spawns extremism and violence. 

There are 56 ethnic groups in China. Ethnic minorities have equal or better privileges than the majority Han who number more than one billion. Minorities, for example, can have more than one child, when the Han cannot. Even the renowned film producer Zhang Yi Mou, who also designed the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, was fined millions of yuan for having an extra child. The ethnic minorities also have their own quotas to study in university without having to compete with Han. But when the minorities make trouble, the government uses iron rule to clamp down on them. This policy is very effective in keeping order and peace for more than one billion Chinese – something that is missing in both Thailand and the Western world.

Prasan Stianrapapongs


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