False change of ethnic status may lead to punishment

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-2 23:58:01

The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council on Tuesday issued a draft regulation, aiming to solicit public opinion, which if brought into force would lead to people that fraudulently attempt to change their ethnic status facing punishment.

According to the draft, which was jointly written by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission and the Ministry of Public Security, local ethnic affairs departments should deny the applications of individuals who provide false materials or tamper with documents in order to change their ethnic status. Public security departments should also revoke their ethnic minority status, said the draft.

"Many people change their ethnic status to advance their personal interests," Xiong Kunxin, an ethnic studies professor at the Minzu University of China, told the Global Times.

"Some students seek ethnic minority status to obtain extra points in the national college entrance examinations. Some officials do it to pursue promotion while some people make the change to seek employment, as ethnic minorities enjoy many preferential policies," added Xiong.

He stressed that effectively implementing these draft regulations would be difficult.

The draft also stated that any rights and benefits that individuals enjoyed after changing their ethnic status fraudulently should be withdrawn.

If the regulations were enacted, people would face punishment if their attempt to change their official ethnic status violated administrative regulations or constituted a criminal offense. 

Citizens under 20 years old may apply to change their ethnic status only once, under certain conditions.

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