Xinjiang multilingual tutoring center rejects Western accusation of ‘cultural genocide’

By Liu Xin and Fan Lingzhi in Artux Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/7 18:51:09

A teacher from Maidingjiang's tutorial institute helps a student with a math problem. Photo: Fan Lingzhi/ GT


"There are so many people in China and other countries learning English nowadays. Can this be called genocide of our culture or other countries' cultures?" said Maidingjiang Yilimu, who started a tutorial institute in Artux, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Maidingjiang asked the question in response to some Western media reports that alleged Xinjiang's promotion of residents learning standard Chinese aims to kill their ethnic culture.

Maidingjiang started the tutorial institute in September 2019 together with two friends in Artux, Kizilsu Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang. They now have 13 teachers.

The Global Times reporters visited the tutorial institute on Sunday and saw many students attending an English class. Students of different ethnic groups were reading English sentences by following the teacher.

Slogans counting down to the high school entrance examination were hung on classroom walls. The moments from the tutorial institute were just like that of any other tutorial institute in cities nationwide.

Maidingjiang told the Global Times that they receive about 150 students from primary and middle schools every night after school. Parents want their children to improve on their levels in national standard language and English. They hold that a good understanding of the nation's standard language will improve their performance on other courses.

Students attend English class at Maidingjiang's tutorial institute. Photo: Fan Lingzhi/ GT


Real contribution

Maidingjiang graduated from Kashi Normal College in 2012. However, unlike most of his classmates, he refused to take the qualification exam to be a teacher.

"I was deeply influenced by extremism at that time and thought working for the government was not what a true Muslim should do. That's why I refused to take the exam and this has forever become a regret for me," Maidingjiang said.

Maidingjiang noted that he often watched and downloaded videos containing extremism propaganda and claimed that "a true Muslim should keep distance from heretics."

He refused to get a job after graduation since he believed many positions were not "halal."

"I wasted more than four years doing nothing but staying home," before being admitted to a vocational education and training center in Artux, Maidingjiang said.

"A teacher from my vocational training center one day told us that a true man should make some real contributions to the society. His words made me think about my previous life and I realized how ridiculous I was. I decided to make real contributions to society," he said.

"I began to have a plan during my study in the training center. I found that my classmates in the centers came from different backgrounds and most of them could not speak or write in the nation's standard language. This is a problem when they want to expand their business nationwide or if they want to surf the internet to get more information," Maidingjiang said.

Students do their homework at the tutorial institute. Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT

 His education institute now aims to offer tutoring services for students of primary and middle schools. 

"Many parents send their children here to improve their level of the national standard language," Maidingjiang said, noting that other courses offered by the institute include English and math.

In response to Western media reports that Xinjiang promotes the study of the nation's standard language aims to kill Uygur culture, Maidingjiang said that the accusation is "bullshit."

"As a Chinese, it is our right to learn the nation's standard language. We are also willing to learn it as language is a bridge. The more languages we master, the wider our world will become," Maidingjiang told the Global Times.

"The hope for the people lies in the next generation. Parents are willing to send their children here and they are glad to see their performances of different courses have been greatly improved," Maidingjiang said.

Newspaper headline: Xinjiang tutoring center rejects Western ‘cultural genocide’ claim


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