Beijing, June 5 (ANI): Teaching Mandarin lessons in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is helping the people to fight terrorism, claimed Nur Bekri, chairman of the region.
"Terrorists from neighboring countries mainly target Uygurs that are relatively isolated from mainstream society as they cannot speak Mandarin. They are then tricked into terrorist activities," chinadaily.com.cn quoted Bekri as saying.
Mandarin is now being taught in pre-school and kindergarten to equip children with a second language.
Foreign media, however, has criticized the policy.
"There had been demand for Mandarin language lessons from ethnic minority students who wanted to be able to communicate with other Chinese," Bekri said, adding that students had not been forced to learn the language.
The autonomous region has a population of just over 20 million, with 60 per cent being ethnic minority groups, mostly Uygur and Kazhak.
Bekri said the second language policy was primarily planned to improve the standard of Mandarin among ethnic minority graduates to make them more competitive at the workplace. (ANI)