Officials in Xinjiang are offering incentive packages including yearly payouts to encourage interethnic marriages in the region and to promote “harmonious integration”.
The policy, recently announced in Cherchen county, offers a “big celebratory gift package” for Uyghur-Han couples who should choose to tie the knot, The Guardian reports.
The package includes annual cash payments of 10,000 yuan (£980) for interethnic couples during the first five years of their marriage, as well as housing, healthcare and education subsidies, according to a statement on the [Cherchen] county government’s website.
“Ethnic groups are different only in that we have different languages and different customs, but we have the same blue sky above our heads, the same fertile ground beneath our feet, and the same love in our hearts!” Yasen Nasi’er, deputy secretary of the Qiongkule township Communist party committee, told journalists during the announcement on 25 August. “I believe that intermarriage between ethnic groups is a foundation of Chinese culture, and will strengthen the concrete expression of exchange, association, and mingling of all ethnic groups.”
The couples will also get priority consideration when applying for housing or government jobs, and children of the mixed marriages attending vocational school or college will receive tuition subsidies, according to The New York Times.
The counter director, Yasen Nasi’er, called the marriages “an important step in the harmonious integration and development of all ethnicities,” while some scholars have criticized the policy as being a state-sponsored effort ultimately aiming to assimilate Uyghurs into Han culture.
Previously on Shanghaiist: Officials suggest Xinjiang residents use ‘angry stare’ to fight terror
[Image Credit: remkotanis]