Chinese authorities in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang have announced a slew of cash incentives for interracial marriages between members of ethnic minority groups and majority Han Chinese, local officials said.
The move immediately drew criticism from overseas exile Uyghur groups, who called it an extension of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s policy of assimilation of the region’s mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uyghur group.
Officials in Xinjiang’s Bayinguoleng Autonomous Mongolian Prefecture are offering annual cash payouts to couples in which one party is Han Chinese and the other a member of a minority ethnic group.
According to the new rules, which came into effect on Aug. 21, mixed-race couples will also enjoy privileged access to housing, medical care, and education for their children, officials said.
But the benefits won’t apply if both parties are from a minority group, according to an official who answered the phone at the prefecture’s Cherchen (in Chinese, Qiemo) county government offices on Friday.
“[One party] must be Han Chinese,” the official said. “It can be Han Chinese with Mongolian, or Han with Uyghur.”
“After they marry, they will receive an annual payout of 10,000 yuan (U.S.$1,630) for five years,” he said.
He said the incentives only apply to those who marry after Aug. 21, however.
He said the government had recently compiled statistics on interracial marriages in the county.
“Right now our statistics show that there are around 57 households,” he said. “These statistics haven’t been published yet.”