The Communist Party of Every Last Inch of China

Crackdowns in places like Inner Mongolia are easier to understand when you understand the difference between threats to the state and threats to the regime.

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In July, Chinese authorities announced a three-year plan to phase out Mongolian-language instruction for grade schoolers in the nominally autonomous northern region of Inner Mongolia. Beijing had imposed similar changes on ethnic Uighurs and Tibetans in 2017 and 2018 as part of its draconian forced assimilation campaigns. As a result, many of the 6 million or so ethnic Mongolians living in the province were understandably unnerved, seeing the move not as a well-intentioned policy aimed at promoting national unity and development, but rather as a form of cultural genocide – and a precursor of worse to come. When the fall school term began on Monday, and students cracked open their new state-compiled textbooks to find them written in Mandarin, the result was what qualifies as all hell breaking loose in stability-obsessed modern China. Tens of thousands of people reportedly took to the streets throughout the province. Students and teachers walked out of schools – or, more accurately in some cases, climbed and pushed their way out after authorities tried to lock them in. Videos posted on social media appeared to show several scuffles with police. Beijing responded Thursday by doubling down on its new policies and launching a fresh campaign […]

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Phillip Orchard
Phillip Orchard is an analyst at Geopolitical Futures. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Orchard spent nearly six years at Stratfor, working as an editor and writing about East Asian geopolitics. He’s spent more than six years abroad, primarily in Southeast Asia and Latin America, where he’s had formative, immersive experiences with the problems arising from mass political upheaval, civil conflict and human migration. Mr. Orchard holds a master’s degree in Security, Law and Diplomacy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, where he focused on energy and national security, Chinese foreign policy, intelligence analysis, and institutional pathologies. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He speaks Spanish and some Thai and Lao.