Assimilationist Ideology and Minority Language Rights: The Case of Manchu Language Endangerment and Revitalization

Chuqiao Zhao


This study investigates the influence of assimilationist ideology and policies on the surprisingly severe Manchu language endangerment via a social-historical analysis. Building on an examination of two language policy models and four historical stages of minority language education since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, this study highlights the importance of viewing Manchu language as minority language speakers’ necessary human rights. In order to emphasize human agency considerations, this study also argues for the promising involvement of local educators and communities in planning for Manchu language revitalization. Suggestions for ideological shifts and implementational concerns are provided to address various sociopolitical and economic constraints, and to empower Manchus to contest the historical injustice Manchus have experienced by actively protecting their language rights and resources.

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