By Xinhua Writer Li Laifang
HOHHOT, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The 70th anniversary of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is an opportunity to showcase the success of regional ethnic autonomy.
Achievements in the north China region, ranging from infrastructure and education to living conditions and ethnic solidarity, provide strong arguments for the successful practice of the system.
Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was founded on May 1, 1947, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and ahead of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
It was the first of the country's five provincial-level autonomous regions, the others being Xinjiang, Guangxi, Ningxia and Tibet.
Though Han are the majority ethnic group in China, 55 ethnic minority groups account for 8.5 percent of the population, with autonomous ethnic regions covering 64 percent of the country.
Regional ethnic autonomy ensures the rights of ethnic minorities in political, economic, cultural and social fields.
In Inner Mongolia, ethnic minorities make up 20 percent of the region's population of 25 million, with 4.6 million ethnic Mongolians. While ethnic minorities make up only a fifth of the population, they occupy a third of government positions, giving some steel to the notion of autonomy.
The rights of autonomous regions have been underpinned by specific regulations at different levels ensuring that the identity of minorities is not lost during education and that cultural heritage is protected along with the environment which bred such diversity in the first place.
Over the last few decades, ethnic groups in Inner Mongolia have made substantial progress in living standards, partly due to financial support from central government and the help of more developed provinces. Diversity has been protected, bilingual education preserved and ethnic solidarity maintained. Common prosperity is the common goal of all ethnic groups.
The Chinese model for ethnic autonomy guarantees the human rights of minorities, maintains stability and brings growth to the regions that need it most.
All too often, the West exhibits double standards on such issues, condemning China's ethnic policies while turning a blind eye to their own human rights violations and rising ethnic issues. Racism and ethnic conflict have undermined political and social stability in a number of countries around the world while China stands like a rock.
Over 70 years, China has set the standard in ethnic affairs and common development.
Rather than listening to Westerners, commentators would do better to actually look at ethnic minorities in Inner Mongolia -- the music lovers, the horse riders, oral historians -- and see that China is not only committed to regional ethnic autonomy, but determined to uphold and improve it.