chapter  12
18 Pages

Minority language rights and education in China: the relevance of human rights law and substantive equality

Many multicultural societies struggle to achieve a workable dynamic that

encourages cultural and linguistic diversity as well as social integration while

avoiding the imposition of a majority culture on minority communities against

their will. A key challenge involves formulating laws and policies which allow

for full participation, prevent the assimilation of groups which are characterized

by difference, and move toward the accommodation and celebration of that dif-

ference. In reality, an appropriate balance is often difficult to realize. As Dunbar

notes, while ‘‘an integrationist policy toward minorities is not necessarily incon-

sistent with cultural and linguistic plurality . . . the borderline between integra-

tionist and assimilationist policies is a murky one at best’’ (2001, p. 104).