BEIJING, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- A senior Chinese official on Thursday defended the country's ethnic policy, saying that China has made great efforts to prevent cultural assimilation.
"The protection of ethnic culture is stipulated in China's Constitution, laws and regulations," said Tondrub Wangden, vice director of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission.
China has 56 ethnic groups. The Han nationality accounts for 90 percent of its total population. China has five autonomous regions for ethnic groups.
Tondrub said China's ethnic groups had the legal right to use and develop their own languages, freedom to keep or reform their traditions and freedom in faith.
Official statistics showed that China has set up over 9,000 cultural institutions in its autonomous regions, including 513 artistic art troupes, 566 libraries, 163 museums, 81 public art galleries, 642 cultural palaces and 6,894 cultural centers.
Tondrub cited a 20-day nationwide ethnic art festival currently underway, saying: "The performances will demonstrate whether thereis cultural assimilation in China or not."
Over 4,500 ethnic artists have joined the art festival, which opened on Sept. 5.
The official said the Chinese government has also made great efforts to help promote the popularization and development of ethnic languages.
China had 32 publishing houses producing books in 20 ethnic languages. Over 50 million books in ethnic languages were published each year.
In addition, 99 newspapers and 223 periodicals were issued in 10 ethnic languages.
Tondrub said with the support of central government, the radio and TV broadcasting industries in ethnic minority areas, especially the border regions of west China, had also achieved great progress.
The government had set up 73 radio and 90 television stations in autonomous regions with more than 200 programs in ethnic languages. Enditem