The “Jieqin” Campaign:
Ethnic Integration, Surveillance, and Grassroots Governance

This section introduces Chinese academic works supporting the “Pair Up and Become Family” campaign in Xinjiang. These works are comprised of Master’s theses supervised by professors from renowned universities in Xinjiang (e.g., Shihezi University), journal articles by faculty members from various universities and colleges, and government personnel at the Ethnic Affairs Commission or the Standing Committee of the Regional People’s Congress in Xinjiang. The articles are archived below.

Click here for access to this collection of scholarship.

Figure 1: In Ürümqi, a Han official is living with his Uyghur ‘relatives’ and encouraged them to attend flag-raising ceremonies (【访惠聚】结亲周 亲人更亲 感情更浓).

The Origin

Jieqin (结亲), also known as Minzu Tuanjie Yijiaqin (民族团结一家亲), refers to the idea that people from different ethnic groups should be united as a family, and was originally mentioned by President Xi Jinping on April 27th, 2014 when he was visiting a district in Kashgar, XUAR (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) (Xinhua Net, 2014). Later, on October 17th, 2016, the current Party Secretary of Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, launched the Jieqin campaign (Yao and Zhang, 2016). In the meeting, Chen emphasized that the campaign aimed to implement the “spirit” of Xi’s speeches. Following Chen’s directive, local governments at all levels soon organized “mobilization meetings” (动员大会) to implement the policies.

The Incentives

The regional government established a reward and punishment system to ensure that various levels of government implemented the policies. In 2016, Chen Quanguo emphasized that individuals and work units that excel in the Jieqin activities would receive official praise and promotion. In Ürümqi, every year the state selects and awards ‘outstanding’ units and individuals with excellent performances in the Jieqin activities (Wang, 2019). In terms of punishment, Shihezi government implemented the mechanisms of “leader accountability” (领导责任制) and “evaluation system” (考评制) (Chang, 2020). All governmental departments at all levels established Jieqin Administrative Offices to examine and supervise Jieqin activities in their own departments and subordinate units. All cadres were expected to achieve “four-have-requirements” (四有要求), which included “heart-to-heart cards” (连心卡), group photos, records of visiting activities, and writings on experience and feelings (心得体会) (Sheng & Yanitakqiao, 2017) (see the Cadre Blogs for more information). All governmental units receive evaluation results of the Jieqin activities, which are roughly ranked into three levels: outstanding, pass, and fail. These results are part of the overall performance evaluation of all officials, and can undermine or benefit their careers (Chang, 2020).

Figure 2: A XUAR Women’s Federation official is teaching non-Han women how to cook Han Chinese foods that are said to be ‘healthier’ at one of the Jieqin activities (结亲周|学起来 走起来 快乐的生活“靓”起来).

Pair Up and Become Family

Under this program, in every work unit (including governmental and non-governmental organizations), Han Chinese civil servants are required to pair up with Uyghur or Kazakh families as ‘relatives’ (亲戚). Chen specifically emphasizes four prefectures (Kashgar, Khotan, Kizilsu, and Aksu) in southern XUAR (南疆四地州) that are mainly inhabited by Uyghurs and Kirgizs as the “key areas” (Yao and Zhang, 2016). Apart from “emphasized” prefectures, the program also prioritizes “nine populations” (九类人群): poor families, four retired people (retired cadres, retired communists, retired models, and veterans), religious people, people who need “thought work” (思想工作), ), family members of “focus” people (重点人员) who had been released from detainment camps, the floating population (流动人口), uncultured groups (文化程度不高人群), and special people (特殊群体) (Chang, 2020; Sheng & Yanitakqiao, 2017). Moreover, the program requires “three full coverages” (三个全覆盖), which means that government cadres, low income households, and the “focus” population must be all involved in Jieqin activities (Xu, 2018). The local governments also organize “pair-up ceremonies” (结亲仪式) in which cadres and civilians sign“heart-to-heart cards” (连心卡) and take “family photos” (全家福) to become ‘relatives’ (Chang, 2020). By the end of 2017, all cadres in XUAR (approximately one million cadres) had been paired up with 1.5 million families (Xu, 2018).

Figure 3: Cadres disseminate the Party’s policies to a Uyghur family (【民族团结】开展结亲活动 心更近情更浓).

“Four Together Four Gifts” (四同四送 si tong si song)

This program requires all governmental cadres to visit their paired-up families six times a year (every two months and five days per visit). During their visit, cadres must carry out si tong (四同), which includes “living together, eating together, learning together, and working together” (同吃、同住、同学习、同劳动). They have to pay 20-50 Chinese yuan per day to the ‘relatives’ for accommodations and meals (Chang, 2020). Besides visiting, cadres also have to contact their ‘relatives’ on a daily basis. The cadres need to communicate often with the ‘relatives’ via WeChat and their phones to monitor their thoughts, religious faith, and working/living conditions (Wang, 2019). Apart from si tong, the cadres also need to practice si song (四送), which includes “bringing law, bringing policy, bringing civilization, bringing warmth” (送法律、送政策、送文明、送温暖) (Also see the Four Togethers Three Gifts Handbook). Regarding the “bringing of law and policy”, the cadres are also required to achieve “eight clarifications” (八个讲清楚) (Chang, 2020):

Clarify that the Party’s Central Committee led by Xi Jinping shows loving care for the people of all ethnicities in the XUAR;

Clarify all Party’s policies that benefit the people;

Clarify ethnic and religious laws and policies enacted by the Party;

Clarify the “Xinjiang Aid” provinces’ generous aid to the XUAR people of all ethnicities;

Clarify the selfless contributions made by the XUAR army and armed police forces to the security and stability of the XUAR;

Clarify the harmful consequences of religious extremism and terrorism;

Clarify the important meanings of that all ethnicities in the XUAR are united and prospering together;

Clarify the positive change of the XUAR.

In terms of the “bringing civilization,” the cadres were required to teach local Uyghur people Mandarin and Chinese cultures (Wang, 2019). “Bringing warmth” (送温暖) means that the cadres should help the Uyghur families in five aspects: thoughts, policies, items, finances, and techniques (五帮扶) to improve their living conditions (Xu, 2018).

Figure 4: During a Jieqin visit, a Han official is teaching Kazakh children Mandarin (结亲,我只服你:和亲戚把日子过成一首诗).

Social Activities (联谊)

The Party in all units (各单位党组织) is required to organize diverse social activities (联谊) each month to substantiate ethnic integration and political propaganda (Cha, 2017; Chang, 2020). The activities include “collective learning” on the days of flag-raising ceremony (升旗日集体学习), lectures of “minzu knowledge” (民族知识讲座), topic forums (主题座谈会), watching feature films (观看专题片), and diverse forms of arts and physical activities (Chang, 2020; Wang, 2019). Through these activities, the Jieqin work propagates the spirit of the 19th National Congress (十九大精神), the minzu theories and religious policies of the Party, policies that benefit the people, the harm of “Three Forces,” and encouraging people to make a “Vow of Loyalty [to the party]” (发声亮剑), which requires participants to make an oath to support the Party and destroy the “three forces” and “two-faced people” (Chang, 2020). Other activities include talent shows, celebrating Chinese traditional festivals, enjoying each other’s foods, learning each other’s dances, and physical activities (Xu, 2018).

Chinese Discourse behind Jieqin

Chinese governments and scholars have created four discourses to justify Jieqin activities: ethnic integration, defending the line of thought, anti-poverty war, and grassroots governance.

Ethnic Integration

According to Chinese academics, Jieqin activities will promote ethnic interactions, communications, and integrations (交往,交流,交融) (Yao and Zhang, 2016). Jieqin activities aim to create “dynamically embedded inter-ethnic communities” (多民族互嵌型社区) and occasions for more interethnic interactions. By facilitating ethnic groups to physically embed into each other’s space (物理空间上的互嵌), Jieqin aims to achieve “spiritual integration” (精神空间上的交融), which includes knowing each other, understanding each other, and finally integrating into each other (相识,相知,相融) like a family (Cao & Zhu, 2020).

Defend the Line of Thoughts

Another important role Jieqin plays is to ‘protect’ people from the “Three Forces.” The Chinese authorities claim that the “Three Forces” are responsible for all violent events in XUAR. Based on this assumption, Jieqin cadres are required to monitor people’s thoughts and propagate images of a ‘loving and caring’ Party and the ‘evil’ “Three Forces” (Xu, 2018).

Grassroots Governance

Jieqin can also strengthen the grassroots governance in three aspects: working style and capacity, Party-people relationship (党群关系), and grassroots work (Jiang, 2020). During the Jieqin activities, cadres can experience ‘relatives’’ lives first-hand and work based on practical needs. In this way, cadres can form a down-to-earth working style (脚踏实地的工作作风) and capacities to conduct “mass work” (群众工作) (Yang & Fu, 2019). Jieqin can also let the people feel the ‘loving care’ of the Party and governments, thus improving the relationship between the Party and the people (Jiang, 2020). Last but not the least, Jieqin is part of “mass work” that aims to implement Party’s policies into the grassroots communities (Jiang, 2020).

Anti-Poverty War (脱贫攻坚战)

Anti-Poverty War is a ruling policy that aims to achieve a poverty-free China within five years from 2015 to 2020. As part of Anti-Poverty War, Jieqin requires cadres to live with poor families and help improve their living conditions, which accords with “precise support for the poor” (精准扶贫) (Xu, 2018). The cadres are required to “make a support plan” (定帮扶计划) and help solve the living difficulties of their ‘relatives,’ such as providing living necessities, volunteering in farms and pastures, and helping apply for basic living allowance (Chang, 2020).


Cao, S.L., & Zhu, Y.L. (2020). “The Practices and Development of Ethnic Embedded Communities in Xinjiang – Take “Fanghuiju” in Rural XUAR as an Example.” Journal of Xinjiang University (Philosophy, Humanities & Social Science 48(3), 78-85. [曹生龙、朱远来. (2020). 论新疆民族互嵌型社区的实践与发展——以“访惠聚”工作中的新疆农村社会为例. 新疆大学学报(哲学·人文社会科学版), 48(3), 78-85].

Cha, X.J. (2017). “Carefully Implement the Spirit of President Xi Jinping’s Lectures and Further Achieve Ethnic Unity in Xinjiang.” Tribune of Social Sciences in XUAR 2, 12-16. [查向军. (2017). 认真贯彻落实习近平总书记重要讲话精神进一步做好新疆民族团结工作. 新疆社科论坛, 2, 12-16].

Chang, Y.Y. (2020). “A Grassroots Practice Study of “Meizu Tuanjie Yijiaqin” Activities in XUAR——A Case Study of the S Village in Shihezi.” Shihezi: Shihezi University. (Master’s thesis) [常烟烟. (2020). 新疆“民族团结一家亲”活动基层实践研究——以石河子镇 S 村为例. 石河子: 石河子大学. 硕士论文].

Huang, R. (April 28th, 2014). “Xi Jinping Praised Minzu Soldiers: This Is ‘Minzu Tuanjie Yijiaqin.'” Xinhua Net. [黄锐. (2014年4月28日).习近平称赞民族连官兵: “真是民族团结一家亲.” 新华网.]

Jiang, H.F. (2020). “The Current Effect of ‘Minzu Tuanjie Yijiaqin’ in XUAR – a Viewpoint of People Work.” Tribune of Social Sciences in Xinjiang 2, 31-38. [江红芳. (2020). 新疆开展“民族团结一家亲”活动阶段性成效探析———以群众工作为视角. 新疆社科论坛, 2, 31-38].

Shen, L., & Yanitakqiao, T. (2017). “Research on Practical Ways of Ethnic Unity – Take ‘Minzu Tuanjie Yijiaqin’ as an Example.” Minzu Tribune 5, 19-22. [沈蕾、塔来提·牙泥塔克桥 (2017). 民族团结实践路径研究——以“民族团结一家亲”活动为例. 民族论坛, 5, 19-22].

Wang, Y.X.N. (2019). “A Practical Study on the ‘Minzu Tuanjie Yijiaqin’ Activities in XUAR.” Ürümqi: Xinjiang Normal University. (Master’s thesis) [王英喜女. (2019). 民族团结一家亲活动在新疆的实践研究. 乌鲁木齐: 新疆师范大学. 硕士论文].

Xu, J.L. (2018). “A Study on Practicing ‘Minzu Tuanjie Yijiaqin’ Activities in XUAR.” Ürümqi: Xinjiang University. (Master’s thesis) [许佳丽. (2018). 新疆开展“民族团结一家亲”活动的实践探析. 乌鲁木齐: 新疆大学. 硕士论文].

Yang, H.D., & Fu, T.H. (2019). “Organs of the NPC Standing Committee Have Achieved Well in ‘Minzu Tuanjie Yijiaqin.'” Xinjiang Renda, 41-47. [杨虎德、付探花. (2019). 自治区人大常委会机关“民族团结一家亲”活动成效显著. 新疆人大, 41-47].

Yao, D., & Zhang, L. (October 17th, 2016). “The ‘Minzu Tuanjie Yijiaqin’ Campaign Was Held in the XUAR, Chen Quanguo Gave a Speech.” The News Net of the Chinese Communist Party. [姚彤、张雷. 新疆召开“民族团结一家亲”活动动员大会, 陈全国讲话. 中国共产党新闻网].