Cultural and Political Disciplining inside China’s Dislocated Minority Schooling System

James Leibold and Timothy Grose, “Cultural and Political Disciplining inside China’s Dislocated Minority Schooling System,” Asian Studies Review 43, 7 January 2019: 16–35


This article discusses the teacher-student dynamics and the manner in which students are disciplined in China’s minority schooling system that has been in place since 1985, which houses Tibetans, Uyghurs, and other visible minorities in China.


More than 200,000 ethnic minority students have passed through China’s dislocated minority schooling system since 1985. This program deracinates adolescent Tibetan, Uyghur and other chiefly minority students from their families and local communities and educates them in Putonghua in boarding schools located in Han ethnic majority cities in central and coastal China. Drawing on detailed rules and regulations from more than a dozen of these schools, this article interrogates the disciplinary mechanisms and dynamics at play in these schools. It highlights how dislocated schooling seeks to re-socialise minority students in the values, ethics and norms of mainstream Han Chinese society, with the goal of creating an ethno-comprador elite to serve as proxies for Han/CCP power while simultaneously functioning as exemplars for those Uyghurs and Tibetans who have yet to fully embrace majority norms.

Keywords: China, Disciplinary Power, Dislocated Minority Schooling, Education, Ethnicity, Ethnic Minority Education, Neidiban, Tibetans, Uyghurs