Students are returning to school following weeks of fierce demonstrations in Inner Mongolia, after a public manhunt and the threat of parents being fired from their jobs quashed protests against curbs on local-language teaching.
Some of the most widespread mass resistance from ethnic Mongol communities in almost a decade erupted late last month after Beijing moved to use standardised Chinese to teach history, politics and literature in Mongolian-language middle schools.
Tongliao, a city at the eastern end of the resource-rich expanse of grassland, desert and forest that spans much of China’s 2,880-mile border with Mongolia, has been at the centre of the stand-off.
Bu Xiaolin, governor of Inner Mongolia, told teachers on a tour of Tongliao schools last week that adopting the state-written textbooks was a “major political task” that would be beneficial now and into the future.
The policy was formally announced at the end of August, less than a week before the start of term. Mongol parents, teachers and students quickly arranged sit-ins, protests and school boycotts.
Local authorities responded with a propaganda push, a heavy-handed police crackdown and intense pressure on parents to send children back to class.