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China protects rights of ethnic minorities by law: white paper

(Xinhua)

13:32, October 27, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- China has enacted the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, which protects the legitimate rights and interests of the ethnic minorities by law, says a white paper titled "The Socialist System of Laws with Chinese Characteristics" issued on Thursday.

China has currently 155 ethnic autonomous areas, including five autonomous regions, 30 autonomous prefectures and 120 autonomous counties or banners in accordance to the Constitution and laws, says the white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council.

In addition, there are over 1,100 villages where ethnic minorities live in concentrated communities, the white paper says.

According to the Constitution and the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, ethnic autonomous areas have extensive autonomous power, such as the exclusive right to govern the local affairs of their ethnic groups and other affairs within their respective administrative regions.

Moreover, the people's congresses of ethnic autonomous areas have the power to enact regulations on the exercise of autonomy and separate regulations in the light of the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the ethnic group or groups in the areas concerned, and by law may also make adaptations to the provisions of laws and administrative regulations in the light of the characteristics of the ethnic groups in the areas concerned.

By the end of August 2011, the ethnic autonomous areas had enacted more than 780 regulations on the exercise of autonomy, as well as separate regulations, which are currently in force, the white paper says.

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