THE PROBLEM OF CONSERVATION OF THE CANTONESE LANGUAGE IN THE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION OF SOUTHERN PROVINCES OF CHINA
The article is devoted to the problem of the possibility of obtaining education in the native language by the native-speakers of the Cantonese dialect, which make up the majority of the population of the southern provinces of the People's Republic of China (Guangdong and Hong Kong) and is the second largest number of speakers (about 100 million people) in modern China. The Chinese constitution guarantees equal access to the education of all ethnic and linguistic groups, nevertheless the national education system is standardized, and the study of minority languages and various ethno-linguistic disciplines are consistently removed from it. Throughout modern history, the Chinese government has been pursuing a course to popularize the state language ("putonghua") and to drive out Cantonese from the education system of the southern provinces. Unlike the regions where ethnic minorities live in autonomous areas of the PRC and where the right of an ethnic group to receive education in their native language and to use it freely is established at the legislative level, residents of Guangdong province are more likely to face language discrimination. The authors examine this problem in detail from a historical and legal point of view, give an assessment of the situation of the Cantonese language in the education system at all levels, and raise the topic of loss of its ethnic and cultural identity by the South Chinese provinces. The article concludes that changing the state language policy and giving Cantonese an equal status along with the state language in Guangdong province will promote the development of intercultural dialogue in Chinese society and will guarantee both the reduction of separatist sentiments among the population of the region and the successful civil development of China.