English in China: Convergence and divergence in policy and practice

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


This paper starts with an overview of the sociolinguistic context and a series of policy documents concerning English language education promulgated recently in China. It moves on to an analysis of disparities in English language education policies practised in different regions, differences between urban and rural areas, between social classes and between linguistic minority and majority groups. The juxtaposition aims to reveal what different regions and social and ethnic groups in China have in common and how divergent they can be in terms of local policies and practices in English language provision. Also discussed in the paper are issues such as tensions between the spread of English and Chinese language education, and between mother tongue, Chinese and English language education in the case of minority groups, inequality in education and other linguistic, political and cultural dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-102
Number of pages18
JournalAILA Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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