HONG KONG – The Chinese government has unveiled plans to make at least one film for each of its 55 ethnic minority groups.

The scheme was unveiled Sunday by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, which said that more than 20 of the country’s ethnic groups had never been properly represented on screen.
The official Xinhua news service said that the first four films would represent the Mongol, Manchu, Dong and Qiang groups.

China has long produced propaganda films through its state-controlled studios, though the films’ popularity has waned in recent years.

Two that bucked the downtrend were 2009 historical epic “The Founding of a Republic” and 2011 “The Great Revival” (aka “The Founding of a Party,” pictured), both of which were co-directed by Huang Jianxin and Han Sanping and produced by China Film Group. Both employed a glitzy array of stars that helped the films achieve genuine mass market appeal.

China is these days dominated by the Han Chinese group and central government promotes the use of Putonghua (or ‘Common Tongue’), but the massive country also spans numerous minorities and minority languages.