How China has moved from celebrating ethnic diversity to curbing it | Thomas S. Murany

CMass detention by chicks of Uighur Muslims, the largest religious and ethnic group since World War II, is not an inevitable or predictable result of Chinese Communist Party policy towards ethnic minorities. I have been studying Chinese ethnicity for the past 20 years. Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Through the prism of history, one thing becomes clear: this is not what was “anticipated” to happen.

In the early 1950s, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) maintained a revolutionary victory with its fingernails. The post-war economy was in turmoil, and the outbreak of the Korean War brought nuclear hegemony to its gateway in the form of the United States. It’s not the moment most administrations choose to expand their to-do list. However, the Chinese Communist Party has promised to officially recognize more ethnic minorities than any other Chinese government in history. Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang generously accepted the official existence of five groups in the 1930s and 1940s, but Communists recognized a total of 55 (and the majority of the Han Chinese), many of whom had a population of less than 10,000. Met.

Amazing time and capital was spent celebrating and strengthening these groups. Perhaps the largest social research in human history has sent thousands of researchers to the minority community and packed their reports into the library. Linguists have created a writing system for minorities they do not yet have. The scale of investment in groups designated as “minorities” by the People’s Republic of China is staggering.

Ironically, the Chinese Communist Party does not believe that “ethnic identity” really exists. Not in the long run. The Marxist-Leninist party argues that class is (or at least was) the only fundamental aspect of human identity. Other collective identities such as nationality, religion, and ethnicity are long-lasting, but ultimately temporary fiction, an economic pyramid to distract the poor from seeking companionship with fellow proletarians. Built by people at the top of.

Why does the party invest in something that it doesn’t think exists? Neutralize it.

Other countries have used denialism as a tactic to combat the perceived threat of internal ethnic diversity, but by ignoring as few or no minorities as possible, their peculiarities and inseparability. But the Chinese Communist Party’s game plan was against it. Recognize ethnic diversity independently. Leading it to extinction.

By accepting so many ethnic identities, the goal was to anticipate the threat of local nationalism. To ensure that ethnic minorities in the country never aspire to self-determination or the nation-state. After all, if the state recognizes and defends minority groups, what is the justification for everyone to leave and form their own political entity?

A slow-acting process of collapse should unfold, with fewer burning pots than a laid-back slow cooker. Identity, once important enough to declare independence, would have become less important in everyday life, even if it died.The goal was technical Absent Assimilator. 100 years from now, 200 years or 500 years, there should still be Tibetans, Uighurs, Miao people and so on. But these monicas are not important except for festive occasions.

This plan was very effective. For ethnic minorities such as Manchu and Zhuang, it is not uncommon for individuals to speak only perfect Mandarin. Meanwhile, Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guizhou, once the most bloody places of racial violence in the history of the world, are “colorful” of diverse cultures ready to welcome tourists seeking authenticity. It has turned into a “harmonious” land.

This plan is neither benign nor non-violent. Let’s be clear. Occupation and repression of Tibet in 1951 1958 Amdo Rebellion, And many other episodes show the bloody degree that the nation will go to leave and maintain control. In addition, during the Cultural Revolution of 1966, Mohsawa Eastern fanatics polluted mosques, destroyed Tibetan temples, and attacked people in national costumes, traces of the “old China” that attempted to destroy them. Violence has spread.

However, although these moments were violent, they were temporary and short-lived. Each time, the state returned to its previous playbook of celebrations and incapacity.

what happened? How did mass detention, systematic destruction of mosques, and imprisonment to show signs of Muslim religion become a national policy in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region? There are three main reasons: the growing inequality, the power unleashed by China’s capitalist experiments, and the rise of ethnic scapegoats, boosted by the outbreak of Han Chinese resentment.

The Chinese Communist Party’s national political game program has always relied on narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor, rather than widening it. Among the majority of Han Chinese, many basic aspects of the “Chinese Dream” are out of reach. For example, even graduates of top universities are resentful and intolerant because they are gathered in small apartments on the outskirts of cities where they can’t afford to live. Increased has. It’s not uncommon to find people online who are aiming for affirmative action policies and minority celebrations. The party has long cracked down on Han chauvinism, or the “xenophobia” that still calls it, but the magnitude of this angry Han Chinese fatigue exceeds what Beijing has planned so far. There is.

Meanwhile, when the minority region lags behind the coastal state of Han and lucrative local jobs go to Han’s internal immigrants, a small subset is always present and finds a way to return to the instability of ethnic identity. : Separatism, self-determination, transnationalism, and others that keep party members at night. Even those without separatist ambitions (the majority of the minority) have transformed their ethnic identities into commodities. It is the product that is their only “cash crop” in some areas. Capitalism has made ethnic identity more unstable and more resistant to the expected collapse of the party.

This is a forest fuel collected during many years of drought that ignited in the 21st century. 2009 protests turned into riots on September 11, 2009 Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, And 2014 Kunming Railway Station attack: These events justified Beijing’s brutal crackdown on Muslim Uighurs in the name of the “war on terrorism.” They served the party for half a century, and caused a weakening, perhaps abandonment, of the national policy it spent building property.

Will things get back as before? It’s suspicious. The face of CCP in national politics seems to be fused with other powerful forces. China’s trillion-dollar infrastructure gambling (“One Belt, One Road” initiative) goes straight through the northwestern part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Climate change migrants will need more space to go when seawater begins to fill the populous Pearl River Delta, among other regions.Meanwhile, the “one country, two systems” approach to Hong Kong is virtually dead, and China Looks creepy close To think about a military invasion of Taiwan. If the party abandons the “China’s 56 nationalities” model, it will be another long-standing policy that has already been dumped on a drastic list.

Again, the situation in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was not “assumed”. It may bring the end of China’s ethnic diversity policy. The current outlook seems to be bleak when it comes to what can replace them.

How China has moved from celebrating ethnic diversity to curbing it | Thomas S. Murany

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