China and its Minority Population: the History, Policies and Consequences of Ethnic Tension in China Open Access

Eun, DongWon (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/q237hs349?locale=en
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Abstract



ABSTRACT

China is a multi-ethnic country composed of the Han Chinese and fifty-five
different ethnic minorities. The PRC officially recognizes fifty-five ethnic minority
groups within China in addition to the Han majority who occupy the dominant position in
all sectors of society. While China is emerging as a new world leader, it is facing
economic and environment problems, as well as immense ethnic minority problems. The
ethnic minorities in China have various complaints such as inequality and they demand
rights such as freedom of religion, and greater autonomy in the minority areas. The ethnic
tension in China is getting worse, to the point where many minority groups are joining
the separatist movement that threatens independence from China.
The tension between the ethnic minorities and the government is considered as
one of the greatest threats and obstacles that China needs to overcome, in order to achieve
true superpower status in the world. The minority problem is one of China's weaknesses,
and it is thus making finding a solution, a priority. In order to properly handle this
important issue, the Chinese government has been using various methods, such as
creating economic developments in the minority areas and using coercive power.
The central questions of this thesis are as follows:
1) What are the origins of the ethnic tension in the PRC?
2) How does the PRC handle the ethnic tension?
3) How does ethnic tension contribute to the PRC's national and international position?
4) What does the ethnic tension means to the PRC?
This thesis concludes that if China continues with the status quo on its minority
policy, the ethnic tension will never be solved and it will only continue to worsen. There
is a tremendous need to modify China's minority policy and to change the Chinese
government's attitude toward the minorities. When there is true respect and
understanding between all of its citizens, China will be able to become a true unified
nation. China must realize that it cannot achieve the economic development and stable
society that is so desires, without true integration of all of its citizens.


Table of Contents


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………….…1
Chapter One: Historical Background of Ethnic Minorities in China…………….…………...4

A. General Information about Ethnic Minorities in China …………………………………….…..4
B. The History of Ethnic Relation ………………………………………………………………..13
C. Identification of Minority Nationalities ……………………………………………………….20
D. Public Display of the Ethnic Minorities in China ……………………………………………..21

Chapter Two: Origins and Reasons of Ethnic Tension in China………………...…….….….26
A. Historic and Structural Reasons for the Tension ……………………………………………....27
B. International Environment Reasons …………………...…………………....………………....32
C. PRC Policy Reasons ………………………………….….…………………..…….….….…....33

Chapter Three: Different PRC Responses to the Ethnic Tensions and the
Consequences………………………………………………………………………………….…40

A. Geographic Location of the Minority Area …………………………………………….….….40
B. China's Sensitivity about Territorial Integrity …………………………………….……….….41
C. Different PRC Responses ………………………………………………………..…………….43
D. The Effects and Limitations of Different Responses ……………………………………….…50
Chapter Four: Case Studies in Tibet and Xinjiang …………………………………..….…...54
A. Xinjiang Case ………………………………………………………………………………....55
B. Tibet Case ……………………………………………………………………………...…........67
Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………….…77


Bibliography ……………………………………………………………………….…….……...84
Appendix…………………………………………………….……………..…………………….90

1 Administrative division of China ………………………………………………….……………90
2 Proportions of Ethnic Minorities in China's Total Population …………………………….……91
3 Major Natural Resources of China's Minority Areas ……………………..……..………..........91

LIST OF FIGURES

Chart 1: Fixed Assets Investment in the Minority Areas Since 1999 …………………....44
Chart 2: GDP and Fiscal Revenue of the Minority Areas …………………….….………46

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