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Ethnicity in China: A Critical Introduction

Ethnicity in China: A Critical Introduction

Xiaowei Zang

ISBN: 978-0-745-69045-2

Jun 2015, Polity

200 pages



On the global stage, China is often seen to be a homogenous nation when, in fact, it is a diverse multi-ethnic society, with 55 minority nationality groups recognized by the government. Scattered across the vast landmass, ethnic minorities in China occupy a precarious place in the state, where the Confucian concept of cultural community plays down ethnicity and encourages integration of minority nationalities into the majority Han-Chinese society.

This insightful book reveals the ethnic diversity underlying the People’s Republic of China and examines how ethnicity intersects with social and political issues through key themes such as ethnic inequality, the preservation and contribution of the rich traditions and customs of minority cultures, and the autonomy of regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang. The author investigates the important role of the state and Beijing’s assimilation stance to show how its nationality policy, driven by Confucian assimilation ideology, has dictated China’s own minority rights regime and influenced its foreign policy towards international minority rights.

This book by a distinguished scholar of ethnicity in China will be essential reading for students and scholars of race and ethnic relations, nationalism and Chinese culture and society.

Preface Acknowledgements
List of Acronyms
1. The People’s Republic of China as a Multi-National Country
2. Ethnic Inequality
3. Minority Cultures
4. Regional Autonomy
5. Intra- and Inter-Group Differences
6. Tibet and Xinjiang
7. China’s Nationality Policy and International Minority Rights

This is an exceptional book on ethnic minorities in the People’s Republic of China. Zang is an outstanding authority on the topic, having already written widely on the societies of the Muslim and other minorities. He has an extraordinarily firm grasp both of the primary and secondary literature and has carried out extensive field work on the minorities. We are very fortunate that he has now produced a book with more general coverage of issues concerning the overall picture of China’s ethnic minorities. This is a major contribution to the literature on an important topic. I recommend it strongly both for specialists and the general reader.
Colin Mackerras, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

I am a long-time admirer of Dr. Zang’s work. He is a fine theorist and researcher with a knack for spotting important problems and utilizing creative methodologies. His writing is clear and crisp, and students will appreciate his latest treatment of a complex and highly significant topic.
William Jankowiak, University of Nevada