Ethnicity in China

Authored by: Thomas Heberer

Routledge Handbook of Race and Ethnicity in Asia

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780815371489
eBook ISBN: 9781351246705
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter addresses the issue of ethnicity in China in general. It first explains the historical-traditional setting and background of the Chinese “nationalities” project, including collective memory and historical perceptions. Second, it examines nationalities policies since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Third, it analyzes the Chinese concept of “regional autonomy” and its implementation. Fourth, it scrutinizes disparities, imbalances, tensions and conflict with regard to economic development, cultural relations, and uncertainties emerging from modernization processes. In addition, it traces ethnic groups’ reactions to these developments. Fifth, recent discourses on ethnic policies among Chinese scholars are analyzed before the author’s findings are summarized and conclusions drawn.

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