Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China

Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China

Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China

Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China

Synopsis

Managing ethnic nationalism within China has become increasingly challenging. Kaup explores why the CCP created the Zhuang nationality in the 1950s and how the balancing of ethnic and regional loyalties has served to integrate the Chinese state.

Excerpt

Over the past decade a seemingly endless wave of bloody ethnic nationalist battles has flooded the globe. in Europe, Yugoslavia erupted in violent civil war as competing ethnic groups claimed sole rights to their “homelands. ” the Soviet Union shattered along ethnic lines, and Chechen separatists threaten to topple the precarious hold of the Russian government. in Africa millions of Hutus and Tutsis fled their homelands to escape the horrors of ethnic genocide, as Eritreans celebrated their liberation from Ethiopia. the Middle East remained a hotbed of conflict as Palestinians and Jews continued to see hopes for peace torched under the fire of ethnic hatred. Kurds continued their unsuccessful quest for independence from Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. in the Americas, Quebecois nationalism drew world attention, and ethnic separatists in Mexico resorted to violence to make their demands known. in those areas where minority separatists did successfully negotiate control over their own territory, new ethnic divisions often developed, which yet again challenged the new state boundaries.

Within the world's most populous multinational state, the People's Republic of China, ethnic activism has also been on the rise. the economic and political decentralization measures initiated in 1979 by Deng Xiaoping have increased centrifugal forces in society, widening the divisions among ethnic groups. For many nationalities within China, the reforms, and indeed communist rule more broadly, have highlighted the minorities' inferior political, economic, and social status. Numerous groups, including the Tibetans, Mongols, and several Muslim nationalities, have openly challenged the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) right to rule. Tibet and Xinjiang Provinces in particular have been intermittently rocked by violence since the Communists first declared them “liberated” shortly after ousting the Nationalist forces in 1949.

Over the past ten years alone, ethnic groups have rebelled against the Chinese government more than a dozen times. Tibetans rioted on several . . .

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