Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China

By Katherine Palmer Kaup | Go to book overview

7
Economics:
Development and Disparity

The Chinese government recognizes that income inequalities among China's nationalities are pronounced and could potentially become explosive. Developing the minority areas economically has been a central concern of the Chinese Communist Party since it first began mentioning minorities in the 1920s. At a speech in 1989, Jiang Zemin affirmed that improving the minorities' standard of living “is not only a question of economics. It is also a political issue. ” He stated that “eliminating poverty in minority areas is of the utmost importance in ensuring stability, strengthening nationality unity and protecting the unity of the fatherland. ” 1

Thorough examination of the intricate adjustments made in economic policy in even one township would be difficult to cover in a single chapter. A complete sketch of the numerous and subtle shifts in the central government's economic policies toward the people living in the vast Zhuang territory would require a full-volume study. This chapter will briefly touch on only four of the main areas that have hindered Zhuang economic development and the government attempts to mitigate their damaging impact. In sketching the development of infrastructure, trade, industry, and the investment base, the most persistent feature of Zhuang-state interaction once again becomes apparent. As the central government unilaterally granted the Zhuang preferential development policies, the Zhuang gradually began to perceive of themselves as a unique nationality with rights of their own. After offering numerous policies specifically designed to aid the minorities, the government began to abandon many of these preferential policies toward the end of the 1980s. It was then that the Zhuang middle-level cadres began to vocalize their own demands for greater Zhuang privileges.

The Chinese Communist Party accords the development of the minority areas such importance that it is reluctant to lose its monopoly on the discourse of how these areas should be developed. Although the Chinese press runs articles on minority economics almost daily, many of them

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Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • 1 - Introduction: Ethnic Nationalism Ascendant 1
  • Notes *
  • 2 - The Zhuang Setting: Guangxi and Yunnan on the Eve of the Communist Revolution 25
  • Notes *
  • 3 - Early Ccp Minority Policy: the Decision to Recognize the Zhuang 51
  • Notes *
  • 4 - Politics: the Consolidation of Central Control 73
  • Notes *
  • 5 - The Expansion of Regional Autonomy and the Growth of Zhuang Activism 111
  • Notes *
  • 6 - Culture: the Creation and Promotion of the Zhuang Cultural Heritage 125
  • Notes *
  • 7 - Economics: Development and Disparity 149
  • Notes *
  • 8 - The Rise (And Fall?) of Zhuang Ethnic Nationalism 171
  • Notes 181
  • Appendix - The Law of Regional Autonomy, 1 October 1984 183
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 215
  • About the Book 221
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