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Ethnicity in China: A Critical Introduction

Paperback / softback By Xiaowei Zang
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Product Description

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.

Product Details

Format: Paperback / softback, 200 pages Language: English
Dimension: 149 x 20 x 210mm ISBN10: 0745653618
Weight: 367g ISBN13: 9780745653617
Publication Date: 03 Feb 2015 Publisher: Polity Press

About Author

Xiaowei Zang is Chair Professor of Social Sciences at the City University of Hong Kong

Product Reviews


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“Xiaowei Zang’s book breaks down China’s ethnicities’ policy and takes the discussion beyond routine ‘White Papers’ and statistics on the subject. […]The discussions in chapter five on assimilation, acculturation and differential treatment as regards different ethnic groups, depending on their proximity to the Han culture, is interesting and is also an important aspect of the book. The comparative discussion on Tibet and Xinjiang is useful, as well as intelligently and sensitively done.”Asian Affairs


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