Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China
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Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China

Edited by Xiaowei Zang

This much-needed volume explains who ethnic minorities are and how well do they do in China. In addition to offering general information about ethnic minority groups in China, it discusses some important issues around ethnicity, including ethnic inequality, minority rights, and multiculturalism. Drawing on insights and perspectives from scholars in different continents the contributions provide critical reflections on where the field has been and where it is going, offering readers possible directions for future research on minority ethnicity in China. The Handbook reviews research and addresses key conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues in the study of ethnicity in China.
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Chapter 7: Ethnic autonomous regions and the unitary multi-ethnic nation-state

Hongyi Lai


In chapter 7, Hongyi Lai claims that the CCP has practiced regional ethnic autonomy (REA) in order to appease ethnic aspiration while securing national unity under a strong central government since 1949. REA can be understood as limited administrative autonomy. Regional ethnic autonomy was inspired by ethnic policy of the Soviet Union, imperial China and CCP practices in the 1940s. REA was installed in the 1950s. The institutions and policy associated with REA has undergone changes over the decades, but the political objectives have remained largely unchanged in the PRC. By granting ethnic areas limited administrative autonomy and ethnic minorities favourable economic and social treatments, the CCP aims to maintain a unitary multiethnic nation-state.

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