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 10: Ethnic minority languages and cultures

Colin Mackerras

Abstract

In chapter 10, Colin Mackerras studies minority languages and cultures. Mackerras outlines government policy towards ethnic minority languages and, with some focus on the twenty-first century, discusses the situation for minority languages. He suggests that minority languages are not doing well among the gathering pace of the spread of Mandarin and Chinese modernization. He also covers topics such as the use of minority languages in the education system. Next, Mackerras discusses minority religions in China, especially Islam and Tibetan Buddhism. He also discusses the situation for the arts among the minorities, including the ways they have functioned in society and become politicized and a form of propaganda for the government since 1949. Finally, Mackerras takes up the complex interrelationships between minority cultures and politics as well as issues of cultural survival. He argues that there is no deliberate government attempt to destroy or undermine minority religions, languages or cultures. However, the process of modernization is gathering momentum everywhere in China, and is inimical to traditional cultures.

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