Handbook of Protest and Resistance in China
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Handbook of Protest and Resistance in China

Edited by Teresa Wright

Featuring contributions from top scholars and emerging stars in the field, the Handbook of Protest and Resistance in China captures the complexity of protest and dissent in contemporary China, while simultaneously exploring a number of unifying themes. Examining how, when, and why individuals and groups have engaged in contentious acts, and how the targets of their complaints have responded, the volume sheds light on the stability of China’s existing political system, and its likely future trajectory.
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Chapter 28: Ethnic unrest and China’s multiple problematic others

Tom Cliff

Abstract

Chinese authorities’ sensitivity to and management of dissent and unrest among ethnic minority “others” reflect a deep-seated fear of dissent and unrest on the part of Han Chinese. Since central Chinese Communist Party leaders are not confident of their support among the Han population, they cannot brook any criticism from outside of that population. Even in the absence of protest by ethnic minorities and other marginalized groups, the specter of “instability” is used by governing authorities as justification for securitization—and thus even tighter control of the Han population. The diverse and fragmented nature of the Han, and their discursive role as the more or less homogenous ethnic core of the nation-state, make maintaining a semblance of Han unity and state-directed loyalty fundamental to the current political configuration of China. This conclusion is consistent with the notion that the minority problem will never be solved without first solving the Han problem. From the perspective of the ruling elite, China has multiple problematic others.

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