37 / 2013
Maja Veselič

From a Plate of Mixed Appetizers toward a Melting Pot? Academic Debates on China’s Current Ethnic Policies


Large-scale ethnic unrest in recent years has instigated heated debates among Chinese intellectuals as well as the wider public about the suitability of current PRC ethnic policies. This article is an attempt at an introductory critique of the views of certain notable academics on this issue. A brief outline of the development of Chinese ethnic policy in the 20th century is followed by an overview of the arguments of sociology professor Ma Rong, the main proponent of abolishment of ethnic minority rights. The views of those who support the current policies are then briefly summarized. The article concludes with a critical examination of both positions, expressing support for the introduction of proper self-governance.

Keywords: Chinese ethnic policies, ethnic autonomy, preferential policies, Ma Rong, depoliticization