by Xu Yuan
“Race” as an English word has totally different meaning in China, another Chinese word “民族” (National Minority) is usually used to describe different ethnic groups instead. 91% of Chinese population is of the Han race, which is the the only non-minority in this country.
“Racial” discrimination in China should be more accurate as “ethnic discrimination” or “geographic discrimination” . “Geographic discrimination” based on geographic differences and cultural gaps, because of national minority’s regional distribution of residence, most minority ethnic groups live separately from other different ethnic groups and have their own ethnic autonomous regions in China, as shown in the graph. Also, the Registered Residence policy makes ethnic identification and their privileges obviously and invidiously , which causes the current phenomenon of ethnic discrimination, which exists as one manifestation of geographic discrimination in China.
As a Chinese scholar Chen Guojie’s studies indicate , China’s geographic features cause the prosperous eastern part and poor western part. In the east, convenient transportation, comfortable climate, the large area of plains and the most of the nation’s population promote the sustained and rapid economic growth. In the west, high-altitude plateau and extremely climate affect the progress and integrity of infrastructure, thus result in economy of minority areas has always lagged behind the eastern coast areas. Discrimination caused by economic disparity widespread in the eastern coastal areas, and such discrimination has no connections with race, nation, or skin color. China’s ethnic discrimination comes from imbalance of regional development between less-developed western minority areas and highly-developed eastern coastal Han neighborhoods.
About the debate of whether geographical discrimination comes from ethnic discrimination or ethnic discrimination comes from geography, through my survey and interview of all my old classmates I can reach in high school and former university, 93% of the respondents care more about geography and wealthy status than ethnicity. Especially the data from college, all the classmates are from everywhere all over the country and several of them are minorities, 97% students hold the same opinions. The different opinions are focus on complaints and the feeling of unfair about ethnic privileges, such no one-child policy, less or no tax, allowed to carry weapons, free college tuition, free dormitory, regional autonomous and even monthly financial subsidy .
The word “Race” in Asia and Western world means totally different things, especially in countries with tens of hundreds of national minorities like China. According to Chinese scholars’ analysis about legal system , with the population and trade integration, more and more African Southeast Asian migrants have been in China and the population is increasing rapidly in recent years, racial barriers and inadequate legal system would be problematic.
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