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This research paper looks deeply into the issue of race in modern China. It seeks to identify how many races live there, what is the dominant race, and how they get along with each other. This study is very important because it takes an in-depth analysis on whether race is an issue in modern China. This is especially so when China appears to be emerging as one of the world's superpowers. With this study, it gives an understanding of how modern nations in East-Asia like China function in the current contemporary global system, especially with the current trend and speed of globalization efforts.
Racial differences and ethnicity does a lot to influence both domestic and international social experiences. Issues dealing with race and ethnicity appear to be dominating the academic space of numerous disciplines. There have been various research carried out by individual researchers as well as other institutions on this topic. The scholars have more or less agreed about my topic, and my paper argues for a better interpretation. For a better understanding of the term race, this research seeks to give the general definition; the word 'race' is based on physical and biological differences such as hair type, skin color, cranial size and shape.
This study has utilized a comparative case study as the methodology. There are a number of benefits that come with the use of this type of methodology because information dealing with the research topic is in abundance. By looking at previous researches and studies, this research ascertains various opinions and literature written about the issue of race in China. While there might be different races in china, about 91.9 percent are Han Chinese, and the remaining 8.1 percent is shared between the Zhuang, Mongol, Miao, Uygur, Korean, Yi, Hui, Manchu, Buyi, Tibetan, and other nationalities.
This research has established that, while China's economy might be progressing at an alarming rate, social attitudes still lag behind, as race is still an issue in most of its cities. History proves as recent as the 1970s; that foreigners were unheard of and were not allowed to live in China. The Chinese society is still a long way from accepting inter-racial relationships and children that result out of it. However, one thing is creeping in slowly; China seems to be undergoing a demographic change as more and more foreigners make their homes in China. There are numerous mixed-race couples, and foreigners are not being stared at with astonishment anymore.
A report released by Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau shows that there are approximately three thousand mixed-race marriages in the town every year. This data goes a long way into proving the fact that different races are getting into and living in China increasingly. Despite the fact that the Chinese are coming into terms slowly by slowly, there is a rising interest in the acceptance of other cultures and races into the society.
It is evident that the Han Chinese are the most dominant in the whole of China, being more that ninety percent of the population. It is also evident that they still harbor xenophobic feelings towards the other races. Racism in the modern China appears to be the most debatable issue currently. The Internet and blogs are being used as instruments to air views as the issue spreads to the rest of the world. As a fact, it seems that the individuals from African origin appear to be the hardest hit with the racial issue (Don, 2008). These racial and ethnic issues are complex as they stem up from Chinese history and their nationalism. Their history appears to regard foreigners as either gods or wild animals.
Historical sociologists suggest that the current racialist-like perception of the Han Chinese dates back to the rise of the Chinese nationalism in around 1911. The Qing empire at the time was ruled by the Manchus and appeared to be very much multi-ethnic (Perdue, 2007). Numerous Han Chinese revolutionaries had always advocated for the expulsion of the Manchus and other Eurasian peoples. They held the idea that China will resurface and modernize if under Han's leadership.
Prejudice against the minority groups persisted as they were hid under language class of struggle. During post-Mao years, there were a number of protests and racial violence against students with African origin in a number of universities. However, these recent years has seen an increase in interaction and frictions between the Han and other racial or ethnic groups, which can be attributed to China's economic success, their promotion of nationalism, and large scale migration.
The other factor that has contributed a lot to the tension between the races is the issue of language barrier. This is complicated by the fact that many of the locals only speak regional dialects except the Mandarin. This creates a huge distance between those who speak Chinese ands those who do not. If these foreigners or other races could learn to speak the Chinese language, then they would go a log way into solving disputes with their neighbors. Despite the current problem, China is lowly becoming integrated with the outside world. The past Chinese history shows that the Chinese can include other cultures into their diversity.
A number of foreigners are drawn to Chinese cities as a result of trade and commerce. However, this seems to cause tension and anxiety in a country that has little history of racial diversity. There have been reported cases of police harassment towards the minorities especially against the blacks who live in big towns such as Guangzhou. As china is increasingly becoming a world player, especially towards expanding economic ties with other parts of the world, how will the resulting migration alter their perception of race? How has China dealt with ethnic and racial differences in the past?
However, one thing is clear, when it comes to matters dealing with racial and ethnic relations and perceptions, China is full of contradictions. The majority Hans appear to be non-racist as most are note aware of their multi-ethnic background. The striking thing is that, they usually hold prejudices about foreigners, Chinese minorities, in addition to members of their group. Amongst the Hans themselves, those who are seen as developed receive a lot of deference, while those who are backward are usually looked down upon.
There are some researchers who suggest that there is a huge difference between the Western world and China in terms of racism. While Western form of racism appears to be about genetic dispositions, Chinese racism and prejudices are more linked to achievements, as well as standing in the world according to individuals and groups. Going back to history, the Han people originated from the central plains of East Asia. They were then fused and assimilated with a group known as the agrarian people (Charles, 2006).
One thing that characterizes the Han Chinese is the fact that they usually make judgment basing on people's looks, types of employment, places of residence, or their relatives. This is the same treatment that foreigners could go through. The blacks are usually associated with backwardness and poverty, while the whites are associated with beauty, technology and riches. The rest of the Chinese non-Han ethnic groups are seen to be insiders who are inferior. Chinese government propaganda has been aiming at integrating the rest of China with other ethnic groups and minority groups, who make up less than ten percent of the population (James 2006).
Another cause for discrimination against other minority groups might be the fact that the Han perceive these minority groups as being advantageous. Numerous polices give them an upperhand, for example, they are allowed to have more than one child, they are given low entry points into secondary schools, they are given support by the government, and many other sacrifices made by the Han group. However, many agree to the idea that prejudice still exists in the Chinese society.
In China's population, about 91.9 percent are Han Chinese, and the Zhuang, Mongol, Miao, Uygur, Korean, Yi, Hui, Manchu, Buyi, Tibetan, and other nationalities take up 8.1 percent. It is evident that, while China's economy might be progressing at an alarming rate, social attitudes still lag behind as race is still an issue in most of its cities. However, China seems to be undergoing a demographic change as more and more foreigners make their homes in China. There are numerous mixed-race couples and foreigners in most cities of modern China.
A number of foreigners are drawn to Chinese cities as a result of trade and commerce. However, this seems to cause tension and anxiety in a country that has little history of racial diversity. There are numerous reasons as to why there appears to be prejudice among the Chinese society. The Han Chinese usually make judgment basing on people's looks, types of employment, places of residence, or their relatives. Other minority groups are also perceived to be receiving numerous advantages from government polices over them. The other factor that has contributed a lot to the tension between the races appears to be language barrier.