Han Chauvinism - Modern History

Modern History

Han chauvinism was vocal and involved in many movements against the ethnically Manchu Qing Dynasty, including the Heaven and Earth societies (also known as "Tongs" or "Triads"), the Taiping rebellion, the Nian rebellion, and the Tongmenghui. However, following the establishment of the Republic of China in 1911, a conscious effort was made to rein in these tendencies so as to be inclusive of China's other ethnicities and to avoid separatist movements that might yield Qing-held territory outside of China proper.

After the PRC was founded, early policies on ethnic relations were guided by Joseph Stalin's 1913 Marxism and the National Question. The Communist Party of China saw a parallel between Han chauvinism and the "Great Russian chauvinism" which was heavily debated during the early years of the Soviet Union. Although Chinese characters and Mandarin Chinese pronunciation became standard and required for official purposes throughout China, cadres were warned against being patronizing or condescending towards minorities. The party would recruit from many ethnic groups to create leaders who would guide their people towards socialism. On occasion, ethnic minorities could keep customs and traditions that were regarded as feudal or reactionary until the time came for them to willingly embrace socialism. The Yi people, for instance, were even allowed to maintain their slavery customs for a time.

This policy was abandoned during the Cultural Revolution. Red Guards attempted to destroy every vestige of traditional culture, Han or non-Han, to create a new "socialist" culture. Temples were razed. Traditional leaders and ethnographic researchers were denounced and purged. After the fall of the Gang of Four, the government began to revert to its earlier policy, with less emphasis on Marxist-Leninist ideology.

Accusations of continuing Han chauvinism continue to be made by some members of ethnic minority groups, including as justification for separatist movements in (e.g.) Tibet and Xinjiang.

Read more about this topic:  Han Chauvinism

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