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The Development And Formation Of A Contemporary China

4539 words - 18 pages

The Development and Formation of a Contemporary China

Introduction

China has fifty five state recognized minorities who, as calculated in the 2000 census, constitute 8.41 percent of the population and occupy 60 percent of the land in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) . The Chinese define nationality according to Stalinist terms of “a historically constituted, stable community of people formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” Economically, China is rapidly becoming a modern nation. From 1979-2000, China’s economic growth was 9.6 percent per year, the highest of all economies during those years. This rapid growth has enabled China to decrease the number of citizens living in abject poverty. However, capitalist enterprises continue to further class distinctions and the coast continues to develop much more rapidly than the interior. China’s growing political importance and economic power is making it increasingly global. In today’s society, globalization and modernization are closely related. However, globalization simultaneously undermines modernization in the sense that it breaks down national sovereignty. China has always espoused the right of nations to maintain sovereignty over their domestic affairs. This claim, however, is being increasingly complicated as China becomes increasingly accountable for its human rights record in the international sphere. Consequently, the ways in which other countries formulate policies toward China are influenced by China’s current human rights record. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) faces many obstacles as it seeks to bring ethnic minorities into the discourse of development, and globalization, and address human rights violations. Globalization and development have the potential “to effect the overthrow of the CCP” in that in order for “China to function as an efficient, dynamic and modern state, it is of crucial importance that the country should be integrated well enough to act as a single and coherent whole, and at least to avoid national disintegration.” China fears falling prey to the same fate as the Soviet Union. In order to garner support in the late 1930’s the CCP promised minority groups that, if they supported the Communist rise to power, they would be granted autonomy. This is the program the Soviet Union followed in that it always offered the possibility of secession to its minority republics. This policy eventually caused the dissolution of the USSR. The CCP constitution of 1931 stated that the government “recognizes the right of self determination of the national minorities in China, their right to complete separation from China, and to the formation of an independent sate for each minority.” The CCP has since abandoned the promotion of secession and, on the contrary, works to unify ethnic minorities with national agendas. This paper will examine the ways in which processes...

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