The Concept of “Zhonghua Minzu” (Chinese nationalities) in Political Practices: Three Types of Autonomy in 20th Century China from Constitutional Reform to the Communist Revolution
Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences
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Under indefinite embargo – no publisher permission.
This paper aims to elaborate the complexity of “national” recognition used in contemporary Chinese political contexts of “national self-determination” and “regional ethnic autonomy”. The historical subject of study is the elaboration and application of “autonomy”, especial the one in the context of “national autonomy”, in the political practices from Constitutional Reform in the late Qing period to the New Democratic Revolution period. The concept of “Nation,” when combined with the political ideal of social liberation, encompasses the historical judgment of the relations of production and the development of the world system. By revisiting the history of Chinese revolution, in particular the appeals for social revolution in the national liberation campaign during the New Democratic Revolution period, we could see a theoretical agenda that acknowledges national differences and yet tries to transcend the narrow-minded version of ethnic nationalism. To New China, the founding of which is accomplished through revolution, the ideation of “Chinese nationalities” is not only related to the antagonistic revolutionary tasks of “anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism,” but also closely connected to the more constructive internationalism of universal care. Only in the dynamic dialectic relations between the 20-century China and world can we put into perspective the policy of “national regional autonomy” arising in the specific historical process of Chinese revolution and the universal value hidden behind it.
2016, pp. 89 - 109
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