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澳洲学者谈 中国民族政策同化转向



Professor Leibold  has research expertise on the politics of ethnicity, race and national identity in modern Chinese history and society, and is currently engaged in research on ethnic policy-making and ethnic conflict in contemporary China with a particular focus on the restive Western frontier and its Tibetan and Uyghur ethnic minorities. He is the author and co-editor of four books and over twenty-five peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and a frequent contributor to the international media on these topics. Professor Leibold is currently the lead Chief Investigator on an Australia Research Council funded project entitled "Urbanising Western China: Nation-building and Social Mobilisation on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier." 

澳洲学者 James Leibold 詹姆斯·莱博尔德教授 研究中国近代历史和社会中的民族、种族和民族认同政治,目前从事中国近代民族政策制定和民族冲突的研究,重点研究动荡不安的西部边疆及其藏族和维吾尔族。他是4本书和25多篇同行评议的文章和书籍章节的作者和共同编辑,并经常就这些主题向国际媒体发言。莱博尔德教授目前是澳大利亚研究委员会资助的一个项目的首席研究员,该项目名为“中国西部城市化: 在汉藏边境上的民族建设和社会动员” 

 2021年2月25日,Shanil Verjee CMC 采访了 James Leibold 博士

China has pursued a variety of different approaches to its treatment of ethnic minorities over the years. How do these policies vary over time and under different regimes? Would you say it's accurate that the current approach is assimilationist rather than accommodative? Why has the Chinese government abandoned the accommodative approach characteristic of the 1980s? 


I do think it's an accurate depiction to talk about China's approach, certainly since the founding of the PRC, as swinging between an accommodationist approach and an assimilative approach. If you go back and look at the history of the PRC, you see during the 1950s the implementation of a rather remarkable set of progressive, inclusive, and accommodationist policies with regards to ethnic minorities, including the setting up of autonomous regions, and quite literally, the creation of ethnic languages and scripts for a whole range of groups that continued through until the Cultural Revolution. Then you have a pretty dramatic shift with the destruction of mosques and monasteries that occurred in Tibet and Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution, among other chaos. Han youth in the form of the Red Guards were dispatched to the frontier in order to lead the ethnic minorities in the processes of revolution. After the collapse of Maoism in the 1980s, China witnessed another very liberal period under Hu Yaobang, with the passage of the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, and the institutionalization of a whole range of preferential policies for ethnic minorities, which for example, gave them exemptions to national family planning regulations and extra points on the Gaokao, or the university entrance examination. Finally, we have the current era, which I believe starts to germinate during the 1990s and comes into its own under Xi Jinping’s ‘new era’. Two key turning points are: 1) the Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 1989, which leads to a conservative turn across the political spectrum and an obsession with regime stability, and then; 2) the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which leads to calls for a new approach to ethnic policy in order to avoid the same fate of the USSR and other former Communist countries that splintered along their ethnic seams. 


20世纪80年代毛泽东主义崩溃后,中国经历了胡耀邦领导下的又一个非常自由的时期,随着《民族区域自治法》的通过,以及一系列针对少数民族的优惠政策的制度化,例如,给予他们国家计划生育条例的豁免以及高考或大学入学考试的加分。最后,我们有当前的时代,我相信这个时代在上世纪90年代开始萌芽,并在习近平的新时代下开始发芽。两个关键的转折点是: 1)1989年的天安门广场示威,导致了保守主义者跨越中东政治光谱的转变和对政权稳定的痴迷,然后; 2)1991年苏联的解体,导致了对民族政策的新方法的呼吁,以避免苏联和其他前共产主义国家的同样命运,因为他们的民族分裂。

In my research, I'm also interested in the historical antecedents of these different approaches to governing ethnocultural diversity in China. During the imperial period, the Chinese state employed a variety of methods and rationales to manage its ethnic diversity. One of these approaches was referred to as jimi (羈縻) in Chinese, which literally means “loose rein.” Rather than pulling down really hard on a horse’s bit, you give it some slack and allow it to direct itself. There were many times during the imperial period where the Chinese state used this more laissez-faire approach, especially when the state was weak or divided. Yet there is also another tradition, often discussed when the Chinese state was strong and unified, that of laihua (来化), literally “come and be transformed,” which argued that the magnanimous Chinese state and culture would naturally lure the barbarians off the frontier and transform them in its own image. These contradictory approaches are deeply rooted in Chinese history and political culture, and still inform currently policy discussions.

在我的研究中,我也对中国管理民族文化多样性的这些不同方法的历史渊源感兴趣。在帝制时期,中国政府运用各种方法和理论来管理其民族多样性。其中一种方法在汉语中被称为 jimi,字面意思是“松弛的缰绳”与其用力拉马嚼子,不如给它一些松弛,让它自己调整方向。在帝制时期,中国政府曾多次采用这种更为自由放任的方式,特别是在国家软弱或分裂的时候。然而,还有另一个传统——中国国家强大和统一时经常讨论的传统——来华传统,字面意思是“来了又变”。来华传统认为,宽宏大量的中国国家和文化会自然而然地把野蛮人引出边疆,并按照自己的形象改造他们。这些相互矛盾的方法深深植根于中国的历史和政治文化,并且仍然影响着当前的政策讨论。

Under Xi Jinping, supporters of the linguistic and cultural assimilation of minorities have been rising in profile within the CCP. What do you think his political motivations were in bringing assimilation to the forefront of Chinese national policy? 


The first thing to note is that Xi Jinping himself doesn't really have much experience with frontier or ethnic issues. He spent his entire career in the interior. Thus, he doesn't bring a lot of policy experience to this issue. But if you look at him as an individual, from what we know about him and his thoughts, he's a staunch nationalist and he's also someone who believes that the Party needs to strengthen its governing mechanisms across the board: the “China dream” – of a rich and strong China – requires the iron-fist rule of the Chinese Communist Party. This phrase “the Party leads all” (dang shi lingdao yiqie de, 党是领导一切的) has really become a key motto under Xi Jinping. Unlike previous Chinese Communist Party leaders, when it comes to the so-called “ethnic question” (minzu wenti, 民族问题), Xi Jinping doesn't believe that economic development alone is sufficient to transform the ethnic frontier and its people, secure Party rule, and achieve the “China dream.” That was the previous approach, that believed if the Chinese state focused on development, sources of tension, difference and instability would gradually disappear over time. 

首先要注意的是,习近平本人在边疆或民族问题上并没有多少经验。他的整个职业生涯都在内陆度过。因此,他在这个问题上没有多少政策经验。但是,从我们对他及其思想的了解来看,他是一个坚定的民族主义者,也是一个认为党需要全面加强执政机制的人: “中国梦”——一个富强的中国——需要中国共产党的铁腕统治。这句话“党领导一切”已经成为习近平领导下的一个关键座右铭。与以前的中国共产党领导人不同,当涉及到所谓的“民族问题”时,习近平并不认为经济发展本身就足以改造民族边疆及其人民,确保党的统治,实现“中国梦”这是以前的方法,认为如果中国政府专注于发展,紧张、分歧和不稳定的根源会随着时间的推移逐渐消失。

Rather Xi believes the Party must play an active role in literally “forging” or “casting” (zhulao, 铸牢) the cultural, ideological, and spiritual foundations of national cohesiveness in China. This phrase “forge the communal consciousness of the Chinese nation” (zhulao zhonghua minzu gongtongti yishi, 铸牢中华民族共同体意识) was written into the Party’s Constitution at the 19th Party Congress and is the defining policy formulation—or what is called in Chinese tifa (提法)—of ethnic policy under Xi Jinping. These are a few of the key changes Xi has brought to ethnic policy, but there was also a pretty fierce and highly public debate that occurred before he came to power about how China should approach these issues. Early in his rule, certainly by 2014, he makes it quite clear that he's sympathetic to those who want to move in a new direction in terms of ethnic policy: a more assimilative direction where the Party plays a more interventionalist role in altering ethnic cultures and identities. As a result, if we look at the changes to ethnic policy since 2012, they've been pretty dramatic, particularly for the Chinese political system, which often moves quite slowly. 

相反,习认为党必须在中国民族凝聚力的文化、意识形态和精神基础的“锻造”或“铸造”中发挥积极作用。这句话“锻造中华民族的公共意识”。这些都是习带给民族政策的一些关键变化,但在他上台之前,关于中国应该如何处理这些问题,也发生了一场相当激烈和高度公开的辩论。在他执政的早期---- 当然是到2014年---- 他明确表示,他同情那些希望在民族政策方面走向新方向的人: 一个更为同化的方向,在这个方向上,党在改变民族文化和身份认同方面扮演着更为干涉主义的角色。因此,如果我们看一下2012年以来民族政策的变化,就会发现这些变化是相当戏剧性的,尤其是对于中国的政治体制而言,中国的政治体制往往行动缓慢。

China's treatment of the Uighurs specifically has been getting a lot of attention in the media. Your research on China's attempt to ban Muslim veiling in Xinjiang shows that an assimilationist policy tends to encounter enormous resistance and is difficult to execute in practice. How would you assess China's assimilationist approach in Xinjiang so far? 


I think that old adage “where there's pressure, there's resistance” is true here. Over the last couple decades, but in particular since the 2009 brutal ethnic riot in Urumqi, we've seen an unprecedented penetration of the Party-state into once very remote parts of Xinjiang. That was driven by a desire to have visibility and transform those remote locations. The Party-state under Xi realized there are many parts of China where it didn't have fully visibility, particularly from a central (Beijing) perspective, of what was happening on the ground. In addition to increasing its visibility, the Party under Xi also wanted to transform those areas in the name of “poverty alleviation” and “stability maintenance.” The Party’s penetration into these remote villages naturally leads to resistance. Ethnic groups like the Uighurs resist and what we see is this vicious cycle of violence. As the Party penetrates further, you get more resistance. And with more resistance, we see further pressure being brought to bear by Party officials.


In particular, after a series of violent attacks that occurred between 2012-2014, most dramatically the brutal attack on innocent civilians at the Kunming train station in March of 2014, we see Xi Jinping give a clear signal that what was required in Xinjiang was, in his own words, “a period of painful, interventionist treatment.” He essentially gives Chen Quanguo, who became Xinjiang party secretary in late 2016, a blank check to eliminate any sources of unrest. The result is really a remarkable set of policy innovations: the mass extrajudicial detention of possibly a million or more Uighurs and other Turkic speaking Muslim minorities; ubiquitous and highly intrusive forms of surveillance that now blankets the region; the systematic destruction of indigenous culture, language, and religious practices; forced birth control and even sterilization; psychological and even physical torture; and then finally forced labor and restrictions on people's mobility. This is a pretty dramatic and draconian policy response. 


实际上,他给了2016年底成为新疆自治区党委书记的陈全国一张空白支票,以消除任何不安定因素。其结果实际上是一系列引人注目的政策创新: 大规模的法外拘留可能超过100万的维吾尔人和其他讲突厥语的穆斯林少数民族; 无处不在的、侵扰性很强的监视形式,现在已经覆盖了整个地区; 对本土文化、语言和宗教习俗的系统性破坏; 强制生育控制甚至绝育; 心理甚至身体折磨; 最后是强迫劳动和限制人们的行动。这是一个相当戏剧性和严厉的政策回应。

Do you think that eventually the media attention on these policy responses will expand to a point where China will need to make some serious changes? Or do you think that China is powerful enough to avoid having to succumb to any international pressures? 


I think it's difficult, but not impossible, to change China’s behavior. The top Party leaders are highly sensitive and sometimes responsive to criticism. There seems to be this kind of insecure hubris running throughout the minds of Xi and other top Party leaders: insecure in the sense that they're terrified of losing power; but also, overly confident in their ability to snuff out any opposition with an iron-fist. There is a perception that under Hu Jintao the Party had weakened and was in danger of collapsing like the Soviet Union. And thus, under Xi Jinping, the Party has really ramped up its intervention in society, which naturally resulted in resistance. They had a problem in Hong Kong; they eliminated that. They had unrest in Xinjiang; it's now gone. This combination of insecurity and hubris does leave the Party susceptible to a U-turn. But at the same time, a dramatic change of policy in the short term appears highly unlikely, certainly under Xi Jinping. This would require either the overthrow of Xi Jinping – highly unlikely - or his death. But in the longer run, a policy shift is possible. It's really important to remember that's exactly what Deng Xiaoping did during the 1980s after the death of Mao. He reversed course in a rather dramatic way. So it's conceivable that this could happen again. There's certainly a lot of people who are unhappy with Xi's approach and Xi’s rule, both inside China and outside. But right now, the Party does have a lot of powerful assets at its disposal, and it’s willing to use them in silencing dissent. Thus, we will have to wait and see how things play out over the next couple of decades. 

我认为改变中国的行为是困难的,但并非不可能。党的最高领导人非常敏感,有时会对批评作出回应。习和其他党内高层领导人的脑海中,似乎充斥着这种不安全的傲慢情绪: 不安全是因为他们害怕失去权力,但也是因为他们对自己用铁拳消灭任何反对派的能力过于自信。


Can you identify an ethnic minority that has been successfully assimilated into the dominant Chinese culture since 1949? If such a case exists, can you explain why? What makes the Uighurs and the Tibetans so resistant to China's assimilationist policies? 


Most of China's 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities have been largely, if not fully assimilated. I prefer the term acculturated, and they've been acculturated in the dominant Han culture and language. Take, for example, the Zhuang. The Zhuang are China's largest ethnic minority group by population. You wouldn't know a Zhuang if you were sitting next to him or her on a bus. He or she speaks Mandarin Chinese; he or she would be wearing what everybody else is wearing. There are certain cultural festivals where they might don clothing that would identify them as an ethnic minority, but that tends to be a performative part of how ethnic cultures are displayed in China today, even in this period of assimilation. It is worth noting that the ethnic groups in Yunnan and other parts of southern China are quite different from the Tibetans and the Uighurs, and to a lesser extent, the Mongolians. But what's the difference? What are the factors that help us to explain the pretty dramatic resistance and crackdown in Xinjiang as opposed to the largely peaceful situation in Yunnan, which has a very large ethnic minority population? I would highlight six factors. 

在中国官方承认的55个少数民族中,大多数已经被完全同化。我更喜欢“文化适应”这个词,他们已经融入了占主导地位的汉族文化和语言。以壮族为例。壮族是中国人口最多的少数民族。在公交车上,如果你坐在一个壮族人的旁边,你是认不出来的。他或她说官话; 他或她会穿其他人穿的衣服。在某些文化节日里,他们可能会穿上表明自己是少数民族的服装,但这往往是今天中国民族文化展示的一个表演部分,即使是在这个同化时期。


First, there is the recent history of colonial intrusion. If you look at southern China, in particular Yunnan, you can go back to the Song Dynasty, if not further, and see Sinic culture and rule penetrating down into the south, even its remote parts. Whereas in the case of Tibet, you really only have a strong central government presence in the 20th century. In the case of Xinjiang, it's really only during the late Qing Dynasty, and the same thing with Inner Mongolia. This more recent history of colonial intrusion means there's a very strong historical memory, which is my second point. This historical memory is rooted in the written and spoken languages of these three regions and its long history of autonomous rule. There are songs and written texts that Mongols, Tibetans and Uighurs use to keep alive their sense of distinct identity and opposition to Han colonial rule. The third factor is demographic concentration. Tibet's probably the most obvious case, with over 90 percent of the Tibetan Autonomous Region being Tibetan. Xinjiang is pretty evenly balanced at present between the Han and the Uighurs, but if you go back to the 1940s, the Han comprised only five percent of the population, so that's quite a recent phenomenon. In Mongolia, it was only in the dying days of the Qing dynasty that the floodgates were opened to Han migration. Because of its close proximity to Beijing, the Mongols were quickly overwhelmed, with 80 percent of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region now Han. Another factor would be—and this is where we leave Inner Mongolia behind and we look chiefly at Tibet and Xinjiang—their remote and rugged landscape. I do think this remoteness—in the case of Tibet, its high Tibetan plateau, and in the case of Xinjiang, its remote desert oases—does play a role as well, as a buffer or rather an obstacle for Han colonialization. All of these factors are intermingled of course. The last two factors are quite distinct to Tibet and Xinjiang, with a potentially strong counter-ideology to the Chinese state in Islam and Tibetan Buddhism, two belief systems that can offer a counterweight to communism, or even Xi Jinping Thought. The last factor, and this may be particular to Xinjiang itself, is a racial dimension. Most Uighurs cannot pass for Han Chinese. They stick out if they’re in Beijing or Shanghai. That’s certainly not the case with the Zhuang, which is where I started. Even Tibetans are not as racially distinct as Uighurs. I do think that plays a role in some of the racism and stigmatization of Uighurs. 


第三个因素是人口集中。西藏可能是最明显的例子,超过90% 的西藏自治地方是西藏人。目前,新疆在汉族和维吾尔族之间的人口比例相当均衡,但如果你回到20世纪40年代,汉族人口只占总人口的5% ,所以这是一个相当近期的现象。在蒙古,只有到了清朝末年,才打开了汉族移民的闸门。由于临近北京,蒙古人很快就被打败了,现在内蒙古80% 的自治地方都是汉人。




Beyond a change in leadership, what would it take for the Chinese government to accept diverse cultures within its borders? Would a more democratic China become more accommodative to its ethnic minorities?


I think a more diverse political landscape would certainly help. A loosening of this obsession with ideological control and central Party control would certainly help, or a return to the political and cultural autonomy of the past. The loosening of central ideological power would naturally allow a flourishing of diversity, not only in the ethnic frontier, but also amongst Han communities. It's really important to remember that this ethnic category of “Han” is also contested. Inside of its communities we find different dialects like Fukienese or Cantonese, and cultural traditions. There's a lot of diversity within China, but right now the emphasis is on creating a homogenous set of cultural and ideological norms for everyone. 


I personally think that the solution needs to come from within China. I do think the West and others have a role to play in criticizing and keeping the pressure on China, but at the same time, we're not going to change China; China has to change itself. There are examples within Chinese history of a far more open, cosmopolitan, and tolerant way of dealing with diversity. I point here to the Tang dynasty, one of China's most cosmopolitan and arguably dynamic dynasties, where the Sinic core really opened its arms to the diversity within the Sinosphere but also across the world. This was a period of great cultural exchange across the globe. If you don’t want to go all the way back to the Tang Dynasty, I'm sure most ethnic minorities in China would be happy to return to the 1980s or even the 1950s. It's worth remembering that there are these alternate traditions. 

我个人认为,解决方案需要来自中国内部。我确实认为西方和其他国家应该在批评和保持对中国的压力方面发挥作用,但与此同时,我们不会改变中国; 中国必须改变自己。在中国历史上,对待多样性的态度更加开放、更加国际化、更加宽容,这样的例子不胜枚举。我在这里指的是唐朝,中国最国际化、也可以说是最具活力的朝代之一,在那里,中国核心真正向中文圈内部乃至全世界的多样性敞开了大门。这是一个全球文化交流的时期。如果你不想一直追溯到唐朝,我相信大多数中华人民共和国民族政策会很乐意回到20世纪80年代甚至50年代。值得记住的是,有这些替代的传统。

Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun, also presents an alternative model. He was one of the Party's first experts on how to manage ethnic diversity on the frontier, first during the 1950s, and then after he was purged and then reinstated, during the 1980s. He understood that you needed to treat your ethnic communities with respect and dignity as equals. He developed a really close relationship with the Panchen Lama. You can read the letters that they wrote back and forth, and feel a strong sense of mutual respect. Sadly, his son has gone in a different direction, one that is ultimately going to destroy much of China’s rich diversity if it continues over time. 


Shanil Verjee CMC '21 沙尼尔 · 维吉 CMC’21

Posted on 发表于18 March 2021 二零二一年三月十八日 by 作者asiaexpertsforum 亚洲专家论坛


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