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Foreigners in ancient Chinese history

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skylee
His family name is Li, only Han people have Li as the last name and the emperors' family name was also Li during Tang dynasty.

I believe Koreans and Vietnamese also use 李 as last name. And Tang emperors liked to confer their own surname (賜姓) to other people, like foreigners and races which came under the control of Tang, as a sort of honour.

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盤古
Isn't the idea of China=Han promoted within China itself? The Han, by a huge percentage, are the majority in the present day borders.

The misconception that Chinese=Han certainly hasn't been promoted by China since at least Qing dynasty some 400 years ago, before the United States was even founded...

During the Qing dynasty the 中華 Zhonghua identity was formed which recognized five major ethnic groups in China to be Chinese which includes 漢,滿,蒙,回,藏 (Han, Man (Manchu), Meng (Mongol), Hui (Muslim), Zang (Tibetan)). This concept was passed down to the Republic era (1911 - 1949 on mainland China) whose very first national flag was the "five-color flag" which was later replaced because Dr. Sun Yatsen thought the five-color flag was discriminatory as Han's color (red) was on top. During the People's Republic era (1949 - Present Day) ethnic groups in China were expanded to 57 (including Han).

If anything, it's the West that's promoting the misconception of Chinese=Han so they have an excuse to support independence for Chinese minorities like Tibetan or Uighur so they can split up China and weaken her.

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devi9
During the People's Republic era (1949 - Present Day) ethnic groups in China were expanded to 57 (including Han).

I thought there were only 55 ethnic groups.

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盤古

Actually there is a total of 56 recognized ethnic groups, including Han, not 57 or 55 :wink:

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andycmda

During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, one dynasty was the late Tang dynasty http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Later_Tang_Dynasty

it was founded by 李存勗, although his last name was Li, this family name was awarded/honored to father 李克用 by one of the Tang Emperors because of the miltary help he offered when Tang government tried to crack down the rebellions.

the Li family that founded Late Tang dynasty were not Han people, their ancestors came from central Asia and belonge to Western Turkistan. And according to historical description of the physical appearence of those groups of people who moved into Nothern China, they had white skin, they belonged to the caucasian race and they looked similar to Persians.

So the Late Tang dynasty was the first time Northern China was governed by an Emperor who was partially caucasian. Of course like many other Barbarian tribes, his tribes numbered more than 30,000 became integrated into Han culture.

3 of the 5 dynasties during that period were not governed by Han Chinese.

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pazu
Not only Li Bai was not pure blood. An Lu Shan was neither. Yang Kuei Fei was neither. (You ever saw any pure-Han gal having such big breasts as Yang had?)

How can you know that?! 091.gif

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eddiewouldgo

七下西洋的鄭和 was a Muslim and 宦官/太監.

His Father and Grand father even went to Mecca.

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andycmda

none of the posts in this thread have talked about real "Foreigners" Chinese history. We have assumed non-Han Turkic people living under Tang Empire control were foreigners, but they were true citizens of Tang Empire and they spoke and wrote in CHinese, raised up in Tang culture.

There were no pure Han people in Tang dynasty, The Northern China had already been mixed prior to Tang dynasty. The Emperors of early Tang dynasty all had at least 20% to 50% non-Han blood. The Tang culture, music, poetry differed a lot from Han dynasty because it was influenced by the non-Han peopple who moved into Chine proper back during Eastern Jing and Sixteen kingdoms period, such as the fact Tang people loved to do hunting a lot more than previous dynasties. Well, if we wanted to define another ethnicity called Tang instead of Han, then go ahead. Many CHinese refer to themselves as Tang people.

today's Italians are mixed stock of German, Roman, Cathaginian, Arabs and many other ethnicities. When all roads lead to Rome, people all over roman empire wanted to move to Italy.

Same as China.

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大肚子
If anything, it's the West that's promoting the misconception of Chinese=Han so they have an excuse to support independence for Chinese minorities like Tibetan or Uighur so they can split up China and weaken her.

The West? The whole West? I don't think 99% of people in Western countries ever give it any thought. Western governments? As far as I'm aware no Western government has come out in support of Tibetan independence, let alone supported Uighur serperatists (and it's highly unlikely they ever will given the current climate). Maybe some people in the West feel strongly about Tibet and/or Xinjiang but they'd be a definite minority.

And, FWIW, in my experience there is an attitude that Chinese=Han here, too. It's all about the distinction (not clear in English) between 中国人 and 话人. 中国人 may be the nice, shiny-happy-rainbow-hand-holding definition of "Chinese" the government prefers to use, but the two are at least equally important to most Han. Most Han Chinese I've met would feel as close a, probably closer, kinship to Singaporese compared to Uighurs, Tibetans, Mongolians or a member of one of the South-Western tribes. Almost all Han regard Singaporese, or other overseas Chinese, as in some way the same people but I doubt they'd claim the same about the residents of outer-Mongolia.

The other 55 minorities may be considered part of the same "family" but only in the same way as a retarded half-brother. There's some connection but they're not the same, or equal. The Party may parade all the various minorities across the screen at Spring Festival and have them perform their little dances but, for most Chinese, they're no more than a cutesy curiosity who would be better off if they could only bring themselves to be more like everyone else. The government may pay lip-service to diversity and assisting minorities (including the frankly desultory 20 RMB a year given to minority students) but it's no more than that. If Han interests and minority interests collide then it doesn't take a genius sinologist to see who will win out.

Finally, and coming back a little to the topic, there is a racial dimension to even the term 中国人. Take the architypal example of the modern foreigner in China, 大山. No matter how long he lives here, no matter how proficient he is in 普通话 or cross-talk, no matter how many customs he adopts he'll never, ever be a 中国人.

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LeafAndSunshine

"As far as I'm aware no Western government has come out in support of Tibetan independence,"

There are different levels of support. A lot of lefty politicians in the western

countries openly support Tibetan Independence. For example, Bob Brown of the

Greens in Australia, and there was another incident a few months ago in New

Zealand in which one of NZ's MPs staged a Tibten Independence protest against

the visiting vice PM of PRC. Sure, none of these governments would go as far as

recognizing Tibet as a separate country offcially -- not if they want to maintain

diplomatic relationship with PRC, but there are plenty of politicians who would be

very happy to do so, and should these politicians become the government, I'm sure

they'd be more than happy to ditch PRC and openly support Tibet independence.

" Most Han Chinese I've met would feel as close a, probably closer, kinship to Singaporese compared to Uighurs, Tibetans, Mongolians or a member of one of the South-Western tribes. Almost all Han regard Singaporese, or other overseas Chinese, as in some way the same people but I doubt they'd claim the same about the residents of outer-Mongolia."

That's because most Chinese Singaporeans are Han Chinese who not only have

the same "look" as mainland Han Chinese but also come from a very similar

culture background. The Uighurs, Tibetans, Mongolians not only share less common

culture background with the mainland Han Chinese as the Chinese Singaporeans,

but also in many cases refuse to be called Chinese. When you use the word

"Chinese" in the sense of racial identity, you have to be specific about the

"coverage". If you use "Chinese" to refer to only the Han Chinese, of course, Han

Chinese would feel closer to people who share the same Han culture background.

"The Party may parade all the various minorities across the screen at Spring Festival and have them perform their little dances but, for most Chinese, they're no more than a cutesy curiosity who would be better off if they could only bring themselves to be more like everyone else."

You've just accused most of the Han Chinese as racists who cannot care less about

the minorities in China. Are you suggesting that Han Chinese look down on the

minorities and oppress them in some way? The mass majorities of Han Chinese

have little knowledge about the minorities in China because they probably live

through their entire life without having any noticable daily contact with minorities,

do you blame them for that? Are you suggesting that every Han Chinese should

actively seek understanding and friendship with the minorities?

"the government may pay lip-service to diversity and assisting minorities (including the frankly desultory 20 RMB a year given to minority students) but it's no more than that. "

Lip services? Well, do you know minority students get 10 extra points in the

national college entrace exam? Do you know minorities are exempted from the

one-child policy? Do you believe this is fair for the Han Chinese? Remember there

are millions of Han Chinese who are just as poor and uneducated as the poorest

minorities.

"If Han interests and minority interests collide then it doesn't take a genius sinologist to see who will win out."

Then who do you suppose should win? How should the winner be decided? When

was the last time that Han interests collided with minority interests and how did

the Han win? Should the interests of the majority ethnic group always be

sacrificed for the interests of the minority ethnic groups? Is it the majority ethnic

group's fault that they are the majority?

"Finally, and coming back a little to the topic, there is a racial dimension to even the term 中国人. Take the architypal example of the modern foreigner in China, 大山. No matter how long he lives here, no matter how proficient he is in 普通话 or cross-talk, no matter how many customs he adopts he'll never, ever be a 中国人."

It depends on what you mean by "中国人", if you mean it racially, then

under the current racial make-up of China, only the 56 official racial groups of

PRC are regarded as "中国人". If you mean it culturally, then 大山 has to accept

the social norms of the current Chinese society and act in the same way as every

other Chinese to be considered as "中国人", proficiency in Chinese is not enough.

The racial dimension you described was not unique in China, in fact, in any western

country, it's common for a person of non-white descent to be questioned whether

he/she was a citizen of that country in their daily life, no matter how long he/she

had lived there and how culturally assimilated he/she was.

LNS

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Dennis

I am just so sick and tired of the West telling China about human rights and Free Tibet.

China is treating her citizens and her minorities no better or worse then any other country in the world.

U.S.A. Land of the free and just? Please remember : Afganistan, Iraq, Abu Graib prison, Guantanemo Bay, Vietnam, Klu-Klux-Klan need I go on any futher

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大肚子

LeafAndSunshine:

Regarding Tibet, like I said there are some in the West who support Tibetan self-determination (but very, very few who support the same for Uighurs), usually well-meaning, earnest but not very well informed folks in showbiz and politics who once saw the Dalai Lama speak/visited a Buddhist temple. By and large they're a fringe group who are unlikely to posess any real power in the near, or even distant, future. Thankfully.

To suggest, then, that the whole of the West creates a false image of what "Chinese" means solely to support a minority agenda is very tenuous. Indeed, by using "Chinese" to equate to Han Chinese westerners are merely using "Chinese" in the sense of 话人 rather than 中国人 (yes, I know, in theory 话人 is not limited to Han but in practice, at least with those Mandarin speakers I've discussed the issue with, the only ones usually considered 话人 are Han). I see no huge problem with this.

Regarding Singaporeans/Singaporese (I really have no idea which is correct) I think we largely agree. I was arguing against 盤古's assertion that Chinese = Han is a Western concept. As you showed there are many ways one can interpret what Chinese means. The problem comes because we only have one English word, "Chinese", to describe three different concepts in the Chinese language itself, 中国人, 话人 and 汉人. It's a problem of linguistic over-simplification, not an insiduous plot.

You've just accused most of the Han Chinese as racists who cannot care less about the minorities in China.

No, no, no, that wasn't what I meant at all. I have no qualms in saying that China, at least mainland China, is a racist society. I think that anyone who says otherwise is either largely ignorant of the situation here or very naive. However, it's by and large a benign racism. The only time it turns otherwise is towards Japanese (and before this spills into an unpleasant argument I accept there are understandable reasons for this) and occasional inter-ethnic strife that is as much tribal as racially motivated. I certainly do not think that Han Chinese don't care about the minorities. It's just that sometimes I do question whether that care is necessarily a good thing.

Are you suggesting that Han Chinese look down on the minorities and oppress them in some way?

Oppress, no, I don't think so. At least not in my experience. There's some discrimination in private businesses, but that's the same in every country on the planet that isn't 100% racially homogenous. Look down on? Yes, for most of the minorities. How could it be otherwise when all the vast majority of Han know about most minorities are the quaint dances and primitive customs showcased on CCTV? I don't think most Han see minorities as inferior, but they certainly regard them as backward. I should add here, though, that I do have minority friends (Man, Mongol and Zhuang) and I have not seen or heard of any negative attitudes towards them by any Han. I don't think individuals are generally treated badly, or prevented from succeeding, but there is an attitude that they succeeded inspite of, rather than because of, their background.

Are you suggesting that every Han Chinese should actively seek understanding and friendship with the minorities?

No, and TBH I don't think it would change attitudes that much even if they did. I live in Dongbei and so know plenty of Man and there's no negative attitude towards them (though I have met southerners who have admitted to really hating the Man because of the Qing). However, I know Han Chinese who have Man friends (and even friends from other minorites) yet still regard other minorities as something lesser, and a little further removed. It's like a lot of benign racism, individuals can be perfectly accepted as unique while still having a stereotypical view of the group.

As far as suggestions go, I guess my number 1 suggestion would be for CCTV to stop treating minorities like attractions in the Disneyland Parade. But then again, who the hell am I to make suggestions? It's really not a matter for my concern and, like I said, it's mostly a benign attitude. However, I will argue with those who suggest the attitude doesn't exist.

Regarding 大山, you hit the nail on the head when you said that 'only the 56 official racial groups of PRC are regarded as "中国人"'. Which was exactly what I was saying when I said that 中国人 does have a racial dimension. The cultural argument is, I feel, disingenuous; even if 大山 were to adopt all cultural norms he still wouldn't be a 中国人. If a non-Chinese (Han or other) couple, fluent in 普通话 and adopting Chinese customs and ethics, had and raised a child in China so that child was culturally and linguistically indistinguishable from any 汉人 he would still not be a 中国人 in the eyes of the people here.

Besides, how can there be a cultural dimension to 中国人 when there are 56 culturally distinct groups all counted as 中国人? Or are you saying than 汉文化 = 中国文化?

And it really isn't the same in all countries. I have friends of Chinese, South Asian, African and Caribbean descent and they are as British as I am. Some individuals may treat them as different, because they're idiots, but as far as the general culture is concerned they are 英国人. And the same, though in different ways, goes for the US, Canada, France, Germany, Australia and many, many other countries. The only time I've encountered the notion that British people are identified by race is with a couple of far-right wingers in the UK, less well-informed Americans and most Chinese.

Edit: Dennis, without getting into the specifics of what you said (I largely agree with the spirit, if not the substance) can we knock it off with the whole "The West" thing? I find it somewhat ironic that there are those who will object to westerners saying that all Chinese as Han Chinese, neglecting that 10% of the population that isn't, while at the same time lumping 20 or so countries, comprised of countless different sub-groups, together as one entity largely on the basis of US foreign policy.

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gato
If a non-Chinese (Han or other) couple, fluent in 普通话 and adopting Chinese customs and ethics, had and raised a child in China so that child was culturally and linguistically indistinguishable from any 汉人 he would still not be a 中国人 in the eyes of the people here.
First, I agree that's an accurante description of the current situation. But I doubt the child would suffer much, at least if he or she is white, because whites are treated preferentially in China as of now. Second, the Chinese are the way the are because of lack of experience. If there were more non-Chinese raised in the China and assimilated into the culture -- much more than there are today, let's say 5% of the population or 60 million -- then I think Chinese attitude would change. Western attitude towards immigrants weren't always the way it is today. Think about how Chinese immigrants and their children were treated in the 19th century or even, say, twenty years ago, whether in Britain, the US, or Australia. If the Chinese could accept Manchus, Mongols, and Uighurs as Chinese, they could also accept other people who look different as Chinese if they were truely to assimilate.
Besides, how can there be a cultural dimension to 中国人 when there are 56 culturally distinct groups all counted as 中国人? Or are you saying than 汉文化 = 中国文化?
The Chinese do demand assimilation, like the French do with their minorities and in contrast to the Anglo-Saxons, who think of themselves as living happily in multi-cultural societies, but we all know that's a bit of a fiction. An Americanized version of Western European culture is still dominant in the US and Canada, and from what I can see, British culture is still dominant in Britain, the adoption of curry as a national cuisine notwithstanding.

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LeafAndSunshine
I certainly do not think that Han Chinese don't care about the minorities. It's just that sometimes I do question whether that care is necessarily a good thing.

Um... why would you think it might not be a good thing for the Han Chinese

to care about the minorties? Is it because you feel that Han Chinese are

interfereing and changing the life style and culture of the minorities without their

consent? If so, what do you propose that the Han Chinese do? Just leave the

minorities alone and let them go on with their tradtional life forever? Maybe I will

sound a bit racist to you, but I think it would be appalling if the Han Chinese had

stood by and watched their minority brothers to live in their old, backward and

poor conditions without offering a helping hand.

I don't think most Han see minorities as inferior, but they certainly regard them as backward.

Yes, I believe that the mass majorities of the minorities who live in remote parts

of China are living in backward and poor conditions, and I believe it's the duty of

the Han Chinese to at least show them that they too can live in better conditions

and help them or even push them in every possible way.

I know Han Chinese who have Man friends (and even friends from other minorites) yet still regard other minorities as something lesser, and a little further removed

How many Han Chinese friends of yours hold this view? Are they really

representative of the whole country?

I guess my number 1 suggestion would be for CCTV to stop treating minorities like attractions in the Disneyland Parade.

That's a good suggestion, so what should CCTV do to promote the minorites, or

should they or anyone do anything at all to promote the minorities? As I said

before, most Han know almost nothing about the minorites, and one of their main

sources of information was the CCTV reports and programs, if you took all this

away, the only source of information about their minority countrymen would be

the few pages in their highschool textbooks.

If a non-Chinese (Han or other) couple, fluent in 普通话 and adopting Chinese customs and ethics, had and raised a child in China so that child was culturally and linguistically indistinguishable from any 汉人 he would still not be a 中国人 in the eyes of the people here.

Following your argument, the logical question would be: Why wouldn't they be

regarded as 中国人 in the eyes of Han-Chinese? I think the answer is about

perception and tradition. Tradition and culture are heavily influenced by history.

Unlike western countries, for the last 500 years, China has not had any significant

immigration which accepted and became part of Chinese culture, therefore, for the

mass majority of Chinese, they are just not accustomed to the idea of some

non-Chinese looking stranger being a Chinese. In other words, statistically speaking,

for most Chinese, the chance that a non-Chinese looking stranger being a Chinese

is extremly low, therefore difficult to accept in a short time. In case you disagree

because of the Manchurians, I think that the Manchurians looked very siimilar to the

Hans, and they adopted the Han culture almost completely and had been part of

Chinese history for the last 200 years.

And it really isn't the same in all countries. I have friends of Chinese, South Asian, African and Caribbean descent and they are as British as I am. Some individuals may treat them as different, because they're idiots, but as far as the general culture is concerned they are 英国人. And the same, though in different ways, goes for the US, Canada, France, Germany, Australia and many, many other countries.

Well, I don't want to sound too harsh or whiny, but I think this comment just shows that you have not been exposed to the type of benign racism in your own

country -- because racially you look just like any other native English. I'm living in

Australia, and I've received and seen this type racism many many times. Let me

give you an example, I have some asian friends who were born in Australia or lived

in Australia for almost their entire lives, when we go out and meet white

Australians who are total strangers, it's very often for my friends to be asked one of

the following questions:

(1) Do you speak English?

(2) Are you guys citizens?

(3) Which country are you from?

These questions don't bother me much as I was born and raised in China, but I

think it's unfair for my friends who speak English as their native language with

noticable Australian accents and act just like any other white Australian. Oh, believe

me, this situation is the same in almost any western country. Now, most

western countries have seen much more significant Asian immigration for nearly

half a century, so why does this type of benign racism still happen? (This is

a rhetorical question.)

It's good that you are race-blind as far as citizenship is concerned, but that doesn't

mean everyone else in England or any other western countries is.

LNS

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大肚子

gato: first off, I very much agree with your points about the lack of immigration shaping the Chinese idea of 中国人, I imagine that for a British person 60 years ago the idea of a black or Asian person being British would have seemed ridiculous. I also agree that a larger level of immigration would change the perception, one thing that has always struck me about China is how by and large open a society it is (in marked contrast with some of the stereotypical attitudes of the Chinese back home).

As for the cultural assimilation, well, all countries do, not just the French. The French just happen to be an extreme example (indeed in some respects more extreme than the Chinese). The link between 汉文化 and 中国文化 does go some way to explaining the perception that Chinese = Han Chinese, however.

The only place I have a slight disagreement is on the assertion that "whites are treated preferentially in China as of now". In my experience there's no such thing as a preferential stereotype. All stereotypes are inaccurate, since they very, very rarely fit any individual of the group in question 100%, and so negative. As a white person in China I'm assumed to be incredibly wealthy (I work at a government university so I'm really not that well off) which can be a pain in the posterior whenever I go shopping. Granted, this is an incredibly minor complaint to what Chinese have to go through in other countries, and my overall experience of China and Chinese people has been very positive, but the basic fact is that people don't always want preferential treatment. I prefer to be treated as a human being. I also think it would be very tough on a kid to grow up immersed in a culture but never fully allowed into it.

Um... why would you think it might not be a good thing for the Han Chinese

to care about the minorties?

I have to admit that I have to put my hands up here. It's a gut feeling but, to be honest, I can see both sides of the argument. On the one hand I have an instinct that the culture and identity of the minorities should be preserved, on the other I see the need for better living conditions and economic necessity (I'm the first to argue that uneconomical European farmers should move on to other things). Like I said it's a gut feeling but not one I can rationally justify or even explain. I suppose it comes from being raised with the notion of the importance of diversity. We're all children of our propaganda, after all.

How many Han Chinese friends of yours hold this view? Are they really representative of the whole country?

How many? I've got verbal admissions from a handful, the rest (10-20 or so) it's just intuited by what they say or how they behave. Not a very reliable method, I'll admit. Are they representative? Of course not. They're almost all from Liaoning province, and it's a very small sample in a country of 1.2 billion. I'd be interested in seeing what the attitudes were in a province with a more diverse minority representation (Guangxi or Yunnan, for example). It's just my own reading of my own parochial experience, so I fully accept the limitations.

That's a good suggestion, so what should CCTV do to promote the minorites, or

should they or anyone do anything at all to promote the minorities?

Tricky question. My own attitude is that the current programming just serves to emphasise the differentness and primativeness of the minorities, but as to what should replace it, I don't know. And I accept there's a need for such information. Who would know, however, are the minority groups themselves. Why not ask them?

On another note I have recently seen a few "fly on the wall" style documentaries of the lives of some minority groups on CCTV and though sometimes dull as dishwater they do at least present a more balanced and realistic image.

As with gato, I agree with you 100% on the relationship between immigration and national identity.

I was surprised about the questions you listed. You're right, though, I don't know the real situation first hand, only through what my friends relate to me. Equally, though, it works both ways, no doubt you couldn't share my experiences of China. Though you have a certain inside perception of the culture that I could never have, and vice/versa. Which is why forums like this are so important for sharing such perceptions openly and learning from them, if appropriate (ie if they're not completely half-baked).

I wonder how you justify the statement "this situation is the same in almost any western country", however. I would be incredibly surprised if this situation arose with any degree of regularity in my home town, for one, if for no other reason than because the population is 30% non-white.

I do think that in Britain, at least, the concept of nationality is no longer tied to race. I think the fact that this argument has been won can be shown by the fact that even the far-right British National Party has had to focus solely on, in its words, "Pakis" because it knows it can no longer get anywhere focusing on all non-whites. Too many have made hugely signifcant, and smaller but no less important, contributions to the country. It's not a huge victory, I know, but it does show how far we've come since 1945.

The use of the term "benign" racism, BTW, was just to point towards the kind of racism that doesn't generally show itself in harmful acts. In other words, not the kind of racism that exists all too often in other countries (including western countries). That's not to say it's OK, as someone who's been on the receiving end it's still demeaning, but it's a far lesser evil.

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LeafAndSunshine
My own attitude is that the current programming just serves to emphasise the differentness and primativeness of the minorities,

Fine, I can see the problem in that, but what's the alternative? Should CCTV

pretend that there was little difference between the minorities and the Han? But

then wouldn't they be accused of ignoring the distinct culture identities of these

minorities? To be honest, I think CCTV should just show whatever the reality

is, after all, that's what documentraies are supposed to do in the first place.

On another note I have recently seen a few "fly on the wall" style documentaries of the lives of some minority groups on CCTV and though sometimes dull as dishwater they do at least present a more balanced and realistic image.

So, what impressions did you get out of these documentaries? Did you feel that

these minority groups were living happy and health lives which offer them

the same opportunities as the ordinary Han-Chinese?

however. I would be incredibly surprised if this situation arose with any degree of regularity in my home town, for one, if for no other reason than because the population is 30% non-white.

Again, I'm not being harsh or whiny, but people often tend to ignore what's right

under their noses. Maybe your hometown is an exception, I'm very happy for you,

but can you honestly believe that your hometown is representative of the entire

England?

I do think that in Britain, at least, the concept of nationality is no longer tied to race.

I've given you my own personal experience on this issue, and there is no need for

me to go any further. If you are really interested, maybe you should go to places

like Scotland and talk to the Asian immigrants there about their personal

experiences.

LNS

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gato
Tricky question. My own attitude is that the current programming just serves to emphasise the differentness and primativeness of the minorities, but as to what should replace it, I don't know.

On another note I have recently seen a few "fly on the wall" style documentaries of the lives of some minority groups on CCTV and though sometimes dull as dishwater they do at least present a more balanced and realistic image.

I agree that more realistic documentaries would be better than the let's-dress-them-up crap, which is equivalent to having the Chinese do their dragon dance once a year that we have on American TV.

Tian Zhuangzhuang's new documentary, "Delamu," filmed in Yunnan along the Horse-Tea Road, has lots of interviews with minority villagers. I enjoyed it. I wrote something about it on another thread.

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/3826-peacock-%e5%ad%94%e9%9b%80&page=2&highlight=delamu

My friends thought the movie was too slow. Maybe it's a cultural gap. I would guess that the locals aren't used to talking so much at length, so they tended to talk slowly and haltingly. But I appreciated their sincerity. They reaffirmed my belief that people everywhere share the same needs and desires, though their everyday lives may look very different. Of the people we meet in the movie, I especially liked the old woman who kicked her lazy first husband out of the house and married another more capable man, the man who cried when his mule was killed by a falling rock during the journey, and the female school teacher who revealed her "secret" plan of leaving home to find a man who she can talk to and love.

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Dennis

I used the U.S.A. only as an example.

I know that The West is bigger than the U.S.A. alone.

But as for the concept for Chinese 中国人, if it is used in an official context by the Chinese goverment then 中国人 are all the 56 nationalities in China.

But in all other contexts 中国人 is the same as 华人 (not 话人) and 汉人 that is the Han nationality.

P.S.洋鬼子 can never be 中国人.

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