On February 22, 1952, the Chinese government promulgates 3 decisions regarding the autonomy of national minorities, and on August 9, 1952, the central administration announces the general program to implement the autonomous regions. See
In the Qing period "The (southern) borderland space was one in which ethnic mixing prevailed and in which still independent Zhuang, Miao and Yao people negotiated favorable terms of trade with competing colonial regimes. These people went their own way and honed their skills in guerrilla warfare. They used their ability to crisscross the border for profit, such as smuggling the opium production in China and trading with French colonials.3 The isolating mountainous terrain, poor infrastructure, self-sufficient economies, and lack of a unified religious or political leadership all contribute to the imited independence from central control." Shortly after the fall of the empire, the idea of five races (Manchu, Mongol, Tibetan, Muslim, and Han) introduced by Sun Yatsen, was abandoned. Instead Jiang Jieshi decided: “… our various clans actually belong ... to the same racial stock (tsung-tsu). .. that there are five people designated in China ... is not due to differences of race or blood but to religion and geographical environment" Therefore, both the rulers of the empire and the GMD saw no reason for self-determination or autonomy for the national minorities. Yet the GMD government was confronted with rebellion in Xinjiang and was not able to exert effective power in Tibet. Even worse was the successful secession of Outer Mongolia. See
adopted on November 7, 1931 a constitution. "As in the constitution of the Soviet Union, national minorities were given the right of self-determination. This meant, in theory, that they could either choose to join with the Chinese Soviet Republic or break away and set up their own state." In 1945, a directive regarding the regional autonomy of Inner Mongolia left behind the idea of self-determination and federalism and formulated the development of the theory of regional national autonomy. In 1947, Mongols and the CCP succeeded in seizing power in Inner Mongolia. Chinese warlords colonized Inner Mongolia in the early twentieth century, however the majority of the Chinese population consisted of poor peasants leasing Mongol Land. In 1947 the Mongols received limited autonomy "...by applying Leninist colonial liberation ideology, defining the Mongols as a collective group that had been colonized by the Chinese. However, socialist ideology premised on class analysis during the land reform targeted many Mongols as class enemies, thereby justifying the redistribution of Mongol land among the Chinese majority in Inner Mongolia. The ensuing ethnic violence forced Inner Mongolia's Mongol leaders, who were both agents of the Chinese Communist Party and representatives of the Mongolian nationality, to devise and press for an explicit nationality policy to defend the ethnic rights of Mongols and thus the autonomy of Inner Mongolia." On May 1, 1947 the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Government (IMAR) was established, with
Territories included the Northeastern Jiangxi, Hunan-Jiangxi, Hunan-Hubei-Jiangxi, Hunan-Western Hubei, Hunan-Hubei-Sichuan-Guizhou, Shaanxi-Gansu, Szechuan-Shensi, Hubei-Henan-Anhui, Honghu and Haifeng-Lufeng Soviets.
as the chairman. “In fact, the CCP used the ethnic Mongols’ participation in the founding of the PRC as a crucial model in its effort to demonstrate its legitimacy in the eyes of other ethnic minority groups”
Ulanhu (1904-1988) CCP member since 1925 Born as Yun Ze and only later adopted the Mongolian name Ulanhu (red son)
visit on February 4, 1949, he “…conveyed to Mao Zedong that our CC does not advise the Chinese Com[munist] Party to go overboard in the national question by means of providing independence to national minorities and thereby reducing the territory of the Chinese state in connection with the communists’ take-over of power. One should give autonomy and not independence to the national minorities. Mao Zedong was glad to hear this advice but you could tell by his face that he had no intention of giving independence to anybody whatsoever.” In the Common Program the notion of "self-determination has completely disappeared. "On October 5, 1949, the CCP Central Committee instructed its regional bureaus and field-army CCP committees that the term “self-determination” should no longer be used in its minorities policy, because it might be employed by imperialists and minority reactionaries to sabotage the unification of China.34" The PLA is stationed in all regions and under direct control of Beijing. Howland (2011) notices, that the way the autonomous regions are formed, is according to "...some critics effectively a policy of “divide and conquer”—the creation of a mosaic of autonomous zones in order to prevent any collective action against the PRC- and other critics have debated whether or not the PRC’s work of minzu shibie (ethnic identification) was an act of colonialism in continuity with Qing imperial practices" and he continues with the remark: "This identification, territorialization, and transformation of minority peoples produced lasting ambiguities. On the one hand, longstanding communities discovered ethnic divisions among themselves. Communities of people in southwest China, for example, found themselves identified and territorialized into new communities arranged differently from those to which they had long been accustomed: education and the creation of minority nationality cadres and administrators created new fissures among communities,…"
Anastas Mikoyan (1895-1978) Minister of Foreign Trade (1938-1949) Politburo member (1935-1966) Vice-Premier of the Council of Ministers (1946-1953)
A few months later, is decided to establish such institutes in three other locations: the northwest, the southwest, and the central south. By 1952, seven such Minority Institutes had been established in other parts of the country. Not all minorities were interested in the training. Most responsive were those affected by Japanese aggression before 1949. Especially the Koreans, Mongolians and Manchus. In the province of Qinghai, there was little response. The Islamic Hui and the Tibetan opposed the new regime and throughout the 1950’s there were periodic armed revolts. (See
In his talk with Tibetan delegates, Mao Zedong tells about the the problem of land redistribution “In the regions inhabited by the Han people land has already been redistributed, and in these areas religions are still protected. Whether or not land should be redistributed in regions inhabited by minority nationalities will be decided by the minority nationalities themselves. At the moment, land redistribution is out of the question in Tibet. Whether or not there should be redistribution in the future will be decided by you yourselves; moreover, you yourselves should carry out the redistribution. We will not redistribute the land for you.”
Article 27 of the Marriage law permitted the national minorities to modify the Marriage Law in conformity with the actual conditions prevailing in these areas. See
The CCP allows minority groups some degree of religious freedom. In Xinjiang and Tibet, religious leaders are included in governmental organs. Islamic and Buddhist education can be continued for a while. New prayer halls are erected and some religious festivals are still performed. "Other affirmative measures toward ethnic minorities included: to lower standards for admission to colleges and universities (1951); the granting of scholarships to students from an ethnic minority (1952); a specific program to improve the public health of ethnicities (1951) as well various measures to preserve the various ethnic cultures." The purpose of these special arrangements is to win the favor of minority groups through the promise of protected legal status. This set of minority rights would be territorially based, allow for political and economic self-determination, and place minority leaders into local offices. However, the CCP used refined methods to maintain control: Svanberg (1998) notices: "At the highest government levels, however, there was no proportionate national minority representation, leaving the promises of the Common Program unfulfilled. In Xinjiang, each national minority was given at least one representative on the government council; Uyghurs, who constituted 75 percent of the population, held only 29 percent of council seats. When the council was subsequently enlarged to seventy-one members, Uyghurs held twenty-four seats, or 34 percent. Han Chinese, who were then about 6 percent of the region's population, held fifteen seats, or 21 percent. The remaining positions were held by representatives of the remaining nationalities."
22-02-1952 Decisions on measures for the establisment of local democratic coalition governments
22-02-1952 Decisions on the protection of the right of all scattered national minorities
09-08-1952 General program of the PRC for the implementation of regional autonomy
21-12-1951 Li Weihan Some questions concerning policy towards nationalities
15-06-1953 RMRB: Summary Of Basic Experiences In Promoting Regional Autonomy Among Minorities
"...the previously established guidelines, these laws allowed national minorities to create autonomous areas. As a general policy, it was also declared that: equal political and legal status should be enjoyed by national minorities and the majority; labour productivity and economic results should be improved in these areas; national languages should remain in use; and minority cadres should trained in autonomous organs." Zhu (2000). Page 48
Walder (2015) remarks the idea of self-determination is "...replaced by a plan to create a socialist state that embodied the “unity of five nationalities”—Tibetans, Xinjiang’s Uighurs, and Mongolians, along with Han Chinese and Hui (ethnic Han Muslims). This was the long- standing Nationalist position that the CCP had denounced as a reactionary cover for national oppression. Mao declared this new stance in discussions with Stalin’s envoy in January 1949. The new claim was that the socialist state would liberate minority peoples from feudal oppression." Walder (2015). Page 37
See document 20-09-1949 Instruction from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the issue of the “right to self-determination” of ethnic minorities.
There were 3121 CCP members in Qinghai in 1954. Goodman (2004). Page 386.
Conner (1984). Page 290
"Though still making no specific recommendations for Zhuang autonomy, the party emphasized the necessity of training minority personnel to carry the Communist message to the minority masses. The vast majority of party members and officials in the area were Han, from both inside and outside the province. Very few cadres were minority nationals, and those who were rarely emphasized their nationality affiliation. In August 1951, 219 minority cadres were sent to the Southern Minority Nationalities Institute for a one-year training course. In March 1952 the party established the Guangxi Nationalities Institute in Nanning and recruited the first class of 150 students" Kaup (2000). Page 84
Howland (2011) notes: "In 1945, the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Movements Association endorsed Mao’s project of new democracy and proceeded to target landlords, rich peasants, and Nationalist reactionaries in Inner Mongolia as a first step toward land reform and class struggle. To the Party’s stated regret, the wanton destruction of livestock and Lama Buddhist temples and the denigration of the Mongol language and culture produced charges of “extreme leftist mistakes” against CCP leadership of the revolution in Inner Mongolia. Nonetheless, the region was integrated into the new state system that the CCP was trying to create " Howland (2011). Page 183.
"The Agrarian Reform Law of The People's Republic of China, promulgated on June 30th 1950, specifically protects the rights of Muslims to mosque land, but also states that Ahungs (and other religious leaders) should be given land to work, unless they have other means of making a living . (38) Communist troops destined for Muslim areas were given specific instructions to respect mosques, refrain from eating pork, and to show respect to Muslim women . Special hospitals serving halal food were established in Peking and Tientsin. " Forbes (1976). Page 79
Betz (2008) remarks: "...means by which the CCP was able to undermine minority autonomy was to organize the country’s administrative units in ways disadvantageous to minority groups. The purpose of this was to dilute Uyghur predominance within Xinjiang’s leadership by creating a system in which the Uyghurs had to compete directly with other minority groups for political office. As a result, despite being a local majority within Xinjiang, the Uyghurs came to possess a disproportionately low number of local offices, only 40 percent of a potential 80 percent of such offices in 1951.73 So while the Uyghurs accepted CCP rule because minority leaders could hold office within Xinjiang, the system that the Party created locked them in competition with other groups. This aided the CCP in its efforts to control Xinjiang by providing the appearance of autonomy, but simultaneously allowing the Party to remain dominant as minority groups struggled amongst themselves.74" Page 28. He continues "Again, in the same way that administrative units were designed in Xinjiang to dilute Uyghur influence and force Uyghur leaders to compete with Kazaks and Hui for office, so to was Zhuang power diluted in Guangxi as Zhuang leaders competed with Yi and Dai for local control." "In order to limit the ability of Tibetans to exercise autonomy within central Tibet, ..., the Party fostered competition among the political factions of the Dalai Lama’s government." Page 29