Jun 23

On this site, we’ve come back to the question of secession several times. The news a week ago that Ireland, with less than 1% of the EU’s population, single-handedly derailed the second EU attempt at political centralization (Lisbon Treaty) strikes me as the perfect opportunity to talk about the flip side of the coin: the ideology of unification.

Because let’s face it, unification is an ideology.

The EU prides itself on moving towards unification only through debate, consensus, and democratic decision-making. But increasingly, it finds itself in the impossible position of trying to convince every member state that there is something to be gained, when in many cases, the benefits are uncertain, long-term, or abstract. The EU leaders had high hopes of being written in history books when they signed this and the last treaty. In the aftermath of this episode, however, we have seen ideas seriously floated like ignoring Ireland’s vote, of procedurally maneuvering around it, of making them vote again and again until passed, even of expelling Ireland from the EU! If this isn’t the unification ideology working, I don’t know what is.

To Chinese people, the existence of such ideologically driven motivation seems only natural. Human history is one of successively larger units of cooperative society. Without pre-commitment (generally founded on an ideological faith), there is nothing to guarantee cooperation among actors, no matter what their best intentions are. If you want gains, you have to put your chips in, even as you don’t know what you will get out of it for certain. The only thing to make people realize this is a negative consequence for not participating, which often means war. Chinese thinkers have figured this out thousands of years ago, when they faced the kind of calamitous warfare like the two World Wars that finally drove Europe to embark on its current path…
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Jun 23

Don’t indulge our “race complex”

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis | Tags:
55 Comments » newest 2008-07-04 12:47:01

Many are now aware there are 56 different nationalities in China. There is another lesser known community, however, that sometimes refer to themselves as the 57th nationality. (Some in the community actually hate that term… but we’ll get to that later.)  These are the Minkaohan (民考汉), ethnic minorities raised in Han-language schools alongside Han classmates. The term Minkaohan literally means “minority testing using Han”. With their perfect grasp of putonghua and numerous Han Chinese friends, Minkaohan are often the best economic achievers in their community, and a successful model of the Chinese government’s policies towards minorities. But with their non-Han faces, and with their inability to read/write their own language, they often find themselves uncomfortable in both communities.

Their fate, their experience is critical in understanding the future of multi-ethnic China.  Their support, their contribution is critical in building a China that lives at peace with itself.

This post (原贴) is from a regular Uygur poster at a Chinese forum dedicated to Minkaohan (民考汉论坛).  Most posters to the forum are Uygur and Kazakh.

Don’t indulge our “racial complex
I’ve been silent for several days; I’ve maintained my silence out of doubt.

These few days, I’ve been thinking a lot.  I’ve been thinking of my childhood; at the time, I was the only minority student in my class, and all of my friends were Han.  We went to school together, went home together, and played together.  In the alley where our home was, the left side was entirely Han, while the right side was entirely Uygur.  During hot summer evenings, everyone sat together cooling off in the courtyard, talking about every day things.  The alley was filled with harmonious laughs and chatter.

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