The Rise And Fall Of The “Up To The Mountains And Down To The Countryside” Movement: A Historical Review

The Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside (UMDC) Movement (上山下乡运动) was an important event in the history of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It changed the fate of a whole generation of Chinese and had far-reaching effects on the history of the PRC. As a nationwide urban-to-rural migration (i.e. the reverse of the urbanization process), it is also unique in human history for its complex origin and the wide scope of its impact (16 million urban youths and nearly every Chinese family), as well as its long duration, tortuous process, and contradictory attributes. However, compared to the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) and other political events of the 1960s, the UMDC Movement is rarely known to people who are unfamiliar with Chinese history. Even in the area of Chinese Studies, the UMDC Movement has been misunderstood as a constituent part or a ramification of the Cultural Revolution. This paper reviews the process of the development of the UMDC Movement and analyses the social structural factors in its rise and fall in Chinese history.

From 1967 to 1979, more than 16 million[i] Chinese urban youths were sent to the countryside to engage in agricultural production. This was known as the Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement (上山下乡运动). Those 16 million participants, who were named Zhiqing (educated youth 知青) after this movement, lived and worked in the countryside as ordinary agricultural labourers during their teenage years. In the early 1980s, when most Zhiqing eventually returned to the city, they were immediately faced with the residual issues of the UMDC Movement as well as the challenge of readjusting to urban society.

The UMDC Movement not only changed the fate of a whole generation of Chinese but also had far-reaching effects on the history of the People’s Republic of China. However, in overseas Chinese Studies, much less attention has been given to the UMDC Movement than to the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). For many researchers, the UMDC Movement is a constituent part or a ramification of the Cultural Revolution.[ii] In terms of the relationship between the two historical events, the Zhiqing Office of the State Council announced an official conclusion in 1981:
“First of all, the ‘UMDC’ was a major experiment carried out by the Communist Party fromthe 1950s, based on fundamental realities of the country, which then had a large population, a weak economic foundation, and employment difficulties; it was not the result of the Cultural Revolution. Second, the ‘UMDC’ was aimed primarily at resolving employment problems; during the ten years of the Cultural Revolution, it evolved as a political movement under the ultra-left ideology and resulted in serious mistakes in practice.”[iii] (Gu 1997, pp. 283–285)

As indicated in the above quotation, the UMDC Movement was characterized by its complex origin, tortuous process, and contradictory attributes. Simply associating it with the Cultural Revolution has led to the neglect of these historical facts. Therefore, to clarify the unique and significant position of the UMDC Movement in Chinese history, this paper reviews its rise and fall and further argues that its origin, development, and termination were all rooted in structural and fundamental contradictions of Chinese society, as well as the evolution of these contradictions under different historical circumstances.

Another theme of this chapter is to identify the Zhiqing’s position in the history of the UMDC Movement and in Chinese society. The UMDC Movement created the Zhiqing group – a whole generation of youths who have been allocated “Zhiqing” as their collective identity. Based on the historical review, this chapter argues that the constitution of the Zhiqing group and the connotation of the Zhiqing identity both underwent transformations at different stages of the UMDC Movement.
To summarize, a comprehensive historical review lays the foundation for an advanced understanding of the UMDC Movement and Zhiqing. The following sections present a clear development process, including a pre-movement phase and three distinct stages of the UMDC Movement.

Pre-Movement Phase: 1953–1965
Mobilizing and organizing the Chinese youth to engage in agriculture can be traced back to the 1950s. After 1953, the problems caused by the country’s overheated economy became acute. Large numbers of rural youths rushed into the cities to search for jobs. To alleviate employment pressure in the cities, the state sought to encourage these rural youths to go back to their home villages and engage in agricultural production. Those rural youth were called HuixiangZhiqing to distinguish them from the subsequent Zhiqing – urban youth. Because they were originally from the countryside, their return was regarded as normal and they were not entitled to a resettlement fee or other preferential treatments which were provided to urban youth when they settled down in the countryside. In addition to urban unemployment, another influencing economic factor was the development of agricultural cooperatives. Mao Zedong, the major promoter of rural collectivization, emphasized his opinion that educated young people should move to remote rural areas to make contributions to the nation and achieve personal development.[iv]

Another significant development in the 1950s was youth reclamation teams, which were arranged, organized, and guided directly by the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League. The two models used for these teams were the Beijing Youth Voluntary Reclamation Team(北京市青年志愿垦荒队) and the Shanghai Youth Voluntary Reclamation Team (上海市青年志愿垦荒队).[v] Driven by the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League, youth reclamation teams soon spread throughout the whole country as a new trend. However, they came to an end in 1956 because of economic deficiency and poor management (Ding, 1998, pp.60–68). Moreover, the majority of the urban youths in these reclamation teams failed to adapt to intense farm work and harsh conditions, and they did not settle down in the countryside as they were supposed to (Ding, 1998, p. 60).

The Huixiang Zhiqing and the youth reclamation teams were the predecessors of the Zhiqing. Apart from this successive relationship, the dilemmas they faced in the 1950s continued to influence the UMDC Movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Subsequent history has demonstrated that these dilemmas, revealed later as inherent problems of the UMDC Movement, had determined in advance its direction and final results.

Of those dilemmas and problems, the most significant one was the employment issue, which cyclically intensified alongside general economic fluctuations. This was relevant with regard to the contradiction between population growth and development in the economy and education, as well as shortcomings in population, economy, and education policies. The second and consequent problem was that employment pressure and other social problems in the cities were often shifted to the countryside. Lastly, turning educated young people into simple labourers objectively resulted in a waste of human and education resources. Initially, it was hoped that young people would contribute to rural construction by exploiting their knowledge and skills and transforming the rural society with advanced urban culture. However, most urban youths failed to settle down in the countryside. So the ironic fact was that “educated young people were less capable than illiterate peasants” (Ding, 1998, p.63). It is clear now that this was due to the poor production conditions, which stopped these young people from using their advantages. However, in that particular historical period, these young people’s failure and resistance were interpreted ideologically as the weakness and individualism of the bourgeoisie.[vi]

After a few years of try-outs, in 1956, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the state decided to adopt mobilizing youth to the countryside as a conventional method to address the employment issue. This time, the urban youth became the target for mobilization. On 23 January 1956, the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee (中共中央政治局) issued an “Outline of National Agricultural Development from 1956 to 1967 (draft)” (1956 年到 1967 年全国农业发展纲要[草案]). According to Article Thirty of the Outline, graduates of urban secondary and primary schools, except for those who had managed to enter into further studies and those who had found jobs in the cities, should respond to the call and go down to the countryside and up to mountains to join in agricultural production and participate in the great cause of socialist agricultural construction. For the first time, “Down to the Countryside and Up to the Mountains” (下乡上山) appeared in an official document as a set term, though the sequence here was contrary to the later well-known expression, “Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside” (上山下乡).

In 1958, under the impact of the Great Leap Forward, the implementation of “Down to the Countryside and Up to the Mountains” was halted suddenly. By the end of 1962, the number of idle urban youths had reached 2 million.[vii] Soon, the UMDC work was brought back onto the agenda. In October of 1962, the Agriculture and Forestry Office of the State Council (国务院农林办) held the “Reporting Conference of Resettling Urban Redundant Staff and Young Students in State Farms, Forest Farms, Pastures, and Fisheries (关于国营农林牧渔场安置家居大中城市精简职工和青年学生的汇报会议). Zhou Enlai attended the meeting and delivered a speech. In this speech, he pointed out that resettling the urban population in the countryside was an effective solution to the problem of surplus labour forces in the city. Participants discussed a series of practical issues, including the target and methods of resettlement, expenditure, and resources, as well as corresponding policies, plans, and safeguards. At this meeting, the Leading Group of Resettlement Work of Agriculture and Forestry Office (农林办安置领导小组) was founded, which was the predecessor to the Leading Group Office of Zhiqing UMDC (知识青年上山下乡领导小组办公室). Read more

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Purifying Islamic Equities ~ The Interest Tax Shield

Photo: Arab Bank headquarters in Amman, Jordan

Arab Bank headquarters in Amman, Jordan

This paper seeks to add to the debate regarding the appropriate methodology to purify tainted components from shari’ah compliant equities. Based on the Qur’anical prohibition against riba and an analysis of the purification methodology recommended by AAOIFI Shari’ah Standard 21, this paper highlights shortcomings in Standard 21 and references the corporate finance literature to argue for the need to also purify the interest tax shield from debt. Purification is a pivotal element of the Islamic investment process yet Standard 21 permits a loose interpretation which causes portfolios to be under-purified. Standard 21 also makes no mention of the interest tax shield from debt even though the benefits there from are at odds with the principles of social justice in Islam. That there is no mention of the interest tax shield from debt in the (limited) literature on the purification of Islamic equities is puzzling. This paper has implications for the Islamic funds industry as well as for compliant Muslim investors.

The Islamic funds industry is estimated at 5.5 per cent (Ernst & Young, 2011) of the over $1.0 trillion (Wilson, 2009) global Islamic finance industry. Although small in comparison with the conventional funds industry, the potential growth from targeting the largely untapped Muslim market (estimated at 23 per cent of the world’s population) has garnered significant attention (Hassan and Girard, 2011). But the nascent Islamic funds industry is already at a crossroads. There are a number of issues which could derail its early promise – chief among these is confusion about how to purify Islamic portfolios to ensure shari’ah compliance.

Purification refers to the need to quantify and donate to charity all impure components deemed unacceptable under shari’ah principles and teachings (Elgari, 2000). Impure components include riba, which in modern Islamic finance has become synonymous with interest-related activity and is unequivocally prohibited in the Qur’an. Because nearly every company in the world receives/pays interest on its cash/debt balances, the practical effect of an absolute interpretation of the prohibition against riba is that the funds industry is, ipso facto, off limits for Muslim investors (Moore, 1997; McMillen, 2011). As a result, the shari’ah Supervisory Boards (hereafter SSBs) that determine the compliance of any investment have had to make a number of compromises to allow some permissible variation from absolute shari’ah principles. While some research has been done relating to the construction and application of Islamic stock screens, there is a paucity of literature about how haram elements resulting from permissible variation should be purified.[i],[ii] Although the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) recommends one method for purging impure amounts in Shari’ah Standard 21 Financial Papers (Shares and Bonds) (hereafter S21), the terminology used throughout is not consistent and, in certain sections, lacks specificity. Also, not all jurists adhere to AAOIFI standards such that several methods are used in practice. The result is that, even for those adhering to AAOIFI standards, differing interpretations are possible, meaning that confusion remains and haram components go unpurified. To some shari’ah scholars, the entire permissibility of an Islamic fund hinges on purification, so this lacuna needs to be addressed (Elgari, 2000).

This paper discusses the unequivocal prohibition against riba in the Qur’an and the hadith, and its impact on commercial activity in the Islamic world. It documents how the practice of permissible variation has evolved in the Islamic funds industry to allow a degree of deviation from absolute concepts and analyses some of the various current methodologies suggested for purging the consequent impurities from Islamic portfolios, with a focus on S21. Given what is at stake for the nascent Islamic funds industry, this chapter also suggests a comprehensive methodology for the purification of prohibited components which includes the need to also purify the benefits from the interest tax shield from debt −the benefits of which to the firm are well understood in the corporate finance literature.

Islam and Commercial Activity
Islam is a complete way of life, a lifestyle which constitutes a part of every Muslim’s cultural and spiritual identity (Abbasi, Holman,andMurray, 1989; DeLorenzo, 2002). Islam aims at striking a balance between individual freedoms (including commercial activities, Qu’ran 62:10) and ensuring that these freedoms are conducive to the growth and benefit of society at large (Ebrahim, 2003). Indeed, the Qur’an and the Sunnah (Islamic custom and practice) place tremendous stress on justice. All leading jurists therefore, without exception, have held that justice is a central indispensable ingredient of the maqasid al-shari’ah, or the goals of Islam (Chapra, 2000). In economics, justice can be interpreted to mean that resources are used in a manner that ensures, inter alia, the equitable distribution of income and wealth and economic stability (Chapra, 2000). Since the emergence of post-independence Muslim states in the global economy in the 1960s, there has been much debate about how commercial activity, and for this chapter the Islamic funds industry specifically, can be organized to conform to Islamic justice and shari’ah. Chapra (2000) contends that these goals cannot be realized without a humanitarian strategy which injects a moral dimension into economics — the prohibition against riba is part of this moral dimension. Read more

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The Case Of “Fukushima” ~ Notation Choice As A Highlighting Device In Ad Hoc Concept Construction

The irregular use of katakana has been analysed mainly in descriptive terms and is often considered to be a device for creating homonyms or communicating emotions (See Ogakiuchi, 2010). This chapter examines the irregular use of katakana notation from the perspective of relevance theory. Unlike previous studies, which have focused on the images and emotions the katakana notation system is said to communicate, this chapter focuses on concepts communicated by the use of words when they are written in katakana rather than other usual notations. I show that the irregular use of katakana is just one of many devices used for highlighting ad hoc concepts that can be found universally and should be analysed in a wider context than describing the functions of this notation,which is unique to Japanese. I argue that a cognitively grounded relevance theoretic account, in particular the notions of ad hoc concepts and metarepresentation, enables us to provide an explanation for observations made in previous studies.
The paper concludes that emotions attributed to the use of katakana and the homonyms which katakana notation appears to create can be explained in terms of repeated metarepresentation of ad hoc concepts and attributed thoughts communicated by the concepts.

Introduction –The Japanese Writing System
The Japanese writing system uses three different types of notation. The first is kanji, which is logographic. Each kanji character has a “meaning” and is used for conceptual words. There are also two alphabet systems, hiragana and katakana. Hiragana is phonographic and used for particles, connectives, and other “function words”, as well as being used by children (and adults) when they do not know which kanji to use. Katakana is also phonographic and is mainly used for loan words, onomatopoeia, and the names of animals, species, flowers, etc. It is convention that all three notation systems are used as required. Example (1) demonstrates this:

(1) ジョンの 庭にネコが 入ってきた.

John no niwa ni neko ga haitte kita

John GEN garden LOC cat SUB entered

“A cat came into John’s garden.”

In (1), two conceptual words,“garden”and “enter”, are written in kanji: 庭 and 入, respectively. Hiragana is used for particles,“no” (の) and “ni” (に), part of verb conjugation (ってきた), and the subject marker“ga” (が). Although they are conceptual words, katakana is used for “John” (ジョン) and “cat” (ネコ) as John is non-Japanese and “cat” is the name of an animal.

The choice of notation system is based on this convention and one’s ability – if one does not know or remember how to write a certain kanji, one might choose to write the word in hiragana or katakana. This is particularly the case for children and in hand-written texts. This paper does not aim to analyse these cases, where choice of notation is based on personal abilities. Nor does it deal with cases where katakana notation is used as it is expected to be. Instead, this study will focus on cases where the use of katakana cannot be explained in terms of personal abilities or preferences. In particular, I shall focus on cases in which katakana is used where it is not expected or not because of personal preference/abilities. A particular focus will be placed on correlations between choice of notation and construction of ad hoc concepts, where the use of katakana seems to trigger concept adjustment. See “Fukushima”in (2)[i]:

(2) チェルノブイリからフクシマへ「同じ道たどらないで」

Chernobyl kara Fukushima e “onaji michi tadoranaide”

Chernobyl FROM Fukushima LOC “same road follow-NEG-IMPERATIVE”

From Chernobyl to Fukushima: “Please do not go the way we did”
(Sekine 2011)

“Fukushima” is the name of a town and, normally, it is written as 福島 in kanji. However, in (2), it is written as フクシマ in katakana, and it seems to communicate more than just a name. What does it communicate? How is it different from “Fukushima” written in kanji? In following sections, I will first look at how katakana notation has been dealt with in previous studies and then present an alternative account from the perspective of relevance theory. Read more

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打工妹 ~ Migration As A Means To Female Emancipation



In the contemporary globalized society, migration and urbanization have become pivotal processes that involve large parts of the world population and have drawn the attention of analysts. Scholars from a variety of disciplines have analysed these two phenomena all over the world from different perspectives and with different aims. This paper explores the present situation of the so-called 打工妹 dagongmei (young Chinese migrant women) who arrive in big cities from small villages seeking social emancipation or to escape from patriarchy and other social impositions they are pushed to accept as young women.

Female emancipation has been an important goal for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Following Friedrich Engels’ “The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State” and the Marxist theory of female emancipation as a class issue, the CCP tried to involve Chinese women in labour (i.e. farming and industrial labour). During the 1980s, feminists and intellectuals began to criticize this policy because it had failed in its goal to bring emancipation to Chinese women.

The present research revolves around the understanding of the concept of 自由 ziyou (freedom) among female migrants in Beijing. According to the results of the survey, “freedom” has different meanings for the young women but it is possible to sum them up in three correlated categories: 自由 ziyou meaning economic freedom, or economic independence with no necessity to rely on someone else (family or partner); 自由 ziyou, the absence of familial control; and 自由 ziyou, the discovery of new urban realities and subsequent experiences of great importance for personal development and education.

Since the implementation of the policy of reform and opening-up promoted by the “little helmsman”, Deng Xiaoping, at the end of 1970s, the People’s Republic of China has been and is still experiencing huge internal migration. This is a mass migration with no precedent in human history. At the beginning of the 1980s, there were only 20 million migrants in China; by 2009, this number had reached almost 150 million (俞可平 Yu Keping, 2010). Independent media reports (Yardley, 2004) now indicate that more than 200 million individuals have marched from rural areas to the industrialized areas of eastern China. Almost one third of this figure is made up of female migrants. In certain areas and in specific industrial sectors such as textiles, manufacturing, cleaning, and the sex industry, the percentage of women reaches 70 (Jacka and Gaetano, 2004).

It is not possible to study and analyse Chinese domestic migration without taking into account the cultural, political, social, and economic complexity of the country. The scope of the current chapter does not allow for an extensive analysis, so it will approach the issue of the 流动人口 liudong renkou (or “floating people”, the term usually used by Chinese media to refer to migrants) from a qualitative perspective and limit the geographical area of analysis to the city of Beijing. Furthermore, this chapter will attempt, to a certain extent, to observe if and how the process of migration to Beijing from the countryside is a means of emancipation for the thousands of young female workers who undertake the move. The findings of the present chapter are the results of an ethnographic research based on semi-structured interviews and direct observation of young female migrants in Beijing between March 2009 and December 2010.
Studies on Chinese migration from a gender perspective started in the early 1990s. Important contributions in this field come from the research of Chinese and international scholars like Li Xiaojiang, Lee Ching Kwan, Pun Ngai, Li Yinhe, Zheng Zhenzhen, Honig Emily, Tani Barlow, Dorothy Ko, Elizabeth Croll, Zhang Hong, Tamara Jacka, Zheng Tiantian, and Rachel Murphy.

During the Maoist era, the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) followed with fervour the political views of the Chinese Communist Party. They participated in basing the issue of women’s liberation on the theory of classic Marxism, mainly inspired by the analysis of Friedrich Engels in his “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State” (1884). Critical and independent thought about women’s condition in China spread in academic and intellectual circles only at the end of the Maoist era.
According to the results of a survey entitled “Migrant workers and gender” (农民流动与性别 Nongmin Liudong Yu Xingbie, 2000), beyond the traditional socio-economic reasons and the “push and pull” factors, there are at least three factors motivating this new generation of young women to move from the countryside to big cities like Beijing: 1) to earn money, 2) to learn and seek personal development, and 3) to see the world. Thus, leaving home seems to be more a personal and free choice for individual emancipation than a need created by harsh economic conditions or miserable living standards in the place of origin. In fact, if during the 1980s it was very unpopular (or, in other words, not virtuous) for a woman of peasant origins to leave her village and work in the service industry in urban areas, nowadays Confucian morality seems to have given way to the need for mobility and speed dictated by the country’s rapid economic development:
“Women’s migration in China may at one time have been a signal of extreme poverty or desperation, but this is no longer the case. Now it is seen as a rite of passage by some young women, or at least a great adventure. In most cases the motive is still cash income, but often money is to be amassed for specific consumption goals, such as a new home, a bridal dowry, the bride-price for the girl’s brother, or education expenses for younger siblings.” (Jacka, 2004)
Of the many ways used by academics and media to define Chinese migrants, the one closest to the subject of this study is 打工妹 dagongmei. 打工 dagong literally means “to work”, “to temp”, or “to sell labour”, while 妹 mei or 妹妹 meimei is translated as “younger sister” or “little sister” (Lee, 1998; 潘毅 Pan Yi, 黎婉薇 Li Wanwei, 2006; Yan, 2008). It is a term of Cantonese origin, used since the 1980s, to refer to the young migrants who ended up working in the factories of Guangdong Province, the “world’s factory”. Today, it is still used but more widely to refer to young girls (usually aged between 16 and 25) who leave the rural areas to work in the urban ones. They have a low educational level, are not skilled workers, and many of them come from poor economic backgrounds. And, perhaps most important from a sociological point of view, they are not married. Read more

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Violence And Identity ~ The “Self” And The “Other”: An Exploration Of Ethnic Relations And Conflict In China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

On the night of 5 July 2009, Urumchi, the provincial capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), witnessed the worst outbreak of ethnic rioting in the history of the People’s Republic of China (Wong, 2009). According to official figures, 197 people were killed and over 2,000 injured (Xinhua, 2009a). The majority of those who died were of Han ethnicity. The Han make up over 92 per cent of the Chinese population but are in a minority in Xinjiang. Their attackers were mostly of Uyghur ethnicity, a Turkic Muslim ethnic group which is in the majority in Xinjiang. The 2009 riot was not an isolated event, but the worst in a series of sporadic outbreaks of violence in recent years. These outbreaks of violence have brought renewed focus, both within China and internationally, on the issue of ethnic relations in Xinjiang and on the Chinese government’s minority policy and have had a significant impact on the construction and maintenance of the social boundaries that exist between both groups.

Xinjiang, which translates as “New Dominion” or “New Frontier” in English, is a vast resource-rich province twice the size of Western Europe. At just under 1.7 million square km, it makes up one sixth of the People’s Republic of China and borders Russia, Kazakhstan, MongoIia, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. It is of enormous strategic and economic importance but remains, as it always has been, a potential tinderbox, as its peoples, old and new, struggle to find their place in an ever-shifting landscape. The central government is determined to secure control of this key region in the face of continuing resentment from its indigenous peoples (Bovingdon, 2010).

According to the 2010 Census (Xinjiang Statistical Year Book 2009) Uyghurs make up 45.21 per cent of the population of Xinjiang, numbering 8,345,622 people. The Han make up 40.58 per cent with 7,489,919 people. Next come the Kazakhs, who number just over 1 million, followed by: Mongol; Dongxiang; Tajik; Xibe; Manchu; Tuja; Uzbek; Russian; Miao; Tibetan; Zhuang; Daur; Tatar; and Salar. The 2000 census also shows that during the 1990s, Xinjiang’s Han population grew by 31.6 per cent, mostly due to inward migration. This is twice the rate of the indigenous ethnic groups (up 15.9 per cent), who supposedly benefit from more relaxed family planning policies compared to the rest of China. This influx has considerably heightened the competition between the Han and local ethnic groups for land and water resources in rural areas, and for jobs in urban areas. While the most recent census was carried out in 2010, the full figures on Xinjiang’s ethnic makeup had still not been released at the time of writing. The figures that have been released show the figure for the Han was hovering around the 40 per cent mark, while the Uyghur figure has fallen significantly to 42 per cent (Xinjiang Statistical Yearbook 2011).

Ethnic identity (minzu – 民族 ) in China, and in Xinjiang particularly, is both clearly defined by the state and controversial. In Xinjiang, China’s most ethnically diverse region and also its most restive, ethnicity has a particular resonance. This chapter conceptuaIizes ethnicity in Xinjiang both in terms of a classical Weberian definition of”ethnic groups” as “human groups that entertain a subjective belief in their common descent because of similarities of physical type or of customs or both, or because of memories of colonisation or both” (Weber, 1968, p. 389) and the official Communist Party interpretation of ethnicity based on Stalin’s definition of historically formed stable communities of language, territory, economic life, and psychological formation, manifested through a common culture (Stalin, 1953). It understands ethnic identity as something that is self-conscious and that this self-consciousness often has its source in the labels used by others. As Stephen Cornell and Douglas Hartman (2007) argue, the identity that others assign to us can be a powerful force in shaping our own self-concepts. Essential to this exploration of Han and Uyghur identity will be the assumption that an ethnic group cannot truly exist in isolation, it has meaning only in a context that involves others.

Based on a large number of interviews carried out in Urumchi from 2009 to 2012, this chapter is divided into two parts: part one will give a detailed account of the riots based on eye witness accounts together with contemporaneous news reports; part two seeks to examine how the violence of 2009 has affected how the Han and Uyghur see the themselves and each other and the role of social boundaries and relational comparisons in the creation and maintenance of group identities.
My research takes as a basic theoretical assumption Fredrik Barth’s (1969) conceptualization of ethnicity, which emphasizes that it is the ethnic boundary that defines a group. Barth maintained that ethnic identities do not derive from intrinsic features but emerge from, and are reasserted in, encounters, transactions, and oppositions between groups. An ethnic group can only be defined and structured from within, and only these “objective” differences considered significant by the actors themselves are taken into account. He asserts that categorical ethnic distinctions do not depend on an absence of mobility, contact, and information but do entail social processes of exclusion and inclusion. It is not so much who we are, rather, who we are not. Barth also argues that identity must be selected by groups themselves, a process he calls “self-ascription” (Barth, 1969, p.4).

Part One
Urumchi aflame: the causes and consequences of the 5 July riot

In the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the authorities expressed concern over Uyghur separatist groups potentially plotting to disrupt the games. At the beginning of 2008, it claimed to have broken up a number of plots and to have found equipment used in the making of explosives as well as four kilograms of yell ow sulphur and 100 kilograms of nine other types of chemicals, along with computer equipment and disks containing “holy war” materials. Police claimed the suspects were planning to attack the Olympics as weIl as other government targets in Beijing and Shanghai (Hastings, 2011). In March, the authorities announced they had thwarted an attempt by Xinjiang “terrorists” to hijack a Beijing-bound passenger airplane and crash it. However, despite its heightened security operation in Xinjiang, two violent incidents in Xinjiang did overshadow the opening of the Olympics.
On 4 August, just days before the games were due to open, two men armed with knives and explosives ambushed military police who we re exercising outside their station in Kashgar. State media reported that the attackers had killed 16 officers and wounded 16 others. Days later on 9 August, 12 explosive devices were detonated in attacks on at least four local government buildings, a supermarket, and hotels in the city of Kucha, killing a security guard and at least 10 of the suspected attackers (Jacobs, 2008; Yardley, 2008). Read more

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My Story ~ A Study On Chinese Cultural Identity In Australia – Contents & Preface

MyStoryThe book My Story ~ A Study On Chinese Cultural Identity In Australiaedited by Fan Hong and Liang Fen has been launched during an international event in Perth, Australia. The book had been published as volume 5 of the series Asia Studies – Within and Without – a book series that is kindly supported also by Rozenberg Quarterly.

Preface (See below)
Feng Jicai – A Creative Research Project
Dennis Haskell – Foreword
Jan Ryan – Foreword ~ Chinese in Australia, 1980 –
The first story: Sometimes, Flowers Bloom Even More Beautifully In A Foreign Soil
2: The Country Behind The Forests
3: Many Small Stones Can Build A Pyramid – That Is How Miracles Are Created
4:  I Remain A Typical Chinese Person
5: Three Words, One Marriage
6. From “Falling Leaves Settling On The Roots” To “Falling Leaves Growing From The Roots”
7. I Will Repay My Motherland For Nurturing Me
8. From Chinese Country Boy To An Australian Professor
9. Who Is The Foreigner In This Place?
10. A Party With One Member
11. Start From Simplicity
12. An Ordinary Road 
13. While Travelling Life’s Journey, Cherish Every Step And Every Stop Along The Way
14. Seeking A Better Life, Doing Meaningful Things 
15. Never Say “Give up”
16. A Love Story
17. A Unique Personal Statement
18. Full Circle 
19. We Are The Masters Of Our Destiny 
20. A Special Representative
21. Reborn ~ New Family, New Vision And New Career
22. Only By Creating Your Own World Can You Create A Real Life
23. For All Walks Of Life, There Must Be A Master
24. The Older I Get, The More I Enjoy My Life
25. Half Australian And Half Chinese
26. Keep Your Nose To The Grindstone, You Will Be Successful In The End

The first wave of immigration from China to Australia appeared in the mid-19th century provoked largely by the gold rush of that period. In the 1861 census of Australia’s population there were over 38,000 Chinese migrants in Australia and by 1947 it had fallen to 6,400.
Since the 1980s there has been a new wave of Chinese immigration to Australia, and there are now over 415,000 Chinese immigrants, or ‘Chinese Australians’. Chinese migrants record high levels of educational attainment that match and occasionally surpass the national average. With a high degree of academic achievement and upward socioeconomic mobility, those Chinese Australians who were born post the 1950s and post 1980s are among the most well educated groups in Australia and comprise a large percentage of Australia’s educated class.

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