China's Minorities: Integration and Modernization in the Twentieth Century

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China's Minorities: Integration and Modernization in the Twentieth Century

By Colin Mackerras
Oxford University Press, 1994
355 pp. $79.00

A China specialist from Australia has written a scholarly and readable account of the minority nationalities in China, including Tibetans, Uygurs, Mongolians, and Koreans. He assesses the growth or decline of their populations, the policies toward them by the central government, the pace of their economic development, and their relations across international borders. He concludes that China has a better chance of remaining unified, even including Tibet and Xinjiang, than did the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia. His reasons are that China has a far longer history of unity as a single nation, one nationality is very dominant, China has achieved considerable improvement of living standards in the minority regions, and China is likely to continue to have a strong central government and the political will to hold the country together, even when such a course necessitates violence against secessionists. The only factor with the potential for bringing about Tibetan independence would be the overthrow of the Chinese communist state. This is a sober and well-researched account, and although some may take issue with its conclusions and its methodology, it is one of the few studies to survey and analyze such a critically important subject.

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