Frontier People: Han Settlers in Minority Areas of China

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University of British Columbia Press, Feb 15, 2007 - Social Science - 267 pages
Chinese migration to Tibet and other border areas--now within the People's Republic of China--has long been a politically sensitive issue. As part of an ongoing process of internal colonization, migrations to minority areas have been, with few exceptions, directly organized by the government or driven by economic motives. Dramatic demographic and economic changes, often spearheaded not by local inhabitants but by Han Chinese immigrants have been the result. Frontier People shows how the Han themselves have been directly involved in the process of transformation within these areas where they have settled. Their perceptions of the minority natives, their "old home," other immigrants, and their own role in the areas are examined in relation to the official discourse on the migrations. This study contests conventional ways of presenting Han immigrants in minority areas as a homogeneous group of colonizers with shared identification, equal class status, and access to power. Based on extensive fieldwork in two local areas, Frontier People demonstrates that the category of "Han immigrants" is profoundly fragmented in terms of generation, ethnic identification, migration history, class, and economic activity. In this respect, the book makes an invaluable contribution to the literature on colonizers--a diverse group of people with equally diverse perceptions of the colonial project in which they play an integral part.

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About the author (2007)

Mette Halskov Hansen is Professor of Chinese studies in the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo. She is the author of Lessons in Being Chinese: Minority Education and Ethnic Identity in Southwest China.

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