Migration and Ethnicity in Chinese History: Hakkas, Pengmin, and Their Neighbors

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Stanford University Press, 1997 - History - 234 pages
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This book analyzes the emergence of ethnic consciousness among Hakka-speaking people in late imperial China in the context of their migrations in search of economic opportunities. It poses three central questions: What determined the temporal and geographic pattern of Hakka and Pengmin (a largely Hakka-speaking people) migration in this era? In what circumstances and over what issues did ethnic conflict emerge? How did the Chinese state react to the phenomena of migration and ethnic conflict?

To answer these questions, a model is developed that brings together three ideas and types of data: the analytical concept of ethnicity; the history of internal migration in China; and the regional systems methodology of G. William Skinner, which has been both a breakthrough in the study of Chinese society and an approach of broad social-scientific application. Professor Skinner has also prepared eleven maps for the book, as well as the Introduction.

The book is in two parts. Part I describes the spread of the Hakka throughout the Lingnan, and to a lesser extent the Southeast Coast, macroregions. It argues that this migration occurred because of upswings in the macroregional economies in the sixteenth century and in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. As long as economic opportunities were expanding, ethnic antagonisms were held in check. When, however, the macroregional economies declined, in the mid-seventeenth and late eighteenth centuries, ethnic tensions came to the fore, notably in the Hakka-Punti War of the mid-nineteenth century.

Part II broadens the analysis to take into account other Hakka-speaking people, notably the Pengmin, or "shack people.” When new economic opportunities opened up, the Pengmin moved to the peripheries of most of the macroregions along the Yangzi valley, particularly to the highland areas close to major trading centers. As with the Hakka, ethnic antagonisms, albeit differently expressed, emerged as a result of a declining economy and increased competition for limited resources in the main areas of Pengmin concentration.


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Introduction by G William Skinner I
The Origins and Historiography of the Hakkas
Hakka Migrations in Lingnan and the Southeast Coast
The Formation of the Hakka Ethos in the Nineteenth Century
Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Twentieth Century
The Pengmin and Government Policies Toward Migration
Pengmin Migration to the Gan Yangzi Region
Ethnic Conflict in the Gan Yangzi
The Pengmin in the Lower Yangzi
The Pengmin in the Hanshui Basin
Publications by SowTheng Leong
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About the author (1997)

Sow-Theng Leong (1939-1987) taught at Melbourne and Murdoch Universities, Australia, and was the author of Sino-Soviet Diplomatic Relations, 1917-1926. Tim Wright is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at Murdoch University, Australia, and the author of Coal Mining in China's Economy and Society, 1895-1937.

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