than half of China, lying beyond the Great
Wall, were added to China by conquests. And
all along its western border, 5000 miles
long, live the conquered peoples—Tibetans,
Manchus, Uighurs, Mongols and other—sullen
and rebellious. China has become a prison to
It is said that a nation is judged by the
way it treats its minorities. This is
largely true. How does China stand up to
this test? Rather terribly. China is the
most oppressive nation to its minorities.
Can there be anything more terrible than
China’s determined efforts to obliterate the
identity of the minorities? At the same
time, it is the most chauvinistic about the
identity of its own people—the Hans—abroad.
China has been attempting a “final solution”
by submerging the separate identity of the
conquered in a sea of the Han race through
colonisation, forced marriages and
destruction of the visible symbols of their
separate identity! And this by a state which
calls itself socialist!
There are about 100 or so non-Han ethnic
groups in China. They number about 100
million or so. It is insignificant compared
to the Han race. By the way, they are
concentrated in three provinces—Tibet,
Sinkiang and Inner Mongolia. Take away these
three provinces, China will be reduced to a
small state with little of resources.
China had two distinct lines on minorities—a
Marxist line and a Mao line. The Marxists
line—self-determination of nations—can be
traced to the 1920’s. But when Mao came to
lead the party, the attitude began to
change. Self-determination gave way to
autonomy and autonomy gave way to
assimilation. But during the 8th Congress of
the Chinese Communist Party under Liu Shao
Chin, the policy of “Great Han Chauvinism”
of Mao condemned and China went back to
self-determination. But it was Mao’s policy,
which prevailed at the end.
Millions of Han people were moved to the
minority areas. Thus two Han regions were
added to Inner Mongolia in order to reduce
the proportion of the Mongols to 10 per
cent. Similarly, non-Han people were
deliberately scattered throughout China. Yet
another method adopted by China to destroy
the separate identity of the minorities was
by forcing marriages with the Han men.
Forcing the marriage of non-Han girls with
Han men, in turn, forced the minority men to
marry Han girls.
Colonisation and other anti-minority
measures produced revolts among the
minorities. But these were brutally
suppressed. Beijing characterised them as
From 1960s, the Maoists began to suppress
minority cultures. The Chinese media openly
asserted at this time that China had scope
only for one race—the Great Hans. One paper
called for “fusion” of races. Another said
that “assimilation” is a Marxist measure. It
said: “He who is opposed to assimilation is
opposed to socialism and communism”. After
such categoric assertions, there was little
revolt. That is why the world is surprised
over the continuing revolt in Tibet.
During the “cultural revolution”, theatres,
music, literature, etc. of minorities were
abolished. They were not allowed
denominational schools of their own. The
medium of instruction was charged to Chinese
and the minority languages came to be
written in Chinese script.
We hear of only Tibet these days, not much
of Sinkiang and inner Mongolia. This is
because the Tibetan exiles are all over the
world keeping up the problem alive. What is
more, the strategic location of Tibet has
attracted interference by America. American
strategists see that Sinkiang and Tibet
together can become a major base to dislodge
the communists from Beijing. This explains
why China refuses to come to terms with the
As for Sinkiang, the Muslim area, Hans
continue to pour into this region in order
to alter the population balance. Sinkiang is
rich in minerals. By the way it is also one
of the nuclear centres of China.
Although little is known of Inner Mongolia,
it can cause considerable problems for China
if there is a demand from the two Mongolias
for unification. In view of China’s own
demand for unification of Taiwan, it will be
difficult for China to decline the demand.
Like the Mongols, the Manchus too conquered
China and ruled over the country for 300
years. When the Manchus were ousted from
power by the Chinese nationalists, Manchuria
was annexed with China. Manchuria is the
richest province of China, which explains
why Japan tried to seize it during the
Second World War. The Manchus too have been
reduced to a minority in their own homeland.
There are 10-12 million Muslims in China.
The fundamentalists are trying to wean away
the Muslim regions from China. It is true
that the task will be difficult, for China
has destroyed the life-support system, that
is the wakf boards and madrassas. Today even
the construction of a new mosque needs
permission from the local authorities.