The classification of ethnic identities (minzu) remains controversial in China. Categories established in the 1950s are still used by the state to administer minority areas, despite the existence of a complicated web of subjective identities which potentially undermines efforts to use these categories effectively.
This book offers a new, and sometimes unusual, perspective on ethnic relations in China, and on the interactions between China and other cultures. Two major themes run through the book: the classification of ethnic minorities in China by the state, and the implications of this practice; and the way in which China and the Chinese are seen by outsiders as well as insiders. The contributors, whose research is all based on fieldwork with the relevant communities, are from a wide range of backgrounds and are currently based in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, and Germany. The subjects of their research are the politics of minority classification in the People's Republic of China; questions of identity in Xinjiang; Kazakhstani perceptions of China and the Chinese; Chinese Muslims in Malaysia; and the growing Chinese diaspora in Africa. This book was originally published as a special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies.