February 28, 2005

You are on the invidual archive page of The new apartheid. Click Simon World weblog for the main page.
The new apartheid

With much fanfare China has just released a white paper on "Regional Autonomy for Ethnic Minorities in China." This has been accompanied by the full state media press:

1. China "endeavors (sic) to protect, foster ethnic minorities' tradional cultures", including this: The Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur, Korean and Yi languages have coded character sets and national standards for fonts and keyboard. Software in the Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur and Korean languages canbe run in the Windows system. Microsoft as a developmental yardstick.
2. "Ethnic autonomous regions account for 64% of China's territory". The 64% of land covered is largely desert or mountains (map here), such as Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Tibet.
3. "Regional autonomy system benefits all ethinc groups in China".

The 55 ethnic minorities comprise 8% of China's population, the other 92% being Han Chinese. The GDP of the autonomous areas is 1,038 billion yuan, giving a per-capita income of 1,895 yuan, according to the report. This compares to a national per capita GDP of US$1,000 or approximately 8,280 yuan*. That's right, these people earn around 1/4 of the national average. What about health? From the white paper:

The life expectancy of 13 ethnic minorities is higher than the national average, which is 71.40 years, and those of seven of them are higher than the average of the Han people, which is 73.34 years.
That means 47 ethnic groups have a lower life expectancy compared to the Han. If my maths serves me correctly, these numbers imply the average life expectancy of the 55 minorities is 49.09 years**. The report concedes
...limited and influenced by historical, geographical and other conditions, the economic and social development level of western China, where the populations of ethnic minorities are more concentrated, is still low compared with the more developed eastern areas. "Some remote areas, in particular, are still pretty backward."

It pledges that the Chinese government will adhere to the scientific concept of human-oriented, all-round, coordinated, sustainable development, further explore and strengthen specific forms of implementation of the system of regional ethnic autonomy, continuously strengthen the material basis for implementation of the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and promote the all-round economic and social development of ethnic minorities and their areas.

South Africa tried a similar system. They called them homelands.

* Don't start on PPP - it's not relevant here.

** My maths for someone to check:

Total life exp. = 71.4 years
Han life exp. = 73.34 years
Han % of popl'n = 92%

So assume China's population is 100 people.

Han: 73.34 * 92 = 6747.28 Han people years
Total: 71.40 * 100 = 7140 total people years

Balance: 7140 - 6747.28 = 392.72 minority people years
Ethnic % of population = 8

Ethnic life exp = 392.72 / 8 = 49.09

posted by Simon on 02.28.05 at 03:57 PM in the


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Send a manual trackback ping to this post.

Uyghur Watch
Excerpt: I'm taking a break from hacking away at my Uyghur paper in order to cut it down to the six pages max requested by the
Weblog: chez Nadezhda
Tracked: March 1, 2005 12:53 PM

State Department on East Turkestan
Excerpt: It should come as no surprise that the situation for the Uighurs of East Turkestan remains bleak. McMasterChef discusses at chez Nadezhda. McMasterChef also points to a self-congratulatory report on the situation from the PRC. Simon rightly declar...
Weblog: Registan.net
Tracked: March 2, 2005 10:30 AM


You've made a major logical error in regards to the average life expectancy of China's minority populations. While you cite the paper is saying that the life expectancy of 7 groups is higher than the han average you are incorrect in your assumption that the average life of expectancy of the aggregate minorities is only 49.09 years. The paper does not describe which 7 ethnic groups have a higher life-expectancy than the han and thus it is impossible to figure out the absolute population figures these 7 minorities represent. Keep in mind, that several of the officially recognized ethnic minorities are nearly statistically irrelevant, totalling only several thousand people. It could be that those 7 ethnic groups could constitute 90% of the total ethnic population, then it again, they may account for only 10%. All things figured, I believe that those 7 ethnicities with higher life expectancies than the han are not the ones in the tiny rural villages but likely the larger more urbanized ethnicities that are heavily acclimated into the mainstream social nomenclature(e.g. Koreans, Manchu, Zhuang, etc).

posted by: Jing on 03.02.05 at 07:41 AM [permalink]


My calculations are based on all ethnic minorities, including the 7 with higher than Han life expectancies. That might not have been clear in the post.

posted by: Simon on 03.02.05 at 08:19 AM [permalink]

I stand corrected, didn't bother clicking on the "continued reading" link.

posted by: Jing on 03.02.05 at 08:53 AM [permalink]

Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?