February 28, 2005
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.
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."
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
So assume China's population is 100 people.
Han: 73.34 * 92 = 6747.28 Han people years
Balance: 7140 - 6747.28 = 392.72 minority people years
Ethnic life exp = 392.72 / 8 = 49.09posted by Simon on 02.28.05 at 03:57 PM in the
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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]