Sunday, July 12, 2009

Understanding China - an excellent WSJ on ethnic identity in modern China

This WSJ article by Dru Gadney is essential reading for anyone who needs to understand modern China -- which means anyone who wants to be part of the modern world.

Gadney has written a clear and objective summary of the cultural and ethnic diversity of modern China. He explains, for example, how the "Han" cultural component has become so much more dominant than I once remembered (the term was redefined to become much more inclusive).

I don't have the connections to China I once knew, but the article fit very well with old memories and newer readings. The modern usage of "Han" covers a diversity of language and traditions almost as wide as Europe's national fragmentations -- and that's before one includes the "minorities" (who, at about 100 million people, would make up about 1/3 of the US population).

Highly recommended.

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