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234 × 156 mm
288 pages
16 Apr 2018

Lesser Dragons Minority Peoples of China Michael Dillon

Lesser Dragons is a timely introduction to the fascinating and complex world of China’s ‘national minorities’. Based on detailed research, including the author’s first-hand fieldwork in several minority areas, it introduces the major non-Han peoples of China, including the Mongols, the Tibetans, the Uyghurs of Xinjiang and the Manchus, and traces the evolution of their relationship with the Han Chinese majority. Each chapter discusses one of the most important minority groups, while an additional chapter is devoted to the parallel but different world of inter-ethnic relations in Taiwan.

Lesser Dragons will interest anyone who wishes to understand the reality behind the region’s conflicts that are increasingly being reported in the Western media, including the tense security situation in Xinjiang, China’s attitude to Tibet and the Dalai Lama, and the resistance of Mongolian herders to the loss of their grasslands. It examines clichés, such as those found in the Chinese press that portray the ethnic minorities as colourful but marginal people, and shows how their religions, cultures and above all their languages mark them out as distinct from the Chinese majority yet endangered by forces of integration.

‘Michael Dillon’s Lesser Dragons comes at a critical time and is a major contribution to the understanding of the contentious mix of ethnicity, nationalism and assimilation policies in China . . . Lesser Dragons challenges the myth of an unchanging China with continuous borders and an unbroken 5,000-year narrative; that China is a monoculture based on the Han identity; and that all ethnic minorities have had the same experience with the Chinese state.’ – International Affairs

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Michael Dillon was founding director of the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies at Durham University and has been a visiting professor at Tsinghua University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Asiatic Society, and a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Introduction: Dragons, Majorities and Minorities
1 Evolution of Ethnic Classification and Policies
2 Multicultural Beijing Past and Present: Lama Temple and Chinese Ethnic Culture Park
3 Hakkas: A Han Minority
4 Hui Muslims and their Neighbours in Northwest China
5 Xinjiang and the Uyghurs
6 Mongols of Inner Mongolia
7 Tibet and the Tibetans
8 Minorities of the Southwest: Yunnan Province
9 Manchus: The Renaissance of an Ethnic Group
10 Minor Minorities and Disputed Identities
11 Taiwan: Another China, Another Model
12 Ethnic-minority Policies: Unity and Conflict
Conclusion: Ethnic Minorities in the Age of Xi Jinping
China’s National Minorities (shaoshu minzu)

Bibliography and Suggestions for Further Reading