Home    Number 6, 2014

On the History of Classifi cation of Peoples in the PRC

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

E.A. Kochukova | ri-jek@yandex.ru


ethnic classifi cation, project minzu shibie, Stalin’s defi nition of nation, minzu


The article discusses the ethnic classification project (minzu shibie) that was launched in China dur-ing the 1950s. One of the underlying causes in the matter was first session of the national people’s congress which was held in 1954 and guaranteed at least one seat to each national minority regardless of its size. According to the 1953 Census, there were over 400 national minorities, and the government came to face the possibility of a congress overcrowded with representatives thereof. Therefore, a decision was made to amalgamate some of the minorities, thus forming certain groups and assigning official names to them, which would lead to the emergence of the roster of offi cially recognized minzu (or nationalities). Initially, Stalin’s definition of the nation served as a paradigm for that. Later, it was modifi ed by Chinese ethnologists to fi t the situation in China.


Kochukova, E.A. 2014. On the History of Classifi cation of Peoples in the PRC. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 6: 108-124

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