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Project Advisor 1
Robert. J. Culp
Modern China has been ethnically diverse throughout its history. Since 1949, 56 ethnic groups have been identified and recognized by the PRC central government. While the Han group has the largest population, the other 55 ethnic groups are relatively small, thus they are often referred to as “ethnic minorities” (Zhao et al., 2019, 320). An autonomous region is a first-level administrative division and the highest level of minority autonomous entity of China. Similar to provinces, an autonomous region has its own local government. Yet, unlike provinces, an autonomous region has more legislative rights. As of 2021, China has five autonomous regions for ethnic minorities, namely Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR), Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (NHAR), Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region (TAR), and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) (Feng, 2016, 46). All of these autonomous regions were established before 1958. Those autonomous regions are all in frontier areas of China, but one notable frontier region became a province in the Qing Dynasty and modern China (PRC)-- Yunnan Province. Why during the 18-19th centuries, and even in modern China, Yunnan became a province in China’s regular administrative system, but other frontier regions did not.
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Liang, Beida, "The Treatment of Ethnic Minorities on the Border during the Great Unification of the Middle Qing Dynasty (17-18th century), Taking Yunnan and Mongolia as Examples" (2021). Senior Projects Spring 2021. 46.
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