The Paradigms of Chinese Ethnic Politics
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The nature of the interethnic relationships is determined by the unwritten principle according to which they present themselves as a zero-sum operation, where the profit of one party will necessarily be associated with loss for the opposite side of the equation. This problem is the core of ethnopolitics and leads to studies on the relationship between ethnic and political systems. The theory of ethnopolitics was first laid out in the critical thought of Roland Breton. He wrote that it was necessitated by the need to “exorcise (...) a demon that was invented as ethnicity”. Study of ethnicity helped to explain the object of its interest, but only ethnopolitics enabled the development of diagnostic tools able to predict what the future will bring for the multicultural world. Those ethnic communities that are devoid of their own state institutions and function within the multi-ethnic state are forced to adopt a minority status, but the political reality of a minority is always defective, as relations between a minority and a majority are inherently asymmetrical. The state creates a legal and political order, but in a cultural sense its laws are discriminatory towards minorities. The political practice which the state applies to ethnic and national minorities is what is called ethnic politics.
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