Instructors: Asligul Berktay
November 17, 2017
Wallerstein’s Racism and
Chinese Racism and Nationalism
essay, first I am going to illustrate the main idea of Sautman’s article and
relate to the historical background of these archaeological research. Then, I
am going to illustrate the Wallerstein’s argument about racism, and comparing
them with Chinese racism and nationalism, find their similarities and
differences. Finally, I am going to find the reasons for the differences
between Wallerstein’s Racism and Chinese racism and nationalism.
In Peking Man and the Politics of Paleoanthropological Nationalism in
China, Sautman states that Chinese government has started a research in
order to prove that Chinese national has its own evolution, which is different
from any other human beings (95). PRC scientists wanted to prove that Chinese
have a continuity not just for civilization but also for its race (Sautman
111). The PRC scientists challenge the wide-accepted idea of “out of Africa”
hypothesis that considers that all human beings come from Africa and then move
to other parts of the world and try to prove that Chinese all comes from China
research are pushed by Chinese government and CCP, what they intended to do is
to keep their party in position (Sautman 95). In the 1990s, just the time those
research conduct, China is at a turning point in its history.
From the very beginning
of its civilization, Chinese regard themselves as the center of the world,
Chinese regard their civilization as the greatest one in the world. Therefore,
unless a “barbarian” can fully change his or her language, clothing,
and lifestyles as the Chinese one, he or she never be regarded as a Chinese
(Wright 29). This is the universalism in ancient China, which make everyone
have the right to become civilized.
After 1949, when CCP
established its rule in mainland China, what they believe is a kind of
universalism, which is related to the theories of communism. They believe that
the working class of the world should fight together against the capitalism,
and the poor countries in the world should fight against the imperialism and
colonialism (Larus 71).
However, things become
different after 1978, when Mr. Deng started the “reform and open up”. After the
disaster of ten-years cultural revolution, Chinese are not likely to believe
communism so firmly. Also, with the change of international situation, China
works closely with Japan and United States, this deeply influences the thought
of Chinese intellectuals (Larus 307). The intellectuals want to struggle for
liberality and democracy for Chinese and then happened the “incident of
Tiananmen Square” in June 1989. Also, in the early 1990s, Soviet Union
collapse, and huge change happened in eastern Europe.
Therefore, in the early
1990s, CCP is in the crisis of losing their legitimacy for that communism or
socialism ideology cannot be the most important part of the legitimacy. This is
the meaning of what Sautman states “ideological vacuum” (Sautman 95).
Therefore, CCP and PRC government turn to nationalism and racism to find their
legitimacy (Sautman 95).
In Wallerstein’s idea,
the racism is coming from a kind of fear to the outsider who is different from
“us” in maybe race or customs (Wallerstein 348). However, the discrimination
against the outsider is easily going to the extreme, the most extreme one is to
deprive their life (Wallerstein 348). However, we may lose many things if we
really eject the outsider, they can be used as a work force while their force
cannot be use as they are ejected (Wallerstein 348).
When comparing to
Wallerstein’s idea of racism, the description of racism is quite similar to the
Chinese nationalism and racism. There are serval components of racism. First,
is the belief that “insiders” have the superiority, this can be in the field of
culture or race (Wallerstein 348). Second, is the claim of its own continuity
from past (Wallerstein 348). Third, is the hate to the “outsider” (Wallerstein
346). Which can be proof in Sautman’s article.
First, Chinese has
claimed its own superiority in culture in history. In ancient China, Chinese
states regard themselves as the center of the world, and the outside China, the
other places in the world are called uncivilized land (Wright 30). The people
outside of China were seen as barbarians which are wild and lack of moral
(Wright 30). They need to be civilized by the great celestial empire (Wright
30). This belief that outsider is more likely to lack morality just fits the
argument of Wallerstein (Wallerstein 348).
After 1949, the PRC come
into being, it had a short honeymoon period with the Soviet Union and its satellite
states in central Asia and eastern Europe, at that time China regard itself as
a member of the communism family (Larus 143). At that time, what Chinese
believed is communist universalism, and they see liberate the working class in
capitalist countries as part of their responsibility (Larus 143).
However, things become
different, as the Chinese-Soviet relationship become worse, the particularism
raised in China again. The CCP criticize the Soviet Union is the country that
did not follow the orthodox Marxism’s road, so did Soviet’s satellite states
(Larus 213). Meanwhile, Chinese also criticize the United States and its allies
as imperialism countries (Larus 214). At that time, China is isolated from both
“west” and “east”, they fear and hate the “outsiders”. Therefore, one of the
most important tools is used to support its rule and call on their people work
for them is nationalism and racism. It is just like Wallerstein’s idea that
racism comes from fear to the outsider (Wallerstein 348).
Chinese government has claimed that China has a long and proud history, which
can date back to 5000 years ago. However, in Chinese history, the first exact
year appeared in 842BC, and from the archaeologist’s discovery, Chinese history
can only date back to Shang Dynasty, which started at around 1600BC (Wright
16). Therefore, the existence of the Xia Dynasty and former rulers in China
still remains a question. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is not only
searching for the evidence of the continuity of Chinese civilization, but also
for the continuity of race, to prove that the continuity of Chinese is not only
culturally but also biologically (Sautman 95). This is quite similar to
Wallerstein’s view of racism that connects the past with the present time
in Chinese nationalism and racism express its hate to the outsiders. In the
long history of China, the foreigners were regarded as uncivilized people
(Wright 26). In contemporary China, the hate to the foreigners still exist. In
the propaganda of Chinese government, the United States and its western allies
are a group of countries have the prejudice to “socialism of Chinese
characteristic” and trying to subvert the Chinese government, and the Japan are
regard as hostile neighbor which is led by the militaristic politicians and are
preparing to invade China (Larus 427). The hate and the fear toward foreigner
lead to the racism and nationalism in contemporary China, which is similar to
Wallerstein’s view (Wallerstein 348).
However, when comparing
to the usage of racism and nationalism in Wallerstein’s capitalist system and
contemporary China, they are quite different.
article, the racism is used as an economic tool. In the capitalist world
system, every barrier to the free flow of the capital and world system should
be torn down (Wallerstein 349). Therefore, if the hate and fear to the
outsiders, which is the origin of the racism and nationalism, come to the
extreme and comes to killing the “outsiders”, it may lose its meaning as it
causes the loss of the workforces. In this case, the capitalist society uses
this hate and fear, change it into discrimination (Wallerstein 348). With this
discrimination, the capitalists can pay these people less so that they can save
their cost (Wallerstein 348).
Sautman’s article, the racism and nationalism in China are used as a political
tool. In the crisis of losing legitimacy, the ideology of communism is cannot
be used to legitimate the rule of CCP, because of the collapse of the Soviet
Union and the end of the cold war (Larus 331). Therefore, Chinese government
trying to find nationalism and racism, from its own tradition to legitimate its
political power (Larus 331). These archaeological researches supported by the
Chinese government are trying to find the evidence of that Chinese is the
origin in China not the immigrant from other places, in order to enhance the
sense of proud of Chinese to support its rule (Sautman 110).
Nationalism and racism,
those two weapons have different uses in two different systems. In the
capitalist system in North America and eastern Europe, a system connected to
the economic interest of big corporations and financial magnates, the economic
interest is the most significant. In this system, the power of government is
more likely to be influenced by the big corporations and financial magnates,
the politicians may need to take care of the interest of capitalist and use
racism as an economic tool. In addition, the different usage of racism in China
and the west may be influenced by the diversity of race in those two systems.
With highly developed economies, the west is attracting millions of none-white
“outsider” to work and immigrant in the west, so that the racial problems are
more serious in the west, which is different in China.
In China, a communist
and authoritarianism country, the power of the government is strong enough to
influence the economy. Different from the west, it is power who influence the
economy, not the capitalists who influence the government. Therefore, China is
more likely to use racism to legitimate its rule. In addition, the racial
diversity in China is less than in the west, although there are fifty-five
minorities in China, most of them do not have a large biological difference
when comparing to Han Chinese. Moreover, most of those people are living in the
remote and lower developed area, which is hard to use as a workforce. Besides,
the amount of these minority is so small, which the amount of the Han Chinese is
above ninety percent. Therefore, these minorities are not likely to be used as
workforces and the Chinese government is more likely to make them “insiders”
and make the foreigners “outsiders”.
In conclusion, racism
and nationalism can have different usage, both in economy and politics, in
different societies and different systems, in China and the west. It depends on
the regimes and diversity of race within their boundaries.
Immanuel. The Ideological Tensions of
Capitalism: Universalism versus Racism and Sexism. The Essential
Wallerstein. New Press, New York, 2000, pp. 344-352
Barry. Peking Man and the Politics of
Paleoanthropological Nationalism in China. The Journal of Asian Studies.
vol. 60, no. 1, 2001, pp. 95-124.
David Curtis. The History of China.
Greenwood Press, 2011.
Elizabeth Freund. Politics and society in
contemporary China. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2012.