A Difficult Choice Both Ways – The Rise of Hanism and what it Warns us

Original by kingsreturn. TRANSLATION COMPLETE, Chinese version from http://www.tianya.cn/publicforum/content/free/1/1447939.shtml.
The rise of Hanism (Han ethnic-based nationalism) is an issue to the PRC government, and a challenge to its policies.

The rise of Hanism (Han ethnic-based nationalism) is an issue to the PRC government, and a challenge to its policies. Photo from the dinner party after the Shanghai Yokoso! Japan fair in Shanghai, where Hanfu promoters are anguished from being censored and stopped.

Subtitled: The spring of conflict, the autumn of numerous events


When a story just begins, we probably do not notice its existance, until we reminece it afterwards, everything that has past then becomes all the more moving and amazing. Hidden outside from people’s line of sight,  the hidden tides are creating a new kind of ideology, and what we think we see are but crawling vines, but actually these vines are only but an accessory or periphery of some kind of gargantuan leviathan. Pride is in gestation, repeating in occasion. The living historical fate is still tying down this country, and some viewpoints that used to not pose a problem, began to spread among the Internet and reality. In this country of confused thought, certain events in history that are set in stone faces ‘innovative’ redefinition, with different political agendas and ethnic requests, and this trend is already established. Suppression or ignorance could not stop this kind of separation and change. Although its budding origins were noticed since the beginning, all we had done was wait and see with a mindset for enjoying another’s misfortune, or pass by in total apathy.

Keywords: Ethnic memory, cultural symbols, racial/ethnic divide, Hanism, extreme ethnic nationalism


This essay is based on iconic events in the cultural scene of china in the past decade, linking the ethnic policies in PRC since the Opening Reforms, with particular focus to the audience the rise and spread of Hanzu-zhuyi (trans. Hanism, Han departmentalism), as well the social realities and strenuous conflicts among various free media, and a prediction for inter-ethnic relationships in China in the future, suggesting possibilities for the event of ethnic division and creating methods for its prevention.

Main Article:

As we entered 2008, ethnic problems in China become ever increasingly adverse, events in Xinjiang and Tibet have left the people in constant fear over change in the frontier. Continuous ethnic conflicts have the people growing in unrest and blindly following others. Without reservations, I can say that mainstream media are way below what the people have expected in explaining for the violence. The government lexicon is all too familiar: “A small bunch of ill-willed people have meticulously plotted for this violence”. This in excess has only led to numbness of the reader. A long period of mistakes in ethnic policies have finally brewed up to this bitter end. We have already lost the best chance to solve the problem of ethnic differences. Now, all we can do is sigh and sob as we browse through these pieces of information like me.

But this is not the focus of this essay. Although when we look back on the ethnic policies of the PRC since the Opening Reforms, I already have enough reason to question or even reject moves such as “removing large amounts of Han Chinese administrators out of Tibet and Xinjiang, raise and appoint many ethnic minorities into government, maintaining the One Child Policy which only targets Han Chinese, using Sanshao Yikuan (3 less’s, 1 forgiving; referring to “Catch less, Arrest less, convict less; be as forgiving as possible” towards ethnic minorities, suggested by Hu Yaobang in 1980) to target and discriminate Han and minorities, and other suicidal student-like decisions. However, what this essay focuses is in another domain: one that has been long ignored, and a huge mistake in governmental policy has already surfaced.

That is, the domain of arts, history, and education.

A wrongful ethnic policy and a confused historiography ravage on in this domain, and we have not seen our government done anything effective in  the cultural domain. Since the beginnings of the 1980’s, large amounts of cultural products which mix up historical truth and over-revision enter and annex the mainstreams of publishing and visual media. Or even, the compromises and appeasements on our history textbooks have contributed to this increasing adversity, and long-term aggregation of warped histories seep into local and regional tourist culture, and the asinine local authorities(or ones with an ethnic agenda) have directed displays upon displays of farces. Of these jokes, the “Qing culture Festival” in Shenyang was especially so! These violations and reversals of historiographical practices will only create a strong mentality of rebellion amongst the increasingly knowledgeable common masses. When the government loses out on having influence on the questions of  principle, the people will choose their own methods to express their dissatisfaction.

1. The Rise of Han Departmentalism/Hanism

On November 22, 2003, a Zhengzhou citizen named Wang Letian wore Han Chinese traditional clothing (Hanfu), which was lost for over 300 years, onto the streets, and caused a great commotion. The Hanfu movement has since entered the public scope, and became a social phenomenon that continues unto today.

Since then, a Han Chauvinist site named Hanwang (or Han Net, www.hanminzu.com/bbs) floated onto the surface of attention. (Translator’s note: Hanwang was created in 2001, and was officially inaugurated on Jan 1, 2003) The founders of this site are a group of amateurs to traditional culture, and “Hanfu Revival” has become a detour for them from the fringe to media focus. As the forum grew to full strength, the Hanfu Movement has become an ensign to their request for ethnic rights. Things lost in history, or lost due to the selective nature of the official curriculum are being rediscovered and re-analyzed. Credit must be given to these founders as they have compiled an enormous among of historical data, and spent their time afterwards promulgating them in various popular forums. Here is inexhaustive listing of Hanwang’s pinned essays:

《灭人之国,必先去其史,汉民族的历史在风雨飘零中》 “To eliminate someone else’s nation, one must eliminate its history: The history of the Han (Chinese) drifts in the wind and rain”
《大国之殇——汉服消亡简史,文明的失落和复兴》 “The Scar of a Great Nation – A brief history on the elimination of Han clothing, the loss of its civilization, and its renaissance” 
《满清——逆行在历史上的特快列车》 “Manchu Qing Dynasty – The Express Train Against the Path of History”
《明末清初的民族屠杀》 “Ethnic Cleansing during the late-Ming, early-Qing Period”
《被清廷打断的资本主义萌芽和西学东渐》”The Disconnection of Budding Capitalism and Western Learning Spreading East by the Qing Government”

They have proposed a new historical view. Or should one say it is an ancient one,  or one that has already been set in stone: The Manchu takeover of China is the cause of the perversion and reversal of Chinese civilization. They believe that most people’s impression of Ming and Qing governments are based on common historiographical fallacy. They believe that the Ming is an era where monarchial power was restrained, and an era for civil and technological advancement. In contrast, the Qing and its cloak-and-dagger rule led the Chinese into reverse gear, the reverse side of civillization. They continuously and sincerely convince others that the last century of backwardness in China is directly related to the Manchu aristocrats’ policy on suppressing Han culture. These people propose to restore their own traditional clothing of Han ethnic origins, and regard the Queue Order as the symbol of enslavement. The Hanfu movement has also developed from a simple cultural renaissance movement to a difficult road to ethnic opposition. They repeatedly explain that for the past 400 years the Han Chinese have been in an inferior position, and this movement is a fight for justice from enslavement and enstripping of civilization and technology! These emotions were clearly expressed in the more liberal domains of the Internet and promulgated on a large scale, and within three or four years gained considerable favour.  They began to talk in large scale about the history ignored by contemporary publications and television drams, such as those leaders who have sacrificed in war (e.g. Yue Fei, Wen Tianxiang) and once again praised as an ethnic hero. These people are ashamed and outraged at the rejection of these people’s historical role in school textbooks, and since mainstream media cannot represent the achievements of the Han ancestors (as long as it involves ethnic conflicts). These sentiments had to be expressed in more extremist forms, and to do so they have translated large amounts of historical documents into modern Chinese and republished onto various Internet forums, and promote towards young adults and youth (the bulk of the Chinese internet population) the extinguished historical accounts. One example of which is the biography of Ran Min, a leader during the Sixteen Kingdoms period. Ran’s retributive massacres towards foreign barbarians have raised him as the backbone of the nation, and the various emperors and generals who swept the foreigners during the Han and Tang periods are also targets of praise and worship.

In March 2006, “Those events in the Ming Dynasty (Mingchao de na xie Shi’er) 《明朝的那些事儿》“, a web-based novel, began its serialization. For the Han Chauvinists, this was undoubtedly another ideological tempest, for the author was simple and colloquial, understandable by even someone in grade school how the Ming Dynasty was like. When an image of an army comprised of over 90% firearms, and Enlightenment ideology was sweeping across southern China, the enragement of the people is only understandable, as they were spoonfed since the beginning nothing but “the glorious age of Kangxi and Qianlong”.

As of the third day of writing this essay, Manchu historian Yan Chongnian of Beijing was attacked by a Hanist youth (Translator’s note: See: Huang Haiqing) in Wuxi (One of the cities cleansed during the Manchu invasion) for his (in)famous discourse on Manchu Qing contributions. On numerous previous occasions, Yan was stuffed silent by questions brought up by this person in academic situations. Although the authorities have immediately served punishment for the said youth, he immediately appealed to the court upon his release towards the police for over-punishment. Moreover, his actions have gained popular support among Hanist websites, and many lawyers with Hanwang backgrounds stand ready in his defense.

These social phenomena all annouonce the rise of Hanism as a trend. Yes, racial/ethnic-based nationalism (minzu-zhuyi) is coming. China, are you ready for it?

2. The History of Hanism

As early as the Spring and Autumn period 2000 years ago, China has the Hua-Yi Discourse. From then on the history of the Huaxia ethnicity was a history of continual conglomeration and growth – The unification of the Qin Empire after 600 years of competition, and for the next 400 years in the two Han periods, the Han (Huaxia) ethnicity always have maintained a superior position to its neighbouring ethnicities, but this balance of power  changed in the Western Jin period.

The Wu Hu (Sixteen Kingdoms period) directly caused the “South Migration of clothing and crown (i.e. culture)” and the first display of ethnic-based retribution (Eastern Jin Northern Expedition, Ran Min’s conquests), followed by the Hu (barbarian) peoples’ decrease in population and the Sinicization of the Xianbei, and Yang Jian’s massacre of Hu aristocrats, the spirit of ethnic-based nationalism began to wear thin and dissapear. From then on in the Sui and Tang empires the Han nation has once again maintained superiority over neighbouring ethnicities, but in turn also led to the ruler’s reduced wariness towards foreign ethnicities. The overexpansion of the Tang lost control of its western frontiers in internal conflict, and large amounts of foreigners began to enter China  proper (Zhongyuan).

The two Song periods is the next peak of ethnic-based nationalism (refer to the numerous poems and prose of the time). The difference between Hu and Han was emphasized, and later on Zhu Yuanzhang’s conquest of Yuan promoted the nationalist slogan “Expel the Tartar Bandits”. Due to the shame of the Song Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty’s policy towards foreigners have become proactive and hardlined. At the same time, Zhu Yuanzhang has officially put the Mongol-based Yuan Dynasty as an official Chinese dynasty, hence weakening his influence of nationalistic thought.

The Hanism that has any true meaning on an international level was born in the later years of the Qing period. Sun Yat-Sen was a member of the Hongmen (also known as Tiandihui), and Sun’s various uprisings were funded mostly by descendents of Ming survivors in Southeast Asia, hence the 1911 Xinhai Revolution to include a heavy sense of ethnic-based nationialism. The other members of the Tongmenghui often cite this, of which the works of Qiu Jin, Zhang Binglin (Taiyan), and Chen Tianhua (his work Alarm Bells has again become one of the most popularly cited works) are filled with reflections of Han history, and emphasized and defended greatly on Han culture as the rightful tradition of China. Hanism then has gone to its greatest potential (as both the Nationalist and Communist parties were greatly affected by it, especially Chiang Kai-Shek), and was successfully promoted into a nationalist narrative that encompasses all of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, such as the war song below:
(Don’t you see, the whole Han army, in their youth greeting the long tassels on their spears to dispel the invaders)
(Don’t you see, Ban (Gu) conquers afar, kicking up war clouds on their light cavalry at the limits of the frontier!)
(A man should be on the move in times of danger, how could we let a scholar’s cap mess up our lives?)
(The situation of our nation is as fragile as a falling egg, lest the draft-call feather pause its run!)
(Discarding my pen of  the past, wear my wartime garb)
(A call out  to my comrades over ten myriad strong, loudly singing war songs and joining the army together)
(Join the army together, clear away the barbarian dust, swear to sweep the Japanese slaves and don’t look back!)

After the founding of the nation (PRC, 1949), the ideology of socialism (which supercedes the concept of the nation) began to spread, and Hanism fell into  a slump, and in its replacement was a baseless, rootless patriotism.

And in our time, after several decades of Open Reforms of 1976, Hanism are on the rise again over the virtual domains of the Internet. If we do not understand the driving forces behind these phenomena, we will certainly ask, what then is causing the people to find their long-lost Han Chinese ethnic memories? What has let Han Chinese clothing, a culture that disappeared due to the Manchu invasion, become a symbol of cultural renaissance? What has created the ethnic divide among the youth today?

3. Another path: the Fallacies of Arts and History after the Opening Reforms

1: The foolishness of fixing roles in iconic figures in history textbooks

A person usually has these several methods of acquiring historical knowledge: 1. Parents’ (especially grandparents’)  anecdotes, 2. Extracurricular reading (e.g. 5000 years of Chinese History 《上下五千年》), 3. Textbooks, 4. Internet, and 5. Television dramas. If we take these into the account of the Chinese social reality today, you will find that each person’s historical perspective are filled with unpredictability. Let’s take a simple example. Wen Tianxiang, a heroic figure known to all Chinese, in the descriptions of our parents’ generation would perhaps be a true and outstanding hero. In our extracurricular readings, perhaps Wen would still be worth praise for generations. However, when we get to our textbooks, Wen’s leadership in resistance becomes a driving force in China’s “Civil War”. On the Internet, one essay would praise him sky high, while another would demean him worthless. On TV, this person has just simply disappeared.

This allows each and every person to potentially understand different things, but the writers of the history textbooks (whom represent the official Party voice) play the unglorious role of the antagonist.

This then becomes a matter of our government’s inaction and mistaken decision in history education.

For a long time, our country’s history education is mainly a narrative of class struggle, and attempts to dilute the ethnic conflicts in history, such as Wu Hu Luanhua (lit. Five Barbarians Chaotizing Hua/China) into Wu Hu Ruhua (Five Barbarians Entering Hua/China), and spent much energy describing the ethnic merger rather than the racial hate and slaughter, deleting publically recognized Han Chinese heroes of resistance from its ranks, and setting unification as the highest standard of historical justice. This kind of historiography has led to a distorted understanding and hijacking of historical truth.

If such a historical perspective is attempting to spoonfeed a viewpoint of an eternal “Great family of the Zhonghua ethnicity”, then it will certainly face failure and  resistance. Policy makers do not understand that some historical conclusions are not easily shaken. They do not truly understand the importance and immovability of iconic symbols and characters such as Wen Tianxiang. Perhaps they also overlook a point, that when people respond when they find history books contradicting with common sense. This has materialized into the continual vigils and commemorations held by common civilians for Yue Fei, the national catastrophe of Yashan, and even Emperor Chongzheng  (of Ming). In actuality, a united oppression against historical views have given the butchers of civilization even greater speech rights. We could even say that the insipidness of the Department of Education is related to the blind praise of Timujin (Genghis Khan) and Nurhaci later on. 

2. The Preferential Treatment of Narratives in Realms of Video and Cinema
   1986年 《努尔哈赤》 (Nurhaci)
   1988年 《康熙大帝》 (Kangxi Dadi, The Great Emp. Kangxi)
   1989年 《雍正皇帝》 (Yongzheng Dadi, The Great Emp. Yongzheng) 
   1997年 《雍正王朝》 (Yongzheng Wangchao, The Yongzheng Dynasty)
   2000年 《康熙帝国》 (Kangxi Diguo, The Empire of Kangxi)
   2001年 《乾隆王朝》 (Qianlong Wangchao, The Qianlong Dynasty)
   2003年 《天下粮仓》 (Tianxia Liangcang, Grainary Under Heaven)
   2006年 《大将军施琅》 (Dajiangjun Si Lang, Great General Si Lang)

As well persisting from beginning to end of its series’ lifespan, Professor Yan Chongnian’s Mingwang Qingxing Liushi Nian (60 years on the death of Ming, Prospering of Qing) on Baijia Jiangtan (Lecture Room, CCTV9). This is a unique phenomenon. If you conduct a survey on who is the most outstanding lecturer on Lecture Room, the answer may come out as Professor Yi Zhongtian; but if you ask whose lectures are most frequently on air, the answer is definitely going to be Professor Yan’s Qing dynasty series. Also, Lecture Room‘s executive producer – Man Wei, is no more and no less ethnically Manchu.

This list above is to-date exhaustive listing of television programmes of “Proper Manchu Qing dramas”  since the Opening Reforms. If we add on the fictional soap operas we call bianziqi (Queue/braid-dramas), we can say that for the entire 1990’s and this decade to date, CCTV’s television drama timeslots have been essentially dominated by them. Has any other dynasty been so caringly treated? None! Any television dramas praising Yue Fei would be capped as “detriment to ethnic unity”. What kind of messages are these cultural phenomena sending to the general public?

How we rate these phenomena is another person’s business. For myself, I am more concerned with such phenomena affecting the discrimination and segregation of certain groups, and the exact origins of such phenomena.

First, the emphasizing of Manchu Qing “achievements” directly caused the segregation of ethnicities and the resurgence of Hanism. Pulling up high the status of Manchu emperors not only did not increase the recognition of “Han/Hu as one family” as promoted by the state ideology, but only accelerated its antagonism. This is because such propaganda and so-called ‘historical research’ all contain innate deficiencies, which lead to a warped and unbearably distorted image. For example, avoiding the racial massacres of the Manchu invasion et cetera. These cultural products are able to get their way because of firstly, there is a large group of people who lack common historical knowledge, and rely on television dramas to understand history, and another reason is CCTV and the SARFT (State Administration of Radio, Film and Television)’s hegemony on public opinion. Regretfully, they did not gain the obedience of the grassroots level, but rather the grassroots’ mockery and discernment of the mainstream historiographical view.

Next, if we study the origins of the investments in these dramas, it is not difficult to find why the Central departments of Censorship are lenient on these topics. I will not get down to the examples, as it is not the focus of this essay. Of course, curious readers can pay attention to the Huayi Group (华谊集团)’s ethnic background and related circumstances.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the continuation of such speech hegemony and inaction of the National censorates have only let the debate of Ming and Qing conflict, or even Han-Manchu conflict play on with increasing intensity. If the government does not provide them a reasonable and adequate channel to exert such sentiments, then they will naturally search for a method they deem to be correct. If the government does not provide correct guidance on such critaical points of history, but only suppress the Han viewpoints, then ethnic standoffs on a macro scale is inevitable. In the decade to come, this conflict will continue to rise.

3. The Perverse actions of Historiographical Studies and Local Governments

Year 1998,Li Zhiting 李治亭 published Qing Kangqian Shengshi 《清康乾盛世》 (The Prosperous Times of the Kangxi-Qianlong era)
2003,Li Zhiting published Qingshi 《清史》 (Qing History), covering Manchu atrocities.
2003, official version of Qingshi begins editing and compilation. Its mandate: To affirm the unification and unity of the Manchu Qing Dynasty.
2003, an academic conference on Hong Chengchou was held, and was affirmed as a critical player in the founding of the Qing dynasty, and outstanding character, greatly contributing to the Han-Manchu unification.
2004, Shenyang publicly celebrates the 360th anniversary of Manchu entering China, and hosts the Ziqi Donglai (lit. Violet airs Rising from the East) Festival of Qing culture.
2004, Memorial for Shang Kexi established. This person is the direct cause for the Guangzhou Massacre.

As well from beginning to end, Professor Yan Chongnian’s endless praise for the Manchurian regime on Lecture Room episodes.

It can be said that Chinese culture in the recent years is the most politically unethical. I can pessimistically say, the breakdown of racial segregation has already formed, and its cracks are enlarging. Especially to the Han Chinese in the south, it is difficult to promote to them these city butchers and have them gain any favor. Hanism is exactly relying on the unlearnedness of the mainstream media towards historical problems, and governmental oppression in cultural domains toward the Han ethnicity, and hence completing its first stage of development.

Along with the revisionism trend in Chinese historiography, and on top of the ruckus on the geneology of the Tang Dynasty imperial family suspect of foreign origin, or the First Emperor and the Ying tribe reasoned as the Western Yong (barbarian), although the Records of a Historian has noted that they are of pure descent  from the Yellow Emperor. Zhu Yuanzhang has miraculously become a Hui Chinese, and God knows where the Hui were back in that time! The further dwarfing of the Han Chinese from a pure race to one of countless races mixed together has only made the viewpoints of Hanism become all the more convincing! They (Hanists) believe that these actions are all preplanned with an agenda, proving that whoever can enter this land can be its lawful ruler. Anyone with with the slightest sense of race and ethnicity will quite naturally accept their standpoint, as bianziqi has already disgusted them for years!

These abnormal movements in arts and historical realms have all become an accumulation of ethnic sentiments. While snorting in disapproval towards Yan Chongnian’s distortion of history, they become fanatic followers of net writers like Dangshi Mingyue and their interpretations of Ming history. These novel waves of ideological tides clash and the general people are beginning to review the bloody past that the government has tried so hard to have everyone forget, and creates a huge fanaticism. When the truth is out in the open, and when the slaughter and reversal of civil progress re-enters the memory of the nation, then we can only begin to comprehend the fearsome powers [of revisionism] in destroying existing systems of ideology.

4. Hanism’s Path of Development and Directional Prediction

More worthy for us to grow anxious about, is still the One Child Policy which targets only Han Chinese, as well the dwarfing of the contributions by the Han majority towards history. Grotesque amounts of rumours fill the Internet, and it is sufficient for a Han person who doesn’t have much historical knowledge to grow skeptical whether s/he was actually of foreign descent! Another point of focus is the policy on ethnic minorities getting additional points in their high school standardized exams. This has caused families where one of the parents are registered as an ethnic minority to categorize their children as a member of an ethnic minority.

These truths also lead to irrational and extreme voices on the Internet. We must understand, that Hanism and the Renaissance of Chinese tradition, or even the New Left Movement, are tied hand in hand. They are all dwarfed by the government and overlooked, and share very similar aims and benefits. If we say that the slogan **** [censored] has already lost its market in Mainland China today, fighting for equality among the Han majority with other ethnic minorities can rally more people with a self-awareness for their Han ethnic status. Another point of interest is the forces behind Hanwang. Contrary to my previous supposition, these people have close ties with leftist sites such as Wuyouzhixiang (lit. “non-existant homeland”) and Xin Fajia (“New Legalists”). Some leftist scholars like Wang Xiaodong 王小东 has also once been a specially invited commentator there.

Because of the limitations of current resources, I cannot create a systematic conclusion. Speaking from my heart, to say that the government is not wary of these Hanists is inaccurate. Speaking honestly, the Hanfu Movement has not been oppressed by the government, but on the contrary, we can see the international web version of Renmin Ribao positive remarks of the Hanfu Movement. These phenomena all signify that the government is at least taking a cautious pose and observing the situation. Also, the internet embargo on Qing historians and scholars has seeped into real space. They have (in an organized manner) sharply questioned these scholars regarding historical truths in their open lectures, such as the questions of Ten Days of Yangzhou, or Kangxi’s shoreline eviction edict. They claim that they will take further public action – from the news reports of Yan Chongnian attacked, we can already tell that their plan has become reality. At the same time, Dongbei Manzu Zaixian (lit. Northeast Manchu Online, a Manchurian site with seperatist tendencies) has responded by blackmail – a general call for searching and killing the attacker. These have all made the newfound Hanism all the livlier and resistant!

5. A Difficult Choice Both Ways – The Government’s Response

In our previous comparison, we discover that the rise of Hanism is largely based on the repulsiveness and distrust of the government’s actions from the grassroots level, and rebuilding such trust is no longer possible under current circumstances, since the fact of Mongol Yuan and Manchu Qing as the result of invasion in China has been deeply rooted in each and every person, and even the slightest change from the government would be interpreted as warped discourse and change in politics. In other words, while people are already accustomed to the asinine actions of the government, any sudden changes not only will not gain favor of the people, but rather raise the suspicion of Hanists and unrest of ethnic minorities (especially the Manchus). (Given the Manchus’ cultural and  commercial powers in China, as well their sensitivity towards similar events, the result of any sudden change in direction is unattemptable.)

Then, three conclusive questions are: How complete is Hanist ideology? Is the situation really that critical? What is the Government’s response?

Regarding the first question, after readiing some essays and info from Hanist gateway sites, the author’s answer to this question is absolute: Their ideological system is absolutely perfected. Because whether the government admits it or not, China has always been a country dominated by Han (Huaxia) Chinese. Basing off of this historical truth, as well the long-standing history of the Hua-Yi discourse, refining and perfecting the logic system into their ethnic-based nationalism is hardly difficult. They believe that the Huaxia ethnicity is the predecessor of the Han ethnicity, and are descendents of the Yan and Huang sage kings (this statement, highly coloured with Hanist characteristics, is still ubiquitous in official Party language. It is difficult to imagine for the ethnic minorities, especially the minorities with Islam religious background, to agree). Before the Qin Dynasty they split into the various Xia states, but these lordship-states share similar written systems, clothing, and have a standard unified language of diplomacy (Huaxia elegant speech), and came together during the First Emperor of Qin, and became the Han Chinese during the two Han periods. From then on they become the primary race of this land. They believe that Wu Hu Luanhua is a period of barbarian invasion and do not have historical legitimacy, while the Han majority have suffered heavy losses. Following the decrease of foreign populations in China proper and Sinicization, Yang Jian took the opportunity to eliminate the barbarians and re-establish the Huaxia standard, and reunified China. Later, the Mongol and Manchu invasions are barbarian invasion and colonization of the Huaxia Chinese, and the subsequent Han Chinese re-empowerments (Zhu Yuanzhang and Sun Yat-Sen) have led these ethnicities into the Huaxia ethnicity. Historically, they are not part of the Huaxia race.

The emphasis of Hanism is the superiority of Huaxia civilization and the immense destruction of nomadic cultures’ invasions. Through the history of Han Chinese restorations they prove the Mongolian Yuan and Manchurian Qing regimes have led a total recession in policy, technological, and ideological aspects, and through the revealing of historical facts in the Kangxi to Qianlong eras, they have essentially disproved the idea of “Kang-Qian era of Prosperity” as promoted by mainstream historians.

Something for us to approve of is, as an amateur historian, that they have caught on the actuality of the issue, and this actuality is what our country’s government has tried to hide for a long time – that nomadic ethnicities have brought decline in civilization and the quality of the people. For a long time, the history textbooks of our country describe Timujin as a prodigy of the world, unique and unreplaceable, when the truth of the massacres and destruction of Central Asian civilizations become understood by the people, such history education will undoubtedly become the laughingstock of the people. And from this, only the historical view of the Han majority, regardless of its starting point, would be closer to the truth than the stereotypical, flat, and one-sided praise of ethnic conglomeration.

Yes, such a historical view and  ideological system is full of convincing power. She can bluntly tell you that the broad term “Zhonghua Minzu” does not exist in this nation’s past, for if you are to believe that the enslaver and enslaved are of the same ethnicity (Mongolian Yuan), then only one laudible conclusion is possible: For over 2000 years until the Opium Wars, all conflicts on Chinese soil are but petty civil wars and squabbles between sibling tribes.

Towards the  second question, I believe with some reservation that the influence of this issue is expanding by the year, and the contradiction and standoff between ethnicities are becoming all the more evident. First, the One Child Policy which only targets the Han majority and the beneficial policies which target only ethnic minorities have sped up the segregation and misunderstandings between the races; especially Xinjiang and Tibet after the Open Reforms, there are still huge gaps in their ethnic minority policies. The Uighur language program that was extirpated in the Mao era was heavily re-promoted, and aside from accelerating ethnic awareness among the Uighur people it seems to do little else, and increasing racial nationalism among the Uighurs is anything but beneficial to the country’s unity and stability! Next, if we expand the question off ethnic-based nationalism to an international scope, you will find that this nationalism and ethnic individualism is a West-to-East spreading process. Founded upon European nationalism and concluding in separatist movements across the globe; this process was interpreted by our country as a class struggle in third-world countries for progress. Ergo, when this trend spreads to East Asia, separatist movements like Xinjiang and Tibet are undoubtedly the first to raise their heads. Unfortunately, this problem of ethnic conflict which could have been resolved in the Mao era is now cut off by a series of imbecile minority benefit policies. The process of Sinicization was unfortunately cut off, and the riots caused by Uighurs and Tibetians have unforgivingly matched the international principle of ethnic self-determination (this is written into the United Nations constitution). Regardless from the point of ethics or attempting to weaken China, the West has enough reason to support these dissenters.

Thirdly, from the education of Chinese history, the attempt to promote the broad-sense of a “Zhonghua minzu” has already been deemed essentially a failure. Of course, this kind of short-sighted slogan that overlooks historical truth has its inherent deficiencies. Along with enlightenment among the general populace (mostly due to the Internet), historical truth has beckoned more and more Han Chinese to search for the footprints of their ancestors. When the texts and minority of television dramas that present the elegance and grandeur of the Han tradition, the embarassment of the modern reality will make one search for what the race has lost, such as: ritual, clothing, festivities, and all values that was once commonplace but scarce among Han Chinese today. When these inevitable trends spread out, the standoff of ethnicities, especially the psychological standoff among the Han Chinese and certain other ethnicities would be unavoidable. As long as the government does not have a set answer to these historical issues, the debate of Han Chinese history will continue.

Fourth, the soil and root of Hanism is in the social reality of general lack of religiosity. If we say that the anti-Japanese sentiments of the past can only be expressed through expletive insults and derogatory comments to pass time online, then these Hanist elites who are seeped in the Classics undoubtedly believe they are doing something much more meaningful. During the composition of this piece, the author has specially interviewed online several outstanding people in the Hanfu Movement, and reviving old aesthetics seem to be a part of these people’s lives. They are proficient in poetry and composition, and expertly in the guqin and xiao (traditional Chinese elegant music), and have become a counterculture in the face of a materialist epoch. From this you can imagine, that more and more people will take Hanism as their spiritual residence, for after  all, they are convinced thata they have a unique and glorious ancestry.

Fifth, the attitude in mainstream media has remained unchanged. This guarantees that the conflicts from ethnic-based nationalism will continue to expand, and further inspire despair and disappointment toward the government.

So in conclusion, after 60 years of socialist ethnic policy, the differences of ideology among the ethnicities have only enlarged, especially for the Han Chinese, as they are becoming more sensitive towards their social status.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Charles Rupert Tsua
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 18:12:00

    Scary… but for me, who is continuously reverting back to Anglophilia, this issue must be sorted out by the mainland Chinese themselves and not the likes of me as an overseas, vaguely-Han, Chinese educated to see things objectively.

    For my outside point of view, the cultural aspects of all of this is highly attractive and worthy of future study and revival. The whole issue with the politics of ethnicity is like a sour wound opened up again that will eventually turn septic. The whole thing is a double edged sword. Perhaps the government should focus more on their internal ‘Han’ needs of the people rather than trying ever so hard to cling onto the 56 ‘fifedoms’ that are more or less pissed off at the puppet show to entertain the Han whilst ignoring their needs… Yes, they mean well but they seem to be clueless about how to execute some policy that should be foresighted.


  2. Satsuki Shizuka
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 23:39:51

    Ah, but it is also important to note that the very people who fight for minority rights and the fear of Hanism are mostly the Han Chinese themselves – to be precise, the generation who was brought up in the Cultural Revolution, as well as some universalists of our generation who believe in the gospel of the Party.

    It is important to note that this essay (which I’ve truthfully translated with minimal annotation and no abridgements) is not without its fallacies, such as the One-Child Policy “only” targeting Han Chinese (Manchus living in cities are limited to 2), but given urbanization and its effect on raising less children/lowered marriage rates, it is still detrimental to population count, and doesn’t discredit the author from the truth, and the general sentiment of the Han Chinese.

    As Chinese people outside of the situation (yes, even myself), it is important to keep oneself informed of both sides of the story, and enlighten others who aren’t already about it. After all, this is a fight of obvious truth against a poorly-covered blunder.

    It also proves that no matter how farfetched an idea is, someone on the face of this planet will subscribe to it.


  3. J. Wong
    Mar 30, 2009 @ 18:18:45

    I think the Chinese government does not do enough to promote Han culture, thats why all the “fenqing” (or Han Chauvinist) are so into Hanism, because we pretty much have no culture of our own. You can see that whenever China promotes all 56 cultures they are all very, very distinct..l.like Tibetans live in the mountains, Miao Zu in there silver headwear, Koreans and their Hanbok and drums around their waists, but how about Han Zu? There is nothing special about Han Zu, we are just he main populous of the country, the generic people…

    As for Hanfu, it will only live on T.V, and we will continue to wear Cheungsam and Qipao (which is in fact not that bad)


  4. Satsuki Shizuka
    Mar 30, 2009 @ 22:58:07

    Ah, but you are appeasing to the old “reality”! Look how far the movement has already come to tell people that is NOT OK to use Manchurian clothing to identify the Han Chinese with — and thanks to 6 years of dedicated intellectual “warfare”, we are changing lives.


  5. Satsuki Shizuka
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 19:21:08

    NOTE TO READERS: The Tianya version source which was the basis of this English translation was, according to Hanwang, altered somewhat from its original version. Instances where the text reads “Han Chauvinism (大漢族主義)” should originally be “Hanism (漢本位/漢族主義)” – the former term obviously charged with negative connotation, while the latter remains somewhat neutral. This comes by simply adding the word “big” (大) prior to the latter term, which is a rather inconspicuous change in the text, but changes the context significantly.


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