Seems to be a new phrase by which CCP (Xi Jinping) describes the relationship of Xinjiang non-Han people to "Zhonghua" (Chinese) identity, maybe first rolled out in Xi's speech after his recent Xinjiang tour: 中华文明是新疆各民族文化的根脉所在 (1/n)…
In Xi's speech at the 3rd Xinjiang forum in Sept. 2020 (and in other speeches around that time) a different phrase was used: 新疆各民族是中华民族血脉相连的家庭成员, “Every minzu (ethnic group) of Xinjiang is a family-member linked to Chinese (Zhonghua) bloodlines.” 2/n
I pointed out at the time that by evoking "blood" and "family member" this phrase indirectly implied a genetic relationship between the Central Asian peoples now ruled by the CCP and "Zhonghua," i.e. Chinese peoples. 3/n
I don't know if that racialist line has been dropped, but this new one (中华文明 新疆各民族文化的根脉所在 "Chinese [Zhonghua] civilization is the location of the root vein [pulse] of the culture of every minzu in Xinjiang") is still metaphorically biological, if less racial 4/n
Not a very common term, 根脉 genmai (root and vein, or root vein, or root and pulse) is frequently used about culture. For example: 对于一个国家和民族而言,传统是文明之根脉。Or 历史是根,文化是脉 (History is the root, culture is the pulse.) (from Baidu translate eg list) 5/n
Elsewhere in the speech Xi again stresses the new PRC melting pot doctrine: 要铸牢中华民族共同体意识 "must firmly forge consciousness of the Zhonghua collectivity." (I don't think translating this along lines of "sense of community of the Chinese nation" quite gets it: 6/n
The Zhonghua collectivity is asserted as a thing in itself, not a "sense" of something--this community (he says) exists; what needs to be forged is the recognition, consciousness of that existing Chinese community. 7/n
This new conciousness is necessary b/c just few years ago it was not taught that Uyghurs have been "Chinese" for all time. From 2015 CCP changed the textbooks it itself had published ca. 2010. Xi has decreed a new history of XJ, even more Sino-centric than past versions. 7.5/n
Thus there's a lot about history and identity elsewhere in the speech: 要教育引导广大干部群众正确认识新疆历史特别是民族发展史 "must educate and guide broad officials and masses to correctly recognize Xinjiang history, especially history of ethnic development." 8/n
This tells everybody get with the new program: the various minzu of Xinjiang are all Chinese, developed from and as part of what Xi calls the "Zhonghua" (now ubiquitous as generic, ahistorical cultural term equivalent to the western-language term "China") 9/n
There's many more cautions in the speech about historical view, cultural identity, and how that must be promoted and publicized: 构建展现 . . . 新疆同内地各民族交往交流交融历史事实的话语体系和有效载体 (trans. in next) 10/n
"must construct and promulgate the actual discursive system and effective vehicle regarding communications, exchanges and contacts between every minzu of Xinjiang and the heartland." 11/n
Construct a discursive system!!! Xi's been reading Foucault again. 12/n
And in the one place he alludes indirectly to the massive international criticism, Xi calls for this discourse to be widely propagandized internationally in response: 要多层次、全方位、立体式开展涉疆对外宣传,完善“请进来”工作,讲好中国新疆故事。12.5/n
"Must roll out multi-level, omni-directional, three dimensional propaganda about Xinjiang directed abroad, perfect the work of 'inviting in' [bringing selected groups on XJ propaganda tours], and tell the Chinese Xinjiang story well." 13/n
I can remember in the early 2000s, XJ cadres were cautioned against "internationalizing the Xinjiang problem." Well, it's been well and truly internationalized now! The new information agenda is damage control, trying to project a different narrative abroad.
The front in the information war remains active. This is of course an indirect admission that Xi's policies have NOT made a good impression abroad. In fact, the colonial nature of CCP rule in Xinjiang is now widely apparent. So selling XJ remains a top ranked priority. 14/n
Most people in the world five years ago didn't know what Xinjiang was; now they know it as a Chinese colony, whether using that word or not. It is quite remarkable that in what some media have portrayed as Xi's victory lap in XJ, he devotes so many words to 15/n
calling for a narrative about history, culture, identity of XJ's non-Han peoples to be "constructed," internalized by cadres and masses domestically, propagandized to the wider world. 16/n
So get ready for more of that "multi-level, omni-directional, three dimensional propaganda" which PRC does so well: sure to involve smiling natives in costume and those cute foreign Youtube influencers eating noodles on their CCP-paid holidays. (end)
And says the quiet part out loud.

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More from @JimMillward

Jun 15
A strong case why we need faculty oversight over diversity, equity, inclusion bureaucracies on campus--just as there is faculty governance / involvement in the other areas of university life, from curriculum to renovation of buildings.…
It is not just the US left using the "hostile environment" argument to shut down speech or attack professors. Besides right wing, in some places PRC embassy has coordinated claims of campus racial harassment when PRC policies are criticized by faculty, visiting speakers or art.… (more thread follows)
Read 5 tweets
Jun 14
Interesting Chinese Whispers podcast re PRC *social credit system,* with Jeremy Daum and Vincent Brussee @Vincent_WDB but HUGE gap in their analysis: #Xinjiang version of social credit system IS the Black Mirror @CindyXiaodanYu…
The podcast says so-called social credit system in PRC is not one thing, rather mishmash of local pilots, financial credit rating, Yelp done by the govt, etc. PRC Govt. "not interested" in more dystopian use of broad spectrum monitoring and scoring commentators fixate on
Except the party-state is interested in maximalist use of big data and scoring for social control and punishment, and has done it already:
Read 7 tweets
Mar 28
Disturbing news from AAS2022 (Association of Asian Studies conference, this past weekend) that PRC-based scholars were blocked from participating by their government. Some gave "medical reasons" as reason for not joining on Zoom. The extent of this is not yet clear, but broad
which is to say, not a danwei here and there preventing their professors from participating, but center-level mandate to ignore the main international interdisciplinary conference on Asian studies. It's a return to before 1979, when PRC isolated itself from global scholarship.
Some evidence of police harassment of scholars in PRC who tried to participate virtually. Bizarre, gut-wrenching contrast btw world scholars in soft breezes warm sun in Honolulu, and our Chinese colleagues trying to join the convo from China, with PSB knocking at their door.
Read 4 tweets
Sep 15, 2021
A lot of comments to this thread missed the point. Being able to speak a standard national language is not the a problem--that's advantageous. The problem is the state forbidding people from speaking other languages--which is what PRC policy increasingly does.
The US examples would be: kids punished for speaking Spanish on the playground; Chinese students forbidden from speaking Chinese to each other in the dept. corridor. Or MAGA-maniacs accosting foreigners in a supermarket for speaking something other than English while shopping.
PRC people are among the most multilingual in the world, many speaking at least two languages (e.g. Shanghainese, Mandarin) as native-speakers. There are many studies on the psychological, social, educational and even health benefits of multilingual ability...
Read 5 tweets
Sep 15, 2021
I've been wondering to what extent the assimilating Mandarinization drive under Xi targets not just non-Chinese languages like Uyghur and Mongolian, but Sinic languages like Sichuanese and of course Cantonese. Here's news of a regulation requiring "putonghua" in 四川 work units:
I had the privilege of studying briefly with Rulan Chao Pian, daughter of Yuen Ren Chao 趙元任, the foundational Chinese linguist. Zhao Yuanren was involved in the creation of standard Chinese, and tells what an arbitrary process t was:
A "standard" pronunciation was decided, compromising southern, northern, traditional and modern phonetics, enshrined in the 1919 國音字典 National Pronunciation Dictionary.
Read 14 tweets
Aug 15, 2021
All China scholars, regardless of field and where in PRC you work, should read this essay by Guldana Salimjan. She’s providing great resources on the XJ atrocities, and ……
a trenchant argument why we can’t ignore “minorities” and “borderlands” as China scholars: Han majoritarian privilege shares many of the same problems as white privilege…
And a clear statement to the left that opposing atrocities in XJ doesn’t make one like Mike Pompeo.
Read 4 tweets

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