Wednesday, 15th October, 2014 (15:00hr – 17:00hr)

Foundation for Non-Violent Alternatives, 143, 4th Floor, Uday Park – 110049, New Delhi

Speaker: Dr. Mumin Chen, Associate Professor, Graduate Institute of Political Science, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan and member of International Affairs section, Taiwan Think-tank, Taiwan

Abstract: The Chinese government asserts that its policy toward ethnic minorities, National Regional Autonomy (minzu quyu zizhi), is one of the greatest achievements of six decades of Communist rule. The policy identifies the political status of all ethnic minority groups and grants them the right to self-rule, which has greatly alleviated the tension between ethnic minorities and Han majorities and encouraged the former to be supportive of state integrity. In recent years, however, more conflicts between the government and certain ethnic minorities have come into view. The Tibetan unrest in March 2008 and Uighur-Han clashes in Xinjiang in July 2009 are just two of the violent incidents that drew international attention. This paper attempts to examine and evaluate the NRA policy from three different perspectives. The first is to review its development over the past decades with the purpose of seeing how the government attempted to reconcile the opposing goals of granting the right of self-rule to ethnic minority groups and preserving national unity. The second is to examine the arguments regarding NRA by Chinese academics, particularly whether they support central government’s strategy of coercive rule plus economic investment in ethnic minority areas. The third perspective is to employ observations from minority communities to assess the effectiveness of NRA. Focus is placed on how the policy is implemented at local level, and how Chinese scholars address and respond to the problems and challenges derived from the policy.

Dr. Mumin Chen earned his Ph.D. in International Studies from the Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver, USA (2004). Previous experiences include adjunct lecturer, School of International Studies, Peking University (2001-2002); special assistant to Vice President of Taiwan (2002-2004); assistant professor, National Changhua University of Education (2004-2008); visiting research fellow at East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore (2008); and visiting scholar at Department of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi (2009). He is the author of International Security Theory: Power, State and Threat (in Chinese, Wu-Nan, Taipei: 2009) and Prosperity but Insecurity: Globalization and China’s National Security 1979-2000 (Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany: 2010). Chen’s research focuses include: international security theory, Chinese politics and foreign policy, and South Asian security.