China has fifty five state recognized minorities who, as calculated in the 2000 census, constitute 8.41 percent of the population and occupy 60 percent of the land in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) . The Chinese define nationality according to Stalinist terms of “a historically constituted, stable community of people formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” Economically, China is rapidly becoming a modern nation. From 1979-2000, China’s economic growth was 9.6 percent per year, the highest of all economies during those years. This rapid growth has enabled China to decrease the number of citizens living in abject poverty. However, capitalist enterprises continue to further class distinctions and the coast continues to develop much more rapidly than the interior. China’s growing political importance and economic power is making it increasingly global. In today’s society, globalization and modernization are closely related. However, globalization simultaneously undermines modernization in the sense that it breaks down national sovereignty. China has always espoused the right of nations to maintain sovereignty over their domestic affairs. This claim, however, is being increasingly complicated as China becomes increasingly accountable for its human rights record in the international sphere. Consequently, the ways in which other countries formulate policies toward China are influenced by China’s current human rights record. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) faces many obstacles as it seeks to bring ethnic minorities into the discourse of development, and glob...
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