Ethnic History of China

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    This is particularly true in the case of Chinese ethnohistory. Discussing linguistic groups in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), for example, is particularly difficult because the government insists on maintaining the fiction that there is only one Chinese language, and that it is divided into a series of dialects.To argue otherwise would require government officials to recognize major ethnicdivisions with the dominant Han people, something Chinese officials have been extremely reluctant to do.

    Most linguists argue, however, that the definition of ‘‘dialect’’ means that it is mutually intelligible by users of other ‘‘dialects’’ of the same language. The Chinese government claims that eight dialects of the language exist within the national boundaries: Mandarin, Wu, Jin, Gan, Xiang, Hakka, Yue, and Min. The problem with that definition, of course, is that none of these so-called dialects is mutually intelligible with the other. The people who speak them may very well be united by their Han* descent and their shared eclectic mix of Buddhist, Taoist,and Confucian religious beliefs, but they cannot understand one another’s spoken languages, which should render them members of different ethnic groups.

    Complicating the issue even more is the fact that each of the Chinese languages possesses many dialects, and some of those dialects are not mutually intelligible to speakers of related dialects.At the same time, however, all Chinese languages share an unusual linguistic similarity. They cannot be mutually understood by different speakers, but they all employ the same written script, which is mutually readable.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/46905626/Olson-An-Ethnohistorical-Dictionary-China

    There are so many groups and sub groups that it is a fascinating kaleidoscope.

    It is worth a read by the serious scholar.
     
  2.  
  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    For instance

    CHE-NUNG.
    The Che-nungs are a subgroup of the Lisu* people of YunnanProvince in the People’s Republic of China. Along with other Lisu peoples,most Che-nungs are concentrated between the Sawleen River and the MekongRiver in western Yunnan Province. Their language is not mutually intelligiblewith most of the other Lisu tongues; it is closely related to Akha,* Lahu,* andYi.* They are more likely to identify themselves as ethnic Che-nungs than asLisus, and they employ a social system that revolves around a variety of pat-rilineal, exogamous clans that exercise great political power. Most Che-nungslive at higher elevations, usually in ridgeline villages between 3,500 and 10,000feet in altitude. They are swidden farmers who cultivate maize, mountain rice,millet, and barley.

    CHAM.
    More than a thousand years ago, the Cham people migrated out of Indiaand settled in the Red River Delta and the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam, aswell as on the island of Hainan in the South China Sea. They were a warlike,seafaring people. Chams were highly Indianized, and their religious beliefs re-flected a syncretic mix of Buddhism, Hinduism, and their own animism. Theymade their living in trade and in piracy they conducted throughout the maritimechannels of Southeast Asia. Today, the Cham language is no longer spoken ont he island of Hainan in the People’s Republic of China, but hundreds of residentsthere are at least aware of their Cham ancestry.

    YI.
    In addition to describing millions of people who live in Yunnan Provincein the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the term ‘‘Yi’’ is employed by eth-nolinguists to describe a branch of the Tibeto-Burman* language family, al-though they are more closely related to Burman than to Tibetan. ‘‘Yi’’ issynonymous with the term ‘‘Loloish.’’ In the PRC, the following languages areincluded in the Yi branch: Yi,* Lisu,* Hani,* Lahu,* Jino,* and Naxi.*
     
  4. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Messages:
    5,326
    Likes Received:
    1,493
    Sir Chams are mostly ethnic Tamil I think sir.If Buddhism was propagated in South-east Asia mostly it was due to the Andhra's (Satavahanas,Eastern Chalukyas).Where as the tamilian dynasties(Cholas,Pandyans,Pallavas) are responsible for the propagation of hinduism in south-east asia.The ancient Tamils were one of the most ferocious people during that time sir
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Han Chinese Culturalrism

    China’s topography has historically encouraged regional separatism, but Han culturalism provided unity for the Chinese. Han Chinese culturalism arose to distinguish between the culture of the Han, or inner people (nei ren) and the ‘barbarians’, the outer people (wei ren), Chinese social institution and feelings of cultural and aesthetic superiority have provided reassurance for the Han Chinese in the face of barbarian penetration and conquest.

    The concept of Han culture began with the Shang dynasty, 1750 -1040 BC, whose political centre was located north of the Yellow River. The Shang provided China’s first written history as well as the assertion of central cultural superiority over the surrounding people by designating as barbarians everyone who did not yet acknowledge the central government supremacy. The Chinese distinguished between ‘raw barbarians’ (shengfan) or the unassimilated people and the ‘cooked barbarians’ (shufan) or assimilated taxpayers who enjoyed the fruits of Chinese culture. For example, Han Chinese officials separated the ‘cooked’ Li of the coast of Hainan, who enjoyed the benefits of Chinese civilisation, from the wild ‘uncooked’ Li of the central forests, far from the influences of Han culture.


    Barbarians were given generic names in the Chinese classics and histories: the Yi barbarians to the east, the Man to the South, the Rong to the west and Di to the north (when westerners arrived by sea, they were officially designated until the late 19th century as Yi). Until the 1930s, the names of outgroups (wai ren) were commonly written with an animal radical: the Di, the northern tribe, were linked to the Dog; the Man and the Min of the south were characterised with reptiles; the Qiang was written with a sheep radical. This reflected the Han Chinese conviction that civilisation and culture were linked with humanity; alien groups living outside the pale of Chinese society were regarded as inhuman savages. To be labelled a barbarian was a cultural rather than racial distinction.

    That the custom of sharply distinguishing went along with calling China the Middle Kingdom (zhong guo), , which began by ruling the Central Plain (zhongyang) in North China. Rather than using outright military conquest of outsiders, the theory of ‘using the Chinese ways to transform the barbarians’ (yongxiabianyi) was promulgated. By Chinese cultural absorption or racial integration through intermarriage, a barbarian could become Han Chinese (hanhua). To be counted within China, groups accepted the rituals and cosmology that gave the Han dynastic state the Mandate of Heaven to rule over mankind. Non acceptance of this politicised culture left one outside of Zhongguo or China

    Link
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    JParveen,


    TAMIL-LANGUAGE INSCRIPTIONS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA AND CHINA

    Medieval south Indian interest in trade with Southeast Asia and China is reflected not only in a number of inscriptions in southern India, but also in several clusters of Tamil-language inscriptions and south Indian-style religious remains that have been found on the eastern fringes of the Indian Ocean and on the coast of China. Eight of these inscriptions, dating from the mid-ninth to late thirteenth centuries, written on stone wholly or partly in Tamil language and using Tamil script, have so far come to light: one in Burma, two in peninsular Thailand, four in Sumatra, and one on the central coast of China. The south Indian-style religious remains associated with some of these inscriptions can almost certainly be placed within the same time frame.

    This handful of overseas Tamil inscriptions can be divided chronologically into roughly three periods: the Pallava-Chola transition period of the ninth and tenth century, the high Chola period of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and period of accelerating decline of Chola power in the late thirteenth century. Curiously enough, most of the overseas Tamil inscriptions that have been found appear to belong to the last of these periods.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/3669832/Tamil-Inscriptions-in-China
     
  7. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    5,523
    Likes Received:
    1,547
    Chams - yes they were of Hinduism. But were they originated from Indian or Tamil ? a big question mark here. Ethnically they seem more in affinity with Cambodian
    Cooked/Raw - the word "shu" (cooked) also means "mature" (physically/intelligently/emotionally). It sounds appalling if translated as cooked.

    animal radical - most ancient tribes have their totems, be it snake, sheep or dog, in their animist practice. there's nothing unusual, not so much relevant to your allegation that they're regarded as "inhuman savages". Even up to date some minority like She in my province in their epic track their ancestor to a brave dog who saved the king and married a princess.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Did the Hans have animal radicals?

    If not, why not?

    Ok, they were not 'tribes'.

    If they were not tribes, what were they? Some superior group?

    Why was it (the animal radical) banned in 1939 if it was very normal an issue?

    And anyway, why give animal radicals? What is the logic?

    Anyway, I have quoted a scholarly treatise and it is not my opinion.

    Not inhuman savages, merely 'outer people' who were taken to be barbarians! Mere barbarians.

    The same reason as to why speaking the dialects is taken to be crude, low class. red neck etc.

    So, for Hans, to believe that the 'outer people' or wei ren were barbarians was not quite a surprise.

    This is more so true as it appears, since even the wei ren today take pride in being called Han and not what was their root!

    Chams were Tamils who went to SE Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and coastal China). Tamil were a seafaring lot. Tamil inscriptions have been found in all these areas including coastal China.

    They were Hindus and some converted to Islam when the Arab traders came to these areas.

    Ethnically, Chinese Miaos could be actually Vietnamese (Hmongs) as some may claim.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  9. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    5,523
    Likes Received:
    1,547
    Other than dis-information there're also dis- or mis-interpretation of the very same info, or mis-interpretation.

    Han is virtually an evolving terminology or group with many sources contributing to its being. It grew with time assimilating different groups or some members were assimilated by other groups as well, including many subgroups (like your Tamil, Telugu or Bengali).

    Miaos were living along Yellow River. In tribal wars Miaos lost to one of Han's origins Huaxia, then started its migration southward. Miao (Hmong) is one of ethnic groups in Vietnam and Laos.

    to why speaking the dialects is taken to be crude, low class. red neck etc. << ya, bluntly without "politically correct" veneer I'd say that's exactly what I feel during my broad tour in China. It's most frowned upon people speak loudly their dialects or local vernaculars, though often comprehensible if listened to attentively.

    I personally came out of a "half-Yue" (in its historical sense) background, but I (personally) whole-heartedly buy in Mandarin (Putonghua) as our "common" language. It's not only becoz the city I was born is of such a mixture (linguistically) but also my family is of such a breed (north+south).

    Let bygones be bygones (blood and fire, humiliation or conquest...). Practically we more or less lose some features in order to take on a new identity. Move ahead.
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Could you explain this from historical events?

    What is/ was the compulsion to take on 'new identity' (Han) and forget your 'real identity'?

    If half an Yue wants an identity, why should it not be Yue instead of Han? Is the Yue inferior to the Han that it is a matter of shame to be a Yue?

    If it were Chinese as identity, it would be understandable since it is physical area where the Chinese stay. Why should Han be the identity?

    I have not understood this.

    While I am an Indian, yet I am a Bengali and not a Hindusthani (which in my part of the country is taken for Hindi speaking people0.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Historically, the term "Miao" had been applied inconsistently to a variety of non-Han peoples often with the connotation of "barbarian."

    That is what is said.

    According to Chinese legend, the Miao who descended from the Jiuli tribe led by Chiyou (Chinese: 蚩尤 pinyin: Chīyoú) were defeated at the Battle of Zhuolu (Chinese: 涿鹿 pinyin: Zhuōlù, a defunct prefecture on the border of present provinces of Hebei and Liaoning) by the military coalition of Huang Di (Chinese: 黃帝 pinyin: Huángdì) and Yan Di, leaders of the Huaxia (Chinese: 華夏 pinyin: Huáxià) tribe as the two tribes struggled for supremacy of the Yellow River valley.

    The Miao continuously moving southwest and Li southeast as the Huaxia race, later known as Han Chinese expanded southwards.

    The Chinese ethnohistory is most fascinating and of that there is no doubt.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011

Share This Page