Discussions on the Mechanisms for the Formation of Harmonious Ethnic Relations between the Hui and Tibetans in the Tibetan-Yi Corridor


2017-06-20 12:00

Ma Shanglin
Journal of Ethnology

Abstract: Based on fieldwork conducted in SongfanSichuan; Diqing Yunnan; GannanGansu; and ChangduTibet from 2012-2013this article investigates the reasons for the formation of harmonious ethnic relations between the Hui and Tibetan in the Tibetan-Yi corridor from mainly two aspects: driving force mechanisms and institutional guaranteesIt proposes that during their long process of historical interactionthe Hui and Tibetans in the Tibetan-Yi corridor have formed an economically complementary relationship and one of cultural integrationIn additiondue to the concerns of the governmentthe implementation of ethnic policies together with those rational and positive aspects found in both Hui and Tibetan customary lawa harmonious ethnic relationship between the Hui and Tibetans has been safeguarded in this corridor. The geographical environment in the Tibetan-Yi corridorwhich forms a special geographical economic cultureas well as an ethnic economic cultural area for the HuiTibetan and Han who live thereis complex Tibetans mainly engage in animal husbandryand their culture has the strong characteristics of pastoral cultures The Hui mainly engage in entrepreneurshipand take valleys or towns as their centersThose Hui who live in rural areas normally practice farmingThe Han are characterized by attaching importance to agricultureand normally living in the plainsvalleys and townsGenerally speakingdue to the influence of their living environments together with cultural factorsthere is a clear division of labor among the HuiTibetans and HanThe economic cooperation between the Tibetans and Hui has experienced a long historyThe Hui engage in the business of selling beefmutton and leather as well as process other kinds of animal productsThey need to have an exchange with the Tibetans who practice animal husbandryThe transactions carried out by the Tibetans for their lifes necessitiessuch as ricesaltteadaily toolsand decorative itemsare normally conducted with the HuiNowadaysthe formcontent and level of economic cooperation between the Hui and Tibetan has become multi-dimensionalThe Hui and Tibetans have their own historical traditionscultural backgrounds and religious customsIt can be said that their cultural differences are very obviousHoweverin the Tibetan-Yi corridor at the places where the different ethnic cultures meet and interactthe frequent economic exchanges between the Hui and Tibetans have promoted their cultural fusion and development; they influence each other from the aspect of languagefoodarchitectureand costumesetcThusharmonious ethnic relations followed with constant cultural integrationNowadaysno matter whether in GannanSongfanor in Diqing and Changduthe cultural interactions are very natural and most of them are very positiveActuallythe whole society is filled with an atmosphere of cultural integration between the HuiTibetans and HanThe friendly communication between the Hui and Tibetans has been a tradition in the Tibetan-Yi corridor for a long timeThe Hui and Tibetans often organize cultural activities together or take part in each others cultural activities in their daily livesIn the course of economic exchangethey learn each others languageand try to adapt to each others customsMany Hui and Han can speak fluent Tibetanand the Tibetans also can speak fluent Chinese or know common expressions used by the HuiIn additionnowadaysvarious political activities ( meetingselections) production and economic activities ( such as commodity fairs) organized by the local government also provide new approaches for the cultural interaction between the Hui and TibetansIn order to promote the prosperity and development of the ethnic groupsChina has made relevant laws and regulations concerning ethnic equalitywhich ensure the establishment of new socialist ethnic relationsand provide institutional guarantees for harmonious ethnic relations between the Hui and TibetansFirstlyethnic equality is taken as a basic principle and included in the Constitutionthis is good for establishing harmonious ethnic relations Secondlythe implementation of regional ethnic autonomy provides a guarantee to building harmonious ethnic relations The minzu quyu zizhi fa ( Regional Ethnic Autonomous Law) is the first specialized law concerning regional ethnic autonomy; it makes specific provisions on the harmonious development of ethnic relations; further enhances the institutional construction of regional ethnic autonomy; and ensures the politicaleconomic and cultural autonomous rights of the ethnic areasLastlya series of ethnic policies has ensured the harmonious development of ethnic relations For instance: 1) policy related to ethnic language and writing systems After the founding of New Chinarelevant provisions concerning the ethnic languages and writing systems were made in the ethnic autonomous prefectures or countieswhich ensured the basic rights and interests of the ethnic groupsenabled the ethnic groups to communicate with each other widelyand improved the development in these areas2) policy related to the freedom of religious beliefsAfter founding the new nationthe policy on the freedom of religious beliefs was strongly advocated in the Tibetan-Yi corridor areaThe implementation of this policy has ensured harmonious relations between religious people and non-religious peopleand between people with different religious backgrounds3) policy related to respecting ethnic peoples customsAfter the founding of New Chinathe state drew up many specific and clear regulations with regard to respecting ethnic peoples customsThe practice has proved that respecting and understanding ethnic minoritiescustoms will be helpful to conducting friendly exchanges and communications among different ethnic groupsreducing ethnic disputes or conflictsand playing a positive role in forming harmonious ethnic relations4) policy related to ethnic unityEthnic conflict was very sharp and ethnic relations were very complicated throughout the history of the Tibetan-Yi corridorAfter the founding of the New Chinapolicies related to ethnic unity were further emphasizedandcarried out more proactively since the implementation of thereform and opening upstrategyIn addition those rational parts of customary law found in the traditional cultures of the Hui and Tibetans also provide a guarantee for the formation of harmonious ethnic relationsThe customary law of the Hui and Tibetans was formed throughout the long process of historyand has an authoritative and constraining impactIt mainly focuses on adjusting the internal social relationships of the group so as to maintain social orderIts content is broadand includes religious beliefsmoralityproperty inheritanceetcThere are many rational and positive factors in these customary lawsThe customary law of the Hui and Tibetans also plays a role in regulating and guiding the daily habits of the people so that different social relations in human communications can be adjustedand a relationship with mutual respect and inclusion is constructed It not only promotes the formation of a harmonious social environment for the Hui and Tibetansbut also plays an important role in maintaining the stability of the whole society To sum upthe Hui and Tibetans in the Tibetan-Yi corridor have formed a complementary economic relationship and one of cultural integration in the long process of historical interactionSince the founding of New Chinathe government advocates ethnic unity for the goal of ethnic prosperity and developmentand has created relevant rules and regulations from the aspect of the lawMoreoverfollowing the concrete implementation of the ethnic policiestogether with the role played by the rational and positive factors in the customary law of the Hui and Tibetansa new pattern of socialist ethnic relations has been establishedwhich has promoted the formation of harmonious ethnic relations between the Hui and Tibetan in the Tibetan-Yi corridor and provided guarantees for these relations

Key words: Tibetan-Yi corridor; the Hui and Tibetan; harmonious ethnic relation

The Chinese version appeared in Journal of Ethnology, 2017(02).


2017-06-20 03:38
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