"Cultural Genocide" and Tibet
Monday, December 02, 2002
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Nancy Levine (Anthropology, UCLA) & Arthur Rosett (Law, UCLA), Discussants
“Cultural genocide” is a major theme of Tibetan émigré discourse. That discourse claims it is the policy of the Chinese state to extirpate the Tibetan ethnic group through Han migration into Tibetan areas, official encouragement of Chinese language use, controls over religious institutions, & the toleration of non-traditional art forms & diversions. The presentation will examine cultural genocide as a concept in international law, as well as its claimed empirical dimensions in Tibet. It will argue that the changes in Tibet described as “cultural genocide” do not amount to a violation of recognized minority rights, that the erosion of language, religion & the arts, while problematic, is less marked among Tibetans than among many minorities in liberal democracies, and that the discourse of cultural genocide as applied to Tibet unduly elides ethnic suppression with global processes of cultural hybridization that have both benign & malign aspects.
Barry Sautman (BA, MLS, JD, UCLA; LLM NYU, PhD Columbia) is a political scientist and international lawyer who is Associate Professor in the Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, currently on sabbatical at Princeton Univ. His research has focused on nationalism & ethnic politics in China. He is the author of monographs on the Tibet question and the politics of racial discrimination in Hong Kong, as well as a forthcoming book, Relations in Blood: China’s Racial Nationalism.
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Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies