Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Chinese minorities worse off than 30 years ago

Falling standards of living are being touted as a possible contributing factor to the recent violence in the PRC. While the Bastards of Beijing are quick to claim they recognise diversity and extend privileges to minorities that are denied to the Han majority, economic data from State Ethnic Affairs Commission tells a different story:

The commission's figures showed that annual per capita disposable income for city dwellers in minority regions rose to 13,170 yuan, or about $1,930, last year from 414 yuan in 1980. For rural and pastoral regions, it increased to 3,389 yuan from 168 yuan.

National statistics show that overall income grew faster. Nationally, urban disposable income grew to 15,781 in 2008 from 478 yuan in 1980. In the countryside, per capita income rose to 4,761 yuan from 191 yuan.

That means minority farmers and herders now earn only 72% of the national average, versus 88% in 1980. Minority city dwellers earn about 84% of the national average, versus 87% in 1980. (1)

Add to that, the restrictions on relgioous freedom that affect Uighirs, who are predominantly Muslims. The repeated message that seperatism, or even meaningful autonomy, is an impossibility. The massive influx of Han into the region, enjoying the best jobs and and the benefits of the progress there has been in extracting oil and gas reserves. You can understand why they would be angry and tensions could release, explosively.

1 - "Beijing's Ethnic Policy Faces Data Challeng," bu Ian Johnson in The Wall Street Journal, 22nd of July, 2009. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124816735513967749.html)

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