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This Absolutely is not a Hui Rebellion!

The Ethnopolitics of Great Nationality Chauvinism in Early-Maoist China


Benno Weiner


July 6, 2023, from 17:30-19:00

Room 301, 3F, Building 10

In person only/No registration required

Hui residents welcome the PLA into Xining, September 6, 1949.

Through the 1950s, the Chinese Communist Party considered nationality disunity to be a product of “great Han chauvinism.” But what happens when history’s bad guys are not Han? In parts of China’s Northwest, the Party identified Hui Muslim elites as the main agents of nationality exploitation. It therefore declared Tibetans of all classes to be victims of nationality exploitation, while ordering “good” Muslims be distinguished from “bad,” a task made more urgent by a string of uprisings that engulfed parts of the Qinghai-Gansu Highlands. While echoes can be found in the late-Qing state’s response to Muslim rebellion, I argue that the CCP’s approach to the “Hui question” must be viewed as part of a particular practice of minoritization and framework for conceptualizing the new socialist nation-state that would leave Muslims and other non-Han communities susceptible to majoritarian-state violence.


Benno Weiner is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier (Cornell UP, 2020) and co-editor of the volume, Conflicting Memories: Tibetan History under Mao Retold (Brill, 2020). He is currently working on a new book project with the working title: “Imperial Borderland to Socialist State: Disintegration, Territorialization, and Minoritization on the Ethnic Margins of Modern China.”

This talk is organized by Christian Hess (Associate Professor of History, Sophia University) .

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