China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This trans-border panel explores the ways in which the Communist government struggled to consolidate sovereignty and advance the socialist cause in China’s borderlands in the era of high socialism (1949-1978). How did the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) integrate the peripheral population into a socialist state? How did local realities and popular responses influence policy implementation? Drawing from a variety of materials, this panel discloses the dynamics of policy implementation towards Tibetans, Mongols, Koreans, and Hong Kongese during this period. In peripheral regions, the CCP showed flexibility in adapting policy to local realities to exercise political control over minorities. It also imposed cultural and identity policies, expecting people to conform to an image of a modern socialist citizenry. Examining the CCP’s activities in the Henan Mongolian Autonomous County, Ute Wallenbӧck explores how the Party dismantled traditional political and cultural structures, and mobilized the Mongols to join the CCP’s cause. Focusing on the movement to disarm the Tibetans, Lei Duan studies how the Communist government dealt with armed individuals in an already-militarized Tibetan society in the 1950s. Examining cultural persecution in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, Dong Jo Shin shows that the government implemented a Chinese-centered language policy and marginalized Korean language as core identity-maker. Angelina Chin explores how the government recognized the citizenship of Chinese in Hong Kong through the practice of expulsion and the denial of entry from the 1960s. Collectively, this panel will initiate a conversation about the Communist efforts to penetrate the peripheries in the early PRC.