This article explores the history of the establishment of a Tujia-Hmong Autonomous Prefecture, an ethnic autonomous administrative division in Hunan province. The article highlights some significant characteristics of the Chinese institution of ethnic regional autonomy, which fundamentally departs from both the Austrian Marxist and liberal-nationalist prescriptions for solving the so-called national question. It argues that the Chinese design is neither a leftist “ethnic cultural autonomy” nor a rightist “devolved government.” It appreciates the cultural psychology of ethnic groups, but also addresses issues beyond cultural affairs. The institution has administrative boundaries like any devolved government, but the ethnic group that forms the majority of the region’s population cannot monopolize the local government. Local government cannot become a “nationalized” apparatus dominated by cadres and intellectuals of a particular ethnic minority. The Xiang Xi Tujia-Hmong Autonomous Prefecture is a legal arrangement that balances the interests of all the resident groups, thus providing the possibility of a true “people’s government.” The Tujia case does not represent a universal solution inasmuch as the characteristics of China’s ethnic autonomous regions vary. However, it may still enrich our understanding of the history.
Anonymous“中国科学院哲学社会科学部举行座谈会揭穿向达破坏民族团结的政治阴谋”(The Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences held a meeting that revealed the conspiracy of Xiang Da to destroy national unity)《人民日报》195710 月19 日