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January 03, 2004

Africa for the Chinese?

Thrasymachus points me to this Francis Galton article titled Africa for the Chinese. This reminds me of a science fiction series I read once. I have spoken of the reality of Chinese racism before, and I have indicated that it is the brown and black races who are more the objects of Han prejudice than whites. This is taken as a given in the Chung Kuo series by David Wingrove, where a future dominated by the Han is free of black and brown peoples, excluding fugitive remnants in the Martian outback, because of a program of extermination. The world is then divided between the two "highest races" of humanity, just as in the racialist-eugenic paradigm that was dominant among progressive Chinese intellectuals in the early 20th century (and still has some influence from what I gather).

Readers might find this entry about Chinese attitudes toward blacks interesting (conclusion, not racism, just "ignorance"). Here is a blog entry by a black expat in China. Here is an article about anti-black riots by students in China. Though the reaction to people of pure African heritage is probably the most extreme, I am sure most of the attitudes of the Han to darker-skinned peoples can be generalized to others of brown to black complexion. I recall reading a study of the records of a Chinese diplomatic delegation to the Khmer polity that left us Angkor Wat, there were repeated references to the "blackness" of the natives in a none too flattering fashion.

Here is an excerpt from the article above that documents how the riots ocurred in the late 1980s:

The conflict intensified on December 24 when two African male students who were escorting two Chinese women to a Christmas Eve party on campus were stopped at the front gate and ordered to register their guests. A new university regulation that restricted registration procedures for guests visiting foreign students had been implemented in October of that year to stop African male students from consorting with Chinese women in their dormitories. A quarrel between one of the African students and the Chinese security guard escalated into a brawl between African and Chinese students that lasted until the next morning and resulted in the injury of eleven Chinese and two Africans. On the next day, 300 Chinese students, angered by a rumor that a Chinese man had been killed by an African student the previous evening, stormed the African students' dormitory chanting, "Kill the Black Devils!" The police arrived to restore order two hours later. Fearing for their safety, over 60 African students left for the railway station to reach their embassies in Beijing.

Addendum: I also don't want to be seen as neglecting the fact that brown-skinned Indians are also pretty racist, so I feel I should add this short addendum, though I will elaborate in a longer post in the future. Here is an article by Eric Margolis, a non-Indian who explores this (most articles by Indians on this topic are in my opinion very biased in either direction). There are some inaccuracies (he states that high caste Indians are closer to Europeans genetically than they are to low caste Indians, this isn't true, instead, high caste Indians are closer to Europeans than low caste Indians, but on average the two Indian groups will probably cluster together on most measures from what I know, and Europeans will be an outgroup-see this article for more detail), the general gist is what is important. My overall point, rising peoples like the Indians and Chinese have not sensitized themselves in the same way white people of European descent have, so in the near future we might see a resurgence of world-wide racist imagery and ideas.

Posted by razib at 03:44 PM