Han Supremacy, also frequently known as Han Chinese or Chinese nationalism, as well as Han Chauvinism, is loosely understood as the ethnocentric ideology to glorify the pure Han blood tie and the Han culture.
Han Supremacy, also frequently known as Han Chinese or Chinese nationalism, as well as Han Chauvinism, is loosely understood as the ethnocentric ideology to glorify the pure Han blood tie and the Han culture. The reason why I put Han Chinese and Chinese nationalism together, despite the alternative practices seen in other studies, is due to the profound obscure distinction in between the two concepts, in the sense that they are often used interchangeably and the difference has been shrinking ever since. This unique sentiment of superiority has been rooted in Chinese history, till recently being even more exaggeratedly expanded and integratively interpreted by the Chinese Communist Party leadership. Attempting to unify and mobilise the insanely large population, with minimal obstacles, conquering and expanding – China, otherwise referred to as the state of Han supremacy, has become proficient in word choice, creation and reinterpretation of concepts, through dynasties. The success of Chinese imperialism to me is vastly facilitated by the control of people’s conceptualisation of their nation, and thereby their interpretation of the entire world system, nurturing each and every highly devoted, extraordinarily patriotic, unbending, incomprehensible nationalist.
The History of Han Supremacy:
According to Zhai Quan’an, a self-claimed vanguard advocate for the promotion of Han culture, he described it as an expression of magnanimity and a tolerance of diversity, without the fear of incursions of other cultures – “Our Han culture assimilated Japan-Korea-Vietnam-Singapore-Malaya-and-Thailand. To put it a bit more politely, we influenced these small places that eventually came into being as nations in their own right.”(1) – a classic narrative from yet another Han Supremacist. To break down the entire story of Han Supremacy, Han Chinese is just one of 56 official ethnic groups in China, being the so-far largest, with over 90% of Chinese citizens identifying as Han (2). Apparently, this successful sense of identity has not been built in a day or two.
Dating back to the Qin dynasty, non-Han ethnic groups in the northern border areas and the people living in the coastal region of the southeast were excluded, known as the Turks, the Uyghurs and the Tibetans. Yet, the Han Supremacy legacy was later challenged by the presence of non-Han rulers with roots in the north during the Yuan and Qing dynasties. I particularly like the following description made by Q. Edward Wang, in one of his research, succinctly pinpointed – “Although the Han Chinese upheld the idea of ethnocentrism, as shown in their definition of the superior-inferior relation between China and its neighbours, they also invented ways to implement their ethnocentrism eclectically.” So, in spite of the challenge, Han rulers again reinforced Han cultural superiority by implying that non-Han’s aggression was utterly an indication of their barbaric nature and cultural inferiority to the Han Chinese (3). I noticed that Q. Edward Wang made some precise comments on Han ethnocentrism in his article, until his conclusion that the Manchu rule of China eliminated the ethnic distinction and unified the world across ethnic lines was made. Yes – the ethnic distinction had been forcefully eliminated by the one-of-a-kind involuntary interracial marriage and thereby ethnic cleansing. This agenda of mandatory ethnic unification did not end in the past, but has been pushed onto an unprecedented extreme till now – with Uyghurs ending up in concentration camps, and Tibetans to be in exile or prisoned, let alone the endless cultural genocide in regions where Han Chinese ironically claimed to be “culturally inferior and barbaric”. To make it even more self-conflicting, in a recent official propaganda of “Chinese culture” published by the Confucius Institute in Munich, the so-called “barbarians”, whose traditional clothings with rich unique ethnic culture, were featured and presented as incorporated “Chinese culture”.
Another important comment on Han culture made by Zhai Quan’an was – “It has a strong stomach capable of digesting you, sucking out the nourishment and shitting out the dross.” I believe this exceptionally descriptive statement is fairly self-explanatory for the aforementioned conflict – anything conditionally useful for exerting the soft power of Chinese imperialism is “sucked out as the nourishment”, while the “dross” could be anything or anyone in the way of this unification process towards Han ethnocentrism. One can hardly not be amazed by the skilful construct of the concept of Han Supremacy, throughout the transition of dynasties – just perfect for facilitating the centralisation of the ruling power.
This masterpiece, as a just-fit political tool, has been so well-preserved that even in the most recent centuries, without conquest from their neighbourhoods, the Chinese nationalists’ fear of being conquered again, and urge for expansion and engulfment is in their bones and in their blood; as if those twisted patriotism-provoking sentiments have been crafted by imperialists, who now present themselves as the ruling class of the Chinese Communist Party – yet another Chinese empire which shall not be named other than a Socialist state with Chinese Characteristics.
To furthermore monopolize the narrative, Mao even put the cherry on top by initiating the Cultural Revolution, to crosscheck with the subsequent generations that any past values such as the Confuciusism were held responsible for the loss of China to Japan and the West; whilst western ideologies, framed as Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, were considered critical going forward. The wonderful effect of this cherry on top is that, together with the long history of Han Supremacy, the Chinese Communist Party can even reinterpret the state as an absolutist unitary state – one country, one culture, one race, one thought, one voice, one system – in an imaginative, amalgamated fashion (4), budding automatically and systematically generated Han chauvinists plus Chinese nationalists.
Now what? One China – perfect.
Positive and Negative Rights
To briefly describe the difference between positive rights and negative rights, negative rights are the rights of non-interference – that are, for example – the right to life is a right not to be killed, the right to liberty is a right not to be enslaved; the freedom to practice one’s religion, to write, speak and assemble with others without interference by any others, are known as negative rights. For a positive right to be exercised, one’s actions must be added to the equation. (5) Theoretically, a negative right forbids others from acting against the right holder, while a positive right obligates others to act with respect to the right holder. (6) That means, succinctly, positive rights are associated with active actions, contrasting with passive negative rights.
However, context always matters, when it comes to distinguishing positive and negative rights. Rights to self-determination, for example, can fall into very different categories under different circumstances. When Hongkongers are calling for Hong Kong independence with the collapse of “One Country, Two Systems”, followed by a progressive, active intervention by Beijing since 2014, or even earlier, the demand for self-determination is a negative right. Oppositely, when Han Supremacists are calling for self-determination, and simultaneously occupying East Turkestan, Tibet and many more nations, ambitiously, aggressively exerting imperialism all over, out of an ethnocentric narrative, this is recognised as a positive right to self-determination.
There could be millions of examples of such, and there is just one main idea – context matters. And here we come to one of the best strategies frequently played by Han Supremacists and the holy imperative leadership of their empire – conceptualisation of word choice.
Conceptualisation with Word Choice Language can play a big role in how the world is perceived, and linguists work to discover what words and phrases can influence us, unknowingly. (7) David Hauser, a doctoral candidate in the U-M Department of Psychology once said, “Some words have a meaning to them that we don’t often think about but yet still affects us, which has applications to persuasion, social influence and bias in our judgments and decisions.”
He said, “Some words tend to occur in a certain context and that context bleeds into the word’s meaning. Those same words can frame our judgment.”
It is not to our surprise that the word meanings are not only restricted to English; but have also been identified in other languages, such as Chinese, Portuguese and Italian. (8)
What words often imply are concepts and feelings. “One China” – implies unity, strength, power, patriotism and loyalty to many Han Supremacists and Chinese nationalists across historical contexts. Han Supremacists repeatedly described Uyghur, Tibetans, and Turks as “barbarians” in the past and as “separatists” or “terrorists” now, amplifying the perception of their inferiority, actively and robustly inventing this association for the sake of political propaganda – so as to reinforce the holiness of “Han”, while diluting the focus of its definition, generalising the word into a brand new concept of homogenised great Chinese culture.
If you still remember, Han Chinese is just one of 56 official ethnic groups in China. Once you have this in mind and begin to boil down to the uniqueness of each of these 56 ethnic groups, and how different their culture and people are from Han Chinese, you will be highly likely dubbed as separatists and terrorists who evilly jeopardise the great country, crushing the state’s unity and integrity – purely treason.
This is the power of words, limiting one’s ability to think without influence from the designed meaning, well-played by the Chinese Communist Party. Even the name of China in Chinese is the direct translation of “the central kingdom” – “Zhongguo”. Very well thought, isn’t it?
The Play of Words – RACISM
In the 21st century, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s best play of words is certainly “racism”. When the Han Supremacy propaganda is deeply crafted in its people’s hearts, and that serving the Party’s president means serving China’s emperor, there is no way to differentiate the state from the dictatorial ruling party ever again. Each citizen in China could be a political asset of the Party, even if one is not working for the United Front, or any United Front-funded associations like the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, one is deemed to report any suspicious dissidents of the CCP to show their patriotism, or otherwise end up as Li Wangyang. “If you are anti-China then you are racist” – a very usual claim that many may have heard. When the proven fact is that there is no way to separate the state and its people from the Chinese Communist Party, what accurate expression could be used to explain one’s anger and discontent over the dictatorial, tyrannical, totalitarian politics and their execution orchestrated by the empire’s ruling class?
When dissidents are struggling to word themselves, the Chinese nationalists will do it for them – “racist”, “anti-Chinese”, or “anti-Asian”. There can hardly be an example like this that the mix of politics and race is so comprehensively entangled, almost completely fused together, thanks to the long history of ethnocentric propaganda, which only knows how to grow exponentially century after century. When words and lingual expressions have already been outstandingly exploited by the Chinese imperialists, I guess body language would not work in this circumstance. The only way to debate for the truth and justice over their play of words, to make them face any opposing argument squarely, is to debunk and dismantle their twisted conceptualisation of words, reduce their fancy reinterpreted version of Chinese culture to an imaginative culture that disrespects and engulfs any aboriginality; so as their blatantly egotistical ethnocentric nationality – which should not be homogenic Han Chinese – but Zhuang, Hui, Manchu, Uyghur, Miao, Yi, Tujia, Tibetan, Mongol, Dong, Buyei, Yao, Bai, Hani, Li, Kazakh, Dai people, etc., as well as many other “non-recognised” ethnic groups. And most importantly, no separatism sentiment should be intentionally provoked just by embracing each peoples’ existence and uniqueness – fall into the Sino-paronomasia trap no more.
http://www.chinaheritagequarterly.org/articles.php?searchterm=020_zhai_quanan.inc&issue=02 0 https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/china/hanfu-fantasy-not-nationalism-drives-interestin-traditional-chinese-clothing https://muse.jhu.edu/article/18312 https://tfipost.com/2020/07/drunk-on-han-supremacy-communist-china-holds-a-very-racist-ima ge-of-india/ https://books.google.com.au/books?id=bsCt1hoFH54C&pg=PA90&dq=positive+rights+and+negative+rig hts&hl=zh-TW&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjx2Za6kaHzAhUGC94KHRNcAY8Q6AF6BAgEEAI#v=onepage&q=p ositive%20rights%20and%20negative%20rights&f=false https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_rights https://news.stanford.edu/2019/08/22/the-power-of-language-how-words-shape-people-culture/ https://news.umich.edu/word-choice-hidden-meanings-can-influence-our-judgment/