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Yunnan, Tibet, and the Northwestern Grassland:Representations of China’s Ethnic Frontiers in the 1980s

Hao Jin
p. 11-19

Abstract

This paper examines literary and cinematic representations of ethnic frontiers in China in the 1980s to illustrate how they serve to express intellectuals’ different views of China’s sociopolitical condition, especially ultra-leftist history and the burgeoning market economy. Works under examination include Zhang Nuanxin’s Sacrificed Youth, Bai Hua’s The Remote Country of Women, Tashi Dawa’s “A Soul in Bondage,” Tian Zhuangzhuang’s The Horse Thief, and Zhang Chengzhi’s The Black Steed. These different discourses of ethnic frontiers contest with each other, reflecting intellectuals’ disagreement over how to understand China’s past, present, and future.

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Editor’s notes

Manuscript received on 30 November 2022. Accepted on 10 July 2023.

Excerpt

Full text document will be published online on March 2025.

Outline

Introduction
Yunnan as a liberal sanctuary: Sacrificed Youth and The Remote Country of Women
Tibet as irrational and superstitious: “A Soul in Bondage” and The Horse Thief
Northwestern grassland as spiritual home: The Black Steed
Conclusion: Frontiers as a site of contestation

First lines

Introduction

The 1980s are of particular importance in the history of China. While the end of the Cultural Revolution and the launch of reform and opening up in the second half of the 1970s signified the beginning of China’s fundamental transition towards urbanisation and marketisation, the 1980s witnessed more substantial progress in this transition. In 1981, the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party adopted the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China (Guanyu jianguo yilai dang de ruogan lishi wenti de jueyi 關於建國以來黨的若干歷史問題的決議). In the Resolution, the Party officially recognised some ultra-leftist movements, such as the Great Leap Forward and the Anti-rightist Movement, as erroneous; it also recognised that the Cultural Revolution “led to domestic turmoil and brought catastrophe to the Party, the state and the whole people.” As the government tentatively relaxed i...

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References

Bibliographical reference

Hao Jin, “Yunnan, Tibet, and the Northwestern Grassland:Representations of China’s Ethnic Frontiers in the 1980s”China Perspectives, 136 | 2024, 11-19.

Electronic reference

Hao Jin, “Yunnan, Tibet, and the Northwestern Grassland:Representations of China’s Ethnic Frontiers in the 1980s”China Perspectives [Online], 136 | 2024, Online since 01 March 2025, connection on 14 April 2024. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/chinaperspectives/16362; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/chinaperspectives.16362

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About the author

Hao Jin

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Copyright

The text and other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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