Friday, July 30, 2010

Can't We All Just be Chinese?

You may know that there is a guy who claims that the Chinese came to North America in 1421. Certainly there are people who disagree with him, but it is an intriguing notion. I mean, had the Chinese had colonial designs in North America (as opposed to "Greater China," but more on that later), maybe we would all be Chinese now.

Speaking of Chinese colonialism, the Economist had an interesting article on the issues in Tibet and Xinjiang. The article talks about the Chinese plan for eventually pacifying both regions. Tibet has been swamped with Han Chinese, and China appears to be just waiting for the Dalai Lama to die and take the wind out of the Tibetan sails. In Xinjiang there is no international rock star like the Dalai Lama, which is good for China. It makes it easier to change the demographics on the ground, so that the region is now something like 41% Han Chinese. Again, the Chinese are moving more Han Chinese in and waiting to just overwhelm the locals.

I recognize that this sort of demographic competition has happened before, including in North America. The United States signed innumerable treaties with the Native Americans on the fringes of the United States until enough white people had moved to the area to push for a new, more favorable treaty. However, it appears that the Chinese might not need to do this. Some evidence suggests that the Tibetans and Han were one people until about 2,750 years ago. Remarkably, this theory requires that a particular gene that helps avoid altitude sickness present in roughly 10% of Han became common (over 90% present) in the Tibetans. It seems like that the only way that could happen would be for a lot of immigrants to die quickly, but the survivors to stick it out and reproduce like mad. In any case, this may indicate that the Chinese should spend their time welcoming the Tibetans "home" on ethnic grounds, instead of trying to bludgeon the country into submission just because the Qing Dynasty sometimes had suzerainty or sovereignty over Tibet at different times.

Just think. The Tibetans are about to become "Chinese" and with a little effort, all of North America could have been Chinese . . .


Anonymous Polo said...

Your said is true ?

9:41 PM  

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