Towards a People’s Anthropology – Chapter three

Towards a People’s Anthropology – Chapter three


Book title:  Towards a People’s Anthropology
Author: Fei Xiaotong
Book series name and number:  Understanding China and the World series Vol. 1, No. 1
Book series editors: ZHENG Hangsheng and Xiangqun Chang
Numbers of page: 200
Publishers: London: Global China Press; Beijing: New World Press
Publishing date: November 2018
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 244x170mm
ISBN 978-1-913522-00-1 (paperback, English)
Price: £25.99
ISBN 978-1-913522-01-8 (hardback, English)
Price: £51.99
Price: £10.00

This article is based on a talk given at the Asian Symposium on International Creativity in Endogenous Culture held in Kyoto, Japan, 13-17 November 1978, under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations University and Kyoto University.

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Chapter Three

On the social transformation of china’s national minorities

WE OF THIS generation, especially those born in Asia, are undergoing the most rapid and stupendous socio-cultrual transformation in the history of mankind. The old is passing out, and the new is coming in, while we who are undergoing this transformation from young to old acquire our comprehension and knowledge of life and human history.

To take myself as an example, I was hardly one year old when the Chinese Empire was replaced by a Chinese Republic. I was in primary school when I first saw in pictorials the photos of aeroplanes and tanks that made their first appearance in the European war. A little later I learned from the writing on the small paper flags used by adults in street demonstrations in the May 4th Movement such new words “science” and “democracy.” Throughout the time I was at intermediate school and a college student, how few indeed were the years when I did not excitedly partake in such demonstrations myself, as shouting slogans, and how few were the years in which there was no civil war between warlords or no acts of fresh aggression from foreign powers so that we might pursue our studies in peace and tranquillity. Now, I think, looking back on these 40 years of my life that, despite such turmoil as our country was plunged into, the sociocultural transformation of China was something the great mass of our people had just started to search for, while a real transformation came into being only in the last 30 years. What we witnessed in the first half of my life was primarily directed toward the removal of all hindrances, internal and external, to the carrying out of a sociocultural transformation, and creating the conditions necessary for the birth of a new China. The founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 marked the beginning of the fundamental sociocultural transformation of the whole of China. All China, except Taiwan, having rid herself of an old semifeudal and semicolonial social order, embarked on the great journey to build a socialist society. The people of China have since literally turned their world upside down in a great transformation that will reach its 30th year in the year to come. As to myself, I shall soon reach an age which is described by an old Chinese proverb as rarely seen since olden times, i.e., the age of 70. But after this great transformation of nearly 30 years, these terms have lost their meaning, for in present-day China people of 70 are no longer a rarity, and they are vying with the younger generation with such spiritedness that the adjective “old” is no longer applicable to them. Be that as it may, the course of the past 70 years is something to be highly cherished. I would like to ask which generation could ever have the opportunity to witness such a rapid and stupendous transformation as we have lived through?