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  • Thumbnail for Contemporary Racial Formation in China:  Interactions Between Africans and Local Chinese in Guangzhou, China
    Contemporary Racial Formation in China: Interactions Between Africans and Local Chinese in Guangzhou, China by Gao, Jiumei

    In the 19th century, China encountered the first group of European colonialists and other foreigners. Nationalism, including views on different races, started to form. In the 20th century, ideas of racial categories and how Chinese people belong to the more superior "Yellow race" continued to develop and triggered national pride and rebellion against colonialists. During the Mao-era, nationalism was temporarily replaced with communism, but soon came back after Mao died in 1976. In the 1980s when China opened its market, people of the world, especially of the developing countries, were driven to China for its massive economic opportunities. As a result, Chinese people started to practice ideas of nationalism in their daily interactions with foreigners. This study took an ethnographic approach in order to examine the practice of nationalism in daily life among Chinese residents in Guangzhou, which has the largest African population throughout the country. The study included an explicit review of the historical development of China’s nationalism, along with a one-month ethnographic field research project that utilized interviews with 22 Chinese and 14 Africans in areas with higher concentration of Africans in Guangzhou. The results show that racism against Africans is commonly expressed among the Chinese participants. I found that their rationale of anti-African racism mostly originates from the structure of China’s nationalism that has been building since the 19th century.