From autonomous areas to non- autonomous areas: The politics of Korean minority migration in contemporary China

Wooyeal Paik, Myungsik Ham

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Since the start of the market reform in 1978, approximately 30 million of China's rural ethnic minority people have moved to China's industrializing coastal cities. This extraordinary migration wave has included in the past twenty years more than 60% of the two million Korean Chinese. How has this migration of Korean Chinese influenced the political and economic power structures in the autonomous areas and the new non-autonomous areas? This article argues that (a) the decrease in the Korean population in established autonomous areas has weakened the minority's autonomous power. The higher level governments of the autonomous areas have pursued more comprehensive and Han-majority-oriented macroeconomic policies-such as the abolition or merger of smaller Korean autonomous areas and the diminution of the political and economic power of larger Korean autonomous areas-rather than minority-protective policies. (b) The increasing Korean population in new migratory areas motivates these minority migrants to establish governmental and non-governmental organizations to further their political representation in their areas of settlement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-133
Number of pages24
JournalModern China
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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