China mixed marriage markets in everything

by on September 1, 2014 at 1:43 pm in Economics, History, Political Science | Permalink

Chinese authorities in the restive western region of Xinjiang have begun offering large cash incentives for interracial marriages in the latest attempt to quell growing unrest among the mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic group that inhabit the region.

The policy, celebrated by local Communist party officials as advancing the “great cause of assimilation” and “ethnic unity”, offers couples entering into mixed marriages an annual bonus of Rmb10,000 ($1,600), equivalent to 135 per cent of average annual rural incomes.

Uighurs, Mongolians and other ethnic minorities who marry people from the dominant Han race, which makes up more than 90 per cent of China’s 1.36bn population, will also be eligible for a broad range of medical, schooling and housing benefits.

There is more here, via Fabrizo Goria.

1 sansfoy September 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Can you imagine if the U.S. government offered this deal to African Americans?

2 Peter September 1, 2014 at 2:43 pm

I have seen some anecdotal evidence that affirmative action policies can indirectly encourage the same outcome, by giving an incentive for outsiders to marry into the marginalized group, instead of vice versa. One example is a Chinese-Canadian friend of mine, whose parents are Chinese immigrants. I asked him whether his parents expected him to marry a Chinese girl (a common expectation in Chinese families). He surprised me by telling me no, they were in fact pressuring him to find a First Nations wife, so that their grandchildren would benefit from First Nations status! (for non-Canadians: “First Nations” is a Canadian term, analogous to “Native Americans”)

3 skh.pcola September 2, 2014 at 12:58 am

Leeches are present in every culture…sentient beings respond to incentives. The best route to prosperity is to incentivize productive labor, rather than rewarding those that want to hitch up to the gravy train of entitlements. Why leftists refuse to acknowledge this reality is an ongoing mystery.

4 dan1111 September 3, 2014 at 3:03 am

Leftists might want different things than you want.

Also, the true systemic effect of most policies is hard to measure, so people on both sides are prone to evaluating them based on ideological preconceptions rather than evidence.

5 Stefan September 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Any historical precedents for this? Can’t think of any off hand, seems like there ought to be some.

6 Apeman September 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Alexander the Great and his desire to have the Greeks and Persians become one people springs to mind.

7 Stefan September 1, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I’m thinking more along the lines of marriage bounties, as seen here, differentiated by ethnic/racial classification, for mixed marriages. BTW, one set of my grandparents had a ‘mixed marriage’, Lutheran-Catholic. No bounty that I’m aware of. My grandfather had to sign up for bringing up the kids Catholic, which did result in 100% failure for three kids.

8 Peter September 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Yes, there are precedents. For example, in 2009 or so, the Iraqi government introduced a policy of giving $2000 to any Sunni-Shia intermarried newlywed couples, as a “gift”.

By the way, I’m not sure what to make of your cryptic comment about Catholics.

9 Stefan September 1, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Sorry for being cryptic. A (problematic) ‘mixed marriage’ in Germany used to mean Lutheran-Catholic, but it no longer does. And the Catholic church would require that you swear to raise the kids Catholic they were going to allow you to marry in church. Lots of historical baggage here that for the most part is being lost to history…some history even is history, to paraphrase Faulkner.

10 Roy September 1, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I come from two different incidents of Lutheran-Catholic mixed marriage, where the Catholics triumphed, if you are Lutheran or anti catholic that might be a failure but the offspring of those unions all achieved higher educational levels and incomes than the Lutheran members of their families over later generations. Personally I think Lutheran and Catholic, or Orthodox, are very compatible because other than authority they both speak the same theological language which leads to less points of contention.

11 Steve Sailer September 1, 2014 at 6:24 pm

The long posting policies of the Roman Legions had the side effect of encouraging soldiers from distant parts of the empire to marry local women.

12 Roy September 1, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Paraguay has a long history of compulsory intermarriage particularly early on in colonization and later under the dictatorships of Francia and the elder Lopez between independence and the War of the Triple Alliance

13 Ben September 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Louis XIV’s government actively supported intermarriage between Indians and Europeans (both men and women) in French Canada.

14 FC September 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm

So according to the editors of the Financial Times, Uighur and Han are races now? How very BNP of them.

15 Peter September 1, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I’m surprised at how casually anti-Uighur people can be here in Beijing. I think it’s similar to European antiziganism. People from Henan province are also generally considered suspect here, even though they are ethnically Han. Henan people often have to conceal their origins and say they are from Shandong instead, so as to avoid prejudice (the stereotype is that they’re generally thieves and con-artists). Other groups that can be at a disadvantage here: Japanese people (generally hated), Americans (sometimes despised), and black people, who are very openly discriminated against.

16 Sbard September 1, 2014 at 2:56 pm

My Chinese associates talk about Uighurs in ways very similar to how Europeans talk about the Roma (troublemakers who make their living from fraud and thievery, see the sliced cake scam).

17 dearieme September 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm

But are your Chinese chums right?

18 skh.pcola September 2, 2014 at 1:03 am

They aren’t wrong to do so. Uighurs have been moslums for 1,000 years. That ethnic group is troublesome in high concentrations, anywhere. Where they aren’t troublesome, it’s only due to totalitarian and harsh control.

19 anon September 1, 2014 at 5:02 pm

I was mysteriously refused taxi rides a few times in Beijing from empty cabs and I’m a white guy. It could be coincidence. I’m curious if anyone else has experienced this.

20 Dismalist September 1, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I once experienced apparently anti-white feeling in Japan, many years ago: I walked across a postage stamp sized park, and a group of very young schoolgirls burst out laughing when they saw me!

21 andrew' September 1, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Maybe they thought you were mixed.

22 Alexei Sadeski September 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Not quite even-stevens given the massive discrimination Asians face in the US university system.

23 Willitts September 2, 2014 at 1:11 am

You mean 50% of graduate school classes each year isn’t enough?

24 Alexei Sadeski September 2, 2014 at 8:23 am

Not if it should be 95%, no.

25 BeatCal September 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Alexei, Stanford’s incoming freshman class could be comprised exclusively of students with perfect SATs and 4.0 GPAs.

But the admissions committee has decided that the objective is a well-rounded student body.

26 Alexei Sadeski September 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Well rounded is euphemistic cover for racism, classism, -ism.

27 Easily Amused September 2, 2014 at 2:22 am

What about Indians? As in Asian Indians? How do they fare in China’s race calculus?

28 Ronnie Horesh September 1, 2014 at 5:22 pm

I floated a similar idea some years ago, for the Middle East:

” They might even subsidise intermarriage between members of the opposing communities, or try to influence the financial supporters of conflict outside the region to redirect their funding into more edifying activities.”

29 Novella September 1, 2014 at 8:32 pm

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
matter to be actually something which I think I would
never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad
for me. I’m looking forward for your next post,
I’ll try to get the hang of it!

30 Anonymous September 1, 2014 at 8:47 pm

I have spent some time in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region or East Turkmenistan and Chinese racism & discrimination against Uighers is endemic so it’s hard to see the policy being very successful. The weirdest thing about this article is the matter of fact way in which this news is reported. It’s hard to imagine the financial times being so sanguine about such a policy elsewhere. As the article mentions a similar policy has been in effect in Tibet and it also doesn’t seem to have created much of a response. Is this deference to China, the tyranny of low expectations or simply double standards.

31 LibertarianinChina September 1, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Agree with above comment – Han sentiment against Uighurs is fairly ferocious, and I was there before any of the recent terrorist attacks at train stations and Tiananmen. For an American’s perspective, this blog is very good:

32 Justin September 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm

China has a remarkable record of assimilating various ethnic groups into Han identity, essentially wiping out the previous identity. Tibet poses a particular problem in this regard, since Han Chinese have a very difficult time settling in high-altitude Tibet. Tibetans have exceptional high-altitude adaptations, gained from mixing with ancient Denisovans. Still, I would bet on the Chinese assimilating the Tibetans eventually. Perhaps this could be achieved by blood-doping Han settlers until enough of them have mixed with Tibetans that they gain the advantageous genes.

33 WireCrossed September 1, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Incentive for mixed marriage in the name of “ethnic unity” ?
Someone somewhere must have the wire crossed in the wrong way.
Here is not to debate the pro and con of “ethnic unity”, voluntary religion freedom and ethnic identification, but certain ethnic groups are identified by religions where non-believer must be converted to marry into the group and none from the group can marry outside the group.
The claim is logically wrong.

34 Adrian September 2, 2014 at 12:10 am

Similar policies were in place here in Australia with our Aboriginees

35 Tom Davies September 2, 2014 at 12:20 am

You’re referring to the policy of raising mixed ancestry children away from their aboriginal mothers, rather than incentives for mixed marriages?

36 carlospln September 2, 2014 at 12:20 am

Proof? Link? Datapoint?


37 Ronald Brak September 2, 2014 at 2:26 am

In the 1930s, Dr. Cecil Cook, who was the Northern Territory’s “Protector of Natives” wrote: “Generally by the fifth and invariably by the sixth generation, all native characteristics of the Australian Aborigine are eradicated. The problem of our half-castes will quickly be eliminated by the complete disappearance of the black race, and the swift submergence of their progeny in the white.”

The forced adoptions where children were removed from their indigenous parents and which continued until the 1970s was part of this process of assimilation. Incentives were not given for mixed marriages. Just disincentives for being an Indigenous Australian.

The wikipedia article on the Stolen Generations is here:

38 Adrian September 2, 2014 at 2:37 am

Sorry, referring to the popular view among policy makers in the 30’s to encourage assimilation by marriage of mixed aboriginal women with white men

39 t. gracchus September 2, 2014 at 2:40 am

Another part of China’s plan of genocide for the Uighur — high incentives for Han to move in and Uighurs to leave and to abandon culture. Low standards indeed.

40 Faboluson September 2, 2014 at 6:09 am

Historically, non-Han Chinese dynasties that have ruled China have always assimilated and adopted Han Chinese culture. The Turks (Tang Dynasty), Mongols (Yuan dynasty), and Manchus (Qing dynasty) all adopted Han Chinese culture to gain the Mandate of Heaven, and rule this vast and diverse country with 56 ethnic groups. The mostly Muslim Turkish Uighurs ethnic group, however, feels alienated and invaded by Han Chinese. They aren’t allowed to peacefully manifest, and congregate for religious purposes. Most Uighurs would view this policy of encouraging mixed marriages as ethnic cleansing to gradually get rid of non-Han Chinese people. Strong mistrust will continue until China adopt a hands-off approach to dealing with these (belligerent) ethnic groups.

41 Ad Nauseum September 2, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Its similar to the scene in Braveheart where King Edward gives “first rights” of every Scottish marriage to English nobleman. His quote, “If we can’t drive them out, we will breed them out.”

42 Cooper September 2, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Although as I’m sure you are aware, this never actually happened anywhere in Europe at any time. Prima Nocta was always something that the nobles did “over there”. It was a myth perpetrated by the nobles themselves in order to make their country look good in relation to the other countries.

It’s pretty brilliant propaganda, actually.

“Hey, we might be stealing your income and denying you basic human rights, but at least we aren’t raping your wife!”

43 jorod September 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Too bad we in the West don’t believe in marriage anymore.

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