Hao Shiyuan, male and of the Mongol ethnic group, born in August 1952, is a native of Hohhot, Inner Mongolia and a member of the Communist Party of China. He is a member of the Presidium of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Academic Divisions, and a director of the Academic Division of Social, Political and Legal Studies. In 1981, he graduated from the Mongolian history research institute of Inner Mongolia University with a master’s degree in history. He serves as director, researcher and PhD student advisor of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, President of the Chinese Association for Nationality Studies, the Chinese Association for World Nationality Studies and the Chinese Association for Nationality History, Vice-President of the Chinese Association for Nationality Theory and the Chinese Association of Anthropology, etc.. His academic expertise is in national theory, domestic and external ethnic problems. Since 1993, he has enjoyed a special allowance awarded by the State Council. In 1998, he won the “Young and Mid-aged Expert with Outstanding Contribution” Award.
Learned, the careful reflection, Ming Bian, work perseveringly
Zha Luo (hereinafter called Zha): you initially entered into academic circles on research of mongolian yuan history, but before that you learned engineering, now your main research field is national theory and contemporary ethnic problems at home and abroad. So what influence does this research work crossing over many subjects have?
Hao Shiyuan (hereinafter called Hao): the experience for learning engineering was the result in that age when many educated youth went to university at the recommended mechanism of the poor and lower-middle peasants, but it was a good opportunity because we can have a access to higher education institutions. However, my major was Metallurgy and Mechanics, though it has nothing to do with my research field nowadays, that period of learning experience and engineering training was very conducive to my later postgraduate study and research work, including knowledge, method, accuracy, quantitative concept and so on, which has unconscious influence on my learning on Liberal Arts and research work actually. During the period of postgraduate, I learned history which had more direct influence on my later research of practical problems that I mainly engaged in. From engineering to liberal arts, from history to reality, this kind of subjects crossing was realized through enrichment of knowledge structure. Of course, the most important thing might be the continual accumulation for the knowledge in liberal arts field, especially accumulation on the aspect of political theory knowledge. These accumulations for non-diploma professional knowledge were not only conducive to forming diversity of self knowledge structure, but conducive to forming multi-dimension of observing and thinking problems. Influence of engineering knowledge was still reflected in the words of my articles, for example, at the end of cold war, in the research of worldwide nationalism wave, the words such as kinetic energy", "potential energy", "spring effect", "overturning torque", "point of support" and so on were often appeared. Therefore, as for influence, it can be said that it is mainly conducive to observing and interpreting the same problems in the perspective of different subjects. In this sense, scientific knowledge contents are not compatible due to isolation of subject category and terminology. Any knowledge is all useful.
Zha: after you entered into this institute, you worked in history research department and department of national relationship research, this was a start that you changed from history to reality research. So how you treat this change today?
Hao: after I worked in the institute in 1980s, it was a climax of discussion for historical national relation in our national history, I was arranged to concern this subject and write related articles in research office. In fact, now I think about it, it was just a "diagnostic test" for my work requirement by the director in history office. For a young person who began to work just based on a graduation paper with the title of Supervision System in Yuan Dynasty, it was completely a new view for the subject of "China" concept in history discussed heatedly at that period as well as the subject of interactive relations between each nation in ancient time. I remember, except manuscript of "Yuan History Review" and extraction of related chapters for graduation paper to rewriting research paper, I also finished a paper named "Several problems in discussing the research of nation relation history", including three top issues: "the understanding of 'China' in history", "the understanding for ancient minorities' country affiliation" and "the understanding for minorities entering into central plains". Of course, this article belonged to the article in the discussion and was not supported by any abundant history materials, which was a reviewed and discussed one. However, this discussion on national viewpoint in ancient society directly related to realistic problems in fact. It was displayed in the conclusion of my paper: " the above-mentioned several problems is the most basic problem in the research of national relation history, to solve the problem, the most important is to eradicate traditional feudalism ideas, and adhere to Maxist's theory and method on history and science to research the history of our multinational countries. We should clearly realize that traditional concept as a history inertia plays a role unknowingly, which is a resistance on thought to correctly state nation relations in our history and to realize a new situation for nation relations of our society. This needs us to emphasize carefully.
Therefore, I think that this so called transition from history to reality occurs spontaneously. Almost all colleagues in the academic circles who participated in this subject discussion thought so. Re-evaluation of history concept is helpful for us to read reality problems. The research of nation relations in history is to provide a history background for the formation of reality nation relations situation; meantime it is surely to promote the development for study of contemporary nation relations. So in 1983, the research institute transferred persons from each office to form research office of nation relations, and to specially engage in the investigation research for contemporary nation relations. Just in this background, I was transferred to this research office. However, I did not give up the research on history, for example, "Chronology of Wang Zhen's agricultural treatise" was finished when I worked in the national relation office, including later "Mongolia and Korea at Jin and Yuan Dynasties" and other historical articles were all written after I transferred to research work. Of course the most important was the research work of "Chinese National Relation Outline" hosted by Mr. Weng Dujian that participated in, and I was responsible for the research of Modern parts. If my learning and graduation papers on Mongolia and Yuan Dynasty study in the range of synchronic, tribes and regions during my postgraduate learning, the research for contemporary national relation history was a view of age and nation directly related to contemporary times. This was a process of learning and a process of extending academic view, which would an important step for my later research on concerning and focusing on reality problems due to work need.
Zha: during this transition, what is your most important feeling?
Hao: first it is the problem of intellectual structure, though contemporary national relations belongs to history category, it has no difference on history method, it was very strange indeed on knowledge aspect or on reading aspect, which need to reconstruct a knowledge system. Second, the previous basis is a section of ancient history, but contemporary research has overall and macro requirement, including clue of ancient history longitudinal development and the plane of contemporary horizontal development, and it is a big plane that concerns dramatic change in the world. Third, it is also the change of thinking mode, namely the integration from micro to macro and from point to surface. In this aspect, I benefit a lot from Mr. Weng Dujian's advice. At that time I did not quite understand why Mr. Weng bought the "Wanli Fifteen Years" wrote by Huang Renyu for each person in research group. But after I read two times, I was enlightened. In fact, the essentials of this book were not how many unknown historical data discovery, but it was a historical picture in one age knitted from the cases such as characters and events through a symbolic age like "Wanli Fifteen Years". The so called "What is to come" is just so. Of course, today Huan Renyu's book and other writings such as "Macro History" are well known in the field, and people have different views on gains or evaluation, but they surely benefit a lot from contemporary history research writings that I touched in mid 1980s. This feeling is the reason that I specially recommend "Wanli Fifteen Years" during the activity "What books shall Doctor read?" later held by Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Science. Therefore, the most important feeling should be a academic view construction from one case to synthesis and from micro to macro, but this is only a process of accumulation.
Zha: after you became a deputy director in 1985, your research emphasis transferred to the practice for Marxist national theory and multi-national countries to solve ethnic problems. When Soviet Union failed to solve ethnic problems and caused nation collapse, how did you recognize the instructive significance of Marxist national theory on solving ethnic problems?
Hao: the research of Marxist national theory was directly related with the assigned business work in that period, and also was a process for my theory learning from history transferring to reality problem research finally. In the process of learning history, I also learned some Marxist theories on former capitalist society, but my systematic understanding on national theory was after I became the deputy director in national research institute. We say that upholding guiding position of Marxism, we must adhere to basic principle of Marxist national theory, only this we can have a deep understanding and subjective practice for system arrangement and policy system of solving ethnic problems for our Party and country. Marxist national theory belongs to the category of scientific socialism and is a scientific recognition for human society nation phenomenon and its objective law. Therefore, I always advocate that each subject for ethnology research must learn Marxist national theory carefully, because it is guiding concept.
At the beginning of 1990s, the Soviet union and eastern Europe happened social political evolution and national fission, an important reason was the failure of solving ethnic problems. The conclusion of western "Communism fiasco" considered the failure of solving ethnic problems as an important factor, this was the fact indeed, because no matter how many problems in the communism process of these countries, finally it was the ethnic problems that caused nation secession. So in my independent study for Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, my subject focused on thinking whether Marxist and Socialism could solve ethnic problems. In theory, the theory basis for Soviet Union to deal with and solve ethnic problems was according to Marxist and Engels concepts, Stalin also developed Marxist national theory to some extent. But in the period of Stalin, because centralized system and personal worship and advance judgment on the progress of socialist construction caused stereotypes of Marxist theory and the simplification of long-term, complex and important recognition on ethnic problems in practice. Soviet Union's pattern on solving national problem directly affected the practice of dealing with ethnic problems in some multi-national socialism countries in Eastern Europe. Bulgaria, Romania and the Czech republic were all the same. Therefore, sub-optimal approach effect also inevitably resulted in the failure of other countries after Soviet Union failure. Yugoslavia by the other way looked for the ways for exploring socialism trail and solving ethnic problems, but it took the way of bookishness rigidity during the competition with related orthodox Marxist theory in Soviet Union, and caused reckless decentralization in the practice of solving ethnic problems, and raised a separation sense of each republic and self-governing provinces. High centralization of Soviet Union and reckless decentralization of Yugoslavia presented two extremes, but got the "All roads lead to Rome" result in the practice of solving ethnic problems —nation separation and country collapse. In this sense, the failure reason for Soviet Union and Yugoslavia on solving national problem was the result that did not scientifically and completely master the essentials of Marxist national theory especially did not enrich and develop Marxist national theory from its own national condition.
Therefore, I wrote a paper named "Marxism can solve ethnic problems", this name originated from the judgment of Deng Xiaoping in 1950s, and also included the judgment that Lenin indicated that socialism could eliminate nation strife. The original words of Deng Xiaoping were: Marxism can solve ethnic problems in the worldwide; in China, Marxism combines with Mao Zedong's idea with China social reality can solve ethnic problems. Deng's words was very incisive and the key point was that Marxism combined with China social reality. The theory and practice for Chinese to deal with and solve ethnic problems was affected by Soviet Model, and experienced mistakes and frustration. But our elder proletarian revolutionaries such as Mao Zedong early realized that Soviet had some problems on solving ethnic problems, and Mao Zedong discussed those problems in his "On the Ten Major Relations". Just because this realization, our country early get rid of Soviet model control when we explored socialism road, including the practice for solving ethnic problems, which was the basic reason that our country did not experience nation separation and nation collapse predicated by western world in the shock of worldwide nationalism wave of Soviet collapse. Of course, we still had historical background and namely was our basic national conditions.
As for the research of Marxist national theory, we still have many problems, especially the insufficient refinery of basic principle for Marxist national theory, and we did not give systematic thinking. Many researches still stay at the level of textbook mode and the level of national work as well as interpretation level for related policies. In recent years, the Party Central Committee proposed a task "Four what" on Marxism research, which is a basic research and also the only way to adhere to Marxism and promote Marxism Chinese. On the aspect for research of Marxism basic principle, it should also clear the cornerstone and support point of theory system and other problems. Therefore, I wrote series on the paper of "Re-read Stalin National Definition", and just hoped to start from these basic concepts and its basic theories, and then to realize theory source, age background and contemporary meaning of basic statements from classic Marxist writers. Currently on the aspect of national theory, we face many system theories from western political science, ethnology, anthropology, which have formed many challenges for upholding guiding position of Marxist national theory. But challenge is the opportunity to some extent, the formation of Marxist national theory included research findings that classic writers absorbed anthropology, ethnology and history, etc. We adhere, enrich and develop Marxist national theory, meantime should absorb theory findings of western related subjects at the present age. But this absorption is a absorption in the leadership of Marxist position, view and method, not a displacement. Guiding thinking and subject theory belong to two categories.
Recently, my colleague and I found that some researchers do not belong to national theory field but engage in philosophy, history and other subjects research when we editing papers for basic principle research for related Marxist national theory in China. This also reflects that persons who specially engaged in research of Marxist national theory are far behind on original research of classic writers. The corresponding phenomenon is that currently our anthropology research is developing very fast, but it has little research on Marxist anthropology theory in anthropology community. However, there have many research findings on other subjects of Marxist anthropology notes and history notes. This is a question that we need to think carefully when we strengthen Marxist national theory research.
Zha: the mention of anthropology research, many new concepts and new theories have appeared in these years, including "ethnic groups" concept and its theory's dispute are very striking. In 2002, you published series papers on related "ethnic groups" concept on five kinds of publications in corresponding period, and later you published some papers that are related with these concept discussions such as "nation" and "ethnic group". Why did you concern for conceptual dispute?
Hao: it should be said that the reasons have presented in these papers, but it should be further stated. "Ethnic group" concept early appeared in the paper of related Taiwan aborigines research wrote by Tanwan scholar Wei Huilin in 1950, its corresponding English was "ethnic group". In 1980s, the word "ethnic group" was introduced into mainland during interactive communication of cross-strait national community. In 1990s, the word was used widely, which had direct relation with western theories that widely introduced by mainland anthropology research. But "ethnic group" concept caused some problems in application, especially it was very highlighted when the "ethnic group" replaced "nation". And related "ethnic group" was culture concept and "nation" was the judgment of politics concept spread very quickly. However, in these concepts dispute, the community did not quite understand the origin of "ethnic group" concept and its application background in western society, and did not quite understand the content and extension interpretation for "Zu Qun" in Chinese. If it ignored the word's meaning on sociology and nature science, it got rid of various groups after the word "ethnic" on ethnology meaning, such as "working ethnic group", "ethnic group of star chaser", "comrade ethnic group" and "ethnic group of crude oil". Concept amplification and randomness resulted from this surely cause confusion on theories. Because I think that concept is the supporting point for theory, if the concept is not clear and confused, let alone the scientific theory.
Therefore, the research for "ethnic group" concept was mainly to demonstrate the word "species" originated from western typical immigrant society, after experiencing the meaning of culture fission in post-industrial society, actually it was following the most simple research logic—what is it, why is it and how is it? so as to clarify the universal aura around the concept. Meantime, it was to illustrate that it must be suitable to our country's specified situation when introducing and drawing lessons from western academic speech, and simply to distinguish certain concept belonged to "Cultural" or "Political" and was not scientific accuracy. Chinese ethnic problems were not easily solved by means of "ethnic group" concept. In 2004, I published a paper named "analysis of "ethnic group" and "political" in Taiwan"" in "Chinese Society Science", though it mainly aimed at the comment of "Independence of Taiwan" force manipulating "ethnic group issue", it also included comment on "cultural" understanding for "ethnic group" concept. In fact, "ethnic group" issue had strong political meaning in political circle and academic circle in Taiwan.
In western developed countries, especially in typically immigrant countries, "ethnic group" phenomenon and its popular theory explanation belonged to the category of post-modern discourse, but the western academic's dominant discourse explained the "ethnic group" phenomenon in the worldwide, just as the developed countries according to its own standards required the developing countries, it was impracticable whatever on theory or in practice. China as a unified multi-national country with long history was also the most biggest developing country in the world, as for China's basic situation—though it gained some achievements for modernization and even a small part number of people had post-modern concept and behavior—still in pre-modern, it could completely played the role on academic research serving reality only based on our fundamental reality. In the international academic communication and cooperation, we not only understood what the frontier theory in international academic circle was, but also should know what the Chinese discourse system in international academic circle was. Communication and dialogues were interactive relations and but not unidirectional acceptance. Therefore, the research on this aspect was only a little of an effort that made.
Of course, the research for ethnic group/ethnicity and nation/nationality and other "ethnic group" concept and its meaning was an issue concerned by humanities and social sciences and other subjects, but not limited to a comment on ethnology, sociology and even mainly anthropology category. Therefore, the understanding and research for this kind of concept must also have open view but not the understanding for certifying own correct understanding and ignoring other subjects. Just as Christopher. Berry said in his writings with "luxury" concept as research subject:" its research value not only presents to find explanation for the concept in many subjects, meantime it is also to find the history background and its meaning for this continuously evolving concept." I think this is also a principle that should be adhered to with concept as research subject, namely cannot isolate from evolution of history background and its meaning for one concept and ignore blind application of situation reality, even replace own concept and its supported theory.
Zha: you just mentioned the problems for related "ethnic group" in Taiwan, many people are very curious, you have invested considerably efforts to research aborigines problems in Taiwan in recent years, and published a series of papers related history and reality for Taiwan aborigines . Why you are so concerned about previous quite strange subjects?
Hao: indeed, this is also a research direction that I never thought before. The reason was actually that there was a direct relations for ethnic problems between Chinese and worldwide since 1990s. Before and after the collapse of Soviet Union, worldwide ethnic problems became more increasingly, similarly, Chinese "Independence of Taiwan" issues, Dalai Clique and "Dongtu" issues also became "hot spot". In 1990s, in the process of so called "localization" and "nationalization" in Taiwan, aborigines issues became a focus in political circle and academic circle, especially in 1993, after the world's aborigines affairs were incorporated into the UN agenda, Taiwan aborigines problems and international aborigines movement were connected together, and became an important field to seek international space for Taiwan authority, especially after the Democratic Progressive Party came to power, hype "ethnic group" issues and use aborigines problems to promote its "Independence of Taiwan" practice, which was widely reported or speculated. In 1998, I began to realize this problem when I first go to Taiwan for communication, meantime I found that related research for the Gaoshan nationality and Taiwan aborigines research in the mainland not only lack dialogue resource, but also discourse and concerns also had great difference, especially it had no research basically on Taiwan aborigines actuality and its relations with Taiwan aborigines research. Therefore, later the comrades of related research office in organization institute specially investigated the research for Taiwan aborigines, and collected so many materials so as to start this special research.
In 2003, I published an article named "Taiwan aborigines and ethnic problems", actually it was to set the tone and give explanation for this research direction, because at that time the "Independence of Taiwan" was not incorporated into ethnic split category in the field of national research. Therefore, from subject subordinated, this article tried to analyze Taiwan aborigines problems and "Independence of Taiwan" power using aborigines problems to seek split theory and practice in the frame of ethnic problems. After that, there were papers introduced on the subject of Taiwan aborigines, including themes with strong reality and also the research with history characters. However, from my research on Taiwan aborigines history, it was not hard for reality pointed, even it could be said that it was the reality problems caused history research. For example, I published an article "Research for Dutch colonial conquered Taiwan aborigines population" on "History research", no doubt it belonged to research of history problems for Taiwan aborigines, but urging my starting point and destination to write this article was to retort "Independence of Taiwan" force wilfully distorting history material and recklessly amplifying population base of Taiwan aborigines during Dutch occupation, and thus creating fallacy that contemporary Taiwan people "most of them" were all aborigines' offspring, which was the so called "Blood line comment of aborigines ancestors".
Of course, from the history and reality research for Taiwan aborigines, it was an important content for ethnology, anthropology research for our country, and was also an important academic topic for communication, dialogue and cooperation for cross-strait scholars. From the view of history, Taiwan aborigines as the nation in Austronesian language, not only had close relation with the history, migration and culture of Polynesians in all south Pacific area, but also was invaded and ruled by western colonial powers like other nations in other Austromesian languages, background of its society change was similar; as for reality meaning, contemporary appeal for Taiwan aborigines was basically incorporated into the mode of world aborigines movement, on the a series of movements such as restoring origin, affirming identity, restructuring tribes, seeking ecological sovereignty, autonomy, mother tongue education and modifying names and so on has comparability on international scale, meantime, "Independence of Taiwan" power creating a "Desinification" political affiliation of "Austronesian" was especially emphasized. Therefore, I think that this research is the non-negligible major direction for our research whether on academic value or on realistic meaning. Of course, for the research of Taiwan aborigines, it will relate the predicating meaning of ethnic problems and ethnic work in the mode of cross-strait peaceful reunification.
Zha: China is a unified multi-national country at the earliest times, and ancient historical records left many discussions about ethnic problems, in recent years, you are still combing ancient ethnic concept for China and it seems to return to the field for history research. Can you talk about your thought on this? Where is the reality meaning of this kind of research?
Hao: actually, this was still one part of the above mentioned concept dispute or it was considered as the extension and expansion for research work. China as a unified multi-national country, its formed history was different from the national condition formations of all other multi-national countries. The so called "the people from five directions" concept formed since Qin Dynasty in China had the character with unified empire, in the history of any other countries, nobody in another eye realized the pattern of Beidi, Dongyi, Xirong, Nanman, Zhonghuaxia. China expressed the world view through "Five directions" concept, and conducted a evaluation similarly from central to edge culture diffusion through "system of five directions obeys far and near", this pattern was one of the most important history foundation in China. But in the historical process of rise and fall of alternating in Chinese Dynasty, "the people from five directions" and its descendants' continual interaction continued developing. From the unification of Chinese history, the unification force of Qin Dynasty came from affiliation of Xirong, unification for Sui and Tang Dynasty included many blood relationship of North race, the unification of Yuan and Qing Dynasty came from Mongolia people and Manchu people. The movement from edge to central plain was an important impetus for the never stopping history of Chinese Dynasty and was unstoppable of the Great Wall. It can be said that this history was very rare in the multi-national interactive development of different civilization in the world. This is the history and nation of the country that we must master when we observe unified multi-national China.
Just because of this interactive relations of this inter-ethnic, the ancient "species" concept, ethnic policy system in China were very developed. Academic achievements for ethnic relations and ethnic policy research in ethnic history field at all ages were very brilliant, but it still lacks basic exploration for ancient "species" view in China. As I mentioned before, concept problems was an important subject. We said "species" view could also amplify "family", "clan", "lineage", "tribe", "race" and "ethnic" and so on, but for national viewpoint category, "clan", "tribe", "race" and "ethnic" were no doubt the basic concept in nation research. However, for the research of modern nation in our country, in the course of development of hundreds of years, everyone all used the word "ethnic", even conducted dispute for the source of the word, but the result was: the word "ethnic" were not seen in Chinese history, which was a foreign word spread from Japan in contemporary times. In recent years, some scholars continuously found that the word "ethnic" derived from Chinese history materials, which also caused my systematic concerns on these problems, and I published ""Ethnic" and "Species view" in Pre Qin Documents" and "History origin test debates for the word "Min Zu" in Chinese". These researches showed that China was a very strong traditional country on "species" concept, Classification system of "Lei Zu Bian Wu" was very developed. Western academic writer Tu Ergan in his "Primitive Classification" ascribed ancient classification tradition in Chinese to horoscope, augury and four seasons, and thought "Chinese has no clan concept" was obviously wrong judgment, and criticized by later generation was also a matter of course. Similarly the word "ethnic" spread from Japan was also a wrong judgment, and even followed the explanation in the research of borrowed word from Chinese in linguistics field.
In the Chinese traditional culture, there were still some valuable wisdom and factors deserved us to refine. For example, field research and ethnographic text emphasized by our nation and anthropology field seemed to be the western method and specification. But it was not like that, it all had corresponding method and specifications in ancient time of Chinese. I cited a paraphrase of related "the people from five directions" in "Rites of Zhou", which was evaluated the earliest record with ethnography meaning in Chinese ancient times. And this tradition continued to develop, the comparably matured example was "Fan Su Liu Kao" wrote by Huang Shujing in Qing Dynasty, the article "Ethnography for Taiwan aborigines in Qing Dynasty—'Fan Su Liu Kao'" wrote by me was to illustrate our ethnography tradition in ancient times of Chinese. Of course, predecessors paid attention to this realization. In 1962, Taiwan scholar Wei Huilin indicated in his speech for related research of Taiwan native population: "the first advanced scholars such as Yu Yonghe, Huang Shujing and Yao Yingzhu who cared about Taiwan history in late Ming and early Qing Dynasty were all pioneers on research of Taiwan ethnics." there were developed history record tradition in Chinese history, including ethnography. Surely these achievements and modern science were no comparisons, but it were very important native history source to construct our own ethnology, anthropology words system.
Shortly before, I mentioned in an interview of "Chinese Nation Newspaper": it should explore and comb our own tradition, construct our own academic discourse system on the aspect of facing western academic discourse supremacy, only this we can communicate. Just as we were high on so called "Printing capitalism" and other roles in construction of western national countries, we should not ignore the society integration for "Standard character" and "With the rail car" by Qin Shihuang as well as the absorption capacity for surrounding minorities that laid. Modern national country mode was also not come baseless. History research was to give explanation to this development skeleton. Therefore, we should emphasize some concepts and practice in our history, vast civilization and long history should become our wealth but not the burden cast off casually. Tradition seemed very heavy for us so that we hard to absorb wisdom that passed down from generation to generation. The ancient civilization in Chinese never stops till now, this is the word that we often proud of ourselves. However, people become more and more alienating from traditions in reality. The phenomenon for opening "private school" and emphasizing "The Four Books" was just the abnormal result for this alienation. We need to extract wisdom and the value of life, instead of simply restoration, Just like the western political and business circles benefiting a lot from Sun Tzu's" The Art of War".
Zha: in this case, your research on history all implied or the purpose was the inspiration of reality, obviously what you advocated to open ancient ethnographic research was also for such consideration. The research in this aspect on subject construction of nation history research is worthwhile or not?
Hao: actually, it is a basic work for ancient ethnography research, its meaning is not only to explore tradition, but also is to lay a native foundation for reality subject construction. On one hand, these basic constructions showed that we should use scientific concept and method to write ethnography, on the other hand we should extract theory factors and thinking system through system classification for history materials, this was a non-negligible basic work for subject construction. Research on this aspect still had many subjects, for example, what was the ancient national theory for China? What was system thinking of nation view? Ancient people had some monographs on this aspect, such as “Xirong Theory” of Jiangtong, “Beidi Theory” of Sushi, “Xirong Theory”, “Xinanyi Theory” and related biographies in all ages, it included ancient ethnic theories of China in these history materials. Our research on the monographs of ethnic thought system at that time was insufficient and had no systematic analysis. Deng Xiaoping said on the problems of ancient ethnic policies: there were enlightened policies in history, only it could not be correctly adopted. Which concepts did these enlightened policies originate from And why it cannot be adopted, this was the question that we need to research. Similarly, we should keep negative attitude towards thought concepts for feudal society, but why did we blindly copy and blindly absorb these academic theories caused by western capitalism society? Chinese academic career should communicate with international society, but it also need to absorb wisdom in traditional culture from its own history, only this we can have Chinese characteristics and style. Marxism was a thought system of opening science. And rich and development of Marxism in China should based on actual situation, including the attitude of historical materialism.
Zha: I still notice that you have been very concerned about ecological problems in these years, and conducted special investigation of biological diversity and nature reserve in Hohxil area. You have emphasized on protection problems of “two resources”—cultural diversity and biological diversity in the process of China Western Development in your articles. So would you talk about your feelings on this?
Hao: ecological problem is a major problem concerned by the world in globalization process, and is also a major problem that should face in modern development. In fact, everyday we all face some problems that we do not know which corners they came from and they have global meaning quickly. My initial concerns on ecological problems was from books, from “The Limits to Growth” of Rome Club to “Big Trend” of Doris Naisbitt, from “The Choice of Destiny” of Ervin Laszlo to “Globe and Homeland” of Edgar. Maureen and Anne Brigitte Kern, from “Gun, Bacteria and Steel” of Jered Diamond to related speeches of global climate change, etc. These books belonged to global research findings, all included the discussion for interactive relations of human and nature as well as developing mode. I have accumulated some writings and materials on this aspect. From practical perspective view, it was the investigation of animal husbandry and reindeer industry in the grasslands and forest of Lun Beier alliance in Inner Mongolia from 1993 to 1994. a series of reality problems about grazing capacity, grassland degradation, desertification, rats damage and other natural disaster, forest overdevelopment and so on all related the existence and developing problems for local herders and hunters, from which I formed some views on economic development and environmental protection problems, especially under the guidance of sustainable development and scientific outlook on development proposed by the Party and state, I thought more on how to present coordination development problems among human, society and nature when quickening development mode in western areas, therefore, during research activities in my study in the Central Party school, I chose the investigation team for the sustainable development of Tibet plateau, and was responsible for the special subject of biological diversity and natural reserve in Qinghai, and that investigation was very professional and I had gain a lot from it.
The western area in economic geographical sense was mainly the area inhabited by ethnic minorities and also the most abundant resource area for biological diversity and cultural diversity in China. In the process of modernization development, how to realize good interactiveness between human and environment not only relates the practical problem of scientific outlook on development, but also relates the process of settling our ethnic problems. Simple GDP index cannot represent sustainable development, and ecological and cultural problems have become a global issue that faced in modernization development, meanwhile, it is also a major subject we face currently in China. For the western areas, though biological diversity and cultural diversity have abundant resource, they were all very weak, and had low resistance ability. Once damaged, repair and reconstruction cost would be very high, and we’ve already had many international experience on this aspect. Therefore, for the economic society’s development in west minority area, we must confirm development patterns from the local situation, namely adjusting measures to local conditions, which is the meaning of scientific outlook on development. Including the protection for “Two resources” is a great problem for national security. And on the aspect of ecological environment and traditional culture in minority area, we still face many pressures in international society, which is the matter that we should highly emphasized in settling ethnic problems in our country.
Of course, research on this aspect included the thinking of concept reform. The natural science certified that biological diversity was the foundation for maintaining ecological balance; whether humanities and social sciences could certify cultural diversity was the foundation for maintaining society peace. In the task that our Party proposed to construct great strategy for constructing harmonious socialist society, it proposed a concept of “Respect for differences, inclusive diversity”, which need us to deepen understanding from harmonious outlook and ethnic outlook. Because it had many special articles, we did not mention any more. Finally we need to emphasize that cultural diversity was the fountain for realizing innovation. And each ethnic culture all has its own advantage, also included some traditional wisdom. So protecting cultural diversity also included the meaning of exploring, using and sublimating these wisdom.
Zha: I feel deeply and benefit a lot after hearing your words. But I still have one question: you as the director, your research field seems to getting more and more, it seems that you conduct research on several direction at the same time. What are your hopes for the young people in the institute?
Hao: there are more and younger people in the institute; this is the main force for growing strongly in our institute. As for hope, it mainly has the following points:
First we should love our own major and engage in research by investing emotion. Only this passion can avoid utilitarian goals and can invest efforts assiduously and have the impetus for continuous learning and pursuit. The content of modern society life will be abundant increasingly, everybody’s efforts is also very distracting. Surely the young people face the problems such as housing, treatment, bearing sons and daughters as well as the pursuit of modern life, but we should see our advantage of the work and relaxed work environment, so we should fully make use of time to accumulate knowledge and cultivate more enterprise.
Second, we should carefully learn Marxism theory and concern the development of current politics and national economic society, firmly set up academic faith based on the guidance of Marxism. In this aspect, we must read, the so called “to learn at the time of urgent need” is not allowed. We must systematically learn some theories and continuously keep pace with current development, and will step up on ideological and theoretical accomplishment when accumulating to a certain stage. Corresponding position, viewpoints and method are also not empty talk.
Third, we should have the consciousness for academic responsibility. As a Chinese scholar, we should have serious academic responsibility. This responsibility shows the firm consciousness to the Party, the state and the people in political level, and shows serious scientific attitude and rigorous studying attitude in academic level. Scientific attitude is practical and realistic, rigorous studying attitude is the assurance for practicing scientific attitude.
Finally, I want to emphasize that we should continuously expand our own knowledge view, the ethnic phenomenon that we researched is connected with each aspect of the society, which needs profound professional knowledge and need multi-disciplinary knowledge support. For constructing self academic knowledge system, we should make great efforts and use proper methods, the key point is to let each kind of knowledge be used smoothly and then form the interlace weave pattern but not a independent unit. Knowledge extension will let you observe the questions more thoroughly, if the discovered research points are more and more, point out and paths for the research will getting more and more. In mid 1990s, the Gubengen Foundation was hosted by Wallerstein, he conducted a research for the current situation and future development of society science. The participants included famous experts of natural science and society science, who came from all of the world. This research report retrospect the history process of science career and subjective classification development, and illustrated how to propose doubt on the formed academic division as the society developed, and discussed how to open the formed science structure organization once again, etc. it indicated in its conclusion part: “we feel that promoting society science and opposing knowledge fragmentation could reach a meaningful objective degree for society science. We feel that keeping society science to develop towards all-embracing direction (from the point of scholar origin, openness to various cultural experience as wll as the scope of legal research subject), which could increase possibility for obtaining more objective knowledge. We feel that emphasizing historicity of all society phenomenon could reduce the trend for some immature and basically naive and abstract concept from the reality. Therefore, I expect everyone to read more, especially to concern the scientific writings that seem to be irrelevant with his/her own major. In this aspect, I feel deeply for the book “Gun, Bacteria and Steel”, whose author was a biochemist, but made a precise humanities and social sciences analysis for historical and realistic relations between ecological environment and human society destiny. So I think that this writing should be listed as a must-read for ethnology and anthropology.
Zha Luo: male, 1969, doctor in history. As the director assistant for Nation Institute, deputy director in history office, deputy researcher. His main research field is Tibetan people history and the development in Tibet area. His main research findings: “The limey—Tibetan Buddhism Culture research”, “Marketization and public service for basic level—Tibet Rules Research” (collaboration) and so on.
Translated by Xu Qiyuan.
Translated by Xu Qiyuan.
Editor: Wang Daohang