The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) recently released 18 monographs based on the results of a survey intended to present a holistic picture of economic and social development in areas where China’s ethnic groups live.
The Comprehensive Survey on Economic and Social Development of Chinese Ethnic Regions in the Early 21st Century is the third of its kind in the nation’s history. The first and second ones were conducted in the middle and late 20th century, respectively. Financed by the National Social Sciences Fund, the systematic survey is a highlight of agenda of CASS’s “Innovation Program.”
At the conference, CASS President Wang Weiguang pointed out the great disparities in socioeconomic development among different ethnic groups and regions, though they have gradually shaken off poverty and advanced into a civilized, modernized society.
There is an urgent need to address economic imbalance and various social, ethnic, religious and ecological issues, Wang said, adding that discovering new problems through long-term, in-depth investigations of ethnic regions is a fundamental way to innovate theoretically and keep pace with the changing times.
“Ethnic and religious issues are closely related to politics, especially to state governance and governance modernization,” said Li Jie, president of Qiushi, a bi-monthly political theory periodical published by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
“The problem-oriented books published by CASS adopt practical, scientific analytical methods and interdisciplinary research models. They have proposed good suggestions on ethnic and religious issues, fully showcasing the think tank function of the CASS,” Li said.
Sita, vice-minister of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, stressed that future ethnic work should place emphasis on consolidating the awareness of the “Chinese National Community.” He said it is crucial to cultivate among ethnic groups a strong sense of identity with the Chinese nation, Chinese culture, the CPC and the socialist path with Chinese characteristics.
He said he hopes scholars advance their research to provide theoretical and policy backing for ethnic regions to achieve a moderately prosperous society and also for united front work.
Started in 2013 and slated to finish in 2017, the aforementioned survey involves multidisciplinary, comprehensive investigations on 60 to 70 selected ethnic autonomous areas. The books released at the conference comprehensively explore policy, development and existing problems in ethnic regions from multiple perspectives. Three are multi-tier analyses based on data from 16 sites surveyed in the 2013 investigations.
Translated by Chen Mirong