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From Discourse Politics to Rule of Law: A Constructivist Framework for Understanding Regional Ethnic Autonomy in China

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image of International Journal on Minority and Group Rights

This article is a macro study on China's regional ethnic autonomy (REA). Using a constructivist approach, it takes the evolution and development of REA as a process transforming from discourse politics to rule of law. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the minority groups, the international human rights advocacy network and the UN human rights mechanisms and other actors have participated in this process, and they use the strategies of promising, encouraging, shaming and mobilising. In this article, the process of REA transformation will be divided into five stages: self-entrapment, tightening-up, discursive-practices stage, regulative stage and practices-consistent stage. It is expected that in the final stage, genuine rule of law and well-institutionalised democracy will be established by which minority rights and their autonomous power could be fully respected, well protected and facilitated.

Affiliations: 1: LL.B., LL.M., Peking University Law School (Beijing); M.A., Norwegian Center for Human Rights (Oslo); Ph.D. candidate, Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong


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