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Ethnic Stereotypes and Economic Discrepancy: The Illusion of Differences between Han and Uyghur Chinese

  • Wanhua Peng

    (Shihezi University
    Graduate School, Peking University)

  • Kaiping Peng

    (Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University
    Department of Psychology, University of California)

This paper presents a rare study on ethnic identity and perception of psychological differences among different ethnic groups in China. The objective is to offer an empirical test on the long standing stereotypes of cultural differences between Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group in China, and Uyghur Chinese, the Muslim minority in Xinjiang region of China. A total of 1600 students from four Chinese universities have been selected and examined in aspects ranging from self-esteems to desires for cross-cultural communication, and the result shows that the psychological differences between Han Chinese and Uyghur Chinese are considered by the majority of the students from these two groups to be great, which, however, are actually even smaller than the differences among different Han Chinese majority groups. What¡¯s more, contrary to the popular belief that economic discrepancy between Han and Uyghur Chinese is the main cause of ethnic misconceptions, our study demonstrates that self-perception of economic status has no effect on psychological measurements over this subject. Finally, a question can be raised whether assumptions about cultural differences are still in line with the constant social economic changes in China, and implications for improving ethnical relations in China have also been provided.

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Article provided by Society for AEF in its journal Annals of Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 11 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 381-397

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Handle: RePEc:cuf:journl:y:2010:v:11:i:2:p:381-397
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  1. Wanhua Peng & Xiaobin Peng & Kaiping Peng, 2009. "The Paradox of Educational Fairness in China," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 10(1), pages 199-213, May.
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