China’s Diversity (and why we need to hear more about it)

Chinese state media like to present all 1.4 billion individuals that make up the People’s Republic of China as unified in their thinking on issues ranging from Taiwan and Tibet to the legacy of Confucius. But China is diverse in numerous, and often, for the Communist Party of China, politically inconvenient ways. Despite decades of education in Putonghua, the ‘common language’ first formally constructed in the early 20th century, for example, in 2013, the Ministry of Education admitted that fewer than 10 percent of the population spoke it with native fluency and 30 percent barely spoke it at all. More recent efforts to mould a common ‘Chinese ethnicity’ to supersede ideas of parochial or ethnic identity have encountered predictable resistance. And despite the Party’s own best efforts, it cannot keep all of its 95 million members in ideological lockstep.

About the Speaker

Image of Linda Jaivin looking at the Camera

Linda Jaivin has lived, worked, visited and written about Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China over the course of forty-five years. She will share personal insights as well as political and historical reflections on the Chinese ‘multiverse’ – including the unexpected consequence of being quizzed by a stranger at a humble baozi shop in Shandong province about what she thought of the Chinese people.

Date: Wednesday, 27 July
Time: 5-6pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre AM102, Alan MacDiarmid Building,
Kelburn Campus,  Victoria University of Wellington (map)
Zoom link