Copyright R. James Ferguson, December 2001

 

China and the Emerging Eurasian Agenda:

From Special Interests to Strategic Cooperation (1)

by R. James Ferguson (2)

 

The Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies,

School of Humanities and Social Science,

Bond University, Queensland, Australia

Research Paper No. 8

 

Introduction: Diversity within the Unity of Chinese History

China remains a multinational and multi-ethnic state with diverse relations across its southern, northern and western borders. From the third century B.C. onwards trade contacts were made westwards along the ancient Silk Road, while by the Tang Dynasty China had established strong influence in Central Asia. Today a 'new Silk Road' is being developed, this time based on oil politics, as well as renewed political and cultural contacts. China has forged a 'strategic partnership' with Russia aimed at establishing a multipolar world, while from 1994 extensive negotiations have led to strong diplomatic ties among China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (the 'Shanghai Five'). China seeks not only to engage in trade and get better access to Central Asian energy reserves, but also has sought to create a zone of stability to its west that in some way mirrors ancient efforts to ensure peaceful frontiers. These policies also complement internal efforts to bolster the economic growth of western provinces and autonomous regions that have had slower development in contrast to China's coastal regions. These domestic and international agenda are linked, with numerous trans-boundary issues including ethnic nationalism, access to energy resources, drug smuggling and the spread of terrorism, suggesting that success is needed in both areas if China hopes to meet its regional objectives.

In the Tang and Sung periods, China was able to enter into dialogue and synthesis among diverse religious and cultural traditions. Today, China needs to be able to engage in local and global dialogue that will stabilise its prospects internally and externally. Sensitivities to such diverse legacies remain important in ensuring a stable Eurasian region. China, with its economic and cultural resources, represents one key player within Eurasia and an Asian power that can play a constructive role in the future global order. Changes to the Eurasian political system due to the 2001 intervention in Afghanistan have intensified China's need to take a proactive role if its western regions and borders are to remain a zone for positive development and peaceful diplomacy.

Certain key comparisons can be made between the history of Europe and China: whereas Europe lost its political unity after the collapse of the (Western) Roman Empire, China, on the other hand, managed to repeatedly reassert its essential cultural and political unity.(3) With the collapse of Christendom as an integrated cultural domain, the decline of the prestige of the Holy Roman Empire, and the emergence of the Westphalian system of states (evolving after the Treaty of Wesphalia in 1648), Europe emerged as the cradle of the modern nation-state. Indeed, the pressure of political and military conflicts of modern Europe (14th-20th centuries) has been suggested as a serious impulse towards scientific and political innovation in the West. The corollary that the unity of China may have aided its 'stagnation', however, needs critical reconsideration.

The image of a totally unified, undifferentiated China can be exaggerated by simplistic historical accounts. Although managing to reassert its unity, China suffered from serious fragmentation. Cycles of strong, integrating dynasties were often followed by periods of partial fragmentation and division, for example, the short lived Five Dynasties (907-960 A.D.) that followed the Tang period.(4) Likewise, China suffered the incursion of strong external powers under the Mongols and Manchurians, and then the dangerous challenge of Western and Japanese powers during the 19th and 20th centuries. The 'paradigm' of a unifying Chinese culture was a successful model for the creation of an administrative state based on a shared writing system, and today remains one of the core justifications for wider political integration.(5) This impulse towards a unifying legitimacy conditioned a political, philosophical and historical synthesis that was already well underway by the 6th century B.C. but which has continued to be refined through active Chinese reflection on the past.

However, even within this paradigm diverse strands within the 'Central Kingdoms' (6) jostled for influence, as did peripheral social practices from the south, north, and west. Obvious examples of these influences include the entry of Buddhism into China, considerable medical, 'magical' and scientific influences from Indian religion and philosophy, (7) the adoption of musical instruments and artistic styles from Central Asia from as early as the Tang Dynasty, and partial reliance by China from the Tang Dynasty onwards on horses, cavalry forces, and related horse-technologies in part derived from tribes (such as the Uighur) on the western and north-western borders.(8) The historical image of a totally self-reliant, closed China only occasionally deigning to accept outside influences, often parroted in Western textbooks, needs serious reconsideration.(9)

China soon developed into a multinational and multi-ethnic state with diverse relations across its southern, northern and western borders. This can be demonstrated in a number of areas. Even within regions and cultures now identified as 'Han', considerable diversity was embraced by the expanding domain of Chinese political unity.

First, the core area of Chinese civilization located in the Central Plains area, began to expand to influence states towards the south and west that were at first viewed as only partly sinicized.(10) This lead to complex conditions under the fragmenting Chou dynasty. One important 'outlying' kingdom to the west was the crucial state of Ch'in, which would ultimately end the Warring States period through a forceful imperial re-unification of China.(11) We can see the complexities of this gradual integration by looking at the fate of the state of Cheng, which was between the main coalitions of power in the northern Yellow River system and the more southern Ch'un alliance in the Yangtze River basin. Cheng was invaded repeatedly, and changed its alliance partners 20 times between north and south, almost alternatively. This does not reflect weakness on the part of Cheng, but a recognition of their geo-strategic position within an multi-state state system that was only slowly integrated, politically and culturally.(12)

Likewise, even the areas near the mouth of the Yangtse River were at first viewed as beyond the central domains China, a fact which helped structure the contrast between 'northern' and 'southern' cultural influences within China.(13) Thus the early Kingdom of Wu is mentioned in Chinese annals from the 7th century B.C. onwards, and at first was viewed as a proto-Chinese state (14) on the southern side of the main cultural area of the early central Chinese domains of the Spring and Autumn period. It was only under the Han Dynasty that 'the Wu area was rather completely sinicized, and the older non-Sinitic language seems to have been largely replaced.'(15) Nonetheless, unique linguistic, musical and artistic features were retained in this region. This history has left a distinct literary and cultural legacy in Suzhou as part of a broader region of over 85 million speakers of the Wu dialect, mainly in Zhejiang Province and parts of southern Jiangsu.(16) The dialect of Suzhou (called Suhua or Subai) is famous as a refined dialect with its own literary and operatic traditions.(17)

The gradual extension of Chinese political and cultural influence to its present southern borders, embracing diverse language groups, tribes and kingdoms, is one of the main trends of Asian history over two thousand years.(18) This has had a profound influence on regions such as Guangdong, Guangxi, and Yunnan, as well as being one of the factors influencing international relations with Southeast Asian states. Likewise, the expansion of Chinese political influence westwards, and the trade along the Silk Road, provide early examples of Chinese interaction with the wider dynamic of the Eurasian region.

In the case of Guangxi region, its integration was a long-term process that in effect helped establish the 'cultural' border with modern Vietnam.(19) In early legend, the area was part of the kingdom of Xich Quy, which included parts of this area, Guangdong and North Vietnam.(20) During the mid-third century B.C. parts of Guangxi were included in the Au Lac Kingdom.(21) Nanning was incorporated into Chinese control circa 214 B.C. when the Emperor Qin Shi Huang conquered the area, though secure control was probably not achieved until 207 B.C.(22) However, for a time this region maintained independence under a Chinese General, Chao Tao, and his descendants, who attempted to limit ties with China.(23) From 111 B.C. the region was securely under central Chinese control again, while from 25 A.D. Chinese migration from the north began in earnest and the influence of Chinese cultural practices began to transform both Guangxi and the Tongking Delta area.(24) Various administrative changes followed, with Guangxi for a time organised under the Chiao-chih Circuit of the South, and then in 226 A.D. it became part of Kuang province.(25) It was not until A.D. 318 that the Eastern Jin set up Jinxing Prefecture with Nanning as its capital. From the ninth century in particular, Nanning became a strategic location in Southern China, with the name indicating 'peace on the southern border'.(26) As we shall see, this region is important because as a very diverse population based on different cultural groups, it represents one test case of modern development of a Chinese region embracing many nationalities (see further below).

From the third century B.C. onwards strong trade contacts were made westwards along the ancient Silk Road, and by the Tang Dynasty China had established extensive influence in Central Asia. During this period China was open to a wide range of cultural and religious influences, though reinterpreting these within a Chinese framework, and eventually re-asserting both Chinese familial and Confucian values. However, the Silk 'Roads', the Southern Silk 'Road' (connecting China with Southeast and South Asia by sea), and the Steppe roads through Siberia into Russia helped link China into a network of trade and civilisational contact that would make any true isolation impossible. We can see this by briefly addressing the importance of these trade routes in cultural terms.

The several linked trade routes that crossed Central Asia, along with related routes across southern Russia and branching lines, can thus be called the Silk Roads and Steppe Roads. The steppe roads (also called the Sable Road) were slightly north of the Silk Road, passing north of the Caspian Sea, along which expensive furs were traded into Russia, Byzantium and Europe.(27) These routes predated historical records and probably from as early as 2000 B.C. had begun to link the Afro-Eurasian region into one 'world system', in part based on the movements and trade needs of pastoral peoples in the heart of Eurasia.(28) Aside from silk and other precious trade goods, livestock, human populations, 'disease vectors, languages, technologies, styles, religions and genes' followed this route from pre-historic times.(29) Technologies that passed along these routes included the compound bow, crossbows, the stirrup, gunpowder, printing and paper-making.(30)

Early explorers along the Silk Road region included Chinese, Indians, and as late comers, Europeans such as Marco Polo in the thirteenth century. The long route between East and West was in sections extremely difficult: the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts, the Karakum and Kyzyl Kum (Uzbekistan) Deserts,(31) and the mountains of the Tien-shan and Pamirs make the route both difficult and dangerous. However, the route itself was not a continuous one, but was established through flows of silk from China to Rome via different groups that controlled sections of the road. The Huns, followed by the Turks and then the Persians controlled key sectors of the trade route, followed by the Mongols and the Mongol-Turkish empire of Timur.(32) China had strong control of the eastern section of the route between A.D. 630 and A.D. 658 with the defeat of various Turkish tribes and renewed control over the Tarim Basin and Eastern Turkestan.(33) This, of course, later on in part would become the strategic region of Xinjiang (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region), which today remains a complex area for Chinese political and economic governance. From the seventh century onwards the Chinese had to face two powerful enemies in this region: the Tibetans from the south and Persians from the west.(34) Likewise, the Tang dynasty had sustained trade, tribute and military contact with a locally powerful Uighur kingdom (8-9th centuries), which for a time gave military support to the Chinese dynasty, though relations were not always friendly between the two states.(35)

Diverse trade goods, ideas and religions flowed down this road in both directions. Artistic and musical styles were also diffused, with Indian, Persian, Chinese, Tibetan and Uighur influences detectable in Central Asian paintings.(36) Silk, though the most valuable of items, especially when it reached the West (Rome and Constantinople), was in fact one among many items: 'Silk actually composed a relatively small portion of the trade along the Silk Road: eastbound caravans brought gold, precious metals and stones, textiles, ivory and coral, while westbound caravans transported furs, ceramics, cinnamon bark and rhubarb as well as bronze weapons.'(37) The Uighurs, for example, traded horses for silk and tea, while some Uighurs became resident in Chinese cities as money lenders during both the Tang and Sung dynasties.(38)

The Silk Road not only connected East Asia with Central Asia and then to the Western world. It also, via branch roads, opened up communication among China, India and Persia,(39) and later on via northern routes established trade and cultural contacts with Russia. Buddhism ultimately came from northern India, but 'Central Asia was the earliest and, on the whole, the principal source of Chinese Buddhism'.(40) This mutual linkage into Central Asia trade routes directly boosted the spread of religious and state contact between the Han dynasty and areas in northern India: -

In the Han period, Buddhist monks who accompanied the trading caravans, especially from the state of Kushan in the upper Indus River drainage, established places of worship en route and in the foreign merchant communities of the Han capitals. Buddhist cave temples, like those at Bamiyan in Afghanistan, were first constructed along the northern desert route in the Tarim Basin in the Late Han period. Stone Buddha carvings on the east coast of the China Mainland suggest diffusion of the religion through the heart of the Han territory, though Buddhist traditions could also have been brought to the eastern coastal regions by the 'sea silk routes', passing around Southeast Asia from the Indian subcontinent and the Persian Gulf.(41)

It now seems likely that Khotan in Central Asia was one of the key transmitters of Buddhism into both Tibet and China.(42) By the second half of the third century monks and scholars such as Chu-she-hing and Moksala were busy compiling Buddhist texts, translating them into Chinese, and sending them on into China.(43) From this time onwards it is also likely that groups of merchants from Central Asia were found in many major Chinese cities, thereby acting as a conduit for Buddhist ideas as well as other cultural influences.(44)

Centres such as Khotan became key staging posts in the transmission of ideas from India into China, with the image of the itinerant monk bringing back Buddhist texts becoming one of the standard types in Chinese literature.(45) The Chinese traveller, Fa-Hien (Fa Xi'an), visited Khotan around A.D. 400. Other cities in Central Asia were also involved in the transmission and adoption of various forms of Buddhism, including centres such as Kashgar, Osh, Kucha,(46) Yarkand, Balkh and Bamiyan.(47) Other exponents such as Kumarajiva were important in introducing key Buddhist texts into the Tarim Basin, and over fifty of these translations became important classical texts in China.(48) Chinese control of Khotan lapsed around 791, and around 1000 A.D. Muslim rulers took control of the city.(49)

Buddhism was largely pushed out by the arrival of Islam in Central Asia, with small pockets surviving in Russia, Siberia and Mongolia. We know of the prior, vigorous, spread of Buddhism into the region due to the large number of surviving literary texts, monuments and art works that testify to the saturation of the eastern end of the Silk Road with Buddhist influences. This influence also spread into current-day Afghanistan, after being influenced by patterns of Indian and Greek artistic styles (Gandhara art). One of the major centres for Buddhist statuary and paintings is found in central Afghanistan at Bamiyan.(50) As we have seen, in March 2001 Taliban extremists caused the intentional destruction of these Buddhist statues and much other representational art in Afghanistan, in spite of world wide protests, including efforts by Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and the OIC to stop this 'cultural terrorism'.(51) This hostile form of interaction among cultures in Eurasia is a trend opposed by most Muslims and Islamic states, and rightly protested by Buddhist associations around the world. Such acts, along with a poor human rights record, helped de-legitimate the regime in the eyes of the global media and international civil society, and made diplomatic and military coalition-building much easier through late 2001.

The Silk Road was never fully destroyed but came under specific, limiting pressures. The route around the south of the Tarim Basin was eventually partially lost due to shifting rivers that led to the abandonment of centres such as Miran, Endere, Niya and areas around Khotan.(52) Economic forces would also weaken long-distance trade as the Ottoman Turks took control of the western end of the route and as Portuguese and then the Spanish began extending ocean trade routes between Europe and Asia. After World War II, of course, the region was largely divided under the fracture lines created by the Cold War and by tensions between China and the Soviet Union, with armed borders restricting trade and influence along both east-west and north-south axes. Today, however, it is possible that new initiatives will begin to re-integrate these regions again. Dialogue and economic coordination along these ‘new Silk-Roads’ are crucial for the future of Eurasia. If a stable government can be established in Afghanistan, and a viable state rebuilt in the next year, then this will remove a major blockage and irritant within the trade and cultural flows of Eurasia as a whole, especially along the north-south aspect (see further below). This will depend upon the stability of a new Cental Asian order as it is being reshaped in the 2001-2002 period.

Lastly, it has been suggested by Andre Frank that what we call ‘modernism’ was generated out of millennia of interaction among Afro-Eurasian civilisations, running along the Silk and Steppe Roads.(53) If so, then the prospective integration of Eurasia in the 21st century may have an equally significant impact on the current world system and on wider globalisation processes. China thereby has an opportunity to enrich itself (economically and culturally) through a reinvigorated 'Eurasian process'(54) that can also help shape a more just and diverse global system. The positive image of globalisation promoted by world capitalism has received a hard blow from the 'internationalisation of terror' which was implied by the events of September 2001. A stable Eurasian region would go some way to mitigating these dangers and reduce the attendant loss of confidence in the international financial system.

 

Cultural Diversity in Modern China

These historical trends, expanding Chinese cultural and political sphere out to its early heartland, have left key legacies which are both potential strengthens and problems for modern China. Modern Chinese policy, of course, has long known that a strong Chinese state must include a successful nationalities policy, and indeed the Chinese Constitution of 1982 explicitly formulates the PRC as a multinational state which condemns any form of 'chauvinism', including big-nation, Han and local-national chauvinism.(55) Likewise, though religious freedom is an explicit part of the Chinese constitutions of 1954, 1975, 1978 and 1982, historically China has been cautious of the expansion of religions with strong links to the outside world (Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity), (56) and has also sought to control sects whose level of organisation suggests a quasi-political role.

On this basis the Chinese government, the Communist Party and specialist academics have explored the economic and cultural implications of interaction among ethnic groups with different cultures, languages, religions and social practices. In large measure, this has resulted in policies directed towards supporting the role of autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties.(57) Efforts have been made to turn these legal protections, enshrined in the 1984 Law on Regional National Autonomy, into concrete and practical policies through recent amendments that increase preferential policies and financial aid focused on sustainable development.(58) Furthermore, recent research has demonstrated that any simple model of assimilation and sinicization now needs to be replaced by a more complex model of cultural interaction, especially along frontiers.(59) Nor should prejudicial models of modernity, with implicit assumptions of 'backwardness', be directly mapped onto such ethnic groups who often combine traditional and adaptive modern features. Certain provinces and regions within China, in particular, can demonstrate the kind of accommodations that have been made by different nationalities in the context of a modernising China open to global influences. We can see this in very brief comments on aspects of cultural life in Guangxi, in the special cases of the Hui people, and the modern phenomenon of 'biculturalism'.

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (60) is one of the most ethnically diverse regions of China, and Nanning itself has some 30 ethnic groups, including a majority Zhuang population (over 63% of the city population), plus notable Han, Yao (Mien), Miao (Hmong), Hui, Dong, Yi (also found in Yunnan and other areas of the south-west),(61) and other groups.(62) This has led to a unique situation, in which cultural diversity is the norm rather than the exception, with a large part of the province comprised of non-Han peoples. In the past, the region had four main dialects, Guan, Zhuang, Ping and Bai (Guangdong), while today the Nanning Bai dialect (intoned slightly differently from the Guangdong dialect) and Putonghua (Mandarin) are most commonly spoken in the city, while the officially recognised Zhuang dialect is common in Wuming and Yongning counties.(63)

The history of the minorities of the region is largely a product of the southward movement of Chinese peoples and their associated Han culture over millennia, with Chinese migrants first reaching the area in large numbers after 140 A.D.(64) Different indigenous groups reacted differently, depending on their political, economic and cultural situation. The Zhuang people, for example, tended to more easily assimilate Han Chinese customs, but the Miao and Yao peoples, who had earlier on been pushed out of Hunan, tended to remain in hill regions.(65) The Yao people have scattered villages throughout the Dayao Mountains, with small populations in nearby provinces as well.(66) Conflict with some of these tribes continued down to the 19th century, and it must be remembered that the Taiping rebellion itself gained strength in Guangxi and nearby provinces.(67) Likewise, several revolts by the Miao and other southern minorities between 1854-1873 in nearby Guizhou province were not just ethnic rebellions, but were part of a wider pattern of resistance to Manchu rule.(68)

In recent years, many of these groups have begun to develop their own industries, e.g. timber related industries in the forested areas of the Dayao Mountains.(69) The Dong, mainly focused in the mountainous regions of northern Guangxi, are famous for their unique timber-based architecture, including tall drum towers, mortice-and-tenon, covered bridges such as the long Chengyang 'Wind and Rain' Bridge. They also have a unique musical culture with songs used for a number of social purposes and forming a central part of their social life.(70)

Of course, these minority groups now play a major role in the tourism and cultural industries of the region, with specialised crafts, textiles, restaurants and cultural shows a normal part of the city. Major ethnic-cultural fairs occur regularly as well. At the same time, there are limits to how far this tourism can go. Indeed, there is some danger that the presentation of minority groups as 'exotic' cultures can create an 'internal orientalism' that turns minority peoples, and especially minority women, into trivialised and romanticised stereotypes.(71) In this type of setting, ethnicity can be both commodified (for economic reasons) and manipulated (for political or identity reasons).(72)

However, the issues of stereotyping and mythologising should not be viewed just through their negative aspects of prejudice and falsification of the past. Some stereotypes, though clearly limited in understanding, can create a path for improved cultural relations among different nationalities. Certain images found in ordinary cultural stories about minorities (e.g. everyday conceptions concerning certain minorities in Yunnan, suggesting that they are honest and hospitable) nonetheless create a bridge whereby ordinary Han can access these different cultures in the context of appreciation.(73) To some degree, these positive stereotypes are mechanisms for accepting difference. So long as they are combined with affirmative policies towards, and genuine education about, these nationalities, such projections can be turned around and used to reinforce a more genuine dialogue.

Negative stereotypes, of course, have a more destructive role. Here government policies of affirmative action and laws against negative discrimination are only one small part of the social tools that can moderate inter-ethnic conflict. Minority cultures in turn can generate their own stories and 'myths', which even if not accepted by modern historians, nonetheless try to establish their worth, value and compatibility within a dominant political system. Thus Chinese Muslims (comprising up to 30 million persons, virtually all of Sunni orientation), (74) and the Hui in particular, have sought to establish the compatibility of Islam with the social values of Confucian culture, and the useful role Muslims have played within Chinese political life.(75) Border tensions, military conflict and local rebellions (e.g. the Muslim uprising in Yunnan during 1856-73) have occurred historically in China, involving Uighur, Turkic and Muslim groups. However, this has been subsumed in a wider apologetic literature and story-telling that shows Chinese Muslims as worthwhile traders, loyal soldiers, and supporters of a proper moral order within the Chinese world, e.g. apocryphal stories concerning the dream of the Tai Zong Emperor in 630 A.D. showing respect for Islam and the Prophet, and accounts of Hui warriors supporting the Tang Dynasty.(76) These stories may have originally developed to break down negative stereotypes, but in the long run were part of an accommodation of very different religious cultures within China.

Though some minority groups are still poor and less educated when compared to mainstream populations in many coastal regions of China,(77) the recent pattern of development within Guangxi shows some improvement across several different ethnic groups.(78) This has been based on economic progress within the region, plans to improve shipping, road and rail linkages, as well as the ability to stabilise the problematic border with Vietnam, and indeed, to open up a more positive relationship with Vietnam and ASEAN over the last decade. Central and local authorities within China have recognised that a constructive nationalities policy is crucial in meeting regional, local and national goals. Developmental lags between different regions of China, whether between the west and the coast, or between autonomous regions and special economic zones, are viewed by Zeng Peiyan (minister in charge of the State Development Planning Commission) as 'unfavorable to the development of the national economy and to social stability and unity among China's various nationalities.'(79)

Another feature of Chinese cultural life that points towards a certain accommodation of practical diversity is that of 'biculturalism' whereby one person shares fluency in two cultures and two linguistic systems.(80) Such persons can act as active bridges that go beyond the mere linguistic translations of concepts across languages, and as such are crucial in promoting peaceful contact and genuine dialogue across cultures.(81) In the case of China, earlier modernisers often had access to other cultures in this way, the most famous of them being Sun Yat-sen. Today in China, where by 1997 some 270,000 PRC citizens had studied abroad, the impact of biculturalism in a positive sense once again needs to be considered,(82) as well as the implications of economic reform and the debate on what should be the limits of tolerated cultural expression within the PRC (i.e. the issue of 'cultural pollution'). In spite of these tensions, it is clear that China over the last two decades has been able not only to tolerate, but to positively draw on the talents of these biculturals in finding its place in the world. In the twentieth century, China has been able to selectively draw on and utilise elements from Japanese, Russian, American and European cultures. These factors suggest that biculturals among the diverse nationalities within China, participating in both a local and national tier of identity, will be a fruitful resource in directing regional development. Likewise, the expertise of such biculturals will be important in shaping a positive diplomacy for China in the wider Eurasian setting.

 

The New Silk Road

China is also engaging in cultural and diplomatic diversity through its engagement with modern nations within Eurasia. Today a 'new Silk Road' is being established, this time based on oil politics, opening of transport corridors, and regional cooperation, as well as on renewed political, tourist and cultural contacts.(83) China has developed a 'strategic partnership' with Russia aimed at establishing a multipolar world, while from 1994 extensive negotiations have led to strong diplomatic ties among China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (the 'Shanghai Five', sometimes dubbed the G-5, which has since developed into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization). China seeks not only to engage in trade and get better access to Central Asian energy reserves, but also has sought to create a zone of stability to its west that in some way mirrors ancient efforts to ensure peaceful frontiers. This has led to an intense interest not just in the bordering states of Central Asia, but also the wider issue of the new geo-politics of the region as they have been shaped after the terrorist attacks of 11th September 2001 (see further below).

In large measure, access to this new Silk Road is a major strategy in stabilising western borders as well as aiding an economic development strategy for the multi-ethnic region of Xinjiang. There are also key benefits for the newly independent states of the region in cooperation with China, especially in balancing Russian influence along a new 'silk route'.(84) China, moreover, has also made sure that strong cooperation with Russia is sustained, and has reduced any sense of overt geopolitical contest that could lead to renewed tensions with the states of the region.

Just as Central Asia was once connected via trade routes into the mainstream of world history and linked great civilisations of the past, today the future development of Central Asia depends on its ability to deepen infrastructure and communications linking it into east-west and centre-south flows of goods and information. Some positive steps have already been taken in this direction. One of the most important of these was the completion of the railway line between China's Xinjiang province and Alma Ata during 1991-1992,(85) which helped facilitate trade and contact between Kazakhstan and Xinjiang. More recently, efforts have been made by Kazakhstan to improve the operations of the Druzhna rail transport centre near the Chinese border, while regional railway and highway links among Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China are being improved.(86) Other trends are increased rail and road links through Iran to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, with new rail links from northern Iran into Turkmenistan, and the extension of the existing rail system to go westwards from Alma Ata to join other Central Asia states to Turkey and then to Europe.

At present it is possible to speak of two major Asia-Europe Continental Bridges based on the linkage of railway systems. The first of these is the Trans-Siberian Railway, with the associated BAM (passing north of Lake Baikal and then running down near the coast to Vladivostok), the little BAM branch-line, and earlier western branches. The Second Asia-Europe Continental Bridge is a network of rail links that connects ‘10 provinces and autonomous regions in China with countries in Central Asia and western Europe’, with a new southern branch linking China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and then westward into Europe.(87) Along with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, this is part of China’s effort to reduce developmental disparities between eastern and western zones of China.(88)

In parallel, a major transport project is also being developed to connect Europe, the Caucasus Region, and Asia. Called the Transport Corridor Europe-Causasus-Asia (TRACECA), it has received serious support from the European Union in an effort to rebuild sea, road and railway links. Traffic across this ‘new’ Silk Road has grown 60% between 1996 and 1998, with up to a $1 billion of infrastructure investment and loans eventually being needed (for the western areas being largely drawn from the EU and from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development).(89)

The paucity of communications, links, and pipelines had greatly slowed the development of Central Asia in the post 1992 period. This is evident in the fact that in the past most oil and gas pipelines had been directed into the old Soviet Union. In spite of Western deals for access to Azerbaijan's three largest fields, and to the huge Tengiz field in Kazakhstan, as of 2001 the volume of exports through alternative routes has been very limited. There have been proposals for major east-west pipelines to cross the Caspian Sea, and then go either overland through Azerbaijan and Georgia, or via longer routes through Turkey.(90) Other pipelines routed through Iran have also been slow to develop. The US, of course, backs major new pipelines projects through Turkey, especially the Baku Ceyhan project, which once feasibility studies are completed, may start actual construction as early as December 2001.

Since 1993 China has accepted that its rapid industrial development means that it will need to be a net importer of oil, with China currently importing up to 25% of its current oil needs.(91) China is therefore emerging as one of the major petroleum importers in the Asian region and as Asia's largest refiner of oil.(92) In the long term, aside from developing its own oil resources, China is also deeply interested in the possibility of accessing oil from Kazakhstan's western oil fields via connections into its Xinjiang area, with large funds committed already to improving regional cooperation and transport corridors. Xinjiang itself has sizeable energy deposits of oil and gas in the Tarim Basin, the Djunggar basin, and in the Turfan-Hami area, which are currently being developed, though more slowly and with fewer proven reserves than had been at first hoped.(93) In the long run, development strategies in Xinjiang seem to parallel a strong effort to develop a trade and cooperative diplomacy with Central Asia: a kind of 'Open Door Policy towards Central Asia'.(94)

One of the crucial moves in this ‘oil-diplomacy’ has been the Chinese signing of a $4.4 billion memorandum of understanding with Kazakhstan ‘to build pipelines to China and Iran in exchange for oil and gas concessions and a 51% stake in Kazakhstan’s state-controlled oil-production company’.(95) It had been hoped, perhaps optimistically, that with adequate investment such a pipeline between Kazakhstan and Xinjiang (some 3000 km long) could be developed by 2010, but the revisions of the project (costed to some US$3 billion), based on oil prices, development costs and other obstacles, seriously slowed the project through 1998-1999.(96) Even more ambitious projects have been considered, e.g. a major gas pipeline from Turkmenistan into Kazakhstan and thence eastwards to the Tarim Basin.(97) In the long term, this could form part of a proposed 'Energy Silk Route' which could connect the 'gas fields of Central Asia with end-users in northeast Asia, including China and Japan', a project taken quite seriously by Japanese planners.(98) Other important projects under consideration include a proposed gas pipeline from the Tarim Basin to refineries in Sichuan, aimed at boosting continued industrial development in the western provinces.(99) These programmes also dovetail into China's planned partial shift from coal-based to gas-based energy infrastructure, which began during the 2000-2005 period, a huge project which requires a large degree of supply, technical and pricing adaptation, forming part of China's East-West Gas Transmission project.(100)

From the point of view of the regions of Europe, South Asia, and North-East Asia, Central Asia is a crucial linkage area of interregional contact, which can either result in division and conflict, as in the Cold War and the hot conflicts in Afghanistan, or in a new series of connections which allow more positive relationships. Here the long, 1,700-kilometre eastern frontier of Kazakhstan with China is a case in point - if viewed in a negative sense, the frontier is wide, porous, and an extremely expensive defence liability. It is also important to note that 60% of China's Xinjiang region consists of ethnic groups who have major connections with cross-border populations, including Uighurs, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks.(101) Disturbances in 1990, 1992 and 1996 indicated both religious and ethnic-national tensions in the area,(102) causing a tightening of security along borders and within Xinjiang. Through 1995-1998 incidents of riots, calls for independence, a small number of bombings, and the resultant security crackdown have made Xinjiang region once again an area of low-level conflict.(103) Likewise, China had called for Kyrgyzstan to take a stronger line in controlling Uighur minorities within their neighbouring territory, and has provided some $3 million in funds to help the small country's border troops fight 'militant groups'.(104) China has also been worried that Uighur separatists might have received 'funding, weapons and training from Afghanistan',(105) with reports that up to 800 Uighur 'separatists from Xinjiang' may have received training in northern Afghanistan, in spite of denials from the Taliban.(106) China at first hoped to persuade Pakistan to pressure the Taliban to reduce such activities, but through 2001 the PRC severely reduced any strategy of dialogue with the Taliban. As the hot conflict draws to an end, China has asked for the return of any Chinese nationals found fighting for the Taliban, with the Chinese Foreign Ministry suggesting that up to one hundred fighters from Xinjiang may still be in Afghanistan.(107)

The Chinese response, however, has not just been a security and control effort: two other strategies have tried to engage these western areas in a broader Eurasian strategy of peaceful development. First, like other autonomous regions, China has also tried to promote a certain path of development that would assure economic gains to western provinces and autonomous regions, thereby reducing inter-ethnic tensions as well as ensuring access to needed energy and mineral resources.(108) Second, China has tried to improve trade and increase joint projects with adjacent states such Kazakhstan. It is therefore no surprise that one of the most important shifts in Central Asia has been Kazakhstan's improved relationship with China, with the trade between these two nations soon becoming the largest for Kazakhstan outside the CIS.(109) There has also been a joint project between Xinjiang province and Kazakhstan to develop a large electrical power plant in Western China. A vigorous border trade has flourished based on visa-free short visit regulations for Xinjiang, with some 400,000 people from Central Asia visiting Urumqi in 1993,(110) though there is now an effort to tighten some of this movement to avoid security problems. Kazakhstan's foreign trade with China, especially with the Xinjiang region, has increased greatly from 1991, while China has invested in some 180 projects within Kazakhstan.(111) By the mid 1990s, 36% of Xinjiang's exports and 42% of its imports were traded with Kazakhstan.(112) Indeed, in the long term these two nations are likely to deepen their economic and political cooperation, a policy consciously followed by President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.

Taken as a whole, from 1996 until mid-2001, the borders between China and its eastern neighbours were much more stable and open than before. In part, this has been due to resolution of most (but not all) outstanding borders issues among Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan during the 1994-1999 period.(113) This developed into an effective phase of multilateral diplomacy resulting in the meetings of the Shanghai Five, at first aiming to resolve outstanding border disputes. In July 2000 this was then regularised as the Shanghai Forum, with Uzbekistan invited as an observer and aiming at a wider agenda of international cooperation, including a possible anti-terrorist centre at Bishkek. By May 2001 this had evolved in the possibility of creating a small rapid reaction force based on battalions from Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.(114) The evolution of this group into a somewhat more formal Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) through 2001 is positive, even if the membership of Uzbekistan and the possible addition of other new members (e.g. interest from Pakistan in membership, expressed in June 2001) remains controversial.(115) The SCO, perhaps due to 'strategic differences' in outlook among its member states, has not as an organisation taken a strong role in relation to the events of 11 September,(116) but it is likely that in future its anti-terrorism agenda will be enhanced. These factors have also ensured China a strong place in the future energy policies of the region, as well as positioning her as one of the main consumer goods exporters into Central Asia.(117)

However, certain challenges remain for China and Central Asia in the creation of stable Eurasia. The ability to restrain ethnic violence and prevent negative forms of ethnic or religious nationalism is important,(118) but must be balanced by the effort to support the genuine needs of different nationalities and ethnic groups. Likewise, religious issues will require careful consideration. The possible dilemma of development which does not balance regional and inter-ethnic needs can lead to further instability along Central Asian borders.(119) Though extremist types of Islam can penetrate the region to some degree, it is fortunate that the mystical and individualistic trends of the Sufism common to much of the region will tend to counterbalance various forms of 'fundamentalism'.(120) At the same time, militant Islamic groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) have been active in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in 1999-2001, forcing a stronger security clamp down in the region.(121) In the long run, the activities of groups such as the IMU must not be allowed to destabilise positive relations, for example, between China and Kyrgyzstan. Likewise, there needs to be an improvement in the control of illegal drug flows,(122) smuggling (arms and people), and illicit financial flows. Health problems in the region, seeing the re-emergence of old diseases such as tuberculosis (in Afghanistan, the Caucasus, and parts of the Russian Federation, especially Siberia) and the spread of new diseases such as AIDS, will need strong regional health programmes. The issues of maintaining effective patterns of mobile pastoralism will be important in sustaining the well-being of some Central Asian groups, as well as minorities in Inner Mongolia, Mongolia and parts of Siberia and Tuva.(123) Use of water resources and riverine systems across borders will also need careful attention to avoid potential disputes.(124) All these issues generate trans-boundary effects, operating along frontiers and often across different states. On this basis, an organisation such as the Shanghai Cooperative Organization could take on a strong role in bolstering existing areas of bilateral cooperation. Here we can see a direct parallel between China's effort to improve the prosperity of its Western zones, and the need for a stable Central Asian region that can act as conduit for a dynamic Eurasia.

 

The New Geopolitics of Afghanistan

The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 radically changed the geopolitics of Central Asia. Due to the location of al-Qaeda networks in Afghanistan, the U.S. and its allies rapidly moved from diplomatically pressuring the Taliban to a coercive military campaign that in the end removed the Taliban from government. Part of this activity involved intense liaison with Russia, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. A secondary strand was intensified dialogue with China, involving both possible sharing of intelligence and efforts to maintain consensus among major powers so that the 'war' on terrorism should continue. Russia and China found the strikes on Afghanistan an opportunity to further try to justify their own forceful interventions against 'terrorist' elements within their own countries, Chechens in the case of Russia, divisive elements within Xinjiang in the case of China.

However, the increased presence of U.S. forces and their allies (notably British, Australian, French and Turkish support) within the Central Asian sphere, and their ability to forcefully intervene against an armed regime in the heart of the region, has also sparked a sense of caution. The strong role of Russia, the U.S., and the EU (especially Germany) in supporting the Northern Alliance and in brokering a new power-sharing government has clearly indicated a new balance of power and an emerging agenda for 'Greater Central Asia'. In the case of Russia, President Putin has traded on this change to improve relations with President Bush and position Russia as a central player in the new security regime. However, there is some Russian concern that U.S. basing agreements in the region, particularly with Uzbekistan, could lead to increased American leverage on Central Asian energy resources and transit routes.(125) The Russian strategy seems to have been one of engagement, ensuring that they have a military role and political voice within Afghanistan today and a key role in shaping its future.(126)

China demonstrated a nuanced sense of engagement with the U.S. campaign. First, they re-iterated their stand against any form of terrorism, and noted that they had been engaged in suppressing terrorism actively within their own borders. Chinese nationals in New York had also been affected by the attack, and the Chinese economy would also be affected if there was a strong downturn in the American and global economies.(127) However, China was publicly concerned about unnecessary or excessive civilian deaths in the air campaign.(128) Second, China moved to restrict access to its own Western autonomous zones, to reinforce its military garrisons in the region, closed their own short border with Afghanistan,(129) and engaged in another crackdown against separatist elements.(130) Third, China had in mid-2001 continued and renewed its strategic partnership with Russia, including its opposition to missile defence systems that seem to breach the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty.(131) Though Russian criticism of anti-ballistic missile defence initiatives has become more muted through late 2001, it was one of the differences that has not been negotiated away in the new Putin-Bush summit of November 2001.(132) The formal notification on 13 December 2001 of the U.S. intention to withdraw from the ABM lead to criticism from Russian politicians and was viewed with 'great disappointment' by President Putin.(133) This area of Sino-Russian cooperation against a central U.S. policy remains largely unaffected by the intervention in Afghanistan.

By early October 2001, President Jiang Zemin said publicly that he understood President Bush's need to conduct air strikes,(134) leading to thankful comments from the U.S. officials before the APEC meeting.(135) This was the first time in recent decades that China had expressed support for armed intervention by the U.S. against any other nation.(136) Indeed, the tragic events of September offered an opportunity for Sino-US relations to be put on a new footing and for China to affirm a leadership role in an emerging global agenda.(137) In turn, the U.S. needed Chinese cooperation as an often critical permanent member of the Security Council, and as an important 'regional state'.(138) In discussions conducted in late October 2001 there was talk of intelligence sharing between the two countries on terrorism,(139) though to date evidence of hard intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and PRC has not been made public. China may also feel that the new enemy of global terrorism 'in the American collective conscience will help reduce anti-Chinese sentiment in Washington'.(140)

However, there are real limits to how far the new geopolitics of the region has brought together the U.S., China and Russia into any kind of permanent monitoring or concert arrangement. The shock of U.S. vulnerability has heightened the role of the military in American global policy, as well as strengthening the political and legal mandate of intelligence, security and policing agencies. In this context, Pentagon plans made public through October 2001 speak of a need to fortify the U.S. military presence in Asia, since the area is prone to 'large-scale military competition' and 'there is potential for some countries to be able to threaten regions critical to US interests'.(141) There has been no trade-off by the U.S. in relation to the Taiwan dispute, and America remains watchful of PRC's military modernisation program. Likewise, there were limits to how far the new cooperation would free China to suppress internal dissent under the rubric of crushing terrorism: President Bush, perhaps mindful of strong American human rights lobbies, suggested during his October 2001 meeting with President Jiang that the war on terrorism should not be used as 'an excuse to persecute minorities'.(142) Lastly, both China and Russia would be concerned if the U.S. took the opportunity of its increased capability in Central Asia to launch strikes against Iraq,(143) thereby promoting a predominance of strategic power in the wider region.

China and other regional players will be watching events in Afghanistan closely as they will have a direct impact on adjacent states, on 'Greater Central Asia' and in the long term on Eurasia itself. Although a United Nations mandated security force, likely to be deployed in Kabul, is welcomed by most interested parties,(144) its composition, specific goals and time-frame will be crucial in conditioning future political outcomes. Likewise, efforts at nation building, humanitarian aid, and development strategies will provide both risks and opportunities to state and non-state actors that are involved. Thus, the debate on the economic support for the Uzbek regime, now implicit through its cooperation with the U.S., has suggested that any democratic agenda for Central Asia may have been sidelined in favour of security and stability concerns.(145) Likewise, the opening up of possible gas pipeline routes from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to coastal Pakistan, which had been shelved in 1998, is now under reconsideration.(146) This could divert gas resources and pipeline rents currently enjoyed by Russia, suggesting another phase of energy diplomacy and competition in the region.(147) China, thus, has new opportunities and risks in the changed geopolitics of the region. If not herself heavily involved in the reconstruction of the Afghanistan,(148) the changed politics of the region suggests a need to further enhance China's role in cooperative arrangements that ensure economic and political stability. A failure to take this opportunity would seriously mitigate China's policies towards her Western frontiers and their prosperity.

 

Tang Openness and Sung Synthesis: Pointers Towards China's Role in the New Eurasian Order

This paper has described the economic and diplomatic benefits of China playing a constructive role in the wider Eurasian political process. Beyond this, however, it is possible to suggest cultural and social gains can also be generated if this process is moderated by a sophisticated appreciation of the way that these cultures interact. A genuine understanding which informs diplomatic and economic policies can help create a positive civilisational dialogue as well as reduce threat perceptions. Within Chinese history, there are both negative and positive models in regard to race-relations and culture dialogue. In broad terms, however, the current global system and the need for the stabilisation of 'Greater Central Asia' suggests that China can draw inspiration from its periods of confident openness, when China was able to be influenced by outside cultures while retaining its own inner dynamic of civilization values.

Tang openness and Sung synthesis provide useful, if divergent, models for this wider Eurasian process of culture contact. Though different in many ways, e.g. in the tighter administrative control of the bureaucracy of the Sung,(149) both these dynasties provide insights that have some reflective benefits for us today. The Tang, through its expansiveness, its willingness to open up to western trade, and its partially successful engagement in Central Asian politics, reflects some of the contemporary ethnic and political realities of China's western region. Although there are possible risks in these relations (e.g. the military conflicts during the Tang), such an engagement is crucial in an age of trade and open borders where influence occurs at economic and cultural levels. Thus under the Tang, the influence of Buddhism, which had accelerated after the collapse of the Han Dynasty, continued to deepen, but from 841 A.D. onwards, and especially under the Sung, was both sinicised and largely accommodated to the political authority of the Chinese state.(150) It was no accident that this somewhat troubled period was also a period of great urban, artistic and cosmopolitan achievements, e.g. the architecture and court at Changan.(151) It can be argued that the defeat of Tang armies in Yunnan in 751, and the later defeat by the Arabs at Talas, would not only signal Chinese loss of control of Central Asia, but 'somehow undermined the total confidence that had previously emanated from Changan.'(152) This suggests a need to balance openness with an engagement strategy that can be continued in the long term.

In the case of the Sung, we see a 'cultural empire' seeking to find the best pattern of governance that could provide a link between man and the universe. Scholars and officials such as Ou-yang Hsiu (1007-1072), Ssu-ma Kuang (1019-1086), Wang An-shih (1021-1086), Su Shih (1037-1101), Ch'eng I (1033-1107), and Chu Hsi (1130-1200) though differing in their individual interpretations, tried to synthesis a Chinese tradition that would yield a new political and moral authority suitable for the empire.(153) The Sung dynasty based its political control on carefully modulated policies rather than extended conquests, and from 1004 A.D. was willing to accept some reduction of its territory rather than engage in repeated military reconquest of territories of the north-east (which came under the control of the Kitans), and accepted the loss of the north-western routes into Central Asia (which came under the control of the Hsia).(154) For many, the 11th century under the Sung was one of the heights of Chinese culture and refinement, indicating a peak in intellectual and artistic achievement, though it should also be noted that the Sung were generally less tolerant of external cultural influences.(155) From a different point of view, however, the Sung did allow the territorial diminution of the Chinese state and were unable to maintain sufficient military capabilities to avoid further aggression against them. Used as models of foreign and cultural policy, it seems that a balance between Tang expansiveness and Sung internal cultural integration might be required.

These historical trends have implications for China's new Silk Road, which seeks both to stabilise western frontiers and engage in a cooperative diplomacy with Central Asia. These policies complement internal efforts to bolster the economic development of western provinces and autonomous regions that have had slower development in contrast to China's coastal regions. Just as in the Tang and Sung periods China was able to enter into dialogue and synthesis among diverse religious and cultural traditions, so today China needs to be able to resiliently open itself to local and global civilisational dialogue. From China's point of view, positive links have already begun with countries such as Iran and Vietnam, but deepened civilisation dialogue needs to be established with India and with Islam. Here, sensitivities to diverse national and cultural legacies remain important in ensuring a stable Eurasian region that can slowly enter globalisation processes without undue turbulence. China, with both its modern and ancient cultural resources, represents one important pole in regional processes within Eurasia and a global power that can help create a genuinely pluralistic form of globalisation.

A peacefully integrated Eurasia could seriously reduce tensions over access to energy resources in the 21st century, and help maintain a multi-polar world system. In many ways, it is also the key to stable relations among nationalities along borders stretching from Mongolia to Yunnan, from Siberia down to Vietnam. On this basis, China's progress in development in these border regions, and its emerging cooperation with Central Asia and the new Russia, are symptoms that a healthy Eurasian political and cultural system will emerge in the 21st century. Rebuilding Afghanistan is only one part of this emerging agenda for Eurasia. For this positive outcome to occur China must play a central role which goes beyond the narrow special interests that any great power or superpower may wish to project onto the region. Long-term trends in Chinese cultural history suggest that this type of balanced engagement is not an impossible task.

 

Footnotes

1. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the International Academic Conference on "Economic Globalisation and Pluralistic Development of National Cultures", Kunming, Yunnan, PRC, August 2001.

2. R. James Ferguson is Assistant Director of The Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies,

School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bond University, Australia. He has been writing on, researching and teaching Eurasian affairs for the last six years as part of a wider research agenda on regionalism, international governance and cultural studies within the Department of International Relations, Bond University.

3. For an effective summary of the cultural and historical contrasts often made between China and Europe, see SCARBOROUGH, Jack "Comparing Chinese and Western Cultural Roots", Business Horizons, November 1998 [Internet Access via FindArticles.com].

4. FITZGERALD, C.P. China: A Short Cultural History, London, Cresset Press, 1965, pp377-378.

5. See LU, Martin & DELLIOS, Rosita "'One Culture, Two Systems': A Cultural Approach to Inter-Chinese Politics", The Culture Mandala, 3 no. 1, November 1998, pp18-41.

6. For implications of Central Kingdom verses Central Kingdoms, see HAW, Stephen G. China: A Cultural History, London, Batsford, 1990, pp53-5. See also the idea of a loose, cultural, Chinese confederacy expressed in FITZGERALD, C.P. China: A Short Cultural History, London, Cresset Press, 1965, p56. For the role of culture as a possible unifying force in contemporary inter-Chinese politics, see LU, Martin & Dellios, Rosita "One Culture, Two Systems": A Cultural Approach to Inter-Chinese Politics", The Culture Mandala, 3 no. 1, November 1998, pp19-40.

7. DAWSON, Raymond The Chinese Experience, London, Phoenix Press, 1978, p118.

8. See MACKERRAS, Colin "Uygur-Tang Relations, 744-840", Central Asian Survey, 19 no. 2, June 2000, pp223-234 [Access via Proquest Database]; DREYER, June Teufel "Multiculturalism in History: China, the Monocultural Paradigm", Orbis, Fall 1999 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com].

9. WALEY-COHEN, Joanna The Sextants of Beijing: Global Currents in Chinese History, N.Y., Norton & Company, 2000.

10. See BARNES, Gina L. China, Korea and Japan: The Rise of Civilisation in East Asia, London, Thames and Hudson, 1993, pp119-152.

11. FITZGERALD, C.P. China: A Short Cultural History, London, Cresset Press, 1965, p56.

12. See WALKER, Richard Louis The Multi-State System of Ancient China, Connecticut, The Shoe Strong Press, 1953.

13. See further FERGUSON, R. James "Suzhou: A Cultural and Economic Centre of Southern China", The Culture Mandala, 3 no. 2, August 1999, pp51-75.

14. MOSER, Leo J. The Chinese Mosaic: The Peoples and Provinces of China, Boulder, Westview Press, 1985, p144.

15. Ibid.

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid., p151.

18. See FITZGERALD, C.P. The Southern Expansion of the Chinese People, Bangkok, White Lotus, 1972.

19. See further FERGUSON, R. James "Nanning and Guangxi: China's Gateway to the South-West", The Culture Mandala, 4 no. 1, December 1999-January 2000, pp48-69.

20. CHAPIUS, Oscar A History of Vietnam: From Hong Bang to Tu Duc, Westport, Connecticut, 1995, p11.

21. Ibid., pp13-14.

22. FAN FAN et al. A Survey of Nanning, Nanning, China Esperanto Press, 1995, p73; CHAPIUS, Oscar A History of Vietnam: From Hong Bang to Tu Duc, Westport, Connecticut, 1995, p33; FITZGERALD, C.P. The Southern Expansion of the Chinese People, Bangkok, White Lotus, 1972, p20.

23. CHAPIUS, Oscar A History of Vietnam: From Hong Bang to Tu Duc, Westport, Connecticut, 1995, pp20-25.

24. See HOLMGREN, Jennifer Chinese Colonisation of Northern Vietnam: Administrative Geography and Political Development in the Tongking Delta, First to Sixth Centuries A.D., Canberra, Australian National University, 1980, pp1-2; CHAPIUS, Oscar A History of Vietnam: From Hong Bang to Tu Duc, Westport, Connecticut, 1995, pp25-27. Vietnamese resistance also continued, e.g. the revolt led by the famous Trung sisters in A.D. 40 B.C., also continued, Ibid., pp14-16.

25. See HOLMGREN, Jennifer Chinese Colonisation of Northern Vietnam: Administrative Geography and Political Development in the Tongking Delta, First to Sixth Centuries A.D., Canberra, Australian National University, 1980, pp54-56.

26. FAN FAN et al. A Survey of Nanning, Nanning, China Esperanto Press, 1995, p74.

27. CHRISTIAN, David "Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History", Journal of World History, 2 no. 1, Spring 2000, p7 [Internet Access via Infotrac Searchbank]; BOBRICK, Benson East of the Sun: The Epic Conquest and Tragic History of Siberia, N.Y., Poseidon, 1992, p68.

28. CHRISTIAN, David "Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History", Journal of World History, 2 no. 1, Spring 2000, p1, p4. For recent archaeological discoveries on the western edge of Lop Nur that may be up to 4,000 years old, see "Ancient Mumies Bring Surprise", China Daily, 3-2-2001 [Internet Access].

29. CHRISTIAN, David "Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History", Journal of World History, 2 no. 1, Spring 2000, p1.

30. Ibid., p10.

31. RASHID, Ahmed "The New Struggle in Central Asia: A Primer for the Baffled", World Policy Journal, 17 no. 4, Winter 2001, p34.

32. PURI, B.N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1987, pp11-16.

33. Ibid., p48.

34. Ibid., pp49-50.

35. See MACKERRAS, Colin "Uygur-Tang Relations, 744-840", Central Asian Survey, 19 no. 2, June 2000, pp223-234 [Access via Proquest Database],

PURI, B.N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1987, p258.

37. "The Silk Road: Caravans and Trade Routes", China Pages, Internet resource at http://www.pages.com.cn/chinese_culture/silk/caravan.html.

38. MACKERRAS, Colin "Uygur-Tang Relations, 744-840", Central Asian Survey, 19 no. 2, June 2000, pp223-234 [Access via Proquest Database].

39. PURI, B.N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1987, p3.

40. Ibid., p147.

41. BARNES, Gina L. China, Korea and Japan: The Rise of Civilization in East Asia, London, Thames and Hudson, 1993, pp205-206.

42. PURI, B.N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1987, p13, p20

43. Ibid., p61.

44. DAWSON, Raymond The Chinese Experience, London, Phoenix Press, 1978, p117.

45. "The Silk Road: Religion and Art", China Pages, Internet Resource at http://www.pages.com.cn/chinese_culture/silk/religion.html.

46. For Buddhist art in the region of Kucha, see "Kucha: An Oasis of Arts and Culture", China Daily, 3 September 2001 [Internet Access].

47. PURI, B.N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1987, p85.

48. DAWSON, Raymond The Chinese Experience, London, Phoenix Press, 1978, p120; PURI, B.N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1987, p121.

49. PURI, B.N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1987, p57.

50. Ibid., p298.

51. MOORE, Molley & CONSTABLE, Pamela "Voices in Muslim World Decry Taliban Vow to Destroy Statues", The Washington Post, 10 March 2001, pA15; MENON, Kesava "Egyptians Aghast at Taliban Vandalism", The Hindu, 13 March 2001 [Internet Access].

52. PURI, B.N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1987, p259.

53. CHRISTIAN, David "Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History", Journal of World History, 2 no. 1, Spring 2000, pp11 [Internet Access via Infotrac Searchbank].

54. For the initial stages of this process, see DAWISHA, Karen & PARROTT, Bruce Russia and the New States of Eurasia: The Politics of Upheaval, Cambridge, CUP, 1994.

55. See Preface, The Constitution of the People's Republic of China, in Fifth Session of the Fifth National People's Congress, Beijing, Foreign Languages Press, 1983.

56. LEUNG, Beatrice "Religious Freedom and the Constitution in the People's Republic of China: Interpretation and Implementation", Diskus, 3 no. 1, 1995, p1.

57. For an official account of the implementation of these policies, see National Minorities Policy and Its Practice in China, Beijing, Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, 2000 [Internet Access at http://www.chinaguide.org/e-white/4/index.htm].

58. "Implementation of Rules to Narrow Regional Divides", China Daily, 17 April 2001 [Internet Access].

59. See GIERSCH, C. Pat "'A Motley Throng': Social Change on Southwest China's Early Modern Frontier, 1700-1880", The Journal of Asian Studies, 60 no.1, February 2001, pp67-94.

60. Treated in more detail in FERGUSON, R. James "Nanning and Guangxi: China's Gateway to the South-West", The Culture Mandala, 4 no. 1, December 1999-January 2000, pp48-69.

61. "Yi Culture Under Scrutiny", China Daily, 20 November 2000 [Internet Access].

62. FAN FAN et al. A Survey of Nanning, Nanning, China Esperanto Press, 1995, pp64-65; STOREY, Robert et al. China, 6th ed., Hawthorn, Lonely Planet Publications, 1998, p757.

63. FAN FAN et al. A Survey of Nanning, Nanning, China Esperanto Press, 1995, p91.

64. See FITZGERALD, C.P. The Southern Expansion of the Chinese People, Bangkok, White Lotus, 1972; HOLMGREN, Jennifer Chinese Colonisation of Northern Vietnam: Administrative Geography and Political Development in the Tongking Delta, First to Sixth Centuries A.D., Canberra, Australian National University, 1980, pp62-66.

65. FEI, Xiaotong "Revisiting the Mountains of the Yao People", in China's Minority Nationalities, Vol. 1, Beijing, China Reconstructs, 1984, p207.

66. Ibid., pp208-209.

67. SPENCE, Jonathan God's Chinese Son, London, Harper Collins, 1997, pp77-95;.

68. JENKS, Robert D. Insurgency and Social Disorder in Guizhou: The 'Miao' Rebellion, 1854-1873, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1994; ANTONY, Robert J. "Review of Insurgency and Social Disorder in Guizhou: The 'Miao' Rebellion, 1854-1873", The China Quarterly, March 1997 [Internet Access via Infotrac SearchBank].

69. FEI, Xiaotong "Revisiting the Mountains of the Yao People", in China's Minority Nationalities, Vol. 1, Beijing, China Reconstructs, 1984, p216.

70. YOU, Yuwen "With the Dong People of Guangxi", in FEI, Xiaotong "Revisiting the Mountains of the Yao People", in China's Minority Nationalities, Vol. 1, Beijing, China Reconstructs, 1984, pp226-236; "In Guangxi, Ethnic Arts Generate Wealth, Change", China Daily, 9 December 1998 [Internet Access].

71. See SCHEIN, Louisa "Gender and Internal Orientalism in China", Modern China, 23 no. 1, January 1997, pp69-98 [Internet Access via Proquest].

72. For this approach, see BLUM, Susan D. "Tales from the Fields of Yunnan: Listening to Han Stories", Modern China, 26 no. 2, April 2000, pp148-165.

73. HUANG, Philip C. "Biculturality in Modern China and in Chinese Studies", Modern China, 26 no. 1, January 2000, pp3-31.

74. See ISRAELI, Ralph "Is There Shi'a in Chinese Islam?", Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, 9 no. 1, January 1988, pp49-66.

75. See ISRAELI, Raphael "Myth as Memory: Muslims in China Between Myth and History", The Muslim World, 91 no. 1/2, Spring 2001, pp185-208.

76. Ibid., pp185-208.

77. For some of these problems, see FERGUSON, R. James "Nanning and Guangxi: China's Gateway to the South-West", The Culture Mandala, 4 no. 1, December 1999-January 2000, pp48-69.

78. For rather more negative interpretations, see KAUP, Palmer Katherine Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China, Boulder, Lynne Rienner, 2000, reviewed in SEYMOUR, James E. "Review of Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China", The American Political Science Review, 95 no. 1, March 2001, pp239-240.

79. "Minister: Western Region Will Open Market Wider", Asiainfo Daily China News, 14 May 2001, p1.

80. For definitions, see HUANG, Philip C. "Biculturality in Modern China and in Chinese Studies", Modern China, 26 no. 1, January 2000, pp3-4.

81. See the series of arguments in Ibid., pp3-31.

82. Ibid.

83. One Silk Road Project focusing on music and culture of the region, was initiated by the American cellist Yo-Yo Ma (see http://www.silkraodproject.org), while UNESCO has focused on projects preserving and exploring the culture of the Silk Road (http://www.unesco.org/culture/silkroads/html_eng/tourism.shtml).

84. DORIAN, James P., WIGDORTZ, Brett & GLADNEY, Dru "Central Asia and Xinjiang: Emerging Energy, Economic and Ethnic Relations", Central Asian Survey, 16 no. 4, December 1997, p464.

85. RASHID, Ahmed The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism?, Karachi, Oxford University Press, 1994, p121.

86. RAZUMOV, Yaroslav "Central Asian States Seek to Bolster Transport Links with China", Eurasia Insight, 13 December 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/].

87. WANG, Lequan & GUO, Minjie "Trans-Continental Railway Planned", China Daily, 9 March 2001 [Internet Access via Proquest].

88. Ibid.

89. "A Road Not So Smooth: The European Union Wants to Revive the Old Silk Road", Armenian International Magazine, 31 October 1998 [Internet Access via Electric Library].

90. See SPECTOR, Regine A. Background Paper: The Caspian Basin and Asian Energy Markets, The Brookings Institution, 24 May 2001 [Internet Access].

91. Ibid.

92. WU, Kang "China's Refining Sector Challenges: Surging Demand, Rising Imports of Sour Crudes, New Business Models", Oil and Gas Journal, 19 February 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com].

93. MELMET, Yasmin "China's Political and Economic Relations with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan", Central Asian Survey, 17 no. 2, June 1998, p236; DORIAN, James P., WIGDORTZ, Brett & GLADNEY, Dru "Central Asia and Xinjiang: Emerging Energy, Economic and Ethnic Relations", Central Asian Survey, 16 no. 4, December 1997, pp469-471.

94. MELMET, Yasmin "China's Political and Economic Relations with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan", Central Asian Survey, 17 no. 2, June 1998, p237.

95. JAFFE, Amy Myers & MANNING, Robert A. "The Myth of the Caspian 'Great Game': The Real Geopolitics of Energy", Survival, 40 no. 4, Winter 1998-1999, p124.

96. DORIAN, James P., WIGDORTZ, Brett & GLADNEY, Dru "Central Asia and Xinjiang: Emerging Energy, Economic and Ethnic Relations", Central Asian Survey, 16 no. 4, December 1997, p467; SPECTOR, Regine A. Background Paper: The Caspian Basin and Asian Energy Markets, The Brookings Institution, 24 May 2001 [Internet Access]; RAZUMOV, Yaroslav "Central Asian States Seek to Bolster Transport Links with China", Eurasia Insight, 13 December 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/].

97. DORIAN, James P., WIGDORTZ, Brett & GLADNEY, Dru "Central Asia and Xinjiang: Emerging Energy, Economic and Ethnic Relations", Central Asian Survey, 16 no. 4, December 1997, p468.

98. Ibid., pp481-482.

99. Ibid., p484.

100. SPECTOR, Regine A. Background Paper: The Caspian Basin and Asian Energy Markets, The Brookings Institution, 24 May 2001 [Internet Access]. For the challenge of moving to a stronger role for natural gas, see WU, Kang "China's Refining Sector Challenges: Surging Demand, Rising Imports of Sour Crudes, New Business Models", Oil and Gas Journal, 19 February 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com].

101. D'ANTOINE, Henri "The Uighurs' Watches Still on Beijing Time", Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, June-July 1992, p36.

102. DANNREUTHER, Roland Creating New States in Central Asia, Adelphi Paper 288, London, IISS, 1994, p63; DORIAN, James P., WIGDORTZ, Brett & GLADNEY, Dru "Central Asia and Xinjiang: Emerging Energy, Economic and Ethnic Relations", Central Asian Survey, 16 no. 4, December 1997, p465.

103. RACZKA, Witt "Xinjiang and Its Central Asian Borderlands", Central Asian Survey, 17 no. 3, September 1998, pp373-408.

104. RASHID, Ahmed "The New Struggle in Central Asia: A Primer for the Baffled", World Policy Journal, 17 no. 4, Winter 2001, pp33-45; SPECTOR, Regine A. Background Paper: The Caspian Basin and Asian Energy Markets, The Brookings Institution, 24 May 2001 [Internet Access]..

105. DALPINO, Catherin & PEI, Minxin "Beijing's Chance to Forge True Alliance", South China Morning Post, 19 September 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.brook.edu/].

106. BLUA, Antoine "Anti-Terrorism Campaign Creates Opportunity for Improved US-Chinese Relations", Eurasia Insight, 16 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/]; "Afghan Envoy Denies Training Muslim Militants", Asian Political News, 26 July 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com/].

107. "Beijing Calls for Return of Chinese Muslim Fighters Caught in Afghanistan", MSNBC News, 12 December 2001 [Internet Access].

108. DORIAN, James P., WIGDORTZ, Brett & GLADNEY, Dru "Central Asia and Xinjiang: Emerging Energy, Economic and Ethnic Relations", Central Asian Survey, 16 no. 4, December 1997, p485.

109. RASHID, Ahmed The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism?, Karachi, Oxford University Press, 1994, p121.

110. D'ANTOINE, Henri "The Uighurs' Watches Still on Beijing Time", Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, June-July 1992, p37; DORIAN, James P., WIGDORTZ, Brett & GLADNEY, Dru "Central Asia and Xinjiang: Emerging Energy, Economic and Ethnic Relations", Central Asian Survey, 16 no. 4, December 1997, p476.

111. DORIAN, James P., WIGDORTZ, Brett & GLADNEY, Dru "Central Asia and Xinjiang: Emerging Energy, Economic and Ethnic Relations", Central Asian Survey, 16 no. 4, December 1997, p472.

112. Ibid., p477.

113. For recent concerns in the Kyrgyzstan parliament over the demarcation of its border with China, and the grant of a land corridor to Uzbekistan to reach the Sokh enclave, see KHAMIDOV, Alisher "Dispute Over China-Kyrgyz Border Demarcation Pits President vs Parliament", Eurasia Insight, 28 June 2001.

114. MAMADSHOYEV, Marat "The Shanghai G-5 Becomes the Shanghai Forum", Eurasia Insight, 7 July 2000; De TEMPLE, James "Central Asian Rapid Reaction Force Support Gathered", Eurasia Insight, 3 May 2001.

115. "Shanghai Five Mulls Expansion in Search of Regional Stability", Eurasia Insight, 14 June 2001; "Russia Has Misgivings About Shanghai Cooperation Organization", Eurasia Insight, 20 June 2001; "'Shanghai Five' Change Turns China in a New Strategic Direction", Asian Political News, 18 June 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com/].

116. BLUA, Antoine "Anti-Terrorism Campaign Creates Opportunity for Improved US-Chinese Relations", Eurasia Insight, 16 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/].

117. BACHMAN, David "China and the G-5 Summit", Eurasia Insight, 5 July 2000.

118. See GORENBURG, Dmitry " Nationalism for the Masses: Popular Support for Nationalism in Russia's Ethnic Republics", Europe-Asia Studies, 53 no. 1, January 2001.

119. BACHMAN, David "China and the G-5 Summit", Eurasia Insight, 5 July 2000.

120. RASHID, Ahmed The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism?, Karachi, Oxford University Press, 1994, p246.

121. RASHID, Ahmed "The New Struggle in Central Asia: A Primer for the Baffled", World Policy Journal, 17 no. 4, Winter 2001, pp41-43.

122. Ironically, the collapse of the Taliban may lead to an increase of drug flows out of Afghanistan in the short term. For details, see KOHN, David "Taliban Collapse May Help Heroin Trade", Eurasia Insight, 5 December 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/].

123. HUMPHREY, Caroline & SNEATH, David The End of Nomadism?: Society, State and the Environment in Inner Asia, Durham, Duke University, 1999, pp1-58.

124. SPECTOR, Regine A. Background Paper: The Caspian Basin and Asian Energy Markets, The Brookings Institution, 24 May 2001 [Internet Access].

125. TORBAKOV, Igor "Taliban Defeat Revives Debate on Trans-Afghan Pipeline", Eurasianet, 12 December 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org].

126. Ibid.

127. DALPINO, Catherin & PEI, Minxin "Beijing's Chance to Forge True Alliance", South China Morning Post, 19 September 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.brook.edu/].

128. "China Calls for Military Strikes to Avoid Innocent Civilians", Asian Political News, 15 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com/].

129. BLUA, Antoine "Anti-Terrorism Campaign Creates Opportunity for Improved US-Chinese Relations", Eurasia Insight, 16 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/].

130. "China Launches Crackdown on Terrorism in Urumqi", Asian Political News, 15 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com/].

131. "Russia, China Sign New Friendship Treaty", Asian Political News, 23 July 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com/].

132. TORBAKOV, Igor "Good Bush-Putin Rapport Can't Hide Obstacles to Long-Term US-Russian Cooperation", Eurasia Insight, 19 November 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/].

133. LEWIS, Dana et al. "U.S. Withdraws from Missile Pact with Russia", MSNBC News, 13 December 2001 [Internet Access].

134. "China's Jiang Understands U.S. Antiterrorism Attacks", Asian Political News, 15 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com/].

135. "U.S. Thanks China for Cooperating with Anti-Terror Efforts", Asian Political News, 15 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com/].

136. BLUA, Antoine "Anti-Terrorism Campaign Creates Opportunity for Improved US-Chinese Relations", Eurasia Insight, 16 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/].

137. DALPINO, Catherin & PEI, Minxin "Beijing's Chance to Forge True Alliance", South China Morning Post, 19 September 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.brook.edu/].

138. Ibid.

139. O'DONNELL, Lynne "Bush Stands by Minorities", The Weekend Australian, 20-21 October 2001, p12.

140. BLUA, Antoine "Anti-Terrorism Campaign Creates Opportunity for Improved US-Chinese Relations", Eurasia Insight, 16 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/].

141. ECCLESTON, Roy "Pentagon to Fortify Military in Asia", The Australian, 3 October 2001, p10.

142. O'DONNELL, Lynne "Bush Stands by Minorities", The Weekend Australian, 20-21 October 2001, p12; "Bush, Jiang Seek Redefinition of Ties in Changed World", Asian Political News, 22 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com/].

143. TORBAKOV, Igor "Good Bush-Putin Rapport Can't Hide Obstacles to Long-Term US-Russian Cooperation", Eurasia Insight, 19 November 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/].

144. "Afghan Interim Authorities Not Opposed to UN Force", China Daily, 12 December 2001 [Internet Access at http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn]

145. MEGORAN, Nick "Conduct of Afghan Campaign Undermines US Argument for Open Society Development in Central Asia", Eurasia Insight, 11 December 2001 [Internet Access at http://www.eurasianet.org]. For the alternative presumption that any economic aid would have strings attached which would 'encourage greater political and religious freedom', see COHEN, Ariel "Post-War Central Asia: A Complex Matrix", Eurasia Insight, 23 October 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org/].

146. TORBAKOV, Igor "Taliban Defeat Revives Debate on Trans-Afghan Pipeline", Eurasianet, 12 December 2001 [Internet Access via http://www.eurasianet.org].

147. Ibid.

148. Chinese officials are currently assessing the timing for re-opening their embassy in Kabul, closed since 1993, "China Envoys Visit Kabul, Mull Resuming Embassy", China Daily, 13 December 2001 [Internet Access via http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn/].

149. See SMITH, Kidder Jr. et al. Sung Dynasty Use of the I Ching, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1990, pp3-5.

150. WRIGHT, Arthur F. Buddhism in Chinese History, N.Y., Atheneum, 1969, pp86-107; CAPON, Edmund & FORMAN, Werner Tang China: Vision and Splendour of a Golden Age, London, Macdonald Orbis, 1989, pp61-74.

151. CAPON, Edmund & FORMAN, Werner Tang China: Vision and Splendour of a Golden Age, London, Macdonald Orbis, 1989, pp25-31.

152. Ibid., p33.

153. SMITH, Kidder Jr. et al. Sung Dynasty Use of the I Ching, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1990, pp26-55.

154. FITZGERALD, C.P. China: A Short Cultural History, London, Cresset Press, 1965, pp380-385.

155. FITZGERALD, C.P. China: A Short Cultural History, London, Cresset Press, 1965, pp387-388; DREYER, June Teufel "Multiculturalism in History: China, the Monocultural Paradigm", Orbis, Fall 1999 [Internet Access via http://www.findarticles.com].

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The School of Humanities and Social Sciences,

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