The great issue that faced nations emerging from the last great age of territorial empire was that of absorbing minority populations within a large territorial state with no claims to the imperial characteristics that marked global discourse through the beginning of the Second World War. The Americans had their "melting pot" (a cultural or political or comprehensive integration of migrants into the political culture of the Republic; in its extreme form assimilation that required the subordination of home state culture and normative orientations to that of the new home states conceived by its elites)) though that is now considered taboo in some quarters
in the inter-elite warfare that rages in the contemporary United States. They now speak in terms of the metaphor of the salad bowl which is deployed against the older discursive imagery of pots meting the differentiated into an undifferentiated new whole. Nonetheless, both speak to the fundamental necessity of some sort of integration of successive waves of settlers (however they arrived willingly or unwillingly) into the singular political corpus of a Republic of now amalgamated identities. The salad bowl notion, though, also posits the sometimes immutable (and sometimes mutable) characteristics of difference and toward the edges of its logic suggests either an active (positive) preservation of the old ways in their new environment or the manifestation of emerging self-reflexive identities; and in this way aligned sometimes with emerging identity political-culture discourses.
The European spoke to being united in diversity
. They thought well enough of it to make it the motto of its European Union. In both cases, these large multi-ethnic governance units sought to develop a singular demos from aggregations of peoples as concerned about what made them different form their neighbors as in what did not. In the United States that consisted of efforts to align multiple ways of settlers that overwhelmed an original native population that eventually was also urged to join in. In Europe, it was meant to cement the realities of European diversity that was meant to be cemented after the great bout of ethnic cleansing and population movements before 1950 that served the goals of eliminating Prussia from the map and honoring the Soviet's treaty with the Third Reich in 1939, among other reasons. After the 1950s it increasingly included the need for the digestion of new waves of settlers from the dar al Islam
, Africa, Asia, and Latin America who now sought to call Europe home, and to ensure they felt comfortable in their new residence.
In both vases, migration, settlement, and the duties and responsibilities, much less the expectations of migrants and those who make room for them in migrant target states remains highly controversial and politically explosive. Its cultural signification remains in deep flux, and its legal treatment as a matter of international and domestic law remains fluid.
And now China.
In August 2021, Qiushi, the theoretical organ of the Chinese Communist Party, reported on the thinking of Xi Jinping abd the Chinese leadership core, on the issues of ethnicity and ethnicity policy within China. 求是网评论员：紧紧抓住铸牢中华民族共同体意识这条主线 来源：求是网 作者：求是网评论员 2021-08-29 15:19:34 (Qiushi.com commentator: firmly grasp the main line of casting a sense of community of the Chinese nation; Source: Qiushi.com Author: Qiushi.com commentator 2021-08-29 15:19:34).
Xi Jinping rejected both the American notions of meting pot or salad bowl, as well as the European one of united in diversity for a more intimate imagery--the imagery of the family. But not a Western family, but a family that understands the demands of filial duty and one, as well, that is lead and guided by its core--generously its parents. Certainly the temptation to read Confucian elements into this construct of diversity and the discursive basis for dealing with ethnic minorities is overwhelmingly tempting. And its echos are likely unavoidable. Bit the concept is essentially a Leninist one--with Chinese characteristics. It replicated the fundamental organization trope of Chinese Leninism--one grounded in the fundamental normative power of democratic centralism ("This unity of democracy and centralism, of freedom and discipline, constitutes our democratic centralism. Under this system, the people enjoy extensive democracy and freedom, but at the same time they have to keep within the bounds of socialist discipline." Mao Zedong, " On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People" (February 27, 1957)). And yet, like the thinking in the United States before the close of the last century, the object involves"consolidating the consciousness of the Chinese nation as a community." Cinsider the five point elements of the ethnic policy:
First, we must comprehensively promote the construction of a shared
spiritual home for the Chinese nation. . . . (一要全面推进中华民族共有精神家园建设。)
Second, we must promote the common movement of all ethnic
groups towards socialist modernization. . . (二要推动各民族共同走向社会主义现代化。)
The third is to promote exchanges and integration of various
ethnic groups. . . . (三要促进各民族交往交流交融。)
Fourth, we must improve the modernization
level of the governance system and governance capacity for ethnic
affairs. . . (四要提升民族事务治理体系和治理能力现代化水平。)
Fifth, we must resolutely prevent major
risks and hidden dangers in the ethnic field. . . (五要坚决防范民族领域重大风险隐患。)
This is not melting pot, but neither is it unity through diversity. It certainly is not a salad bowl. Is embodies the notion that ethnicity, like all difference, must serve the common aspirations of the nation under the guidance of a vanguard, but not exist either autonomously or independent of the collective of which it is a part. Difference within may be recognized, different outside cannot. And that likely makes the thrust potentially incompatible with the thrust of cultural movement respecting settler migration in liberal democratic states. Whatever one thinks of the policy from one's home perspective, it is clear that the policy aligns strongly with currents of new era ideology and the evolution of Chinese Leninist principles after 2015. It also points to a further divergence between the sensibilities of the liberal democratic camp and those of Marxist Leninist states, even holding for cultural, contextual and historical difference. It is that gap that is worth studying for their effect and for the way they may affect discussion of the issues at a global level. The essay appears in full below in the original Chinese and in a crude English translation.