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Constructing a Multiethnic China: A Book Project on Ethnic Minority Cinema as Indicator of Socio-Political Conditions of Modern Nation-Building


Prof. LO Kwai Cheung

B.A. (HKU), M.Phil. (HKU), M.A. (University of Minnesota), Ph.D. (Stanford University)

Head and Professor, Department of Humanities and Creative Writing


  • General Research Fund, Hong Kong Research Grant Committee. HK$ 255,240


  • This research project examines the cinematic and other media productions about non-Han ethnic minorities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from the 1950s to present. I investigate, with socio-historical contextualization and close textual-visual analysis, how ethnic minorities (which have been classified by the state into 55 nationalities) work within the complex conditions of multiethnic China in its ongoing project of nation-building. Multi-ethnicity can resist the smooth integration of the Chinese state-led system, which is, however, productive to understanding the changing meanings of being Chinese in the modern era. The complicated situation also allows us to seek possibilities for reconfiguring the existing order under the drives for political unification and the impacts of global capitalism. The research critically examines how the state apparatuses appropriate cinema and other media about the ethnic minorities in order to produce the PRC’s designed worlds, values and subjects which are intricately implicated in the processes of nation-building and ecosystem management. However, the multi-ethnic communities who are targeted to be assimilated threaten to topple the system.