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Journal of Public and International Affairs , Volume 14/Spring 2003 Copyright 2003, the Trustees of Princeton University http://www.princeton.edu/~jpia 8 T AKING THE D ELIBERATIVE T URN IN C HINA : I NTERNATIONAL L AW , M INORITY R IGHTS , AND THE C ASE OF X INJIANG Justin J. Stein Justin Stein is a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy/JD candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (justin.stein@tufts.edu). The United Nations Declaration on Minority Rights, along with other international instruments dealing with minorities, is often lauded as a progressive and exemplary human rights doctrine. This article argues that these documents suffer from a theoretical deficiency for two reasons. The first problem lies in the de facto policies and practices states traditionally use as they seek cultural hegemony through the promotion of national cultures, regardless of the language contained in the declarations. The second difficulty with minority rights regimes in international law is the implicit prioritization of political equality over deliberation. By indulging voting and majoritarianism as the determinative qualities of democratic life, the deliberative atmosphere required for genuine cultural integrity is crippled. This article tracks these criticisms through the case study of Uygur claims in China. It concludes by proposing a reorientation in Chinese ethnic law that borrows from the positives of international law as well as the guidance born of liberal culturalist and deliberative perspectives. This eclectic synthesis will hopefully offer insights for future alternatives in the fundamental task of protecting minority cultures worldwide.
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2 I. I NTRODUCTION It has become the common currency of the early twenty-first century to discuss globalization in terms of its twin processes: integration and fragmentation. As strands of intergovernmental interdependence and cross-cultural cognizance thicken in their intensity and extensity, it is strikingly apparent how the world, coming together as it is under the banners of economic, social, and even political integration, seems to be at the very same time falling apart (Nye 2001; Held 2002). Illustrative of this latter trend has been the growing number of ethnic conflicts and majority-minority contests in the post-Cold War world, as articulated, inter alia , by observers participating at the 2002 session of the United Nations Working Group on Minorities (WGM). A brief sampling of claims brought on behalf of minority groups in their home territories include Afro-descendants in Argentina, Kurds in Iraq, Muslims in India, Baha’is in Iran, the Baluchi in Pakistan, Welsh in the United Kingdom, Bhutanese Nepali-speakers in Nepal, Turks in Greece, Hmong in Laos, Pygmies in Congo, as well as others in Sudan, Chechnya, and the former Yugoslavia (United Nations Working Group on Minorities 2002). To be sure, pages of additional claims might be listed in further support of the rising challenge to multiculturalism and its
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