The meaning of word ‘community’ in Chinese, is just a small area where people live nearby. Because of the huge population, majority of Chinese people live in the apartments and these apartments are managed by different districts. These districts are called communities. That is the most basic meaning for ‘community’ in Chinese. Before I apply the CBU, I have no idea about other meanings of community. I even thought it would be a course about know to do business in the neighborhood. This thought was changed after I got into the university. I found that the word community is not just like that meaning in Chinese but contains more varieties of people in groups. In my country, although the meaning of community is different from English, I’m sure that there has similar program or subject that dealing with these problems. I’m very happy to have chance to get into such program and using a different view to think about community and its development.
This essay will talk about my personal view of the community and its development, and my experience about community development in China use Chinese minority ethnic groups and different regions as examples. Then, talk about the performance of community economic development in China.
After two classes about a little introduction for the community. There is a bit more information come for the word community. Community is not the meaning that limited by geography, it is a group of people that have similar purpose or goal get together. The ‘together’ here means the geographic distance or the thought of these people get together. The professor uses ‘share meaning’ to describe community. For example, people that live in a same house, they share the space of the house. They have the same purpose for the house that is seek for residence. These roommates can be a little community. People who registered in a same online game or join in the different game teams, they also have same purpose, or we can say they share the meaning of the game. Thus, these people, whether they live in the same city or same country, are communities. Or people who are in the same ethnic group, come up with a community.
Communities are everywhere, so are in China. China has a very large population, it is a multinational country. In China, people use majorities and minorities to distinguish different ethnic groups. Different groups have different beliefs and each ethnic group is an independent community. There is a word ‘Sinicization’ that mentioned in Bhattacharyya’s Theorizing Community Development. This word means a process that a community that with non-Han culture influenced by Han culture. That means use Han language as official language, learn Han’s words and culture and behave like people come from Han. The consequence of that is the culture of Han becomes the majority culture. That’s the reason why the ethnic groups in China have two big categories, majorities and minorities.
In ancient China, subversions of many dynasties were due to conflicts and incompatibility between different ethnic groups. The conflicts between different ethnic groups almost throughout the whole history. There are many dynasties in the history that contributed by different ethnic groups. People use nations a lot when talk to these topics. There is an old saying that talk about nationality is people who are not from my family must be different. Bhattacharyya said in his book that the challenge before community development exist is to find way to resist homogenizing of the nation-state and defend cultural pluralism, because nation-state ruined early solidarities that based on the culture identity.
Shaw, Mae in Community Development and the Politics of Community said that today community is thought of in 2 ways that are inherently political and contradict with one another. One way is the Liberal tradition where there is focus on the individual before customs and practices where and the other is the communitarian tradition which focuses on people feeling like they are a part of something. China is a very traditional and old-fashioned country, with people that follow the communitarian tradition that put the individual behind the group benefits. Most of China’s communities are following the second way of Shaw’s theory, people in different communities think about their communities’ benefit first. That why the word ‘Sinicization’ exist. However, people should judge one thing critically. As I mentioned the Chinese Han nationality ‘Sinicized’ others to make their own culture became the majority culture. The ‘Sinicization’ itself can not be judged good or bad.
In modern society, China has developed the cultural tolerance for every minority ethnic. There are serious of policies that made for these communities to keep their ethnical independence. Also, there are some autonomous regions in China for those groups. I think communities in different countries have different forms of existing, those forms are related to different countries’ unique situations. In my point of view, China is a very traditional, multicultural country, because its long history of feudal ruling, the highly centralization of power is a natural result. In the ancient time when there is no concept of community development and even no concept of community, the communities’ development was suppressed a long time. In community development level, the Sinicization is not good for the development of multi-culture but has benefit for the development of majority ethnic group culture.
Now, there are a lot of policies for different communities’ development. For example, the college entrance examination is the one of the most important exams in China. Consider that many minorities ethnics’ teenagers may not have the same knowledge resources, the benchmark for acceptation of universities for these teenagers will be reduced. From 5 to 20 points, sorted by rarity of the ethnics. This policy is suitable for students that from a minority that take exam at school that with most of students are Han. It is interesting that if a student that from Han ethnic take exam in the minority areas, then the deduced mark will work on that student from Han. Because in that area, Han is the minority of ethnic. The progress that how Chinese treating with minority communities is obviously changed. But there are still some conflicts exist between these two big categories. It still has a long way to go to get the communities developed very well.
China now entering the period of electronic micro-business, people use smart phones to deal with money. From shopping malls to stalls open on streets, people can use phones sell and buy everything. The people who made this so popular, is Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. He is the man that let people step into the era of electronic micro-business. Alibaba was founded in Hangzhou, this company at first make online shopping become popular. Then it promoted e-commerce development in Hangzhou and its surrounding areas. Lots of young people started a business in Taobao, which is a trading platform for online shopping. Now, in China, shopping online is the most common and easy way for people buying commodities. And the economy around Hangzhou has been significant improved. Even today, Hangzhou and its surrounding areas are still the China’s largest micro-business gathering center. This community economic development is based on the geography. It can be said that the success of Taobao has driven the economic development of electronic commerce in the surrounding areas. At the same time, new community groups have emerged, they are the sellers and buyers that on the internet. The free access of using internet make Taobao popular all over the country, so does the E-commerce.
There is another result for the big success of E-commerce of Taobao that is the delivery industry. Online shopping lets the business volume of the delivery industry and its employment rate reach a new peak. The express delivery industry has developed very rapidly in recent years. Couriers have become the most common figures in every street of the city.
People may think the community economic development have no relationship with the E-commerce. But I personally think that, people no matter they are buyers or sellers, are belonging to different communities. The buyers share the meaning of purchasing and the sellers also share the meaning of selling products. The raise of the business volume and employment in delivery industry is also an example that one community’s economic development can promote another one’s. Because the concept of community and its development have no common in China, it is very fresh for me to use the knowledge of community and development explain events that happened in my country.
In China, there is no significant subject that calls community or community development. But community exist everywhere in the country, it’s just had another name maybe called ‘group’. From the ancient China that the rulers use ‘Sinicization’ to assimilate others that they can consolidate their own dynasties to people now have different policies to deal with different ethnic groups and seek benefits for the minority communities. It is closer to the community development itself. And community economic development is also developed in another approach.
The development of community is the result of a stable society. A good social system will breed many healthy communities. A healthy community will drive other communities to develop together under good economic development. The community development in China is more tend to the solidarity level which is to put individual’s benefit behind the group’s benefit.
- Bhattacharyya, Jnanabrata. (2004). Theorizing Community Development. Journal of the Community Development Society. 34(2), 5-34. Enns, S. W. 2018.
- Shaw, Mae. (2008). Community Development and the Politics of Community. Community Development Journal, 43(1), 24-36