Chexit: could China break up?

Historic China, homeland of the Han Chinese, is only about half the area of the current People`s Republic, Tullock points out. Outlying areas like Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Tibet were added by imperial conquest. Their ethnic minority populations have a long history of periodic revolt. Even Taiwan, now the base of the Nationalist Republic of China, was seized by the Chinese only in 1662, decades after the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts.

But Tullock also notes—in an observation confirmed by modern genetic research—that “the southern Chinese and the northern Chinese are quite different. You can tell them apart. The southern Chinese are shorter. There`s a substantial Turkic element [from repeated barbarian invasions] in northern China.”

Which could matter—at a time when the level of economic development in China`s southern coastal provinces is rapidly diverging from that of the interior.

Most American China-watchers don`t see a breakup on their radar screen. But Tullock is used to being in a minority.

“When I got to China [in 1948],” he says, “there were only two officials in the U.S. consulate who were not pro-Communist, myself and the commercial attaché. Everyone—not just State Department officials, but missionaries, businessmen—was so antagonistic to the Nationalists that they more or less thought anyone would be better.” This expatriate antagonism, he believes, stemmed from a fundamental naiveté about Asia`s different, sometimes distressing, moral code.

  • ntt1

    I can easily imagine it.There is a strong strain of regional bigotry and discrimination based on north-south tribalism. Hans do look different, and the (lucky) ability to discern region just by looks is very deeply appreciated

  • simus1

    To marxists, any country’s government allied or friendly to the USA is an unacceptable immoral government beyond the pale. They will expend a tremendous amount of energy defaming and misrepresenting it.

    In comparison, any country antagonistic to the USA no matter how murderous and atrocity prone its barbaric rulers rulers chose to be, “is entitled to conduct its internal affairs blah blah …………………………………”

    • xavier


      yup that’s pretty much my view. I’d go further by stating that the economic situation is very dire. contra Spengler (David Goldman at and other China watcher.
      Xi’s obnoxious nationalism and the growing belligerence vis-à-vis the neighbours in the South China sea and the massive corruption suggests that all’s not well.
      It’s eerie how China reminds me of Wilhemin Germany of the pre-WW I. All the bellowing histronics indicates that China or someone in the South China sea will drag the world to some sort of conflict.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    I read that the big difference between north and south in China is dietary. Southerners eat rice and that keeps their height short. (What they lose in height they compensate for in stamina.) Northerners eat wheat in the form of noodles and therefore grow taller.

  • canminuteman

    So diversity isn’t a strength in China? Who would have guessed?