Collaboration and Resistance of Minority Elite: Huang Xianfan’s Struggle
This chapter focuses on the counter-narrative of Guilin-based Zhuang scholar Huang Xianfan. Trained in Peking Normal University in the 1920s under leading historians and linguists, Huang was the first college graduate of the Zhuang nationality. Huang was a strong critic of the Nationalist government’s assimilationist policy and an advocate for the subjectivity of the Zhuang nationality and its equal recognition under the PRC government. In his research on his own people, he advocated the use of a combination of archeology, written archival materials, as well as ethnography. As an ethnographer, Huang emphasized linguistic ability and criticized non-Zhuang scholars, for failing to communicate with local people in their own languages. Huang was also a staunch advocate of the theory that there was no slave society as a social mode in the history of the Zhuang. Huang’s experience of being purged under both the National and Communist governments demonstrates the dilemma of an independent-thinking non-Han scholar.