Wed, 2016-11-23 22:38 -- Anonymous (not verified)
I do not Agree

The recent Science perspectives “bridging indigenous and scientific knowledge”(1) and “environmental governance for all” (2) highlight the growing importance of indigenous peoples and local communities to biodiversity and ecosystems globally. The Convention on Biological Diversity [CBD Article 8 (j) and the Nagoya Protocol], the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services [IPBES] (3) have committed support for inclusive approaches to indigenous and local knowledge in assessment, and in sustainable use, governance and management of biodiversity.

China is a hotspot for both biological (4) and cultural diversity (5), and has a rich traditional knowledge of biodiversity (6). China’s government traditionally has linked the concept of indigenous people to external colonizers, but Chinese experts are now actively debating the issue (7).

The International Labour Organisations’ (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 169, internationally recognised as providing the best advice on the identification of indigenous peoples, highlights self-identification as a fundamental criteria. ILO recognises that indigenous peoples include those with their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions, descended from populations who inhabited the country at the time of colonisation OR at the time of the establishment of current nation-state boundaries (8). China has recognised 55 “ethnic minorities”, some of whom identify as indigenous peoples, and are recognised by experts as indigenous peoples (7). Tibetan, Mongolian, Ughur, Tujia, Tong, Bai, Miao, Yi, Hani, Naxi and others attract scientific attention as indigenous peoples whose customary laws and traditional practices make vital contributions to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity (9, 10).

Given the growing importance of indigenous knowledge in global biodiversity conservation through the IPBES and CBD (2), historical conceptions about indigenous peoples might usefully be revisited in the light of these initiatives. China recently became a party to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, paving the way for their indigenous peoples to add a wealth of knowledge to environmental governance (2). These international initiatives can provide useful opportunities for indigenous peoples to contribute, strengthen and share benefits from their knowledge about China’s biodiversity and ecosystems services.

1. J. Mistry, A. Berardi, Bridging indigenous and scientific knowledge. Science 352, 1274-1275 (2016).
2. E. S. Brondizio, F.-M. L. Tourneau, Environmental governance for all. Science 352, 1272-1273 (2016).
3. S. Díaz et al., The IPBES Conceptual Framework — connecting nature and people. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 14, 1-16 (2015).
4. T. M. Brooks et al., Global biodiversity conservation priorities. Science 313, 58-61 (2006).
5. J. Loh, D. Harmon, Biocultural Diversity: Threatened species, endangered languages. (WWF Netherlands, Zeist, The Netherlands, 2014).
6. D. Xue, The Categories and Benefit-Sharing of Traditional Knowledge Associated with Biodiversity. Journal of Resources and Ecology 2, 29-33 (2011).
7. M. Elliott, The Case of the Missing Indigene: Debate Over a "Second-Generation" Ethnic Policy. China Journal 73, 186-213 (2015).
8. B. Feiring, Ed., Indigenous & Tribal Peoples Rights in Practice: A Guide to ILO Convention No. 169, (International Labour Standards Department, 2009).
9. Y. M. Jiao et al., Indigenous ecological knowledge and natural resource management in the cultural landscape of China's Hani Terraces. Ecol. Res. 27, 247-263 (2012).
10. J. C. Xu et al., Integrating sacred knowledge for conservation: Cultures and landscapes in southwest China. Ecology and Society 10, 25 (2005).

No competing Interests: 
The following competing Interests: 
Electronic Publication Date: 
Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 22:38
Workflow State: 
<contrib xmlns="" xmlns:atom="" xmlns:hwp="" xmlns:nlm=""><name><surname>Xue</surname><given-names>Dayuan</given-names></name><email></email><role>Professor</role><aff>College of Life and Environmental Science, Minzu University of China, Beijing 100081, China</aff></contrib>
<contrib xmlns="" xmlns:atom="" xmlns:hwp="" xmlns:nlm=""><name><surname>Hill</surname><given-names>Rosemary</given-names></name><email></email><role>Principal Research Scientist</role><aff>CSIRO Land and Water and 3.	Division of Tropical Environments and Societies, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia 4870</aff></contrib>
Full Title: 

Does China have indigenous peoples?

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