When the Chinese Communists came to power in 1949 they inherited an age-old problem for Chinese leaders: how to deal with the national minorities of China. Peoples belonging to non-Han ethnic groups such as the Chuang, Mongols, Tibetans, Uighurs, Kazakhs and a host of smaller nationalities amounted to only about 5-6% of China's total population, yet they constituted the majority population in some of China's sensitive border regions. Some
of these nationalities, particularly the Mongols and the Tibetans, had manifested separatist tendencies. The Chinese Communists were firmly committed to policies which hopefully could achieve the total integration of the minorities and the territories they inhabited into China's Han-shaped political, economic and social framework. Because of the development of border tension with India and the Soviet Union as well as unresolved border problems with other adjacent states, the goal of integration has taken on increased significance. It is not surprising, then, that the People's Liberation Array (PLA), heavily involved in China's political scene as well as in national defense, has had a significant relationship with the national minor it i e s .