Much has been written in recent years about the environmental degradation in China's ethnic minority regions and the impact that this degradation and the policies that have been implemented to combat it have had on minority populations. To date, however, the research has focused mainly on the livelihood and lifestyle of minority herders and farmers. This article shifts the focus to the more symbolic realm of discourse and identity and to the minority educated urban elite, for whom this environmental degradation is linked primarily to ethnic politics. Based on an analysis of popular songs by famous Mongolian, Uyghur, and Tibetan musicians, along with interviews with the musicians who created them and other minority intellectuals, this article proposes that China's minority intellectuals have appropriated the global discourse of environmentalism to construct minority environmental discourses that they use to assert their ethnic identities, express ethnic concerns and aspirations, and make ethno-nationalist claims.

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