AbstractThe Chinese Communist Party has often used history as a tool to serve its political purposes. This article analyzes the ways in which mythological accounts have been manipulated in order to strengthen Beijing’s control over the restive northwestern province of Xinjiang. Relying on an analysis of various materials (including museum exhibitions, textbooks and travel guides), I explore how the figures of the Queen Mother of the West and King Mu of the Zhou have been used to assert that Xinjiang has been an inalienable part of China since prehistoric times. The materials analyzed treat mythological texts as valid sources of geographical and historical data, whereas Western scholars largely agree that these cannot provide any reliable information of this kind. In accordance with the tradition of early commentators, I define this approach as euhemeristic, in that it treats mythological accounts as a reflection of historical events.
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