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China’s New Nationalism

China’s New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy

Peter Hays Gries
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    China’s New Nationalism
    Book Description:

    Three American missiles hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and what Americans view as an appalling and tragic mistake, many Chinese see as a "barbaric" and intentional "criminal act," the latest in a long series of Western aggressions against China. In this book, Peter Hays Gries explores the roles of perception and sentiment in the growth of popular nationalism in China. At a time when the direction of China's foreign and domestic policies have profound ramifications worldwide, Gries offers a rare, in-depth look at the nature of China's new nationalism, particularly as it involves Sino-American and Sino-Japanese relations—two bilateral relations that carry extraordinary implications for peace and stability in the twenty-first century. Through recent Chinese books and magazines, movies, television shows, posters, and cartoons, Gries traces the emergence of this new nationalism. Anti-Western sentiment, once created and encouraged by China's ruling PRC, has been taken up independently by a new generation of Chinese. Deeply rooted in narratives about past "humiliations" at the hands of the West and impassioned notions of Chinese identity, popular nationalism is now undermining the Communist Party's monopoly on political discourse, threatening the regime's stability. As readable as it is closely researched and reasoned, this timely book analyzes the impact that popular nationalism will have on twenty-first century China and the world.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93194-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Dragon Slayers and Panda Huggers
    (pp. 1-12)

    On 1 April 2001, an American EP-3 surveillance plane and a Chinese F-8 jet fighter collided over the South China Sea. The EP-3 made it safely to China’s Hainan Island; the F-8 tore apart and crashed. Chinese pilot Wang Wei was killed. A few days later, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called an unusual late-night news conference. Spokesman Zhu Bangzao, his rage clearly visible, declared: “The United States should take full responsibility, make an apology to the Chinese government and people, and give us an explanation of its actions.”¹ Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and President Jiang Zemin soon reiterated this...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Saving Face
    (pp. 13-29)

    8 May 1999. Midnight. In the skies over Belgrade, an American B-2 bomber dropped five two-thousand-pound guided missiles. All five hit their intended target. But it was not a Serbian arms depot, as their maps indicated, but the Chinese embassy. Three missiles exploded near the embassy’s intelligence operations center. And three Chinese—Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying of theGuangming Daily,one of China’s premier national newspapers, and Shao Yunhuan of the New China News Agency—were killed in the blast. Twenty-three others were injured.

    That night in Urumuchi, in China’s far northwest Xinjiang Province, Yue Hongjian was eating dinner...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Chinese Identity and the “West”
    (pp. 30-42)

    Washington Timesnational security correspondent Bill Gertz has dark suspicions about Chinese intentions: his writings are distinguished by the fears and fantasies that he projects onto China. In his 2000 bookThe China Threat: How the People’s Republic Targets America,Gertz argues that “the China threat is real and growing.” “The true nature of Chinese communism,” he asserts, is the same as that of all dictatorships: “military aggression.” Gertz goes on to equate engagement policies with appeasement: “the Clinton-Gore administration treated China the way Chamberlain treated Hitler.”¹ Fears about a declining West become manifest when Gertz asserts that Clinton’s engagement...

  7. CHAPTER 3 A “Century of Humiliation”
    (pp. 43-53)

    “The sleeping lion has awoken, erasing the national humiliation,” reads the calligraphy above Xia Ziyi’s 1996 paintingThe Awakened Lion.Painted in anticipation of Hong Kong’s 1997 “return to the Motherland,” Xia’s roaring lion, with bared fangs and angry eyes, does not seem humiliated or ashamed. What is the relationship between the humiliation discussed in the calligraphy and the rage of the lion? Although Marxists as diverse as Kautsky, Luxembourg, and Lenin viewed nationalism as an instrument utilized by the ruling classes to divide and conquer the working classes, Karl Marx himself used psychology to explain it: “Shame is a...

  8. CHAPTER 4 The “Kissinger Complex”
    (pp. 54-68)

    As noted in the introduction, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger paints a rosy picture of Chinese intentions. Like many realists, he infers intentions from capabilities. “Chinese ground forces,” Kissinger argues inThe Washington Post,“are not suitable for offensive operations.” And on the economic front, Kissinger maintains, China’s “current growth of about 6 percent barely keeps pace with the growth of the Chinese labor force.”¹ China is thus not capable of challenging the United States. Kissinger frequently claims that both his academic and public careers have been driven by a desire to “purge our foreign policy of all...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Victors or Victims?
    (pp. 69-85)

    War is at once the graveyard of peoples and the birthplace of nations. No true nation is born without war; indeed, nations define themselves through conflict with other nations.¹ Modern China is no exception. The 1931/1937–1945 “War of Resistance against Japan”(KangRi zhanzheng)was the birthplace of the People’s Republic of China. By mobilizing and leading the peasantry in nationalist resistance against the invading Japanese, the Communist Party gained the mass following it later used to defeat the Nationalist Party during the Civil War of the late 1940s.² For over half a century now, “defeating the Japanese and saving...

  10. CHAPTER 6 China’s Apology Diplomacy
    (pp. 86-115)

    In 1996, the Year of the Rat, researchers at the Beijing Asia-Pacific Economic Relations Center issued a two-volume work comparing the modernizations of China and Japan. Part of a series on national affairs that earnestly seeks the “Holy Grail” (zhenli:literally, ‘truth’) of a “rich people and a strong state”(fumin qiangguo), A Century of Hatredopens with a section entitled “Sino-Japanese Relations During Eight Years of the Rat.” The section delimits the scope of the study: it is a brief history of the last century of Sino-Japanese relations, focusing on the Years of the Rat in each twelve-year cycle...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Popular Nationalism and the Fate of the Nation
    (pp. 116-134)

    Following the 1999 bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Zhou Yi, a high school student from Wuhan, joined a demonstration. He later wrote:

    I entered the group [of protestors] because I wanted to march with them, to shout out my outrage with them. . . . As a high school student among college students, I thought I would feel lonely, but I felt that I belonged. There were no divisions between male and female, old and young: we were all one family! . . . We were all Chinese boys and girls, sons and grandsons of the Yan and...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Chinese Nationalism and U.S.-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century
    (pp. 135-150)

    National identity is both dependent upon interactions with other nations, and constituted in part by the stories we tell about our national pasts. Like all forms of identity, national identity does not arise in isolation, but develops and changes in encounters with other groups. Thus, Chinese nationalism cannot be comprehended in isolation; instead, it must be understood as constantly evolving as Chinese interact with other nationalities. In particular, because of the stature of the United States and Japan, Sino-American and Sino-Japanese relations are central to the evolution of Chinese nationalism today.

    National identities are also shaped by the narratives we...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 151-180)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 181-200)
  15. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 201-204)
  16. Index
    (pp. 205-215)