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Remote Homeland, Recovered Borderland

Remote Homeland, Recovered Borderland: Manchus, Manchoukuo, and Manchuria, 1907-1985

Shao Dan
Copyright Date: 2011
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  • Book Info
    Remote Homeland, Recovered Borderland
    Book Description:

    Remote Homeland, Recovered Borderlandaddresses a long-ignored issue in the existing studies of community construction: How does the past failure of an ethnic people to maintain sovereignty over their homeland influence their contemporary reconfigurations of ethnic and national identities? To answer this question, Shao Dan focuses on the Manzus, the second largest non-Han group in contemporary China, whose cultural and historical ancestors, the Manchus, ruled China from 1644 to 1912. Based on deep and rigorous empirical research, Shao analyzes the major forces responsible for the transformation of Manchu identity from the ruling group of the Qing empire to the minority of minorities in China today: the de-territorialization and provincialization of Manchuria in the late Qing, the remaking of national borders and ethnic boundaries during the Sino-Japanese contestation over Manchuria, and the power of the state to re-categorize borderland populations and ascribe ethnic identity in post-Qing republican states.Within the first half of the twentieth century, four regimes-the Qing empire under the Manchu royal clan, the Republic of China under the Nationalist Party, Manchuokuo under the Japanese Kanto Army, and the People's Republic of China under the Communist Party-each grouped the Manchus into different ethnic and national categories while re-positioning Manchuria itself on their political maps in accordance with their differing definitions of statehood. During periods of state succession, Manchuria was transformed from the Manchu homeland in the Qing dynasty to an East Asian borderland in the early twentieth century, before becoming China's territory recovered from the Japanese empire. As the transformation of territoriality took place, the hard boundaries of the Manchu community were reconfigured, its ways of self-identification reformed, and the space for its identity representations redefined.Taking the borderland approach,Remote Homelandgoes beyond the single-country focus and looks instead at regional and cross-border perspectives. It is a study of China, but one that transcends traditional historiographies. As such, it will be of interest to scholars of modern China, Japanese empire, and Northeast Asian history, as well as to those engaged in the study of borderlands, ethnic identity, nationalism, and imperialism.20 illus., 5 maps

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6022-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Maps
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  6. Prologue: Three Stone Steles in Shenyang
    (pp. xix-xxii)

    My first visit to the September 18 Incident¹ Monument in Shenyang 沉阳 (Mukden) was in 2006, although during the previous six years I spent four summers in the city conducting archival research and interviews for this book. Only two blocks from my hotel, the monument did not attract my attention because I assumed that as a commemoration of the Chinese resistance against the 1931 Japanese invasion of Northeast China, it had nothing to do with the Manchus, the focus of my research. When I decided to walk through the monument park one day, I found an architecturally impressive war memorial....

  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    The research reported in this book began in response to a long-ignored issue in existing studies of community construction: How does the past failure of an ethnic people to maintain sovereignty in their homeland influence their contemporary reconfigurations of ethnic and national identities? To help address this complex question, this book focuses on the Manzu, the second largest non-Han group in contemporary China, whose cultural and historical ancestors, the Manchus, ruled China from 1644 to 1912.¹ The Manchus failed to maintain sovereignty over their homeland of Manchuria in the last years of the Qing empire; they then failed to make...

  8. Part I: Remote Homeland, Lost Empire

    • [Part I Introduction]
      (pp. 23-24)

      In 1644, the Manchu rulers relocated their court from Mukden to Beijing, the capital of the Ming dynasty. The enthronement ceremony for Emperor Shunzhi (1638–1661; r. 1644–1661) took place at the Imperial Palace inherited from the Ming. The emperor, born outside the Great Wall, began to rule the vast territory within and without the Shanhai Pass from the “seat of the dragon” (longyi龙椅) in the Forbidden City.

      What happened to Manchuria after the “dragon” left? The region became almost devoid of people after the departure of the court. Immediately after 1644, most of the elite and many...

    • 1 Remote Homeland, Contested Borderland: The Qing Empire, Banner People, and Manchuria
      (pp. 25-67)

      The banner system in the Three Eastern Provinces during the late Qing was both old and new. It was old because the original banner system, which officially began in 1601, had developed over hundreds of years. It was new because the military, political, and social roles of the banners began to change when new problems arose. The banner communities in Manchuria, despite their minor differences across Fengtian, Jilin, and Heilongjiang, were distinguished from banner garrisons stationed in China Proper with respect to military function, political importance, administrative strategies, population management, and relations with Han civilians.

      The evolution of the generals’...

    • 2 Between Empire and Nation: The 1911 Revolution, Manchus, and Manchuria
      (pp. 68-106)

      The 1911 Revolution finally forced the Manchu court to negotiate with the anti-Manchu revolutionaries, who had launched a series of failed revolts before the end of the Qing. On January 1, 1912, Sun Yatsen formally announced the establishment of the Republic of China at his presidential inauguration in Nanjing. In Beijing, the emperor abdicated on February 2. During the Qing-ROC transition, dramatic changes and calamitous consequences reshaped banner people’s lives and community.

      The banner people and families of most garrisons stationed in towns and cities in China Proper faced vehement anti-Manchu rhetoric, sentiments, and actions. Violence against banner people reached...

  9. Part II: Contested Borderland, Redefined Identity

    • [Part II Introduction]
      (pp. 107-108)

      Manchuria, with its vast and fertile land, rich natural resources, and strategically important location, was significant for both the Japanese colonial empire and the ROC. Aiming to protect Japan’s “interest line” beyond its territorial borders, Japanese leaders valued Manchuria as their nation’s “lifeline” (seimei sen); thus the Japanese government devoted tremendous manpower and generous amounts of state resources to protect Japanese interests in the area.¹ Chinese nationalists in the 1930s and 1940s, unlike the anti-Manchu revolutionaries of the 1910s, asserted that China would not be a complete nation without recovering Dongbei 北 (the Northeast) from Japanese occupation.² The Western...

    • 3 Legitimizing Statehood, Revising History: Manchoukuo between Japan and the ROC
      (pp. 109-134)

      On October 19, 1934, a LondonTimescorrespondent in Mukden reported that the Manchoukuo emperor, Puyi, who had abdicated the Qing throne at the age of six in 1912, visited Dongling 东陵 (Eastern Mausoleum), one of the three imperial mausoleums of his ancestors in Manchuria. For this occasion, Puyi changed from his field marshal uniform, in which he was regularly depicted in official photographs released by the Manchoukuo government, into a traditional Manchu costume, rarely seen in official photographs in Manchoukuo.⁴ In his Manchu costume, Puyi offered “fruits, wine, jade, a bullock, and a ram to the spirit of the...

    • 4 Ethnic Harmony, Colonial Reality: Manchus, Manchoukuo, and the ROC
      (pp. 135-165)

      A Manchurian orphan in Manchoukuo’s capital, Xinjing 新京 (Changchun 長春), who had been cruelly abused by her Manchurian stepparents, was saved and adopted by a Japanese couple. She was given a Japanese name, Emiko, and a decent education. She learned social etiquette, handcrafts, thread and needle work, and other skills and knowledge required of Japanese women. She thus became a “graceful and pure Japanese woman.” The family was praised in a newspaper as “a bright example of Manchurian-Japanese love, which crosses ethnic boundaries” (SJSB, October 7, 1938), presenting a rosy picture of Manchoukuo’s national principle of “Harmony of the Five...

    • 5 Historicizing the Manchus, Deterritorializing Manchuria: Ethnology and Borderland Studies in the ROC
      (pp. 166-191)

      Although the Manchus had to face another wave of suspicion in the ROC during the 1930s and 1940s, the ROC leaders perceived the Manchus as a Hanized subnational group and viewed the Three Eastern Provinces as lost borderlands. This perception, expressed in state rhetoric and diplomacy (as examined previously), was also well supported by Chinese scholarly publications on the ethnology and borderlands of China. Scholars in the ROC played an essential role in redefining the ethnic composition and territorial structure of China in general, and in re-identifying the Manchus and repositioning Manchuria in particular.

      A careful examination of the changes...

    • 6 Redefining the Manzu, Remapping Ethnic Autonomy: State and Scholars in the PRC
      (pp. 192-218)

      As a minor—and sometimes illegal—political party in the ROC, the CCP could not conduct nationwide ethnological surveys or research projects. The CCP did, however, make efforts to win sympathy and support from minority peoples during its bitter struggles with the GMD.³ The CCP developed general policies for the border regions in its development strategies as early as its Second National Congress in 1922. Under the influence and directorship of the Comintern, the CCP defined its task in the frontier regions as “respecting the autonomy of borderlanders” and establishing “self-governing states (zizhibang自治邦) in Mongolia, Tibet, and the Hui...

  10. Part III: Experiencing Borderlands, Re-understanding Homeland

    • 7 A Trial of Treason: Aisin Gioro Xianyu and Identity Dilemma
      (pp. 221-244)

      In late March 1948, news agencies in China, Japan, and the United States reported the execution in the ROC of Aisin Gioro Xianyu 愛新觉罗显扜 (1906?–1948)—also known as Jin Bihui 金璧辉 and Kawashima Yoshiko 川島芳子—for treason. In the Japanese reports, she was known as Kawashima Yoshiko, “Manchoukuo’s Joan of Arc,” or “A Beauty in Male Attire” (dansō no reijin男装の麗人). Americans referred to her as the “Mata Hari of East Asia.” The Chinese knew her as the mysterious Jin Bihui (“Radiant Jade”).² Xianyu still appears frequently under these names in postwar memoirs in Japanese, Chinese, and English, where...

    • 8 Tales of Two Empires: The Conquerors, the Colonized, and the Heroes
      (pp. 245-282)

      The Qing Empire came to an end in 1912, and Manchoukuo disappeared with Japan’s imperial empire in 1945. Yet collective and individual memories of the two empires persist in the Manzu’s narrations of their pasts. “The remembering and the telling are themselvesevents,not only description of events” (Portelli 1981b, 175). Manzu accounts of the two empires reveal a triadic process of the ethnicization of the Manzu community: the Manzu’s reconception of Manchuria, redefinition of their historical roles, and decolonization in post-Qing China. With a role to play in revising the history of a community for the present redefinition of...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 283-298)

    Opposing the abdication of the last emperor, Prince Su left Beijing for Lüshun (Port Arthur) in south Manchuria. He wrote the poem quoted above upon his departure. Although the Manchus had ruled China Proper for 267 years from their base of power in the Forbidden City in Beijing, this Manchu prince concluded that the Beijing area was not his homeland. Thus he chose to “return” to Liaodong. Ironically, the city of Lüshun, which had presumably been a part of the prince’s homeland, was not ruled at the time by the Manchus either; it had been under Japanese control since 1905....

  12. Epilogue
    (pp. 299-304)

    At the entrance to an exhibition on the Qing empire at Hetu’ala in 2005, a poem on the historical development of the dynasty from the exhibition’s Organizing Committee read,

    Hetu’ala is the Xingjing of the Qing, a castle built with stones along the hill.

    Here the Jurchens were stationed in the last years of the Ming, and a new community of Manchus arose and prospered.

    The Aisin Gioros arose as destined; Nurgaci made miraculous achievements.

    [He] established the capital, founded the state, and titled himself the Khan; the founder of the imperial enterprise of the Great Qing.

    Why was the...

  13. Appendix 1 Chronology
    (pp. 305-306)
  14. Appendix 2 Japanese Agencies in Manchuria
    (pp. 307-307)
  15. Appendix 3 Ethnic Distribution of Population in Manchoukuo (1937)
    (pp. 308-309)
  16. Appendix 4 Population of the Manchus and Han in Manchoukuo (1935–1937)
    (pp. 310-310)
  17. Appendix 5 Immigration into Manchuria (1926–1938)
    (pp. 311-312)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 313-356)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 357-402)
  20. Index
    (pp. 403-414)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 415-418)