Tag: Daniel Glockler

China’s Elusive Nationhood: Ethnic, Cultural, and Civic Dimensions

     Despite the ahistorical claims of those who misread “nationhood” into the millennia of history in present day Greater China, a “Chinese Nation” is a fairly recent concept. As a political ideal, its roots are found in the writings of late Qing dynasty anti-Manchu and anti-imperialist intellectuals and revolutionaries. As a “reality,” it is no older than the 20th century, and a persuasive argument has been made that national consciousness reached much of China only in the 1950’s.1 Nonetheless, the influence of “Chinese nationhood” on both China and the world should not be underestimated.  The success of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in combining nationalism with anti-imperialism and anti-elitism is cited as an explanation for its civil war victory in 1949. 2 In the post-Maoism and post-global communism PRC, nationalism is cited by both Chinese leaders and outside observers as a primary pillar of regime security.      Indeed, as a cognitive political reality, Chinese nationhood seems to explain a lot.  But how does it explain itself? What are its contents? What are the values and norms embodied in the Chinese national image? Is it merely an ultra-realist and humiliation-minded ego of national scale? These questions are fascinating in part because

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