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China’s New Nationalism

Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy

Peter Hays Gries

Publication Year: 2004

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.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction: Dragon Slayers and Panda Huggers

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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. Afew days later, China’s Ministry of Foreign Aªairs called an unusual late-night news conference. Spokesman Zhu Bangzao, his rage clearly visible, declared: “The United States should...

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1. Saving Face

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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 the...

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2. Chinese Identity and the “West”

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pp. 30-42

...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.” Fears about a declining West become manifest when Gertz asserts that Clinton’s engagement policy was...

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3. A “Century of Humiliation”

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pp. 43-53

...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...

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4. The “Kissinger Complex”

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pp. 54-68

...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 sentimentality” in favor of a hard-nosed realpolitik. His work on China, he professes, is no exception...

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5. Victors or Victims?

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pp. 69-85

...For over half a century now, “defeating the Japanese and saving the nation” has been a dual legacy at the heart of Chinese Communist claims to nationalist legitimacy. Stories about the Sino-Japanese Jiawu War of 1894–1895 and the Second World War continue to drive Chinese views of Japan and—more to the point—of themselves. China’s wars with Japan have been and continue to be a hot topic...

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6. China’s Apology Diplomacy

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pp. 86-115

...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 of the Chinese zodiac. The focus on these years leads the authors to contemplate how the rat became the first sign in the Chinese zodiac. The authors recount a traditional folktale about a race, in which the rat craftily persuaded the cat not to compete, and then rode on the back of the cow most of the way, only...

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7. Popular Nationalism and the Fate of the Nation

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pp. 116-134

...It was with the arrival of Marxism, however, that popular nationalism arguments in twentieth-century China became standard. Impersonal social forces—the working and peasant “masses”—became the agents of Chinese history. In the communist worldview, the masses were, by their very definition, an anti-imperialist social force. Chinese Communist Party founder Chen Duxiu’s evolving views of the Boxer...

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8. Chinese Nationalism and U.S.-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century

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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...


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pp. 151-180


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pp. 181-200

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pp. 201-204

...My interest in China began when I was a ten- and eleven-year-old in Beijing. After placing fifth in the city in hand grenade throwing, I was hooked! I thank Shi Laoshi, my teacher at Chinese public elementary school, who first taught me how to memorize and recite Chinese stories—and how to get along with my North Korean classmates. My interest in Chinese history arose through trading...


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pp. 205-215

E-ISBN-13: 9780520931947
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520244825

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2004