restricted access Toward a U.S.-China Comparative Critique: Indigenous Rights and National Expansion in Alex Kuo's Panda Diaries

In his novel Panda Diaries (2006), Chinese American author Alex Kuo juxtaposes the Indian policies of the nineteenth-century U.S. with the Chinese government's efforts to integrate ethnic minorities into the project of socialist modernization during the Cultural Revolution. This comparison highlights the colonization of minority space that has occurred in the process of national expansion in both countries, thus constituting a form of double critique. The novel brings Native Americans and ethnic minorities in China into a virtual dialogue, laying a theoretical foundation for comparative studies of their experiences and possible strategies to build political alliances between them. It also intervenes in an emerging discourse in China that parallels the Chinese government's ongoing campaign to develop its western regions, which have a high concentration of minorities, with the American westward expansion, a parallel that largely serves as a justification for prioritizing the state's conception of economic and social development over minority interests.