China’s leaders are today confronting the problem of how to fill the void created by the collapse of communitarian values fostered by Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The search for communitarian values to replace those of communism has led to official support for the values of nationalism, patriotism, and the re-invention of Chinese popular culture. China’s nationalism has, above all, been directed toward shoring up China’s national dignity, with a gain in dignity for the individual largely a mere spin off from an enhanced national dignity. It would be wrong to conclude, however, that nationalism has had to be whipped up by the Chinese government, for the Chinese people have embraced nationalism with a passion. This article asks whether China’s opening up to the world of ideas outside of China is leading to a potentially fragmenting pluralism, whether China’s participation in the international community is itself a threat to China’s identity as a nation-state, and whether support for individual rights, in the form of liberalism, could also challenge the cohesiveness of the national community.


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pp. 157-185
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