Painting by Ahn Gyeon (안견/安堅), Dream Journey to the Peach Blossom Land (몽유도원도/夢遊桃源圖), 1447.


Nationalism(s) in China

Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a China expert and frequent visitor to Macau, published a seminal study, "The many facets of Chinese nationalism", in the May-June 2005 edition of Perspectives Chinoises, which you can (and should) read here. The original text in French is available here.
Below is a synopsis:
"While, for historical reasons, Chinese nationalism is in many ways specific, it has expressed, since the beginning of the modern era, which is to say since the Opium War of 1840, the profound insecurity of the Chinese elite. However, behind this feeling of insecurity, several forms of nationalism co-exist: an official nationalism inspired by communist ideology and the Communist Party's preoccupation with maintaining its monopoly of politics, which is similar to the modernising but authoritarian nationalism of many Chinese revolutionaries at the beginning of the twentieth century; a “primitive” and revanchist nationalism with racist tendencies, which is disseminated in society by the most xenophobic elements among the Chinese elite; and a “pragmatic nationalism” which derives its legitimacy from the economic and social realities of China, without however rejecting foreign influence out of hand. Can this latter nationalism eventually give birth to a democratic nationalism, at once measured, open, and concerned with defending not only the interests of the Chinese nation, but also those of the men and women who belong to it? The anti-American demonstrations in 1999 and the anti-Japanese violence in the spring of 2005 highlight the difficulty of such an evolution, as well as the persistent temptation for the Chinese government to instrumentalise the only ideology that allows it to prolong its life expectancy."

No comments:

Post a Comment