Academic Scholarship

History, Chinese Nationalism and the Emerging Sino-Japanese Conflict

Journal of Contemporary China, 16(50), 1–24., February 2007

Photo Needed Yinan He, Ph.D
School of Diplomacy and International Relations

Anti-Japanese popular nationalism is rising high in China today. Little evidence to date proves that it is officially orchestrated. Nonetheless, Chinese popular nationalism still has deep roots in the state’s history propaganda which has implanted pernicious myths in the national collective memory. Fueling mistrust and exacerbating a mutual threat perception, popular nationalism could be a catalyst for future Sino – Japanese conflict over the Taiwan problem, island disputes and maritime resource competition. The increasingly liberalized but often biased Chinese media, the role of nationalist sub-elites and the government’s accommodation have all contributed to the strength of anti-Japanese nationalism, which cannot be mitigated by bilateral economic interdependence. To rid bilateral relations of the negative historical legacy, the two countries need the vision and determination to remove nationalistic myths and promote a shared history through mutual critique and self-reflection in transnational historians’ dialogues.


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