Save

Rescuing the Empire: Chinese Nation-building in the Twentieth Century

In: European Journal of East Asian Studies
Author:
Magnus Fiskesjö
Search for other papers by Magnus Fiskesjö in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution

Purchase

Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

$40.00

Abstract

This paper takes modern China's dilemma of how to deal with the legacy of its imperial past as the starting point for a discussion of the drawn-out re-creation of China in the twentieth century. The particular focus is on the important role of non-Han ethnic minorities in this process. It is pointed out that the non-recognition and forced assimilation of all such minorities, in favour of a unified citizenship on an imagined European, American or Japanese model, was actually considered as a serious alternative and favoured by many Chinese nation-builders in the wake of the overthrow of the last imperial dynasty in 1911. The article then proceeds to a discussion of why, on the contrary, ethnic minorities should instead have been formally identified and in some cases even actively organised as official minorities, recognised and incorporated into the state structure, as happened after 1949. Based on the formal and symbolic qualities of the constitution of these minorities, it is argued that new China is also a new formulation of the imperial Chinese model, which resurrects the corollary idea of civilisation as a transformative force that requires a primitive, backward periphery as its object.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1307 418 34
Full Text Views 419 59 3
PDF Views & Downloads 432 119 8