The problem of Chinese nationalism – from the moment of proclaiming the People’s Republic of China
The first part of the text (Asia-Pacific issue no.14, 2011) provided a reader with a systematic insight into traditional Chinese concepts of statehood and practice of relationships with other nations treated as subordinates and vassals.
The second part of the text dwells on ideas of modern nationalism based mainly on foreign concepts put into the framework of China’s own specific conditions. Those ideas were also conducive to the formation of more radical concepts of a nation-state as visualized and implemented by Mao Zedong and his communist government. The text introduces the reader to the evolution of Mao’s concepts over decades of revolutionary struggle and concentration of power after the proclamation of the People’s Republic in 1949 – from a quite liberal stance on nationalities and their status down to a total denial of their self-governance and separation from the unitary Chinese state. Beijing’s policies on nationalities, with all the inherent controversy and setbacks, various types of Chinese nationalism and ethnic nationalisms as well as the Chinese pattern of nominal autonomy confronted with a universal model of autonomy are also depicted in detail at the backdrop of China’s legal framework and ethnic statistics.
The text is a critical approach to and an analysis of the phenomenon of rising Chinese nationalism which is recently becoming an increasingly annoying impediment in China’s relations not only with its immediate and regional neighbors but also with partners further afield. Nationalism has effectively replaced communist ideology in today’s China and the aftermath thereof is already and will surely touch the whole world at the time of globalization.