When Is China? (1): Patriotic Education and the Century of National Humiliation

William A. Callahan

in China

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199549955
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191720314 | DOI:
When Is China? (1): Patriotic Education and the Century of National Humiliation

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Shows how China's pessoptimist identity politics frame historical memory to prime China's angry youth to explode into popular protests when they feel that China is being humiliated. It analyzes how the Central Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party uses the grand narrative of the Century of National Humiliation to socialize Chinese people into patriots who must continuously struggle against hostile foreign forces. The Central Propaganda Department thus deliberately deploys the pedagogy of national humiliation as part of its patriotic education policy. This chapter examines Chinese‐language sources from official and popular culture to explain how patriotic education is a moral campaign that teaches people how and what to feel – humiliation, hatred, and revenge are common themes. Long after the Century of National Humiliation ended in 1949, the pessoptimist historical narrative still provides the template that encourages militant Chinese reactions to conflicts both in the present and in the future.

Keywords: history; propaganda; official culture; popular culture; Chinese nationalism

Chapter.  11494 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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