Since the end of the Cold War, the international arena has witnessed two concurrent worldwide trends. One is the gradual prevalence of universalism under the banner of human civilization; the other is the gradual revival of nationalism globally under exactly the same heading. Both trends are evident in China, a country which in the twenty-first century is perceived universally as a rising nation. However, does Chinese nationalism necessarily pose a threat to the world? By examining two debates on the Chinese intellectual response towards Sino-American and Sino-Japanese relations in the early twenty-first century, this paper investigates the status of Chinese nationalism. It questions whether it is a fixed set of ideas embraced by a solid entity, or whether it possesses multiple layers with dual elements contributing to both security and insecurity internationally. The paper argues that three separate nationalist processes are occurring concurrently but independently of each other: the construction of civic nationalist values; the development of an international relations strategy assigning responsible power to China; and the detection of alleged anti-Chinese conspiracies. The effect of the first two would be to encourage regional peace, and they could offset fervent nationalist expression. A somewhat counter-intuitive result of Chinese nationalism might be that it also becomes a stabilizing force within and outside China's borders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science