Redefining Nationalism in Modern China

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Redefining Nationalism in
Modern China
Sino-American Relations and the
Emergence of Chinese Public
Opinion in the 21st Century
Simon Shen
© Simon Shen 2007
All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this
publication may be made without written permission.
No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted
save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence
permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90
Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 4LP.
Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication
may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.
The author has asserted his right to be identified as
the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988.
First published in 2007 by
PALGRAVE MACMILLAN
Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010
Companies and representatives throughout the world.
PALGRAVE MACMILLAN is the global academic imprint of the Palgrave
Macmillan division of St. Martin’s Press, LLC and of Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Macmillan® is a registered trademark in the United States, United Kingdom
and other countries. Palgrave is a registered trademark in the European
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ISBN-13: 978–0–230–54939–5 hardback
ISBN-10: 0–230–54939–X hardback
This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully
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processes are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of
the country of origin.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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Printed and bound in Great Britain by
Antony Rowe Ltd, Chippenham and Eastbourne
Contents
List of Tables and Figures
vii
Acknowledgements
viii
Author’s Biography
x
Abbreviations
xi
Glossary
xii
1 Introduction: The Diverse Society and Segmented
Nationalism in China
1.1 From three theoretical misassumptions to the
thematic design
1.2 Primary source identification of the groups selected
1
3
23
2 Creating a Reference Point for Contemporary
Nationalists: The Belgrade Embassy Bombing (May 1999)
2.1 The nationalist response of top-level groups
2.2 The nationalist response of the intermediary-level public
2.3 The nationalist response of the lower-level public
38
3 ‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict: The Spy Plane
Collision Incident (April 2001)
3.1 The nationalist response of top-level groups
3.2 The nationalist response of the intermediary-level public
3.3 The nationalist response of the lower-level public
71
4 Response to US Patriotism: The 9/11 Incident and the
War in Afghanistan (September–December 2001)
4.1 The nationalist response of the top-level groups
4.2 The nationalist response of the intermediary-level public
4.3 The nationalist response of the lower-level public
102
5 Happy Division of Labour: The War in Iraq
( January 2002–May 2003)
5.1 The nationalist response of the top-level groups
5.2 The nationalist response of the intermediary-level public
5.3 The nationalist response of the lower-level public
135
6 The Stabilizing Function of Chinese
Nationalism: Conclusion
6.1 Summary of findings on the layers of Chinese nationalism
165
v
39
49
58
72
83
91
103
113
124
136
143
154
166
vi
Contents
6.2 Summary of findings on the politics of China’s
diverse society
6.3 Conclusion: contemporary Chinese nationalism
and stability
187
198
Notes
203
Bibliography
247
Index
283
List of Tables and Figures
Tables
1.1 Typologies of the deviant case studies
2.1 Was the US apology and compensation for the
Bombing enough?
2.2 Was the bombing caused by wrong intelligence?
2.3 Was the bombing a deliberate act by the US government?
2.4 Correlation coefficients of the eight statements measuring
Beijing students’ understanding of China’s policy priority
3.1 Is China a friend of the United States? (conducted
after the Collision)
3.2 Was China a friend of the United States? (conducted
before the Collision)
4.1 Immediate response upon hearing about the 9/11 attack
4.2 Perception of Osama Bin Laden after 9/11
4.3 Is 9/11 a global crisis or strictly an American problem?
4.4 Perceived effects of 9/11 on Sino-American relations
5.1 Do the Chinese people support the war in Iraq?
5.2 The perception of the Chinese towards Saddam’s
Iraq (2002–2003)
5.3 The perception of the Chinese towards the
United States (2002–2003)
5.4 Should the Chinese government support the war in Iraq?
6.1 Summary of the findings in the cases
23
61
64
64
68
99
100
125
127
130
133
155
157
159
159
167
Figures
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
American interest group politics and civil society
Politics of public diversity and ‘imperfect civil society’
Functional interaction of the diverse society
Intellectuals in general: liberals versus non-liberals
Politics of public diversity and segmented
Chinese nationalism
vii
11
12
14
27
37
Acknowledgements
I have written this book based on my DPhil thesis at the University of
Oxford and owe gratitude to many people who have contributed to its
preparation. First and foremost I wish to express my indebtedness to my
supervisor and friend of honour, Dr Rana Mitter, whose inspirational guidance and unfailing patience are qualities that are increasingly rare in today’s
commercialized academic world. I thank also Professor Shaun Breslin;
Dr Joseph Askew; Professor Vivienne Shue; Dr Laura Newby; Dr Eddy U and
Dr Steve Tsang for the constructive and critical comments given at various
stages of the thesis’s examination and which were indispensable to its eventual completion. Recognition goes also to Carol Dyer for her skilful copyediting before submission of the manuscript, often performed under great
constraints of time.
During the process of data collection, interviewing, carrying out field work
and revising/copy-editing the text, I gratefully received advice, assistance
and cooperation from the following: Professor Kathryn Bernhardt; Professor
Yanjie Bian; Professor Archie Brown; Mary Button; Victoria Button; Professor
El-Mostafa Chadli; Dr Betty Chan; Chi-yuen Chan; Dr Gerald Chan; Dr Joffre
Chan; Professor Ming Chan; Dr Red Chan; Yiu-wah Chan; Professor Nancy
Chapman; Professor Tina Mai Chen; Professor Joseph Cheng; Professor
Sealing Cheng; Dr Gordon Cheung; Mong Cheung; Christine Chung;
Professor David Churchill; Maya Columbus; Lisa Currie; Professor Lowell
Dittmer; Jenny Eagleton; Dr Elizabeth Economy; Dr David Faure; Jill Flitter;
Professor Rosemary Foot; Adeline Fung; Norman Fung; Professor Lise Garon;
Jianwen Guan; Dr Baogang Guo; Dr Sujian Guo; Jenny Hill; Dr Koon-wan
Ho; Laurence Ho; Gemma d’Arcy Hughes; Jean Hung; Chung-mun Ip;
Vidhya Jayaprakash; Professor Hsin-chi Kuan; Professor Michael Lampton;
Kevin Lau; Nai-keung Lau; Dr Jane Lee; Dr Stephen Leong; Kwok-hung
Leung; Roufou Li; Professor Eric Ma; Professor Colin Mackerras; Dr Chi-kwan
Mark; Professor Fiona McGillivray; Bonnie Ng; Professor Emerson Niou;
Dr Clemens Stubbe Ostergaard; Amy Lankester-Owen; Professor Zongchao
Peng; Michael Perkinson; Dr Kitty Poon; Professor Hui Qin; Dr Yixin Ni;
H.E. Bulet Sarsenbayev; Professor Aron Shai; Dr Yihua Shao; Professor
Zonghai Shao; Min Shen; Penny Simmons; Professor Helen Siu; Professor
Paul Smith; Professor Alvin So; Dr Eric Stern; Richard Stites; Michael Strang;
Esther Thomas; Dr Wai Ting; Janet Tsang; Chip Tsao; Professor Ban Wang;
Dan Wang; Dr Zhaohui Wang; Professor Shaoguang Wang; Professor
Bradford Westerfield; Nancy Wong; Siu-keung Wong; Professor Lan Xue;
Professor Jiemian Yang; Charlotte Yeung; Professor Yue-man Yeung; Paul Yip;
viii
Acknowledgements ix
Dr Hongyuan Yu; Professor Jing-dong Yuan; Dr Yue Yuan; Dr Qiang Zhang;
Dr Yongnian Zheng and Dr Kaibin Zhong.
Original versions of several parts of the book were first published in Pacific
Review, East Asia: An International Journal, Journal of Chinese Political Science
and Politics. Editors of these journals, as well as organizers of a number of
academic conferences where I presented different parts of my thesis, should
be acknowledged for their comments and encouragement.
I am also obliged to staffs, colleagues, seniors, students and friends at the
US Consulates in Beijing and Hong Kong; the Office of the Commissioner of
the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the PRC in Hong Kong; Horizon Research
Company; the People’s Daily and Qiangguo Luntan; St. Antony’s College of the
University of Oxford; the School of Public Policy and Management of
Tsinghua University; Yale-in-China; CUHK’s University Services Center for
China Studies, the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies and the Department of
Government and Public Administration; Division of Social Science of Hong
Kong University of Science and Technology; Hong Kong Policy Research
Institute; and the Roundtable Social Science Research Network in Hong
Kong for their logistical, social and moral support.
Finally, I would like to thank my parents for their unconditional support,
particularly for their selfless understanding of the career path I have chosen.
Author’s Biography
Simon Shen is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the Chinese
University of Hong Kong’s Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies. He received his
DPhil degree in politics and international relations from the University of
Oxford, and a joint MA (political science) and BA (political science and
history) degree from Yale University. He has contributed to journals such as
Pacific Review, Asian Perspective, East Asia, Journal of Chinese Political Science
and Journal of East Asian History. His research interests include Sino-US relations, Chinese nationalism, anti-terrorism, external relations of Hong Kong
and globalization. He is also the founder of the Roundtable Social Science
Research Network in Hong Kong.
x
Abbreviations
BS
CINIC
CIS
CP911
CYD
GMD
GMDCP
KCDF
LD
NWN
PDO
PPD
PLAD
PSDF
S&M
SCDF
SCDFA
TET
ZNDF
Beijing Zhichun (Beijing Spring)
China Internet Network Information Centre
Xiandai Guoji Guanxi (Contemporary International Relations)
China and Post-911 World Order Book Project
Zhongguo Qingnian Bao (Chinese Youth Daily)
Guangming Ribao (Guangming Daily)
Guangming Ribao Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying Commemorating Page
Kesuowo Weiji Luntan (Kosovo Crisis Discussion Forum)
Jiefang Ribao (Liberation Daily)
Xinlangwang (New Wave Net)
Renmin Ribao Wangshang Ban (People’s Daily Online)
Politics of Public Diversity
Jiefangjun Bao (PLA Daily)
Yidian Luntan (Points of Suspicion Discussion Forum)
Zhanlue Yu Guanli (Strategy and Management)
Qiangguo Luntan (Strong Country Discussion Forum)
Renmin Ribao Wangyou Zhisheng (Strong Country Discussion
Forum Archive)
Dajiyuan Shibao (The Epoch Times)
Zhongnan Luntan (Zhongnan Discussion Forum)
xi
Glossary
aiguo zhuyi
to promote Chinese nationalism in patriotic terms
Authentic Nationalists
the people who were labelled as nationalist
intellectuals and who speak most exclusively on Chinese nationalism (included
under the non-liberal umbrella)
biaoli buyi
surface and reality differ
chabianqiu
kicking the ball from the side
Civic Nationalism
a voluntary selection of allegiance based on
values of a nation
Constructivist Nationalism
apropos of the mechanism of international
relations, it refers to a strategy designed to
construct an image of reality. A nation can
advance its national interests through constructing a desired national image to be
taken up by the international system. It may
intentionally use constructivist techniques
such as reconstructing reality, to create a
more appealing national image.
dadaqi
to boost the morale
erenxiangaozhuang
the guilty party files the suit first as the
subtitle
Ethnic Separatism
an ideology aiming at establishing new
ethnic nations by means of secession from
parental multi-national entities
ETIM (Dongtu)
Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement
‘Falun Gong Diplomacy’
the common practice of dissidents wishing
to ‘sue’ their national leaders for their violation of human rights when the dissidents
are in exile
feichang wanxi
great sympathy
fenli kongbufenzi
separatist terrorists
gongping
fairness
xii
Glossary xiii
Guiguzi Nationalism
the risk-aversive behaviours to overtake the
United States, as well as the determination
to stop practicing isolationism by means of
diplomatic engagement
hanjian
traitors of the ethnic Han
heping fazhan
peaceful development
heping jueqi
peaceful rise
jiduan minzuzhuyi
fanatic nationalism
minzu fenli zhuyi
ethnic separatism
minzu guojia
nation-state
nanfang xuepai
the Southern School
Negative liberty
to defend one’s human rights from being
usurped by the government and, in the
extreme, to overthrow authoritarian regimes
Neo-Confucians
the people who prefer to promote national
greatness by re-exploring traditional Chinese
culture, and at the same time to prove their
adaptability to modern times
Politics of diverse publics
a phenomenon refers to different players as
different ‘publics’ (and their sub-groups)
based on their functional position in shaping
modern Chinese nationalism.
Positive liberty
to advance individual upward mobility
Primordial nationalism
a category of nationalism that embraces
ethnicity and primordial instincts, with a
sense of judgment of right and wrong, or ‘us’
against ‘the other’
qiangdao
bandits
quanguo gezu renmin
people of all ethnic groups in China
Religious extremism
an ideology that speaks universal rhetoric to
unite mankind, and nation-states are seen as
the unneeded level of intermediary between
God and its subjects on earth
renmin waijiao
people’s diplomacy
sanjiang
Three Stresses Campaign
shenbiao qianyi
very sorry
shenbiao qianyi
deep expression of regret
xiv
Glossary
Statist nationalism
a form of nationalism that speaks in patriotic
rhetoric mainly because they live upon the
state apparatus
taoguang yanghui
To conceal our capacities and to bide our time
(the central thesis of Deng’s diplomatic recipe)
Taoist nationalism
a mixture of various theoretical components
based on the Chinese philosophy of Taoism
and defensive realism, which suggests that
nations prefer cooperation to competition if
the level of uncertainty is high until a nation is
becoming strong
terra irredenta
unredeemed land
Territorial nationalism
The aggressive form stressing the need to
expand national lebensraum beyond existing
territories without nominally legitimate
claims; the defensive form manifesting the
need to safeguard existing territories against
external aggression
Two-Level Positive-Sum
Theory
modified from the two-level negotiation theory
to capture the interaction between domestic
and international politics
wenming guojia
civilization-state
xiaoxiaoqi
to placate the anger
xuexi
self-cultivation
yang
aggressive
yeman baoxing
barbaric tyranny
yin
concessive
yinshi lidao
Making best use of the situation (the central
thesis of Jiang’s diplomatic recipe)
zhengqi
healthy ethics
zhengyi
righteousness
zhengzhi
political awareness
zhishifenzi
intellectuals
zongjiao jiduan zhuyi
religious extremism
1
Introduction: The Diverse Society
and Segmented Nationalism
in China
The emergence of a China as a power that is stable, open, and nonaggressive, that embraces free markets, political pluralism, and the rule of
law, that works with us to build a secure international order – that kind of
China, rather than a China turned inward and confrontational, is deeply
in the interests of the American people.
Bill Clinton1
In a Chinese documentary titled Crazy English, Li Yang, a self-taught
English ‘teacher’ in China, turned English-teaching into an eclectic nationalist campaign.2 Li’s students, who were encouraged to ‘learn’ English by
shouting loudly, no longer feared being labelled pro-Western, because they
had had inculcated into them the idea that: ‘in order to overcome the US,
we must first understand them completely’.3 This attitude – revealing the
eagerness of the Chinese to embrace Western culture – might be viewed as
supporting Clinton’s reference to an ‘outward-looking China’. Such a hysterical, un-English method of learning English could, however, also
support the reference made by Clinton to a nationalist-driven and ‘inwardlooking’ China. Are there alternatives to understanding the complicated
revival of Chinese nationalism – as exemplified by the difficulty of categorizing Crazy English in a Manichean manner – besides the China as ‘threat’
and the China as ‘friend’ theories? Does an undemocratic China, as
Thomas Christensen argued, necessarily imply escalated Chinese nationalism: ‘since the CCP is no longer communist, it must been more Chinese’?4
Many contemporary academics, such as Rosemary Foot, believe that
despite substantial Chinese mistrust of the contemporary world order,
China does follow norms ‘that allow it to present itself as a responsible
power’.5 How can this ‘responsible power’ grow under its nationalist
jacket?
1
2
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
There has been much overreaction to spontaneous Chinese nationalist
rhetoric that either supports or rebuts the ‘return of the dragon’ viewpoint,
as Maria Chang and Zheng Yongnian, respectively, have done in the last
decade.6 This book dismisses both responses by studying the interaction
between Sino-American relations, the different players in Chinese foreign
affairs and contemporary Chinese nationalism, and puts forward and analyses two arguments.
It argues, first, that nationalist discourse is merely a channel for different
players in China to advance their personal and group interests. As long as
participation in the discourse of nationalism can gain advantages for the
party-state, intellectuals or ordinary citizens and consolidate their position
in ‘public opinion’, these players do not necessarily have to act upon their
nationalist rhetoric. Much nationalist rhetoric is basically a coded way of
directing dissent at the Chinese state itself, and thus acts as a safety valve.
Such players might enjoy an implicit division of labour, making them interdependent in benefiting from the discourse. The effect of this might be for
nationalism to stabilize rather than, as might intuitively be assumed, to
destabilize, domestic China.
Second, it puts forward the hypothesis that three separate nationalist
processes are occurring concurrently but independently: the construction of
civic nationalist values; the development of an international relations strategy assigning responsible power to China; and the detection of alleged antiChinese conspiracies, coupled with vigorous expression of nationalism. The
first two would have the effect of encouraging regional peace, and could offset fervent nationalist expression. Chinese nationalism might, as another
counter-intuitive result, also become a stabilizing force in the external politics of China.
Combining both arguments, this complex contemporary nationalist
movement in China – a non-unitary, segmented movement practised by different people for different purposes, as the book suggests in the conclusion –
could extend into neighbouring regions under reinvention and reconstruction. The author suggests that, as long as the Chinese regime remains undemocratic but no longer adheres to Stalinist ideas and blocks pluralism,
contemporary Chinese nationalist discourse might assume a rather unexpected role as a stabilizer both within and outside China’s borders.
Before applying these hypotheses to four case studies, I outline the theoretical and methodological setting in this introductory chapter. The first
part of the chapter looks at why most existing studies overlook this role,
discusses how this omission can be addressed, and outlines the selection
of theories, cases, time frame and target groups. The second half of the
chapter discusses where the sources were found to represent the selected
groups. Expressions, values, nationalism and international relations theories are all explored, but the book does not go beyond these, considering
anything more the province of other disciplines.
Introduction
3
1.1 From three theoretical misassumptions
to the thematic design
In the arena of China studies, three common misassumptions on postTiananmen China are identifiable. Many, if not most, studies of SinoAmerican relations assume that a unitary China is facing the world and
disregard mass spontaneity and the Machiavellianism of other actors. Those
addressing the pluralistic nature of China often go to the other extreme and
suggest that a zero-sum relationship exists between the government and its
people. The nationalist discourse is often viewed as another unitary process,
even though the many facets of Chinese nationalism are sometimes recognized. This work builds upon a revision of these misassumptions using the
‘two-level positive-sum theory’, the ‘politics of public diversity’ in China,
and the segmented and deconstructed nature of Chinese nationalism. This
constitutes the theoretical framework.
1.1.1 Review of research on Sino-American relations
Most existing studies of Sino-American relations have been made from the
unitarist standpoint. That is, they usually account for the uneasy engagement between China and the United States in their bilateral relations by
pointing to structural differences in terms of ideology (the ideology of the
largest remaining communist nation vs. that of the leader of capitalism), the
political system (authoritarianism vs. Westminister or in general Western
democracy), social values (collectivity vs. individuality), culture (allegedly
Oriental vs. Occidental) and the like. But one thing is relatively common to
them all: the assumption of a unitary China. Both Western and Chinese
scholars have used various theoretical approaches in applying the unitary
assumption: offensive realism, defensive realism, neo-liberalism and Marxist
internationalism are the unitary theories appearing most frequently.
Offensive realism
Since Hans Morgenthau founded and conceptualized Realism in 1947 and
Kenneth Waltz revised it as Neo-Realism in 1979, this line of thought suggesting interest-maximization (Morgenthau)7 and security-maximization
(Waltz)8 of nation-states remains by far the most popular interpretation of
Sino-American relations. Using this interpretation, two different branches
can be identified for the context of this work. The first is offensive realism,
most enthusiastically promoted by University of Chicago international relations professor John Mearsheimer. Its doctrine may be summarized in one
sentence: ‘great powers behave aggressively not because they want to or
because they possess some inner drive to dominate, but because they have to
seek more power if they want to maximize their odds of survival.’9 Not surprisingly, given the Social Darwinist tradition of some American thinkers in
the twentieth century as discussed by Richard Hofstadter, to a certain extent
4
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
offensive realist ideas might in the twenty-first century be unconsciously
echoing Social Darwinism.10
When applied to China, Mearsheimer suggests that ‘the United States has
a profound interest in seeing Chinese economic growth slow considerably in
the years ahead’, thus if it ‘turns its back on the realist principles that have
served it well since its founding’, it will prove to be ‘a grave mistake’ for the
United States.11 In a retrospective analysis, the line was understandably
termed by official Chinese state organs like the People’s Daily as ‘imperialism’
and ‘hegemonism’.12 As a slight variant, French political analyst Daniel Vernet
labels the United States as a ‘post-modern Imperialist’ nation which aims ideologically instead of materialistically to ‘[spread] democracy as the best form of
political organization’.13 Such ‘American post-modern Imperialism’ is quoted
by veteran PRC diplomat Zhou Yihuang as a threat towards world peace in
general, and the security of China in particular.14 On the other hand, there
are also scholars who cite China’s embrace of offensive realism towards the
United States. For instance, former US Population Research Institute president Steven Mosher, who claims his PhD research at Stanford University on
Chinese population policy was rejected owing to the university ‘bowing to
demands of the Chinese government’, repeatedly warns that Beijing’s hegemonic actions makes it a status quo challenger thus endangering the whole
world.15
Defensive/accommodation realism
Despite their origins from the same realist school, defensive realists, as represented by Chicago University Professor Charles Glaser, suggest that
nations prefer cooperation instead of competition if uncertainty is high.16 A
variant of the theory is the Prospect Theory, a theory applied from the discipline of psychology and popularized by Jack Levy in the international relations arena. According to Levy, nations in the ‘domain of gains’ gauge
uncertainties higher and prefer ‘risk-aversion’; whereas nations in the
‘domain of losses’ gauge uncertainties lower and dare to be ‘risk-seeking’ in
making foreign policy decisions.17 These theories are not totally compatible:
‘uncertainty’ and ‘risk’ are obviously different concepts. The confusion
between the two concepts is precisely one of the major flaws of the Prospect
Theory.18
In any case, the idea of cooperative realist nations deeply influences some
leading Sino-American relations scholars such as David Lampton, who in his
classic textbook Same Bed Different Dreams suggests both confrontation and
cooperation between China and the USA – their ‘different dreams’ – would
be limited in the ‘same bed’ of the world system.19 State theorist Immanuel
Wallerstein – famous for his critical attitude towards the capitalist system –
also advises that the United States adopt a defensive realist policy. He suggests that ‘soft multilateralism’ would be more beneficial to the United States
in the long run because of its ability to avoid unnecessary confrontation
Introduction
5
with other major powers.20 Thus, according to Wallerstein, the United States
‘needs to accept, graciously, the political independence of Western Europe
and East Asia, recognizing them as its political peers, who have the right to
independent structures in which Washington has no say (such as military
forces or currency policies)’.21 Many defensive realists also called for cooperation with China to maintain the regional balance of power, especially in
arms control regimes. To such realists:
China’s rise is in its early stages and that there is still time to create a security framework or architecture that can embrace China and minimize
future Sino-American rivalry … In any case, to such realists, it is far too
early to proclaim China an enemy.22
Robert Ross also holds that the combined forces of East Asian geopolitics and
Sino-US bipolarity contribute to regional stability.23 And Thomas Christensen
argues that by carefully managing the US-Japan Alliance, the United States
could maintain the strategic balance vis-à-vis China in the region.24
When the idea was imported to China there was of course disagreement.
For instance, new leftist scholar Li Minqi used traditional Marxist perspectives to rebut Wallerstein’s theory (and, perhaps more importantly for him,
the Chinese liberalists supporting Wallerstein’s idea).25 But there were also
mainland defensive realists who drafted a strategy of ‘comprehensive
national power competition’ for the party-state with clearly defined objectives. The most eloquent summary was given by PLA Military Science
Academy researcher Huang Shuofeng in 1992, and included the following
goals of the party-state:
1. To protect socialist China and its political system.
2. To protect China’s independence, sovereignty and security.
3. To protect and facilitate China’s continuous economic and technological
development.
4. To create a conducive and peaceful environment for China’s sociological
development.
5. To respond effectively to any external threats and challenges.
6. To prevent and restrain any internal and external conflicts and wars from
happening.
7. To maintain and raise China’s international status and prestige.26
Neo-liberalism
Like the defensive realists, neo-liberalists do not believe in direct confrontation between modern nations, but consider that shared values among
nations would lead to their eventual inter-cooperation and assimilation
without a necessary demonstration of force. As summarized by Shadia Drury,
6
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
Francis Fukuyama, one of the most typical of the neo-liberalists, demonstrates the idea as follows:
Liberalism pacifies and de-politicizes the aristocratic world of mastery by
turning politics into economics … Instead of superiority and dominance,
society strives for equality. Those who still long for dominance have the
capitalist pursuit of wealth as their outlet.27
For instance, when economic scholars from both sides of the Strait emphasize the same slogan on the same occasion: ‘economy is everything, and
should be placed ahead of politics, society, and even unification issues’, we
may regard them as speaking neo-liberalist rhetoric.28
Applied to Sino-American relations, neo-liberalism might point towards
two possible outcomes. Overseas Chinese scholar Sijin Cheng, for example,
believes China’s domestic reform has blended into the global system in
which the cooperation of the United States is a prerequisite; thus China has
no intention of challenging American interests in the region, but will
instead gradually assume the role of the US’s de facto junior partner in the
region.29 However, there are also neo-liberalists who are more reserved about
the necessity and plausibility of the peaceful evolvement of the Chinese
regime. For instance, Hong Kong researcher Lee Brenner believes cooperative
manners are beneficial to both the economies of China and the United
States, and this would lead in the long term to their mutual engagement and
interdependency on an equal footing.30
Marxism and Internationalism
We should not forget the probably outdated Marxist theories developed in
China in the Maoist Era. Mao Zedong himself was famous for his theory of the
‘Three Worlds’, as he viewed China’s struggle against the United States – at least
at face value – as a systematic struggle of ‘Third World’ proletariats against the
‘First World’ on a non-nationalist basis.31 Apparently his theory was directly
inspired by the teachings of Vladimir Lenin, who advocated that all communists embrace Internationalism and define the world by classes beyond national
boundaries or nationalisms.32 The internationalist role of China in the theory
was at times romanticized by the previous generation of scholars like Benjamin
Schwartz, who believed that the interests of the Chinese as a nation was subsidiary to that of the communist bloc or the ‘Third World’.33
There are also scholars like Steven Goldstein who insist that there were
many internationalist elements found in Chinese foreign policy during that
period.34 The most radical alleged image of an internationalist PRC surprisingly came from the Taiwan ruled by Chiang Kai-shek: after its retreat to
Taiwan, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) often criticized the CCP for its
‘non-Chineseness’ because they were plotting ‘to exterminate the Chinese
nation for communism’.35
Introduction
7
However, in recent decades, there have been revisionist attempts to expose
the limitations of Marxist and internationalist foreign policy during the
Maoist Era. As Edward Friedman puts it, ‘Mao clearly believed otherwise,
imagining a world socialist revolution led by China as doing best for the
Chinese people.’36 Historian Peter Van Ness37 and international relations
scholar Philip Snow38 suggest most external expeditions of the PRC under
Mao towards Southeast Asia and Africa were nationalist in nature. Yu Yingshih, a leading academic icon in Taiwan, believes that the three recent
regime changes in Chinese history all originated from Chinese nationalism.39 Even according to disputable sources like Li Zhisui, Mao’s private doctor from 1954 to 1976, traditional Chinese teachings influenced Mao more
than the communist ones as espoused in his memoir.40 Nonetheless, a growing consensus in the Post-Mao Era is that internationalist dogma, whether
authentic or not, has been repudiated by the pragmatic Deng Xiaoping in his
writings of 1978: ‘we are still very poor, and we cannot do very much in
terms of proletariat internationalist responsibility.’41 Logically, this statement would appear to reserve some room for China to relaunch Maoist
internationalist campaigns when it became ‘richer’. Yet, according to
Dengism, China could only be considered ‘rich’ once the stage of ‘advanced
socialism’ (instead of early socialism featuring partial wealth) has been created42 – and, realistically, it probably never will be created. Therefore, there
exists an inherently inept mixture of socialist rhetoric and nationalist
essence in China which we can name ‘socialist nationalism’.
1.1.2 A unitarist Chinese foreign policy?
Yet an increasing number of scholars question that these theories can be
applied to China so simply. Leading Chinese new leftist Wang Shaoguang
suggests that the application of Western-developed theories to China, most
unitary oriented, is often ungrounded and (sometimes) unfair to his country.43 Such theories are obviously influenced by the one-party dictatorship of
the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which is – or was – a Leninist party
emphasizing top-down totalitarian governance. The advantage of such a
concept of unitarism is that it provides an easy framework within which to
understand things. Yet when China deviates from previous practice, unitarism often assumes that there has been a holistic revision of foreign policy,
leaving the world with the impression that uncertainty remains high in
terms of Sino-American relations, or that post-Communist China is being
capricious. One of the reasons Chinese foreign policy seems unreasonably
irrational to many is that there is a failure to recognize that foreign policy
responses will differ according to which Chinese make, or interpret, them.
There are scholars who prudently differentiate between different levels of
Chinese foreign policy making.44 Civil players, such as ordinary citizens, are
less often considered. Even when their roles are taken into account, the
other extreme – of individuals having the real control of the decision-making
8
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
process – is often suggested.45 State-societal interaction in the nation merits
more sophisticated analysis than this.
The ‘two-level game’ and its modifications
In an attempt to challenge the two extremes, the ‘two-level game’ has completed half of the mission. Robert Putnam, one of the founders of the school,
suggested that ‘state negotiators (the leaders) essentially bargain simultaneously at two tables: a domestic table and an international one’.46 The framework has been applied to China by scholars like David Lampton or William
Callahan, and most famously by Robert Ross in his analysis of the Tiananmen
Incident.47 While such analyses leaned towards the qualitative side, the twolevel game has also been explored in a quantitative manner, as Margaret
Pearson has done in looking at China’s accession to GATT and WTO.48
One of the major limitations of Putnam’s design is its status as a general
descriptive analogy rather than a scientific theory. There have been attempts
to make the theory more empirical and scientific, as represented by Yee’s
model of ‘two-level negotiation’, which borrowed conceptually from economist John Odell’s negotiation theory.49 Yee applied Ross’s game theory
approach to draw four propositions for determining what he names the ‘reference points’ when investigating China’s entry into the WTO and the Spy
Plane Collision Incident.50
Although Yee’s approach remedied much of the deficiency of unitarism,
his two-level negotiation has gaps over and above those identified in the critiques on the game theory approach in general. Such an approach assumes
that the domestic players really wish to do what they say. Evidence of
nationalist rhetoric was instrumental for Yee in locating the reference points.
But if the rhetoric does not imply a final position or a commitment to implementing it, Yee’s findings will be difficult to apply in studying the real
dynamics of the ‘negotiation’. Largely because of the non-transparent nature
of the decision-making process, it is not practical to look at the ‘negotiation’
process – at least in China – quantitatively. That’s why the assumed perfect
information in Yee’s negotiation is problematic. As some economists did, Yee
assumed a zero-sum relationship between China and the United States, and
another zero-sum relationship between various actors in China. If the discourse about nationalism were to lead to a win-win deal among the players
in a positive-sum manner, however, the indifference curve that Yee uses
might collapse.
The first theoretical framework: ‘two-level positive-sum’ theory
I have, therefore, modified Yee’s two-level negotiation in my initial theoretical framework in order to devise a methodology that addresses the unitary
problem. Instead of borrowing the negotiation theory to calculate the ‘rectifiable political indifference curve’ to understand the ‘resistance point’ of
each unit player in both China and the United States, I have taken a more
Introduction
9
qualitative focus.51 In fact, Yee frankly acknowledged that concepts in his
model – such as the ‘Pareto frontier’ – are an ‘abstraction that is useful conceptually, but difficult to determine precisely’, meaning that relying solely
on an empirical approach to quantify the concept is insufficient.52 Instead,
this book places reliance on primary sources to study the questions posed,
particularly through deconstructing Chinese discourse and the hidden
agenda behind the rhetoric.
Second, if any group behaves differently from their expressed nationalist
rhetoric, for example in calling on America to back off during the Spy Plane
Collision Incident but backing off themselves ten days later, the overall
response of the group is used as the primary source of study. This approach
is considered more valid than calling the ‘shift’, as Yee did, a ‘negotiated
result’ of the gestures presented ten days earlier.
Third, the book dismisses the zero-sum assumption, and suggests that different actors in China do not try to play the game. They benefit from participating in the nationalist discourse in a positive- rather than zero-sum
manner. Building on the idea that there is a symbiotic benefit for various
players in the expression of nationalist rhetoric and the continual development of contemporary Chinese nationalism, the book identifies the first
theoretical framework, with the above revisions, as the ‘two-level positivesum theory’.
1.1.3 US-style interest groups versus ‘diverse
society’ in China
Why do most two-level sum theorists like Yee choose to stick to the zerosum, quantitative and negotiation assumptions in studying Chinese foreign
policy making? To a certain extent, it is because they do not clearly distinguish between the agenda of domestic actors in China and the concept of
interest group politics that is prevalent in democratic countries like the
United States. The next section covers the origin of group politics in contemporary China; how scholars view the burgeoning Chinese civil society;
and the inadequacies of applying a Western concept to Chinese politics. This
is concluded by the author’s proposed second theoretical framework, that is,
a definition of the ‘politics of public diversity’ in China.
Relaxation of the party-state and group politics in China
Although Chinese foreign policy making is often assumed to be a unitary
process, social stratification and pluralism in China is an old concept. As
early as 1926, in an article titled An Analysis on Various Social Classes in China,
Mao Zedong (1893–1976) defined five classes in Republican China: landlord,
middle class, petty bourgeoisie, ‘half-proletariat’ and proletariat.53 In 1997
and 2002, official scholars of our age published books with titles similar to
Mao’s in which new classes were defined on the basis of economic, organizational and cultural resources.54
10
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
The existence of classes and groups in China did not automatically mean
that they had freedom of expression until the relaxation of party-state control. We can briefly identify a list of reasons leading to such a relaxation in
the 1990s, such as the changing international environment, the information
revolution featuring the growth of the internet and tabloids, the limited
democratic reform introduced in the base-level villages, growing income
polarity and so forth. But a more instrumental legitimization of group ideology in China was achieved by the recent evolution of official ideology. In
September 1999, the party-state launched the ‘Three Stresses (sanjiang)’ campaign, in which the emphasis on political awareness (zhengzhi), self-cultivation (xuexi) and healthy ethics (zhengqi) among the Chinese was
encouraged.55 Five months later, as an extension of the Stresses, Jiang Zemin
launched his benchmark ‘Three Represents Theory’, which was developed
into a comprehensive framework in August 2001.56 At least two of the ‘represents’ of the CCP indirectly endorsed pluralism in the Chinese community: the ‘advanced social productive forces’ refer to the business sector,
whereas the ‘fundamental interests of the majority’ subtly hints at populism
or, at least, grass-roots interests. When Jiang tried to institutionalize the representation of the CCP from proletariats to a broad-based party, he was also
acknowledging the breadth of vested interests in China.
Is there a civil society in China? The missing
US-style interest groups
As a result of the development of group identities, the concept of a ‘Chinese
civil society’ came to the fore. In the definitional sense, as summarized from
various scholars’ descriptions in The Civil Society Reader, civil society – the
seedbed of interest groups – must have two prerequisites: a pluralistic democracy and a capitalist economy (see Figure 1.1).57
In studying Chinese pluralism in a manner similar to US interest groups, a
number of scholars, like the late sociologist Gordon White, tie the nation’s
market reform to its nascent civil society.58 But does the existence of groups
necessarily mean the existence/replica of civil society in China, as White
suggests? The apparent similarities between Chinese and US group politics
are superficial, because the way groups in China function seems to be unique
and has a long list of ‘Chinese characteristics’.
US interest groups focusing on US foreign policy would engage in a list of
lobbying strategies. They have complicated the power structure of the federal nation and civil society by introducing the concept of what Theodore
Lowi calls an ‘issue network’ – the ability of certain groups to control particular issue-areas to compensate for the relative ignorance of the governmental body.59 We can study their manoeuvring through open quantitative
accounts such as congressional voting or campaign finance figures. But the
supplementary value of interest groups to US democracy cannot be applied
to China owing to the differences in the way they are formed.
Introduction
11
Civil Society
(with Interest
Groups)
Pluralistic
Democracy
Capitalist
Economy
Figure 1.1 American interest group politics and civil society
The Chinese party-state has a strict policy on the formation of new organizations to pre-empt the rise of rivals to the CCP’s exclusive rule. Although
the right of assembly was guaranteed under Article 35 of the 1982
Constitution, all groups in China must obey the Social Groups Registration
and Management Ordinance issued by the State Council after the Tiananmen
Incident in 1989.60 This requires all groups to register through an official
ministry and to be supervised by another official body related to its area of
concern.61 Politically vocal groups – even nationalist associations – have difficulty being officially formed and endorsed under the ‘people’s democratic
dictatorship’. Unlike the heavily organized interest groups in the United
States, as Dorothy Solinger has pointed out, the groups in China were simply
unable, or unwilling, to get themselves organized.62 In order to influence the
government, groups in China have few alternatives but to express their ideas
in their opinion bases such as journals, newspapers or internet forums.
Organizing social movements involves a high cost, including risking their
very right to exist. Because of their apparent unorganized nature, groups can
only be described by their loose personal attributes and connections, which
are likely to be at odds with the concept of an issue network.
Many scholars, therefore, do not believe that Western-style civil society is
needed in China. Even the issue of definition has not been agreed upon. For
instance, Thomas Metzger offered a historical treatise on the subject by
pointing out the inconsistencies in the Western ‘bottom-up’ and Chinese
‘top-down’ interpretation of civil society.63 Reluctant as ever to apply
Western theories in China, Wang Shaoguang disagreed with the definition of
civil society and pointed out that ‘Chinese civil society carries a variety of
different political outcomes, of which democracy is but one.’64 Speaking of
the other prerequisite for a civil society, a market economy, China’s is a
hybrid product with remnants of statist features such as the ineffective stateowned enterprises (SOEs). As He Baogang and Jonathan Unger have made
plain, Chinese society should at most be regarded as a ‘semi-civil society’ or
12
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
“People’s
Democratic
Dictatorship”
Imperfect
Civil Society
(with Public
Diversity)
Socialist Market
Economy
Figure 1.2 Politics of public diversity and ‘imperfect civil society’
‘a hybrid of socialist corporatism and clientelism’.65 ‘Civil society’ in China,
if it exists at all, is imperfect (see Figure 1.2).
The second theoretical framework: ‘politics of public diversity’
in undemocratic China
To sum up, the American definition of interest group politics combines
‘interest groups’ and ‘lobby groups’ into one. It does not include the unorganized voice of a group of people not aimed at lobbying the government.
Yet, such a voice exactly describes the situation in China. The attempt by
various players to express their opinions in China’s imperfect civil society
should be termed something else. Most scholars, as discussed previously,
identify ‘classes’ or ‘groups’ in China by economic, organizational or cultural
attributes. However, this does not address the interaction between domestic
and international behaviours. I therefore prefer to identify different players
as different public entities (together with their sub-groups), based on their
functional position in shaping modern Chinese nationalism and the
Chinese perception of the world, and uses the term ‘politics of public diversity’ (hereafter PPD) for this phenomenon.
The different groups within the public that contribute to PPD in China
exhibit the following features:
1. They acknowledge the power of the general will. Their existence compensates for the structural deficiency of the one-party dictatorship without directly challenging its legitimacy.
2. They speak out to confirm their position and to better advance their significance, rather than aggressively pushing forward the agendas that they
speak for. They do not aim at direct lobbying of the government; instead
most express opinions via indirect written formats.
3. They are not formally organized and do not try to establish issue networks, nor are they unitary blocs with disciplined policy-lines. They have
difficulty in influencing public opinion or the party-state, and are instead
relatively easily influenced by the latter.
Introduction
13
4. The advancement of their interests does not necessarily rely on the
infringement of others’ interests in a zero-sum manner.
5. The most important prerequisite of these groups in China is that if their
undemocratic nature is altered, they will no longer exist – or they will
evolve into US-style political interest groups, if that day should ever come.
The way the public is here defined deserves elaboration. As previously
explained, the decision-making process in Chinese foreign policy is seen by
scholars as an internal mechanism of the party-state. When the Stalinist features of the PRC started to relax, however, the involvement of ordinary citizens (by either expressed opinion or physical actions such as demonstrations)
and intellectuals (by either strategic consultancy or professional petition via
think tanks) – that is, the different members contributing to PPD – began to
take place in a subtle manner. Those outside the establishment cannot
directly participate in the decision-making process: their participation is
confined to their roles in defining Chinese nationalism and the Chinese perception of the outside world. Apart from discussions like Xu Xun’s on the
ordinary citizens who ‘provide the nuance and soil for nationalist sentiments’; the creators of nationalist culture (mostly intellectuals) who ‘explore
utopian cultural dreams from historic accounts’; and the politicians who
‘manoeuvre nationalist sentiments and ideology into a political movement’,
this division of labour has not been well investigated.66
Historians Ray Huang, Jin Guantao and Liu Qingfeng have each analysed
the ‘supra-stable structure’ of the feudal system.67 The concepts involved are
far more complex than their simplifications might suggest, yet the functional terminologies of the ‘top’, ‘bottom’ and ‘intermediary’, as used by
these scholars, remains a useful reference for further analysis. Drawing on
their arguments, three macro Chinese groups can be defined from their functions in Chinese society in general and their role in the revival of Chinese
nationalism in particular. Within each public entity, sub-groups exist and
the composition of these is explored later in this chapter (see Figure 1.3):
●
●
●
The ‘top’ (the party-state) includes the top leaders and the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, the military sector and the economic sector.
The ‘bottom’ (ordinary citizens) includes the mass opinions as reflected
in polls and reports in the mass media, the virtual community members
and campus community members. Various opinions co-exist among
these groups.
The ‘intermediary’, which provides a two-way link between the ‘top’ and
the ‘bottom’, includes intellectuals in general, the international relations
scholars and journalists. Towards the ‘top’, they provide policy advice or
reflect and conceptualize popular thinking; towards the ‘bottom’, they
channel official policy featuring their own opinions and help transmit
raw information, in a biased or unbiased manner.
14
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
Top
Intermediary
Bottom
Figure 1.3 Functional interaction of the diverse society
1.1.4 The segmented nature of contemporary
Chinese nationalism
In addition to the unitary assumption in the foreign policy-making process
and the confusion between interest groups and China’s diverse society, there
is one more academic misapprehension that needs to be tackled. It is the fact
that the typology of Chinese nationalism is not systematically deconstructed. When scholars study the revival of Chinese nationalism in the
1990s, or the birth of contemporary Chinese nationalism (depending on
how it is viewed), they more or less assume it to be a holistic process. What
is needed is a discussion of how the Western-oriented concept of nationalism was introduced to China; why there has been a revival in contemporary
Chinese nationalism; and how the concept can be systematically deconstructed. This forms the third part of the theoretical framework.
Nationalism and its Introduction to China
The term ‘nationalism’ is controversial. We may start from the definition
given by Anthony Smith, one of the authorities of modern nationalism:
‘nationalism is an ideological movement for attaining and maintaining
autonomy, unity and identity for a population which some of its members
deem to constitute an actual or potential “nation” ’68 When the concept was
first introduced to China by the Hundred Days Reform scholar Liang Qichao
(1873–1929) in 1903, its definition was based on the criteria on commonalities given by Johann Kaspar Bluntschli (1808–1881).69 This definition of
‘nationalism’, in fact, covers any agenda aiming at the ultimate greatness,
goodness or simply independence of a ‘nation’, which is another messy concept. Despite various definitions, a relative consensus, as first proposed by
Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), is that ‘nation’ is different from ‘nationality’:
the former usually refers to a sovereign state formed by the people resident
in it, but the latter often means an ethnic group only.70 The year 1648, when
the Treaty of Westphalia was signed by all major European powers after the
Introduction
15
Thirty Years War, has been regarded by scholars – first by the realists but not
restricted to them – as the beginning of the rise of ‘modern’ nation-states.71
Modern nationalism came to China in the late Qing Dynasty (1841–1912)
and was incorporated, a bit awkwardly at the time, into Sun Yat-sen
(1866–1925)’s Three People’s Principle (sanmin zhuyi).72 It has played an
active role in modern Chinese history ever since. Chalmers Johnson suggested that mobilizing support by speaking nationalist rhetoric – what he
terms ‘peasant nationalism’ – was also one of the keys to the CCP victory in
the Chinese Civil War (1946–49).73 However, as a result of the supposed ideological value of internationalism, despite the revisionist views expressed by
scholars like Peter Van Ness, the PRC’s inability to openly embrace nationalist rhetoric before 1976 was a fait accompli.74 In no sense, however, did the
revolutionary years impede a smooth transition from communism to the
nationalism that followed.75 Few would disagree that Chinese nationalism
prospered after 1976.
Revival of Chinese nationalism, or the birth of contemporary
Chinese nationalism?
There are literally hundreds of studies dedicated to the subject, ranging from
the articles edited by Jonathan Unger to the dedicated chapters written by
Joseph Fewsmith.76 The little-disputed reasons accounting for the revival of
Chinese nationalism are universal factors that can be found globally.
Because of the inherent rivalry between communism and nationalism, and
the multi-ethnic nature of most post-communist countries, a causal relation
between the fall of the former and the rise of the latter worldwide is
observed. Revival of nationalism hence comes with a definitive increase in
the composite national capability index, which has consistently increased in
the PRC since 1976.77 Because the different public groups in China found
they benefited from participation in the nationalist discourse, the overall
movement constantly found new impetus. Yet few scholars have ever
directly addressed the revival of Chinese nationalism from the point of PPD
or the two-level game. One of the closest examples was the way Xu Jilin
labelled the three stages of anti-Western movement in China: early spontaneous anti-Western rhetoric in the early 1990s, the anti-Western theories
in academia after 1994 and the populist involvement after the emergence of
nationalist publications in 1996.78
Attention should be given here to the fact that most discussion on Chinese
nationalism made little attempt to distinguish its different intrinsic meanings.
It was treated it as if it was similar to the nationalism found in any nation –
or any Third World nation. ‘When a book about China is only about China, it
is suspect. The idea of a culture that is seamless, holistic, and unchangeable:
this is nonsense’, said an anthropologist.79 Christopher Hughes’s recent
book tries to make similar statements.80 What we see as contemporary
Chinese nationalism includes very different – or even contradictory – aspects
16
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
when compared with traditional Chinese nationalism in a ‘revived’ format.
This constitutes the third theoretical framework of this work: that is, how
the holistic concept of Chinese nationalism should be deconstructed to
match the two already defined cornerstones. When most scholars comment
on the rising nationalist rhetoric in China, however, their efforts to succinctly distinguish the different concepts of Chinese nationalism from the
above ‘nonsense’ remain limited. There had been few systematic efforts to
deconstruct Chinese nationalism until – most notably – Christopher Hughes
applied discourse theory to ‘treat “nationalism” as a discursive theme that is
constructed from a set of contradictory political strategies’.81 As Hughes
rightly suggests, the way Michel Foucault distinguished sexuality and madness ‘can equally well be applied to “nationalism” if the texts are treated as
discursive, rather than as the expression of a common concept or movement
called “nationalism” ’.82
The third theoretical framework: the segmented and
deconstructed Chinese nationalism
In addressing how different groups in China apply the two-level positivesum theory to embrace Chinese nationalism, it is necessary to deconstruct
the compound value of Chinese nationalism in the same non-unitary manner. This method has been used to divide Chinese nationalism into the following layered categories: expressive layers (the different forms for expressing
one’s sentiment about his or her motherland); ideological layers (the different reasons one has for loving his or her nation ideologically); and strategic
layers (the different strategies China might adopt for handling the United
States in the international arena). Only by applying such definitions can we
understand why a certain kind of nationalist expression does not necessarily
convey the same xenophobic or xenophilic ideology, and why such nationalist ideologies do not mean devising a ‘nationalist strategy’ on behalf of the
regime machine.
Ideological layers of chinese Nationalism. Why do people value nationalism?
This is an open-ended philosophical question. Recent scholars, like Umut
Ozkirimli from Turkey, answer the question by defining various branches of
nationalism such as ‘primordialism’, ‘modernism’ and ‘ethno-symbolism’.83
Such answers are more relevant to domestic politics and modernization.
When considering international relations, the outdated distinction of Hans
Kohn between ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ nationalisms given in 1944 is still
echoed by some contemporary Chinese scholars.84 The question is addressed
here by covering both domestic and international factors, and avoiding
leaning too much towards Ozkirimli’s domestic definition or to Kohn’s international dichotomization. Definitions of civic, primordial and statist types
of ideological nationalism follow.
Introduction
17
A: Civic Nationalism. Jurgen Habermas, who strictly separated the two concepts of ‘nation’ and ‘state’, best interpreted this concept as a voluntary
selection of allegiance based on values.85 When ‘values’ are not declared in
constitutions, leaders or intellectuals try to assign to the nation a set of values
by making public statements or demonstrating a consistent code of ethics.
For instance, civic nationalists in the United States can be considered those
who wish to ‘secure the Blessings of Liberty to [themselves] and [their]
Posterity’, as the premise of the US Constitution declares.86 Equality, liberty
and fraternity have been the civic nationalist values of France since 1789.
Recent scholarship such as that of Andrew Hurrell and Rosemary Foot tied
global universal values – order, justice and morality – and civic nationalism
of different countries together when they found nations speaking of such
values for their adaptability in the global order.87
With reference to Chinese nationalism, few scholars go as far as William
de Bary in considering that communitarian ‘civil decorum’ and ‘mutual
respect’ constituted ‘ancient civic nationalism’ for China.88 But this does not
mean that no civic nationalist attempts were ever made. The emphasis on
Confucian rituals in ancient China’s tributary system might at the time have
granted Confucian values the status of civic nationalist values. The Three
People’s Principles, which grouped nationalism (minzu) together with people’s power (minquan) and livelihood (minsheng), were theoretically a type of
civic nationalism, with the latter two principles featured as subsidiary values
of minzu. The PRC, in the zenith of the era of ideals, also came close to
developing civic nationalism in terms of the Five Principles of Peaceful
Coexistence. After the Maoist era, universal values gradually became a taboo
in modern China. This is seen from the Chinese endorsement of the
Bangkok Declaration in 1993, which represented a concerted move by Asian
countries against directly borrowing universalism of human rights from the
West. The efforts of thinkers to construct a set of fixed codes or values
embracing Chinese nationalism was often confused with the unrestrained
parochial nationalist rhetoric found on the internet, while most Western
scholars like Michael Davis tended to discuss such values in the Western
comparative context, drawing conclusions that the party-state would understandably dislike.89
B: Primordial Nationalism. This category of nationalism embraces ethnicity
and primordial instincts. A common result is what Isaiah Berlin defined as
‘aggressive nationalism’ (in opposition to ‘non-aggressive nationalism’,
which is largely compatible with civic nationalism).90 Apart from its biological roots, the origins of primordial nationalism have some sociological basis
in terms of a sense of judgment of right and wrong, or ‘us’ against ‘the other’.
Just as John Fitzgerald linked the party-state to Maoist rhetoric, the partystate tends to assign to the United States a set of labels, most often clichés
18
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
such as ‘imperialist’ or ‘hegemonist’, which are difficult to define precisely,
regardless of what the United States actually does.91 Speaking of intellectuals
sharing this category of Chinese nationalism, according to the liberal Ren
Bingqiang, they ‘disdain the scholars emphasizing small details and logic as
nerdy and “blind confusing” ’.92 Speaking of ordinary citizens, their populist
tendency often pushed their nationalism to the fore because, as pointed out
by Paul Taggart, two of the central tenets of populism are creating a ‘politic
of simplicity’ and imposing a ‘dichotomy on political debate’.93 When primordial nationalism is found in China, the sense of (self-)victimization is also
a prime reason: there is nothing that the Chinese give more emphasis to
than their ‘century of humiliation’, imposed by the Western world through
its foreign policies.94 Therefore, this is the type of nationalism most prone to
outward expansion, and denotes a moralistic – instead of moral – perspective
in viewing international relations. In the book Demonizing China, for
instance, a moralistic ‘other’ is seen as different from a moral ‘other’ in the
sense that the former is ‘demonized’, a label with little substance.95
C: Statist Nationalism. Closely related to the last category is the third layer
of ideological nationalism, which can be defined as statist nationalism.
Unlike the preceding categories, statist nationalists – particularly those in
the Third World – speak in patriotic rhetoric mainly because they live upon
the state apparatus. Most mainland scholars know well how people in developing countries merely regard a nation-state as ‘the tool to maximize individual or group interest’.96 Often having another identity as realists holding
interest-maximizing tenets, statist nationalists do not necessarily have to
love anything belonging to their country when they call for stronger statist
roles for their country in the world. This is what Zha Daojiong described as
the difference between ‘nationalism’ and ‘national interests’.97 When the
party-state and nationalism have formed an alliance under the Three
Represents Theory, we can expect more statist nationalists to be produced
and reproduced in the next generation.
This book explores whether primordial and statist nationalism gradually
gave way to civic nationalism, or whether the latter developed as a variable
independent of fervent nationalist expression. What should be emphasized
is that it in no way favours any exclusively Manichean version of nationalism. Civic, primordial and statist nationalisms are difficult to completely distinguish from one another, because human emotion is simply impossible to
dichotomize into what Peter Gries called ‘sense vs. sensibility’ in the real
world.98
Expressive Layers of Chinese Nationalism. Compared with the rich scholarly
attempts to study the ideological layers of nationalism, less focus has been
given to how different people demonstrate their nationalism. Although work
by scholars such as Gries on Chinese nationalism and Sino-American relations
Introduction
19
have discussed nationalist expressions and ideology together, here they are
considered as independent variables. Nationalist expressions are classified into
different categories: diplomatic, territorial, economic, cultural and populist.
A: Diplomatic Nationalism. Diplomatic nationalism is defined as the
advancement of national interests in the diplomatic arena, which includes
the following forums: bilateral or multilateral discussions; transnational
organizations such as the United Nations; the international judiciary; and
international public opinion. When a bilateral or multilateral crisis breaks
out, as noted by Paul Kreisberg, it is always interesting to observe the
demands and techniques of self-victimizing brinksmanship practised by
China, particularly the demands that are not realized.99 This is the procedural
format of diplomatic nationalism, represented by the nation’s petitions and
demands aimed at getting its fair share. The inability of a nation to realize its
procedural demands often results in camouflaging and face-saving ritual
diplomatic gestures, such as the emphasis on personal friendships among
state leaders, or, inversely, on a distortion of foreign retreat and failure.
B: Territorial Nationalism. Territorial nationalism can be aggressive, stressing
the need to expand national lebensraum beyond existing territories without
nominally legitimate claims. It can also be defensive, as exemplified by most
resistance movements, which manifest the need to safeguard existing territories against external aggression.
The variant of territorial nationalism most commonly found in China,
however, is irredentism, which is situated somewhere between the aggressive
and defensive modes. Among various contentious definitions of irredentism –
derived from the Italian terra irredenta (unredeemed land) – is that of Jacob
Landau, who defines it in the broadest sense as ‘an ideological or organizational expression of passionate interest in the well-being of an ethnic or cultural minority living outside the boundaries of the states inhabited by the
same group’.100 It often serves as a convenient tool for values-laden observations, like that of Allan Whiting, to stress the aggressive nature of Chinese
nationalism.101 As Liu Xin puts it, this type of nationalism might create
‘ruinous foreign conflict’ for the regime and an expectation of mismanagement for the people.102
C: Economic Nationalism. Despite being frequently referred to in the interwar period, economic nationalism was poorly defined by scholars until the
late 1990s.103 The definition given by political scientist Rawi Abdelal can be
seen as one of the relatively bias-free versions, as he defines it as ‘a set of
policies that results from a shared national identity; it is economic policy
that followed the national purpose and direction’.104 Yet, Abdelal’s definition
is perhaps too broad. Benjamin Cohen attempted to narrow it to the ‘benign’
and ‘malign’ varieties: ‘malign nationalism seeks national goals relentlessly,
20
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
even at the expense of others; benign nationalism, by contrast, is prepared
to compromise national policy priorities where necessary to accommodate
the interests of others’.105 The value judgments contained in terms like
‘benign’ or ‘malign’ are, of course, over-simplistic, and might not be consistent with the meaning that is usually carried by the literal adjectives.
Applying these definitions to China, one can easily find signs of ‘benign’
economic nationalism in the early post-Mao national strategy. The national
approach of using economic development to offset leftist ideology from the
Cultural Revolution can be regarded as a typical example. However, since the
1990s, which saw the release of economic nationalist theories by He Xin in
1990, the establishment of the Foreign Investors Leading Group by the State
Council in 1994, the publication of China Can Say No in 1996 and the
Chinese entry into the WTO, the ‘malign’ version of economic nationalism
has been more visible.
D: Cultural Nationalism. Eric Hobsbawn provided an insightful account of
cultural nationalism in which he claimed that cultural traditions were
invented by elites, instead of being developed by the masses in a bottomup manner.106 Most of the publics are unaware of embracing cultural
nationalism, although cultural images are often distorted and romanticized for various social and political purposes.107 In China, where nationalism is an import, the role of culture was more instrumental in constructing
the country’s nationalism. As Mitter declares about the May Fourth
Movement, Chinese nationalism ‘was an ideological creation that emerged
largely in reaction to the perceived inadequacies of a political identity that
was based on Confucianism’.108 Although Mitter was looking at Republican
China, it is striking that such an explanation is still applicable to contemporary China.
When culture and ideology are intertwined in China, ‘cultural nationalism’ can be found in different variants. An attempt to ‘offset the Western
influence through soft power advancement’ might be one.109 Since Wang
Hui and Zhang Tianwei, together with other scholars, introduced the concepts of Orientalism, post-modernism and post-colonialism in Reading in
1993, the Chinese have been increasingly aware of the fact that their culture is regarded as a secondary culture by what Edward Said labels ‘cultural
imperialism’.110 Another approach was for the Chinese to stress the applicability of their culture in a modern context through re-exploration of traditional culture. Thanks to the party-state’s effort, there is also the direct
establishment of a new, nationalist culture through icons created to pervade everyday life, in the hope of demonstrating the significance of
national values both consciously and subconsciously. This can be achieved
positively by giving nationalist heroes the titles of ‘martyrs’ or the status of
idols, or be achieved negatively by labelling traitors ‘hanjian (traitors of the
ethnic Han)’.
Introduction
21
E: Populist Nationalism. Populist nationalism is different from the other layers
in the sense that ‘populism’ is not equivalent to diplomacy, territory, economy or culture. Populism is often an agenda of the masses versus the intellectuals: ‘an appeal to “the people” against both the established structure of
power and the dominant ideas and values of the society’, which is ‘in one
sense or another anti-elitist’.111 When populism is linked to nationalism,
such an ‘appeal to the people’ is then shifted outwards and directed against
rival nations.
Most scholars assume a closer relationship between elites and populist
nationalism in China than in the West, because they believe that populist
nationalism in China was started by intellectuals and taken up by the publishing industry.112 The populist tendency of radical new leftists, derived
from their ‘base-level awareness’ as well as their romanticization of the
Cultural Revolution, invited one of the major liberal critiques on them.113
For convenience, the term populist nationalism is here used to refer to a
large number of people demonstrating their nationalist sentiments with
numerical advantage as the hidden rationale, whether by physical demonstrations or by petition, and whether by a particular group alone or jointly
with others.
Strategic Layers of Chinese Nationalism. The last layer of Chinese nationalism
to be addressed is the suggested strategy for China’s response (particularly to
the United States) in the global order. A list of options is provided with the
introduction of each case study, options that are heavily influenced by a
mixture of Western unitarist theories and traditional philosophies. They will
not be described here because their development needs to be studied in conjunction with the individual case studies.
1.1.5 Methodology and variables
The cornerstones of the theoretical framework of this book provide the basis for
the methodology that has been used in exploring Chinese nationalism. The
chosen time frame and the selection of case studies used are described below.
1999–2003 and contemporary Chinese nationalism
A ‘time frame’ is inevitably artificial. The period 1999–2003 was, however,
chosen because during these four years a combination of unique endogenous and exogenous factors and events had a significant effect on thinking
in China.
Domestically, the year 1999 – the beginning of the Three Stresses
Campaign – witnessed both the flowering of PPD in China and the revival of
Chinese nationalism. It was a significant starting point for a new generation
in China, because the year featured their first direct political participation:
the anti-American demonstrations in response to the Belgrade Embassy
bombing. In addition, in the years 1999–2003 there is an overlapping of the
22
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
administrations of two US presidents (Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) and
two Chinese presidents (Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao). The period includes
both continuity and change in terms of personal leadership.
Internationally, thanks to NATO’s intervention in the Kosovo War, 1999
was a year that saw a debate about whether human rights should be placed
higher than sovereignty. This new concept is useful in testing whether the
imperialist and hegemonist labels long ago applied to the United States by
China were still valid after 1999. With reference to bilateral relations
between China and the United States, as Lampton has suggested, 1999 was a
critical year featuring an unprecedented number of notable conflicts of a significance not experienced since 1989.114 The year was therefore an ideal reference point from which to observe whether the two nations would still
occupy, borrowing Lamptonian terminology, the ‘same bed’.
Selection of cases for comparative analysis
Within this chosen four-year time frame, a comparative study has been made
of four selected cases. Research questions have been applied to each, because
it is almost never possible to use the experimental method in such situations.
The investigation progresses through a four-stage, erratic transformation
process. The cases fit the category of ‘deviant case studies’ as defined by Arend
Lijphard; they are tackled in the same manner, based on the same set of questions and logistics to observe their deviations.115 In order to observe both the
similarities and the differences, we can make a horizontal comparison along
the timeline, as well as a vertical comparison of the responses from different
groups in the cases. Chronologically, the cases are as follows:
●
●
●
●
Case 1 (C1): The Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia was bombed by
the US-led NATO army in the Kosovo War (May 1999) – Chapter 2
Case 2 (C2): A US EP-3 spy plane collided with a Chinese F-8 fighter over
the South China Sea (April 2001) – Chapter 3
Case 3 (C3): China joined the US-led anti-terror coalition to support the
war in Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks (September to
December 2001) – Chapter 4
Case 4 (C4): China did not support the war in Iraq because of the absence
of UN authorization (January 2002 to March 2003) – Chapter 5
These cases have been selected because of their fundamental differences (see
Table 1.1). First, C4 developed from ongoing or older issues that were gradually unfolding, and could be monitored for longer. Three cases (C1, C2, C3)
were more random incidents and occurred suddenly, thus the time frame for
studying them is more compact. This typology makes it possible to test
whether preparedness led to less turbulent nationalist responses.
Second, two cases (C1, C2) featured China and the United States as the
only players, although the cases would inevitably affect the global order.
Introduction
23
Table 1.1 Typologies of the deviant case studies
Typology/
Cases
Time
Continuation
Number of
players
Prior
Relationship
Case 1
Case 2
Case 3
Case 4
Random
Random
Random
Serial
Bilateral
Bilateral
Multilateral
Multilateral
Confrontational
Confrontational
Cooperative
Confrontational/
Cooperative
1999 May
2001 April
2001 Sept
2002
January–2003
March
Casualties
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Two cases (C3, C4) featured national players in addition to China and the
United States, although Sino-American relations are highlighted within
those cases. They represent multilateral interactions, and the third parties
involved (such as the ‘terrorists’ in C3 and Iraq in C4) are also discussed
when appropriate.
Third, two cases (C1, C2) were confrontational in nature, as China and the
United States occupied directly conflicting positions. C3 was cooperative, as
China and the United States worked with – or even collaborated with – each
other. The line was blurred for C4. This helps to test whether China and the
United States being on good or bad diplomatic terms directly influenced the
Chinese people’s perceptions of the United States.
Fourth, three cases (C1, C2, C3) involved direct casualties on either or
both sides before major Sino-US negotiations, whereas C4 did not (even
though war might result as the case unfolded). This helps test whether universal humanitarianism – regardless of the nationality of victims – was an
important concern of the Chinese.
Any selection inevitably leads to non-selection of cases. The methodological
limitations and what has not been covered in the cases is acknowledged. For
instance, since it is the Chinese response that has been concentrated on, the
decision-making process and rationale of the American side have not been
much investigated. The focus has not been the origin, course and impact of
each case. The interactions between China and transnational or supranational
organizations were excluded, despite the not-negligible role of the United
States within them. Cases occurring at roughly the same time – such as the
series of Sino-American conflicts in 1999 – were also excluded. The necessity
of relying on internet expression to study some responses of the public across
China is a limitation, especially as accessing sources prior to 1999 is difficult.
1.2 Primary source identification of the groups selected
Since the main channel for different public groups and sub-groups wishing
to address political issues is through writing instead of US-style lobbying, the
24
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
collection from primary sources was fundamental to the research for this
book.116 However, since Chinese politics often dictates that ‘surface and reality differ (biaoli buyi)’, studying Chinese sources is by no means an easy
task.117 The semi-transparent nature of Chinese politics, featuring spontaneous censorship and self-censorship, also contributes to part of the difficulty.
As a result, there is no easy way of studying whether the groups can advance
their identities and extend their say simply by drawing attention to their
nationalist reactions. All that can be done is to review their roles in each
case, and then observe whether their distinctive response was allowed and
heard; whether part of their response was incorporated into official policy;
whether their role was enhanced in society; and whether they were able to
achieve other purposes through their response.
The next section offers a discussion of how each of the three identified
groups and their sub-groups were studied. Features of the groups to be discussed are: their major composition; their potential capability and contribution to Sino-American relations; their contribution to the revival of Chinese
nationalism in the 1990s; and primary sources used to study their perspectives and responses.
1.2.1 The party-state (the ‘top’)
The party-state is made up of two entities: the party (CCP) and the state (PRC,
or the ruling apparatus of the CCP). The composition of both is strictly topdown and pyramidal. The first phase of the revival of Chinese nationalism was
started by the party-state to address its ideological vacuum after the Cultural
Revolution, with the works of Ding Xueliang on the ‘legitimacy crisis’ alleged
by most scholars to be the most representative.118 Many scholars like Maria
Chang suggest that the party-state formally became nationalistic in 1994
when it promoted Chinese nationalism in patriotic terms (aiguo zhuyi).119 As
summarized by Zhao Suisheng, who called patriotism in China ‘state-led pragmatic nationalism’, the main features of the official instruction were:
1.
2.
3.
4.
defining China’s unique national conditions;
linking the Communist state with China’s non-Communist past;
the Communist state as the defender of China’s national interests; and
national unity as a theme against ethnic nationalism.120
It is true that the party-state issued the Instruction in Patriotic Education on 23
August that year to lecture on the correct ways to promote patriotism.121 But
Chang overlooked the fact that the party-state started the patriotic campaign
in 1990 in a low-profile manner, in the name of ‘further strengthening moral
education’.122 In 1991, a Circular on Fully Using Cultural Relics to Conduct
Education in Patriotism and Revolutionary Tradition was issued by the CCP
Central Propaganda Department, the first official endorsement of the term
‘patriotism’.123
Introduction
25
Another benchmark in the entrenchment of nationalism in the party-state
is the year 2000, when Jiang Zemin introduced the/his Three Represents
Theory, which contained the ‘progressive course of advanced culture’ as the
third ‘represent’, a euphemism for national unity, or simply, the same statesponsored patriotism. The People’s Daily made it clear: the nationalist spirit
that China has to promote, according to the theory, is ‘solidarity and unification, independence, peace-loving and self-strengthening’.124 It represents
a de facto linkage of the CCP, the subject of the Three Represents, and
Chinese nationalism, the object of the theory. The sacrosanct status of
Chinese nationalism was further elevated when the theory was incorporated
into the CCP Constitution on 27 December 2003.125
The following sub-groups will be included in the cases within this ‘top’
umbrella category.
The party-state leaders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
the sources studying them
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA, waijiaobu) of the State Council, which
reports to the Premier, is the major decision-making executive branch
directly responsible for formulating Chinese foreign policy. After the death
of Deng in 1997, the real foreign policy making shifted to the CCP’s Foreign
Affairs Group, the Foreign Propaganda Group and the Taiwan Affairs Group,
the administration of which is split among several top leaders.126
It is undoubtedly appropriate to study the People’s Daily to understand the
party-state. In the twenty-first century, however, such a traditional methodology is no longer enough. Online papers have become an increasingly
important source of news in China and are therefore included. A decision
was made to consult the People’s Daily Online (PDO) instead of the People’s
Daily for the following methodological reasons: the former covers the full
version of the latter; the former includes ten affiliated newspapers of the paternal branch; the former includes ‘new policies, resolutions and statements of
the Chinese Government’ that might not be fully covered in the paper version; and the former, according to its official website, ‘shows a far greater daily
releasing capacity than its paternal paper’.127 In short, it offers a combination
of the party-state ideas that has rarely been explored by scholars.128
The PDO is also supplemented with a wide range of ‘traditional’ Chinese
primary sources: (1) speeches made by party-state leaders, official statements, press releases of the MFA and its regular press conferences;129 (2) other
official newspapers which are directly controlled by the CCP, including the
more intellectually based Guangming Daily and the military connected
Liberation Daily, as well as official news agencies such as Xinhuanews and the
China Daily; (3) official journals that are directly party-owned, especially
Seeking for the Truth (Qiushi); (4) the written accounts of top Chinese leaders
or lower-ranking veteran diplomats; (5) quoted interviews of well-known,
credible scholars such as Lampton with ‘senior Chinese leaders’, which have
26
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
been used as supplementary sources; (6) CCP-affiliated newspapers in Hong
Kong – Takungpao and Wenweipao – where appropriate.
The military sector
Within the ‘top’ groups, the military sector has been regarded as the most
opaque player. Historically, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was seen as a
private army of the CCP until 1982. According to the Constitution of the
People’s Republic of China, the Central Military Commission (CMC) – the
highest authority of the military sector – ‘directs the armed forces of the
country’, although it has no right to proclaim a state of war.130 Behind
bureaucratic codes, PLA generals are well known for their tendency to interfere, and their interests in interfering in Chinese foreign policy making.131
These sources support the idea that there might be inner-group interests –
from the military and the ‘hardliners’ in particular – in speaking patriotic
rhetoric.132 If the military sector and the party-state are headed by different
individuals, as was the case from November 2002 to September 2004, the different agendas of the party-state in general and the military might become a
more sensitive issue, despite little evidence being disclosed publicly.
It is difficult to distinguish the military sector as an independent subgroup separate from the party-state in general. No differentiation is made
here between the role of the military and that of the party-state, unless the
views of the military were found to differ from those of the party-state. The
group was studied using the following sources: (1) official statements or press
releases of the PLA or CMC, or speeches made by PLA leaders; (2) The PLA
Daily, the daily newspaper published by the PLA since 1956; and (3) National
Defence, the monthly journal published by the PLA’s own editorial board
under direct PLA sponsorship. Articles on the roles of the PLA in foreign policy published in Hong Kong journals such as the now-defunct Common
People or Contemporary and the still-published Competition of Opinions have
been treated only as unofficial sources.
The economic sector
Previously called the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation
(MOFTEC), the economic sector is now represented by the Ministry of
Commerce (MOC), which was newly established in 2003 ‘to formulate and
implement specific policies and reform plans of foreign trade and economic
cooperation and foreign investment’, while the MOC had been absorbed
into the State Economic and Trade Commission.133 Besides outward-looking
duties on foreign trade, the revised role of the MOC includes inward-looking
duties, such as setting up ‘qualification criteria for all kinds of Chinese enterprises to obtain foreign trade rights or to be engaged in the international forwarding business’.134
It is also difficult to completely distinguish the economic sector from the
party-state in general. No particular attention has been drawn to the economic
Introduction
27
role of this sub-group unless its views were found to differ from those of the
party-state, based on official statements or press releases of the MOFTEC or the
MOC, or speeches made by their leaders. Journals dedicated to the study of
international trade sponsored by the economic sector, such as the monthly
journal International Economic Cooperation, which has been published since
1977, have also been consulted.
1.2.2 The intellectuals (the ‘intermediary’)
The debate on the definition of intellectuals (zhishifenzi) has a long and
detailed history in China. Eddy U extensively researched the origin of the
term and concluded that the 1920s should be viewed as its real birth.135 The
political participation of Chinese intellectuals, as described in detail by
Merle Goldman, has ranged from total submission to total withdrawal in the
Maoist era.136 Although most intellectuals were rehabilitated in the Reform
Era, their sorry past history, lacking in dignity, independence and even identity, constantly reminds most not to directly challenge the party-state, lest
they be marginalized or exiled.
With nationalism reintroduced by the party-state in 1991, intellectual participation can be viewed as the second stage in the acceleration of the ideology in China. But the involvement of intellectuals brought in more debates
on nationalism. Such debate was seen as an extension of the major intellectual debate in China after the 1980s, which featured ‘liberals’ on one side
and ‘non-liberals’ on the other, with a few scholars suggesting a possible
‘third way’ in between (see Figure 1.4).137 Their long-term rivalry, as studied
from their participation in the nationalist discourse, constitutes one of the
main foci of this work.
The ‘liberals’
Liberalism, popularized by John Locke in the seventeenth century, is a political concept with multiple definitions.138 Liberalism is here defined in a
Economic
Leftists
NeoAuthoritarian
Leftists
Mainland
Liberals
NeoConfucians
New
Leftists
Liberals
Chinese
Nationalists
Non-Liberals
Figure 1.4 Intellectuals in general: liberals versus non-liberals
Overseas
Liberals
Liberals
28
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
conventional manner: as a belief in establishing limits on existing political
powers by asserting a set of universal values beyond authoritarianism, such
as freedom, human rights and self-determination. The four attributes of
contemporary liberalism as summarized by John Gray – individualism, egalitarianism, universalism and reformism – are a good reference point in
addressing contemporary liberalism in China.139
Many contemporary Chinese liberals identify themselves with the May
Fourth Enlightenment of 1919 and the anti-Confucian sentiments espoused
by it. After the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, as Fewsmith stated,
liberal ideas were gradually revived: ‘they [liberals] championed reform,
which meant not only marketization and political liberalization (and eventual democratization) but also opposed the people, ideas, and forces that
they saw as upholding the old order’.140 In the mid-1980s, there was a tendency among liberal intellectuals to deny socialism and their Chinese heritage, a trend represented by the once-forbidden television series River Elegy
(Heshang), produced by five liberals, who are now all exiled overseas.141
Borrowing the dated terminology of Max Weber (e.g., ‘Asiatic modes of production’ or ‘hydraulic bureaucracy’), River Elegy naturally drew twin opponents for its theme of self-denial: the new leftists and the neo-Confucians.142
After the Tiananmen Incident and the reaction against River Elegy, liberalism
became rejuvenated in the 1990s and liberals generally accepted the importance of adhering to Chinese culture.143 Their contemporary position was
explained by liberal Xu Youyu in terms of six factors: the introduction of a
market economy; the great sufferings and lessons of the Cultural Revolution;
the dissolution of the communist camp in the world; the experience and
achievement of Taiwan; a re-enhancement of liberal heritage by the returned
overseas Chinese; and the impact of translation and publication.144 The
stand of the Chinese liberals on the above issues is clearer than that of their
rivals: favouring market mechanisms, criticizing state intervention and supporting developing Western democracy in China in the long term.
Liberals residing in mainland China, such as Qin Hui, Li Shenzhi, Xiao
Gongqin, Xu Youyu and popular young writer Yu Jie, have shown relative
restraint in criticizing the authoritarianism of the party-state while spreading their values. Those who went overseas – particularly after the failed
attempts of democratic movements – have tended to speak in more anti-statist and heavily political tones. Among these are scientist Fang Lizhi, writer
Liu Binyan, overseas liberal magazine Beijing Spring founder Hu Ping and the
Tiananmen student leader Wang Dan. Their main opponents are the neoauthoritarians and statists and they avoid laying particular emphasis on economic issues.
The ‘non-liberals’
Many Chinese intellectuals believe that democracy, people’s livelihood and
nationalism – almost equivalent to the three branches of the Three People’s
Introduction
29
Principles – marked the three wave divisions among them.145 Different entities are grouped together into a, so to speak, ‘non-liberal’ school, but they
can still be distinguished from one another. The importance to this work of
non-liberals demands a fuller explanation of their origins. The sub-schools
are represented by neo-Confucianism, neo-authoritarianism, new leftism
and ‘authentic’ nationalism.
Neo-Confucians. It was in the late 1980s and early 1990s that China witnessed an intellectual paradigm shift featuring some liberal scholars turning
to traditional thought such as Confucianism. Comparable to their counterparts elsewhere in the world, contemporary ‘neo-Confucians’ – whose origin
could be traced to Liang Xiuming (1893–1988) in the Republican Era – prefer to replace the Western formula, instead promoting national greatness by
re-exploring traditional Chinese culture, and at the same time to prove their
adaptability to modern times. One of the greatest missions of the neoConfucians, who strongly embrace cultural nationalism as defined, is to
refute the prediction of Weber (Weber prophesied that Chinese culture
would not be able to coexist with the modern world and his was an obvious
influence behind River Elegy).146 For instance, economics scholar Sheng Hong
proposed a ‘cultural comparative theory’ in which Chinese culture is
regarded as a ‘self-sacrificing culture’ promoting real liberal trade values.147
Retrospectively, Sheng suggests that Western culture, ‘dominated by Social
Darwinism’, is a backward culture, which has ‘yet to obey the values of market, democracy and freedom’.148
New leftists/neo-authoritarians. The core group of non-liberals is collectively
known as ‘new leftists’. The term ‘new left’ originated in the United States in
the 1960s and was coined by sociologist Charles Mills in his Letter to the New
Left.149 How the new leftists in China differed from the ‘old leftists’ – dogmatic Chinese Marxists, Maoists and Communists such as Hu Qiaomu or
Deng Liqun – remains controversial. Whatever the differences are, it appears
that the new left rails against both the alienated values of modern life on the
one hand and absolute authoritarianism on the other, while the increasingly
marginalized old left still adheres to the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line.
Four new leftists, sometimes known as the ‘Gang of Four’, are most prominent in China: former Yale University professor Wang Shaoguang, philosopher Cui Zhiyuan, literature scholar Gan Yang and publisher of the journal
Reading Wang Hui.150 The rise of the school involves two stages, which have
very different contexts. The first stage was their repudiation of the agenda of
privatization in Reaganism and Thatcherism, as represented by Wang
Shaoguang’s article Developing a Strong and Powerful Democratic Country, published in 1991.151 At that stage, they were referred to as the ‘neo-authoritarians’ or ‘neo-conservatives’ (the second label implies closer ties to the
neo-Confucians), since their main argument was directed at reconsolidating
30
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
the power of the state. The study of Taiwanese scholar Zu Zhiguo on mainland neo-conservatism represents one of the foremost introductions of the
idea to the outside world, without using the label of the ‘new leftist’.152 The
idea was in direct conflict with the agenda of democratizing China in the
shock therapy model, which was enthusiastically promoted by the overseas
liberals exiled after 1989. The second stage was economically oriented, challenging capitalism, modernization and the social imbalance they promote.
Wang Hui’s article Contemporary Chinese Ideological Situation and Issues of
Modernization, published in 1997, can be viewed as marking the beginning of
this stage.153 Some scholars currently labelled as liberals, such as Xiao
Gongqin, were once regarded as neo-authoritarians: their defection – instead
of continued loyalty from one ‘stage’ to another, as Gan implies – was caused
by their disapproval of the economic agenda of this group.
It is important to note that the label ‘new leftist’, despite being regarded as
a ‘glorious label’ by internet activists, was not universally accepted by the
group.154 Gan Yang insisted that the term ‘liberal leftist’ was far more appropriate (and appealing) to them, because they also originated from the influx
of liberal ideas in the 1980s, their positions were in fact ‘closer to the New
Deal Liberals in the US’, and they were not alone internationally because
their contemporary comrades abroad included Nobel Prize winner Kenneth
Arrow and James Tobin.155 According to Gan, those labelled liberals in China
should be named ‘liberal rightists’ or ‘libertarians’, because they belonged to
the same school as the conservatives in the United States.156 In a conversation with the author, Wang Shaoguang did not take these labels seriously
and regarded his title as merely an interesting hat assigned to him by his
one-time colleagues in Yale University.157
‘Authentic’ nationalists. Included under the non-liberal umbrella are the
people who were labelled as nationalist intellectuals and who speak more
exclusively on Chinese nationalism. According to leading Chinese nationalist Wang Xiaodong, the main reasons for China’s victimization in recent centuries include: the lack of lebensraum, natural resources and a hostile
environment; backward science and technology; difficulty in achieving political modernization; and the disruption of national spirit.158 To frame these
criteria in thematic terms, as quite justifiably summarized by liberal Ren
Bingqiang, Wang’s cosmology of nationalism could be viewed as aggressive,
because it might imply a Hitlerian lebensraum theory for the Chinese population, a Social Darwinist competition in the international arena and a spirit
similar to Bushido (shangwu jingshen) aimed at promoting a respect for militarism.159 Wang’s ideas were not unknown in the West: his was one of the
most welcomed voices from China to be quoted by Western media like The
Independent or Le Monde.160
At least as a gesture, many new leftists used to denounce the extreme version of Chinese nationalism. Wang Hui, for instance, once tried to distance
Introduction
31
himself from the nationalists by saying that the nationalist ideology represented by popular literature such as China Can Say No was only market-oriented, and that the ideology of nationalism was only a negative by-product
of globalization.161 Very often, however, Chinese nationalist ideas simply
merged with those of new leftists and neo-Confucians. Whereas nationalist
arguments like those offered by Wang Xiaodong often mixed anti-capitalism
with anti-Americanism, the anti-capitalist ideas of new leftists can be traced
from the Confucian disdain of the merchant class. Most commentators
found it difficult to distinguish between them, and believed that ‘the new
nationalism is also regarded as a movement of the new left to be distinguished from the old left’.162 Liberals found it natural to regard the nationalists, statists, militarists and leftists as forming an ‘unholy alliance’ against
them.163 Here these are grouped together under the banner of ‘non-liberals’
without further identification, unless otherwise specified.
Identification of sources. After Wang Hui’s edited journal Reading first introduced the Chinese view of the outside world in the late 1980s, and he
launched two rounds of debates on Chinese nationalism in 1994 in Wang
Xiaodong and Gao Chanqun’s edited Strategy and Management, the growing
importance of intellectuals became more evident, and the battle between liberals and non-liberals in the next decade was triggered. Many platforms that
feature the views of intellectuals from all camps have been consulted. They
include: (1) intellectual journals such as Strategy and Management, Reading or
China Studies; (2) overseas-based online journals such as the liberals’ Beijing
Spring, the new leftists’ China and the World and the ‘online literature communities’ as identified by Michel Hockx;164 (3) more-recently-edited collections featuring the intellectual debate, such as the liberals’ Hidden Current,
the new leftists’ Wave of Thoughts, and general collections like Position of
Intellectuals;165 (4) articles of scholars on their personal websites, or on those
websites hosting various intellectual columns, such as China Review, China
Report or the Independent Chinese Writers Association;166 (5) prose collections of intellectuals in the popular market;167 and (6) intellectual newspapers whose forums feature Chinese contributors worldwide, such as the
United Morning Post in Singapore and Mingpao in Hong Kong.
International relations intellectuals (IRIs)
It can be said that international relations as a discipline in the PRC dates
back to 1955, when the Foreign Affairs University was set up by Zhou Enlai
to train professional diplomats. Since the Reform Era, the discipline has
entered a new phase following the proliferation of think tanks studying
international relations. There are also an increasing number of Chinese IRIs
working on a freelance and internet basis. The influence of IRIs on foreign
policy is no surprise: in addition to their professional training and elitist
position, their affiliations have helped them to rotate between education
32
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
and government roles. The reproduction of their articles on the internet in
the past decade has served as an educational tool for ordinary citizens.
Compared with the abundant material on China specialists in the West,
there is relatively little research on the ‘America Watchers’ in China, with a
few notable exceptions.168 The primary sources that have been relied upon to
study the Chinese IRIs in the case studies are: (1) academic journals dedicated to international relations such as Contemporary International Relations
(CIR) or Institute of International Relations Journal, as well as the book collections of these articles; (2) records of interviews, speeches and conversations
from IRIs, such as the collection of dialogues between Chinese and international IRIs – titled The World and China – published by Tsinghua
University;169 and (3) articles of IRIs on their personal websites.
Journalists have been included here as marginal members of the intellectual category. It is difficult to decide whether journalists in China should be
regarded as part of the ‘intermediary’ or the ‘bottom’ public. The role they
play, however, between the ‘top’ and the ‘bottom’ is as great as that of the
academic intellectuals, if not greater, and thus justifies their inclusion in the
‘intermediary’ group. Many people labelled as new leftists or liberals, such as
Wang Xiaodong or Yu Jie, have no professional backgrounds at all, and for
this reason alone it would be unfair for journalists to be excluded. It is
equally difficult for Chinese journalists to have their individual voices heard
in their own publishing hierarchies, which are as rigid as those of academia.
1.2.3 The ordinary citizens (the ‘bottom’)
After the participation of the party-state and the intellectuals, the third stage
of the revival of Chinese nationalism in the 1990s was brought about by its
rapid popularization within society. But when we refer to the ‘bottom’
group, we need to draw a distinction between ‘ordinary citizens’ and the
concept of ‘masses’, which was introduced by the late Qing scholar Yan Fu
(1853–1921) to China when he elaborated on a phrase of Mencius: ‘peasants
are superior to the ruler’.170 In the twentieth century, the concept was abused
by communists all over the world. This work has targeted ordinary citizens
instead of the ‘masses’, and focuses on three sub-groups within this category:
‘public opinion’ as a whole; members of virtual internet communities; and
university students.
‘Public opinion’ as a whole
Besides the influence of patriotic education, ordinary citizens have their reasons for embracing nationalism: to make it their channel for social action
after the failed attempt at democracy in 1989. Because of its potential to
show disapproval of the party-state through nationalist rhetoric, both scholars
and dissidents regarded Chinese nationalism as a double-edged sword.171 If
this is not putting it too bluntly, the nationalist rhetoric of ordinary citizens
can be seen as their means of endorsing official ideological purity in
Introduction
33
exchange for obtaining social autonomy. These subtle agendas make it difficult to study the mindsets of ordinary citizens, even though their nationalist
outbursts are abundant. Apart from their physical responses, which can be
observed, written sources have been the mainstay of study for this category.
Readers’ contribution sections of non-party-affiliated newspapers can to a
certain extent reflect public opinion. Gries’s analysis of the 281 letters
mailed by ordinary citizens to the Guangming Daily immediately after the
Belgrade Embassy Bombing, which were published on the newspaper’s website, is the best example of utilizing this source.172 Another source is the commercial publications written by either popular or academic writers, even
though the grey zone between the two is becoming increasingly blurred. It is
1996 that marked the zenith of this stage, following the considerable success
of a book called China Can Say No, the first widely circulated book directly
calling for the repudiation of current Chinese foreign policy.173 Since then,
many imitators have followed, and the era has been an easy time to witness
popular nationalism among ordinary citizens.174
Another way of studying ordinary citizens and their opinions is, as in the
West, polling. Established in 1992, the largest polling company in China is the
Horizon Research (Lingdian) Company. Although it is only at its foundation
stage and mainly focuses on the apolitical and commercial front, it has consistently monitored popular perceptions of Sino-American relations. The author
acknowledges Yuen Yue and Shen Min, CEO and general manager of the company, for their generous sharing of polling information and for acceding to the
author’s request for an interview. Unlike its counterparts in the Unitewd States,
polling in China is underdeveloped, with no credible nationwide authority. As
rightly critiqued by Alastair Johnston, Chinese pollsters were incapable of
studying real public opinion on international issues, and the reflected voice
mostly came from intellectual elites alone.175 Sometimes polls could even be
seen as an intentional means of instigating populist nationalism.176 Owing to
the irreversibility of historical events, polls from different sources have been
consulted, however, and these will be identified in the cases.
Virtual community members
The virtual community refers to internet users, including website or chatroom hosts, online article posters or mere browsers. The internet is more
than simply a channel of expression for ordinary citizens, while the ‘netizens’ in China, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre
(CINIC), comprise both elites and less well educated people:
China’s netizens are mainly composed of males who are single and under
35. However the number of married female netizens who are above 35 is
growing at a strong pace. Low-income netizens with an education below
undergraduate are still in the majority while netizens with postgraduate
education and an income above 2,000 yuan are growing. Internet users
34
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
are concentrated in industries like manufacturing, education, public
management, social organizations and the IT industry.177
Equally as important as these open identities are the pseudo identities of
users detached from their real life and bypassing physical constraints of
assembly.178 This poses a challenge to traditional studies and the credibility
of polling, because the same person might well express a standard set of
opinions via open channels when their names have to be disclosed, but
espouse fanatical nationalist rhetoric on the internet with a pseudo identity.
It is not meaningful for Michael Chase, James Mulvenon or Gordon
Chang to use as a reference the growing internet influence in China to prove
the ‘coming liberalization of China’ or ‘coming collapse of China’.179
Nonetheless, Chinese internet users are very politically information-oriented. In July 2004, as revealed by CINIC, 67.8 per cent of users accessed
news on the internet compared with less than 10 per cent for economyrelated options.180 Owing to the limited freedom of press and opinions in
real life, the virtual community becomes an effective domain for ordinary
citizens to retrieve information and express opinions in a relatively, if not
absolutely, free manner. For that reason, the political significance of the virtual community in China, and in Sino-American relations, may be magnified compared with that of its democratic counterparts.181
In 2000, the Ministry of Culture passed the Measures for Managing Internet
Information Services, with its Article 15 – one of the most effectively enforced
pieces of legislation in China – stipulating a list of ‘spiritually polluted elements’ on the internet that should be censored.182 As revealed by Amnesty
International, there were dozens of cases of Chinese internet users jailed for
violating these measures.183 For this reason observers often maintain that
‘the CPC has the power to displace our current notions about the internet –
it can be and has been effectively controlled’.184 However, articles that have
no chance of being published in the traditional media can often be found on
the internet, because it is technically impossible to censor every message on
forums as the party-state could do with the traditional media.185 In fact,
much censorship is performed not by the state, but instead by the selfcensorship of forum administrators. The regulations of the Strong Country
Discussion Forum (SCDF, Qiangguo Luntan), for instance, include 12 rules,
with four written in bold red:
1. Messages cannot be posted that violate the PRC Constitution and laws,
violating open reform and the Four Cardinal Principles.
2. Messages cannot be posed that spread rumours, defaming other people or
subverting the national regime.
3. Messages cannot be posted that spread violence, pornography or superstition.
4. Messages cannot be posted that leak national secrets … 186
Introduction
35
This can be regarded as ‘primary censorship’, but messages challenging official foreign policy, including questioning whether the state is too weak or
too hawkish, are often not censored: these forums are in fact famous (or infamous) for the proliferation of these ideas. What is particularly intriguing is
that rule number six of SCDF, ‘one cannot post messages spreading racial discrimination or damaging ethnic solidarity’, was not in bold red and is frequently violated.187 But problems are still faced related to censorship because
the forums will keep old messages for a certain period of time only. Although
archives of forums like SCDF are available, old articles considered of no value –
especially emotional replies – are gone for good. Dates considered sensitive
are sometimes mysteriously left blank, and this can be classified as ‘secondary censorship’.188 The complete removal of forums or direct deleting of
postings by the government, almost impossible to prove unless confessed to
by either the state or the authors, can be regarded as ‘tertiary censorship’.
Prominent internet forums with vigorous discussion on international
affairs have been given particular focus here. In addition to the famous
SCDF, valuable sources for research are also New Wave Net, Zhongnan
Discussion Forum (ZNDF) and United Discussion Forum (UDF) hosted in
Singapore.189 But SCDF is still the most important platform for study, therefore, in order to understand more about its function, a written interview was
conducted with Guan Jianwen, SCDF’s Vice-Director (and also a moderator
of the forum named ‘Banzhu’).190 In addition, homemade websites dedicated
to patriotism or Sino-American relations have also been explored.191 The way
Chase and Mulvenon studied the virtual community in China mainly by
case studies that are, as Hughes rightly pointed out, ‘actually related to overseas groups’, has not been employed here.192
Campus community members
University students had a progressive role in the political history of modern
China after May Fourth, which was regarded by the party-state as the origin
of modern Chinese patriotism and by intellectuals as the origin of liberalism.193 Since then, there have been many student movements that have had
a huge impact on China, but university students appeared to become pragmatic after 1989. The official patriotic education launched in 1994 has effectively channelled a certain amount of students’ energy towards foreign
countries in general, and the United States in particular.
Campus members could have their own rationale for anti-American feeling. Since 1979, China has consistently provided one of the greatest numbers of overseas students at American universities. Inspired by bestselling
personal memoirs such as Harvard Girl, many Chinese students diligently
prepare for the GRE – including by eclectic means like Crazy English – in the
hope of furthering their studies in the West.194 Ironically, the experience
might well contribute to anti-Americanism among the Chinese. Left-leaning
ideas are prevalent on US campuses and such influences might encourage
36
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
the Chinese to challenge America’s hegemony (Xu Youyu often asks fellow
American liberals to be more ‘responsible’ in teaching the Chinese).195 In
sharp contrast to Harvard Girl, stories of these unhappy US experiences featuring stressful lives, culture shock or discrimination have also become
another pop-literature genre.196
Apart from student demonstration slogans, if available, there is not much
easily accessible reference material for studying campus members and
accounts of student movements have thus been relied upon.197 Articles published by student journals, such as The Chinese University Students, have also
been consulted.198
1.2.4 Exclusions in sub-groups selection
The selection of the particular public groups and their sub-groups is not
meant to represent a complete picture of PPD in China. The following are
notable exclusions: (1) The selected public groupings target mainland China
and Pan-Chinese nationalism as a whole, rather than ethnic identities like
Han chauvinism, regional identities like Shanghai regionalism or overseas
Chinese nationalism. Intellectuals or internet users temporarily based overseas have, however, been included – as long as the object of their discussion
related to mainland China. (2) A number of groups who show little responsiveness towards Sino-American relations owing to their unwillingness/lack
of need to comment on Chinese diplomacy – or where there was a lack of
available primary sources from which to collate their discourse – have also
been excluded. The most notable exclusions here are the rising business
class, urban workers and rural peasants. (3) NGOs have been omitted because
they – many are ‘GONGOs’ – lack a legitimate identity in the subject matter.
According to The 500 NGOs in China published by Tsinghua University, no
Chinese NGOs were founded to address international issues directly, at least
before 2002.199
Chapter summary and preview
This chapter has set out to introduce the thematic cornerstones that were
used in the research for this book: the two-level positive-sum theory, PPD
and the segmented nature of Chinese nationalism. This framework addresses
the following major questions:
1. How did fervent nationalist expression fail to prevent civic nationalism
and a rational international relations strategy for China from developing;
and how might such a development stabilize China’s external relations?
2. How did the different public groups in China participate in the nationalist discourse to advance their own interests; and how did they gradually
develop different layers of nationalism as their own sphere of interest?
3. How might such a development stabilize China’s domestic relations?
Introduction
37
Contemporary Chinese Nationalism
Expressive
Layers
The Party-state
Ideological
Layers
The
Intellectuals
Strategic\
Layers
The Ordinary
Citizens
Figure 1.5 Politics of public diversity and segmented Chinese nationalism
Chapters 2 to 5 explore the case studies and look at how the party-state and
the public responded to the United States in the different layers of Chinese
nationalism (see Figure 1.5). Chapter 6 analyses the findings as these questions are tackled in each case study.
2
Creating a Reference Point for
Contemporary Nationalists:
The Belgrade Embassy Bombing
(May 1999)
Whatever the precise motivation, the attack was certainly designed to
send a blunt message to China: the devastation being wreaked upon
Yugoslavia can be applied to China or any other country that obstructs US
economic and military policy.
International Committee of the Fourth International1
That the Fourth International should have any opportunity to comment on
Sino-Yugoslav-US relations as recently as the late 1990s as if it was the 1950s
was unexpected. The first case study starts precisely with the events that led
to the above commentary. In 1998 Kosovo had begun fighting for cession
from Yugoslavia. The administration in Belgrade was accused of violating
human rights and carrying out ethnic cleansing in dealing with the unrest in
its minority possession. From 24 March to 10 June 1999, under the auspices
of the ‘Blair Doctrine’ in which human rights were given higher priority
than sovereignty, NATO sent in multinational troops to intervene in the crisis.2 China unexpectedly became a direct player on 8 May 1999, when its
embassy in Belgrade was hit by three missiles (hereafter the ‘Bombing’).
Although the Bombing took place within the larger context of the NATOYugoslavian War, the Chinese response was targeted exclusively at the
United States: ‘US-led NATO’ was the standard term used to refer to the perpetrators. This incident, the topic of this case study, is now regarded by
many scholars like Lampton, Gries and the ‘China threat’ theorist Gertz as
having initiated a new phase in contemporary Chinese nationalism.3
Two main arguments are presented here. First, by studying how the case
shaped the nationalist discourse of China, it can be argued that China’s
response to the Blair Doctrine placed emphasis on sovereignty instead of
mere anti-hegemonic rhetoric voiced against the US conspiracy. This choice
38
Creating a Reference Point
39
would provide a basis for further revision of civic nationalist values in China;
and at the same time, the diplomatic code formulated by Deng Xiaoping
towards the United States can be seen to have suffered from this nationalist
attack. Second, the various groups gained substantially from their participation in the nationalist discourse. Starting with the top-level groups, the
nationalist response of each in the expressive, ideological and strategic layers is reconstructed.
2.1 The nationalist response of top-level groups
Owing to the relative abundance of user-friendly sources available, the partystate is the easiest of target groups to study when it comes to obtaining public materials. However, the way in which the party-state diverted nationalist
attention from the public has remained relatively unexplored. An attempt is
made to redress this here by considering how the party-state: (1) proposed
alternative nationalist expressions to be embraced by the public so that reaction against de facto concessions made to the United States could be placated; (2) struggled to pare down the anti-hegemonic ideology it had
overstated in the beginning; (3) used the nationalist strategy founded by
Deng in response to the Bombing; and (4) attempted on the one hand to
pacify the public but to intervene in their nationalist discourse on the other.
2.1.1 Expressive layers: the opening of Pandora’s Box
After the Bombing, China declared that the United States should assume full
responsibility for the affair and accede to a list of demands: to openly and
formally apologize to the Chinese government, the Chinese people and the
families of the victims; to conduct a full and comprehensive investigation; to
release a detailed investigation report as soon as possible; and to severely
punish the perpetrators.4 These demands were made after Bill Clinton had
sent a personal letter to Jiang Zemin on 9 May, but as noted by Lampton, the
party-state regarded this initial US response as ‘too casual’ and did not publicize it to the Chinese people ‘because it might further provoke the masses’.5
When we look at the official nationalist expressions, keeping in mind that
most of the demands made to the United States had been far from met,
attention should be paid to the policies directed internally towards China’s
diverse society: the allowance of demonstrations, the allowance of a military
protest and the officially sponsored martyr worship campaign. These can all
be seen as de facto appeasements of – and attention-diverters from – nationalist demands by the fanatics.
Face-saving camouflage and beyond
No matter how well or poorly the Chinese demands had been met, the partystate did try to create the impression that the crisis had been reasonably settled. Addressing the first demand, Clinton and Jiang finally managed a
40
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
successful telephone conversation on 14 May, during which Clinton formally apologized for the ‘tragedy in Belgrade and the victims’ – but never
specifically to the Chinese government.6 Half a year later, the Foreign
Ministry announced that the United States had ‘already openly apologized
to the Chinese government, the Chinese people and the families of the
Chinese victims’ to close the case.7 The claim of an apology might have been
true – but an official apology ‘to the Chinese government’ had not been
made. During the negotiations, the Americans preferred to rely on personal
channels to settle the ‘accident’, whereas the Chinese looked for an ‘open
and formal apology’ with official credentials to acknowledge responsibility.
This was a significant reversal of their respective traditional preferences. In
the end, Beijing had no choice but to aggrandize the same informal channels
of communication to create the impression of face-saving nationalist triumphs. For instance, the official Chinese statement stressed that the bilateral telephone call was ‘made at the request of President Clinton’.8 With
behaviour demonstrating China’s national pride, Jiang refused to take
Clinton’s initial call.9 Friendly gestures were absent until July 1999, when
through the medium of sport, the Chinese indicated that the Americans
were to be forgiven.10
Responding to the other demands, Clinton sent Under-Secretary of State
Thomas Pickering to Beijing on 16 June to present an official report of the US
investigation.11 A few lower-middle-ranking CIA staffers were punished a
year later, in April 2000 – one was fired and seven were internally disciplined –
after being held responsible for the ‘flawed database’ and ‘faulty check’.12
This response was considered unacceptable by the party-state. However, it
silently declined to follow up the matter, trying instead to shift attention to
the issue of compensation in an attempt to close the case.13
The two sides reached an initial agreement on compensation after two
rounds of negotiations held in July 1999. The Americans agreed to compensate the families of the Chinese victims with US$4.5 million; and to compensate the Chinese government with US$28 million for financial losses
caused by the Bombing.14 In the official US version of the statement, however, the American compensation was coupled with Chinese compensation
of US$2.87 million for losses to the US Embassy in Beijing (damaged during
the anti-American demonstrations in response to the Bombing).15 Reports of
the Chinese compensation were notably missing on the Chinese side, but
were always mentioned in most Western channels like Reuters.16 Given that
the official demands had not been met, how, apart from some face-saving
camouflage, did the party-state divert nationalist attention from official
impotency?
Appeasement (I): the military and ‘power struggle’ interlude
The party-state was not acting in a unitary manner while trying to camouflage
the reality of the situation. This period recorded at least one inept irredentist
Creating a Reference Point
41
performance by the military sector. As Asiaweek reported, from 14 to 16 May
1999 twelve Chinese naval warships suddenly entered Japan’s Exclusive
Economic Zone (EEZ) near the Diaoyutai Islands to reassert China’s controversial claim to the island-chain and the surrounding waters.17 This was the
first demonstration of its type since the island dispute started in the 1970s. As
the Bombing was an international dispute with no immediate relevance to
Japan, and the Diaoyutai issue was not particularly urgent at that time, the
naval action could be reasonably interpreted as a semi-official demonstration
of China’s irredentism and determination to protect its soil in indirect
response to the Bombing.
It was not an isolated incident either. In an effort to pursue responsibility
for the Bombing, the CMC Vice-President Chi Haotian – China’s number two
military leader, second only to Jiang – declared emotionally when visiting the
wounded: ‘[this incident] made the entire party, army and population of the
nation hate the same enemy … the liability must be cleared!’18 A PLA officer,
when he was interviewed by Phillip Saunders, told the China specialist that
the negative impact of the Bombing on Chinese perceptions of the United
States was ‘as great as the Tiananmen Incident’s impact on American perceptions of China’.19 Although these attention-seeking responses were too spontaneous to obstruct the overall picture, they were nonetheless appeasements
directed at the fanatics, actions that were less obvious in later cases.
Tied to the noted military disarray was the fact that Zhu Rongji was cited
as a victim of the Bombing in terms suggestive of a power struggle. Shortly
before the Bombing, Zhu made a trip to the United States in the hope of
finalizing US approval of China’s PNTR. The purposes of the trip, said the
Premier, were ‘to placate the anger (xiaoxiaoqi) of the Americans’ and ‘to
boost the morale (dadaqi) of Chinese people living in the US’.20 When it
came to the Bombing, Zhu became a target of the nationalists. According to
‘Zong Hairen’, allegedly once an aide or a group of aides to Zhu whose identity was ‘verified’ by Andrew Nathan’s preface for the book, Jiang assigned
responsibility to Hu Jintao – at that time the only leader with no contacts
with the United States – for handling all matters to do with the Bombing, in
order to isolate Zhu.21 Outsiders cannot confirm whether such interpersonal
struggles really took place. However, when nationalism and diplomacy had
to be handled jointly, the autonomy of the State Ministry in general and the
Foreign Minister in particular did lessen noticeably from late 1999 onwards.
This could be seen as another gesture made to please the hard-liners.
Appeasement (II): a calculated populist experiment
As will be discussed shortly, there were nationwide large-scale demonstrations in the immediate aftermath of the Bombing. The party-state firmly
denied any direct involvement. When the Chinese Ambassador to
Washington, Li Zhaoxing, replied to a question asked by a US journalist on
17 May 1999 as to whether the Chinese government was mobilizing the
42
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
public, he said in his characteristically blunt manner: ‘Only people suffering
from a psychological aberration would say such rubbish’, adding: ‘do you think
the Chinese people still need the government to mobilize the demonstrators?
It is the barbaric behaviour itself that has instigated the demonstrations.’22
However, the party-state was adopting a dual approach in assessing the
populist nationalism expressed by the public at large. After the student
demonstration of 1986–87, the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress passed a
new set of regulations, requiring that organizers of demonstrations submit
written applications to the public security organs five days ahead of schedule.23 This rule was obviously not enforced in this case. Indirect organizational assistance – such as that provided by the party administrative sections
in leading universities – was recognized by participants, as they told
Australian scholar Sang Wei in an interview.24 Only the party-state was able
to provide the means for free transportation for demonstrators, to loosen
security procedures and orders for people to apply for demonstrations, and
to quietly allow – or tolerate – physical damage to the US Embassy. It is clear
that demonstrators became aware of stricter governmental control on the
second day, when they found it ‘much harder’ to throw stones at the
embassy.25 When the liberal Ren Bingqiang made reference to how the partystate had contained nationalist reaction in response to the anti-Chinese
movement in Indonesia during the same period, the liberals’ argument
became more convincing.26 A group of professors and students of Tsinghua
University, most of whom took part in the demonstration in 1999, told the
author that the party-state officially discouraged them from further demonstration after the first two days, just as the same representatives discouraged
them from taking part in anti-Japanese demonstrations in May 2005.27 But
this discouragement was not evident immediately following the Bombing:
instead, staff and students of universities were encouraged to demonstrate.28
These findings suggest that the party-state was only too well aware of the
unrealized demands on the diplomatic table and wished, therefore, to satisfy
the minimum expectations of the demonstrators.
Once populist nationalism had been both allowed and controlled, the
party-state wasted no opportunity in promoting patriotism for its own good.
Jiang’s keynote speech on the Bombing concluded with an awkward nationalist linkage between the party-state and the public at large.29 The PDO called
for ‘uniting under the great flag of patriotism’, and rationalized this by saying how the Bombing proved the ‘superb ability of the CCP with Comrade
Jiang Zemin as its helm’, and how this ‘struggle’ had ‘increased the bond of
the Chinese people’.30 The paper implied that the party-state was reluctant
to upset external confidence, in a manner that is likely to run against our
intuition. For instance, in a rather illogical article intended to dismiss any
suggestion of sponsoring anti-Americanism, the PDO called for ‘channelling
of the patriotic passion into tourism’ to guarantee the same quality of tourist
services offered to Westerners after the Bombing.31
Creating a Reference Point
43
Applying inverse logic in the study of such rhetoric, we understand that
populist nationalists who attempted to destroy China’s stability would be
considered subversive forces. Government involvement in demonstrations
did not result from complete approval of populist nationalism. Instead, the
party-state wished to contain potentially subversive forces and this made it
impossible to handle the demonstrations in a laissez-faire manner. As liberal
Xiao Gongqin argued, ‘the largest beneficiary of extreme nationalism is the
opportunists, who could easily make use of populist sentiments to shift
attention from economic and social issues’.32
Appeasement (III): value-adding revolutionary martyrs
The role of the party-state in the demonstrations was not supposed to be
acknowledged. When its diplomatic demands were cut back to face-saving,
the party-state needed other ways to openly exhibit its patriotism. The
answer was found on the cultural front, when it attempted to promote cultural nationalism by making martyrs of the Chinese victims. Such expressive
nationalism was made possible by the immediate casualties of the Bombing.
The three deaths – of middle-ranking journalists Shao Yunhuan (from
Xinhua Agency), Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying (both from the Guangming Daily),
who were alleged to be ‘spies’ by some Western sources – plus the 23
wounded embassy officers might be limited in number, but they were crucial
in quality.33 The national funeral dedicated to the journalists was the first
such funeral for ordinary citizens in recent decades, but it alone did not signify cultural nationalism. On 13 May, the State Council decided to confer on
the three victims the title ‘revolutionary martyr (geming lieshi)’, a title previously given to those who had sacrificed their lives for the CCP in its early
wars or to soldiers who had died in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Official
propaganda featured a number of elaborate stories glorifying these martyrs
that might easily have reminded readers of Maoist revolutionary rhetoric.
For example, the PDO praised them as ‘the heroic journalists, the outstanding son and daughters of the Chinese nation and the pride of the party and
people’, who ‘cried for peace and fought for justice until the last minute of
their lives’.34
How could the party-state possibly prevent – or pre-empt – nationalist
unrest by glorifying these martyrs? This has to be looked at in the macro
context of the cult of personality in China. Some scholars, like Wu
Wenzhang of Taiwan, regard the existence of such a cult in ancient China as
vital proof in categorizing Confucianism as a religion.35 When the PRC
denounced Confucianism in the Maoist era, Zhou Enlai discouraged conventional worship but still acknowledged the value of martyr-worship as a
means to ‘encourage the living people’.36 It was understood that the making
of communist heroes out of ordinary members, like Qiu Shaoyun
(1931–1951) who died in the Korean War, might boost the morale of those
following the same path. These three new martyrs of the Bombing, however,
44
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
had added value over the revolutionary martyrs. According to the
Revolutionary Martyr Honouring Ordinance issued by the State Council on 29
April 1980, the criteria in defining a martyr were not only to be a communist, but also to be a nationalist: ‘to educate people striving to bravely safeguard and develop our motherland’.37 In order to promote nationalist
ideologies, as the party-state had promoted communism in the past, outdated communist fashions were preserved, reinterpreted and re-invented. In
1982, the PRC took a surprise step in conferring martyrdom on a KMT general, Zhang Zizhong (1891–1940), who was renowned for his anti-Japanese
sacrifice.
Whereas previous martyrs had been praised for their commitment to
Maoism or internationalism, Zhang and these updated heroes of 1999 were
glorified as symbols of nationalism. The transition from Qiu Shaoyun to Xu
Xinghu reflected the same essence of China’s patriotic education since the
1990s, which, as Zhao Suisheng’s studies suggest, aimed at ‘[linking] the
communist state with China’s non-communist past’ and presenting ‘the
communist state as the defender of China’s national interests’.38
When the party-state used measures to camouflage their nationalist setback at the hands of the United States and diverted attention to other less
provocative outlets such as martyr-worship, it left room for the public also to
express themselves. As long as they did not directly challenge the legitimacy
of the party-state, intellectuals and ordinary citizens were allowed to find
their own ways of speaking in a nationalist manner that differed at a tolerable level from the official rhetoric.
2.1.2 Ideological layers: how to retreat from
the ‘moralistic’ high ground?
Nationalist expression by the party-state can be summed up as an initial loud
outcry followed by calculated rationality. This observation more or less
matches the ideological arguments given by the party-state to interpret the
Bombing, which featured initial heavy moralistic rhetoric, gradually
replaced by civic nationalist arguments targeting the Blair Doctrine only.
Because of the strong discourse conveyed initially, the party-state found it
difficult to define the intrinsic values of anti-hegemonism apart from in its
conventional usage. A study of the Bombing alone is not enough to project
the rational side of Chinese nationalist ideology. It is only by watching
developments over a few consecutive years that it becomes apparent that the
construction of Chinese civic nationalist values is a continuous, and incremental, process.
From American barbarism to hegemonism
A statement released by the Foreign Ministry immediately after the Bombing
described the event as a ‘barbaric tyranny (yeman baoxing)’.39 In a more
provocative manner, on 13 May, the PDO’s editorial declared that US-led
Creating a Reference Point
45
NATO had ‘become an heir to the evil heritage of Western culture and added
a shameful chapter to the history of human civilization’, which had ‘nailed
itself to the cross of shame in the history of world civilizations by committing bloody atrocities’.40 Despite the apparently strong words that were used,
the above statements revealed that the party-state, at the beginning, had yet
to decide on the nature of the Bombing. In Chinese, ‘barbarism’ is theoretically more like a description of a type of random, impulsive action rather
than a Kissingerian grand strategy. The initial judgment on the barbaric USled NATO tyranny seemed to have been made hastily, and a systematic
explanation was lacking.
Later on, the Bombing was not only considered a barbaric act; it was reinterpreted as an extension of the Kosovo War. According to PLA researcher Ke
Chunqiao in National Defence, the war was a ‘comprehensive imperialist
attempt’ featuring the ‘barbaric behaviours by the “people”s guard’ (i.e., USled NATO).41 The destruction of the Chinese Embassy – a piece of land under
a particular nation’s sovereignty – was interpreted by the PDO as imperialistdriven. Because the Bombing represented the first time since the Boxer
Rebellion (1899–1900) that Chinese soil had been directly attacked by the
United States, the two issues were juxtaposed by the official mouthpiece in
an alarming article titled This is Not 1899 China.42 When American intention
was included in the official Chinese speculation, the Bombing was framed
under the banner of American hegemonism (baquan zhuyi) instead of mere
barbarism.
According to graduate student Samantha Blum’s insightful analysis long
after the Bombing, when the Chinese were speaking of ‘American hegemonism’ they might be referring to three slightly different meanings: the
United States was already a hegemon; the United States was a superpower
seeking hegemony; or the United States was simply displaying hegemonic
behaviour.43 In this case, most comments made by the party-state did not
touch on the sensitive issue of the status of US power, because the usage of
American hegemonism referred primarily to the last category identified by
Blum. For instance, on 27 May 1999, using long-forgotten rhetoric, the PDO
warned against the US attempt to ‘launch a new Cold War against socialist
countries and the Third World’, because ‘the United States dislikes China’s
adherence to the socialist road and is unwilling to see China develop into a
powerful country’.44 The CCP journal Seeking for the Truth, which drew a parallel between American hegemonism and Nazism and British imperialism,
said ‘stirring up national division and applying the principle of divide and
rule is always an important strategy of the hegemonists in dealing with
socialist and developing countries’.45 Although Jiang did not believe in a
unitary US attempt to provoke China, according to Clinton’s autobiography
quoting their phone conversation, he did believe that the Bombing was
started by those from the Pentagon or CIA who disliked Clinton’s befriending of China.46 When even the very top of the party-state partly endorsed
46
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
conspiracy theories, the nationwide interpretation of US hegemonism came
as no surprise.
From anti-hegemonism to ‘anti-Blairism’
While ascribing to the United States the imperialist roles it had been accustomed to play in the past, the party-state quietly offered alternative arguments focusing its critics on the Blair Doctrine from the perspective of
international law. As some scholars have recently concluded, this attempt by
the Chinese was typical of an ‘order/justice debate’ found around the world
(as will be repeatedly discussed).47 The first official attempt to instigate this
debate was seen on 13 May 1999, when the PDO demonstrated its endorsement of a set of universal ideas – instead of expressing its concern about
China only – in a surprisingly scientific manner:
It is widely acknowledged that civilization is characterized by certain
norms in certain societies. Any acts that wantonly violate these social
norms and cause serious consequences will be deemed as crimes and be
condemned and punished by society.48
The above reference to ‘certain norms in certain societies’ hinted at an official
attempt to cultivate civic nationalism. Many official bodies, such as the editorial board of the National Defence, went to some lengths to explain how the
Bombing violated international laws.49 By contrast, the party-state did not
draw attention to the issue of human rights because the deaths of the journalists and the other casualties in Kosovo were seen in a larger, national context.
Since the Blair Doctrine was the target of opposition, suggesting any emphasis
on human rights in this case might only have confused ideological purity.
The advantage for the party-state in trying to engender civic nationalism
after the initial moralistic outburst was that when blaming the United States,
it was not necessary to bother whether the Bombing was intentional or accidental. An official attempt to rely on civic nationalism to cool public sentiment was made more apparent by the comment delivered on the anniversary
of the Bombing.50 In this April 2000 declaration, sovereignty emerged as
something of prime value that the party-state appeared to wish to fight for.
Allegations of US hegemonic or imperialist intentions were less frequently
made. However, the above argument was made too late: the party-state’s antihegemonic rhetoric had dominated the ideological layers of nationalism in
the early stages of the incident. Most commentaries on the affair only drew
attention to the anti-American stance in the official ideology and neglected
the defence of the inviolability of sovereignty as a universal norm that Beijing
had vowed to protect. This neglect suggested that this ‘value’ alone might not
be enough for the party-state to use to establish a fixed set of codes for the
guidance of fellow Chinese in acting patriotically – and rationally. What else
was needed to achieve this will be explored further.
Creating a Reference Point
47
2.1.3 Strategic layers: loyal followers of Dengism
The party-state used blunt and strong anti-hegemonic rhetoric to condemn
the Bombing, and even mentioned the Chinese ‘victory’ over the United
States in the Korean War to hint at the unthinkable. However, when it came
to the point of decision-makers having to formulate China’s foreign policy
towards the United States, the party-state’s attitude was somewhat different.
It soon decided to mount a defensive, or even concessive, strategy towards
the United States featuring an element of risk-aversion against the unpredictable, both domestically and internationally. The strategy was outlined in
Jiang’s important speech delivered on 14 May 1999, which made it clear that
self-strengthening, with the implication of self-isolation from world turmoil,
should be the prime focus.51 Jiang’s theoretical rationale deserves study in a
broader context and is referred to here as the strategy of ‘Taoist nationalism’
as initiated by Deng Xiaoping after the Tiananmen Incident.
The standard application of ‘Taoist nationalism’
‘Taoist nationalism’ should be regarded as a mixture of various theoretical
components. The core, as considered in this work, is defensive realism,
which, as represented by its proponent Charles Glaser, suggests that
nations prefer cooperation to competition if the level of uncertainty is
high.52 The agenda became more appealing to the Chinese because it is difficult for the growth-curve of the economy to keep up with people’s expectations.53 The implication of this is the importance it places on the stability
of a nation as it modernizes, despite the innately rebellious nature of such
a process.
When Deng outlined his foreign policy principles based on the above ideas,
the most intriguing addition to the recipe was Taoism, an ancient Chinese
philosophy founded by the legendary Lao Tzu around the sixth century BC.
Taoism was meant to teach people the law of nature, but was often viewed as
a collection of subtle interdisciplinary strategies. As Peking University IRI
Wang Fuchun found out, Taoist ideas inspired Deng in two ways: first, to ‘be
good at maintaining a low profile’ and, second, to concentrate on China’s
internal development and to remain on the second front globally until the
opportunity arises for future advancement.54 The combination of these components into ‘Taoist nationalism’ was started by Deng in 1991 in response to
the hostile international position China found itself in after the Tiananmen
Incident. According to Deng, China as a nation should be:
Lengjing guancha (making cool observations)
Shouzhu zhendi (securing our position)
Chenzhuo yingfu (coping with affairs calmly)
Taoguang yanghui (concealing our capacities and biding our time)
Shanyu shouzhuo (good at maintaining a low profile)
Juebu dangtou (never claiming leadership)55
48
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
In applying this to Sino-American relations, the cooperative and risk-aversive
spirit of Deng was complemented with a further 16 characters from Jiang
Zemin in 1995:
Zengjia xinren (improving mutual-trust)
Jianshao mafan (reducing troubles)
Fazhan hezuo (developing cooperation)
Bugao duikang (generating no confrontations)56
This – particularly taoguang yanghui – became China’s prescription throughout the 1990s. Practitioners of Taoist nationalism can be said to prefer promoting national grandeur in the international arena by maximizing
national security in a cooperative (or even concessive), isolationist and selfstrengthening manner. This is, to some extent, comparable to American isolationism before World War II, when the American rightists stressed the
unimportance of engaging in international affairs even though they
believed the United States would achieve greatness in this way.
Taoist nationalism never renounced the right of China to be the world
leader in the long term: the great Chinese people just had to be patient.
That’s why in the speech made by Jiang after the Bombing, he said that
‘China will unswervingly take economic reconstruction as its central task’
and called for ‘coping with affairs calmly’ and ‘concealing our capacities and
biding our time’.57 From 21 May to 2 June 1999, in the series of customarily
dry PDO editorials calling for instruction from Jiang, the need to transfer
nationalist passion to economic development was elaborated. No matter
how inept the logic, the message was clear: the time of China, which needed
to improve its overall strength ‘as quickly as possible’, was yet to come.58 It
is no surprise that we see Clinton – who had favoured granting China PNTR
and, no matter what, had helped ‘solve’ the Bombing issue – being appreciated by Beijing for his ‘efforts in improving Sino-US relations during his presidency’ when he finished his term in office.59 His campaign speech in 1992,
containing the reference to ‘an America that will never coddle tyrants from
Baghdad to Beijing’, was ostensibly forgotten by the Taoist nationalists.60
The Slavic disappointment
China’s determination to ‘conceal its capabilities’ was notable in the diplomatic arena, where Beijing responded with extreme caution without leaning
towards, or conflicting with, one side or the other. Beijing never gave any
unrealistic hope to countries like Yugoslavia or Russia. The Taoist nationalist
strategy was a disappointment to the Slavic twins. Immediately after the
Bombing, in a phone conversation with Jiang, Boris Yeltsin of Russia expressed
his ‘utmost indignation over US-led NATO’s barbarous act of attacking the
Chinese Embassy in Belgrade’.61 Yeltsin recalled Foreign Minister Ivan Ivanov
from Britain, where he was on a visit, and enthusiastically sent ex-Premier
Creating a Reference Point
49
Viktor Chernomyrdin as his special envoy to Beijing to demonstrate support,
as if a worldwide conflict were imminent.62 However, as demonstrated by suggestions made by internet activists, it seemed to some a perfect time to reignite
the Russian 1998-proposal of forming a ‘Sino-Indian-Russian (SIR) alliance’ to
counterbalance the United States.63 Milosevic also took the opportunity to
confer honorary ‘Star of Yugoslavia’ badges on the dead Chinese journalists,
together with other Chinese citizens, including the ambassador to Belgrade
Pan Zhanlin and the PDO reporter Lu Yansong.64
All these ‘friendly’ gestures were greeted with aloofness. Despite unusually
frequent high-level exchange visits between China and Russia in the following months, no substantial cooperative agreements were made between the
two countries in 1999. China simply regarded Russia as a country to look to
for moral support. When they signed a treaty of friendship in July 2001 to
rectify their long-standing border dispute, the initial Russian excitement had
cooled down and, as studied by Alexander Lomanov, the treaty triggered
Russian suspicion because of China’s initial frosty response to the SIR
alliance.65 These gestures sometimes formed the basis for comment and criticism by the public, but the isolationist and risk-aversive tendency of the
party-state overrode these concerns. If this was not the China of 1899, it was
also not the China of 1989. How the party-state modified Deng’s diplomatic
legacy by incorporating concerns of China’s diverse society will be the focus
of later cases.
2.2 The nationalist response of the
intermediary-level public
The Bombing provided Chinese intellectuals with new arenas in which to
launch their debate outside their traditional ones of academic journals, gaining them wider attention from both public and policy-makers. The intellectuals’ participation in the nationalist discourse was a convenient way of
addressing their audience and could potentially make them national saviours, no matter which side they took. Their participation is explored here by
looking at how they: (1) interpreted anti-American demonstrations; (2) contributed to construct civic nationalism by participating in the human rights
versus sovereignty debate; (3) assessed the Taoist nationalist strategy; and
(4) added to their right to speak by exemplifying their identity as direct participants in the event.
2.2.1 Expressive layers: manipulated or voluntary
nationalism?
A sense among intellectuals of direct participation in the Bombing was
encouraged by the party-state’s sudden need to respond to the Kosovo War,
a war that featured a significant modification to international relations doctrines since the end of the Cold War. The debate about the Blair Doctrine
50
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
suddenly transcended academic language. IRIs ‘grasped the opportunity’ to
provide numerous counter-arguments, which were heavily broadcast in the
mass media. In addition, the deaths of the journalists in Belgrade effectively
made Chinese intellectuals ‘relatives’ of victims. The Guangming Daily, the
working unit of victims Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying, dedicated a special commemorative section in its homepage, which received 281 letters, essays and
poems in the few days after the Bombing.66 Gries studied the source so well
in 2001 that most of the citations of those letters here, unless otherwise specified, had been used by him.67 With the benefit of over five years of hindsight, the letters are compared and contrasted with other sources discovered
later, which Gries was unable to study at his time.
When commenting on other groups’ expressions, most intellectuals – liberals included – accepted the official Chinese stand. As a representative
example, the May 1999 issue of CIR devoted a full front-page advertisement
to declaring its ‘strongest protest against the NATO bombing’ and ‘resolute
support of the Chinese government to reserve its rights to implement further
démarches’.68 The same demands were approved by prominent liberal dissidents like Hu Ping, who ridiculed the high-profile rhetoric of the CCP for not
being supported by any practical measures: ‘not even the ambassador was
recalled’.69 The debate on nationalist expressions revolved around only two
issues: the nature of populist demonstrations and whether the involvement
of intellectuals in reporting and commentating on the Bombing helped
influence public perception.
Assessing the demonstrators: patriots versus Boxers
It is no surprise that most non-liberal intellectuals approved of the demonstrations. This is exemplified by the response of the helmsmen of elitist universities. After his students rallied for the demonstrations, Wang Dazhong,
Chancellor of Tsinghua University, proudly spoke of how his top-ranking
university organized student representatives to demonstrate because ‘everybody in Tsinghua University will never allow aggressors to bully us’, and ‘will
not let the hegemonists commit their crimes against the Chinese people
without responding’.70 Professor Ren Yanshen, the party-secretary of Peking
University, echoed Wang’s view by outlining three characteristics of the
demonstrations – ‘people’s diplomacy (renmin waijiao)’ according to him –
when he was interviewed by The University Students:
1. Demonstrators were highly angered. They had a strong sense of righteousness, did not lose control and were fully aware of the need to abide
by the legal system.
2. People’s Diplomacy was highly consistent with the diplomacy of the
Chinese government.
3. Student demonstrators were able to think calmly after their anger. Their
ambition to serve their nation by studying hard was further encouraged.71
Creating a Reference Point
51
These appraisals were well taken by most new leftists. A typical argument
was that of Wang Jisu, who started by using a seemingly negative term,
‘the mobs’, to describe the demonstrators, but quickly traced its revolutionary origin to explain why the term – as well as the whole demonstration – carried positive values.72 According to this line of argument, the
voluntary nature of the bottom-up demonstrations was beyond reasonable doubt. Those who doubted this were labelled hanjian, as was prominent liberal journalist Dai Qing (who on the Voice of America only
described the demonstrations as the ‘safest explosive vent of anti-imperialism’).73 They were demonized by the new leftist leader Gan Yang in the
following manner:
[These people] danced to the Western media melody, demonstrated different ugly positions and sang a new ‘Whatever Song’, whose lyrics were
something like ‘whatever the West says I shall obey, whatever the West
does I shall follow’.74
Gan’s words irritated many liberals like Xu Youyu, who said they belonged
to the category of ‘uncivilized rhetoric that does not seem to be given by
intellectuals’.75
In contrast, liberals were critical of the demonstrations. As represented by
the liberal journal Beijing Spring contributor Lin Baohua, who reminded
every Chinese person of having already experienced ‘such mass campaigns’,
liberals tended to denigrate the demonstrators as being state-sponsored puppets.76 According to Lin, people ‘followed the CCP melody to dance foolishly
again’ only because they were ‘simply afraid of being isolated’.77 This
assumption prompted fellow dissident Hu Ping to ‘solemnly suggest the CCP
regime redresses its errors as soon as possible’, so that the correction ‘would
be good for the world’.78 Another unfavourable review of the demonstrations was based on the negative image presented. As stated by Ni Yuxian,
Chairperson of the ‘Chinese Liberal Democracy Party’, the demonstrators
were ‘imitating the Boxers, claiming the destruction of foreign embassies as
a glorious achievement’.79 This connotation was harmful to China for tangible reasons (it ‘deterred foreign merchants and tourists from entering
China’) as well as intangible reasons (‘losing face for the Chinese’).80 With
these two negative aspects of populist nationalism in mind, an unholy
alliance between the ‘lying government’ and the ‘smart people’ was the conclusion drawn by liberals.
The liberal logic did not dismiss real populist nationalism organized in a
real bottom-up manner. Lin predicted that a prolonged demonstration in
Beijing couched in nationalist rhetoric – if it had really come up from the
grass-roots – would shift to anti-corruption and political reform against the
party-state, which was something that they would welcome only too
well.81
52
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
Biased Western media versus biased mainland media
Some liberals suggested that mainland journalists personally contributed to
the demonstrations by selecting sensationalist reports. Like some of their
Western counterparts, Xu Jilin, Lin Baohua and others of a similar mind
believed that the Chinese media purposely avoided broadcasting images of
ethnic cleansing committed by Serbs, but selectively chose to highlight
Yugoslavian civilian casualties.82
This claim was almost universally rebutted by their mainland colleagues,
and the author has found the claim to be largely ungrounded in fact. From
internet postings, it seemed that most people in China realized that ethnic
cleansing was happening in Kosovo and did not have great difficulty in
accessing full information about the war (even if the government did
attempt to manipulate some information).83 New leftist Wang Jie countered
by saying that it was the Western media that censored the full story, especially the humanitarian tragedy caused by the NATO bombardment of
Serbian civilians.84 The latter argument was commonly espoused on the
internet in China. Chinese coverage of the war was believed ‘to enable many
American citizens to know the truth’.85 At the extreme end of the spectrum,
the Bombing might be viewed as a conspiracy to undermine the credibility
of the Chinese media by making its journalists direct actors in the war.86
2.2.2 Ideological layers: human rights versus
what sovereignty?
Both liberals and non-liberals attempted to design different sets of values for
the Chinese people by which to assess the Bombing. As leading IRI Yan
Xuetong suggested, ‘to actively participate in developing international
norms’ was one of the main areas that China had to address in responding
to the Bombing.87 Sovereignty was an obvious value for non-liberals to use
to construct their version of civic nationalism, whereas most liberals chose
the defence of human rights. However, intellectuals did not seem sufficiently well prepared to construct civic nationalist values before the
Bombing. Those values they constructed lacked the intellectual complexity
that was required, and were overshadowed by the old agendas of other discourses, such as the neo-authoritarian rhetoric that had existed for a decade.
While intellectuals advanced their public image by participating in the
nationalist discourse over the Bombing, their contribution to constructing
universal values for China was relatively minimal.
The simplistic sovereignty supremacy
The argument over sovereignty was applied by intellectuals in two areas.
First, when NATO began its intervention in April 1999, many non-liberals
reversed the Blair Doctrine and claimed in a straightforward manner that
human rights should be placed lower than sovereignty. The doctrine, creating a ‘post-Westphalian order’ which no longer featured nation-states only
Creating a Reference Point
53
in the main, was noted because scholars had previewed implications of the
doctrine for Chinese sovereignty and reinstated the Five Principles of
Peaceful Coexistence – especially in respect of sovereignty – as the rules to
which China must adhere.88 Most mainland intellectuals like Wang Hui, Wu
Hui and Wu Xinbo were only interested in the inviolability of sovereignty:
‘the ‘global ethics’ which is advocated here does not reflect solidarist values
of justice, but is still based on the irreducible core of the inviolability of
national sovereignty’.89 Sovereignty was to be supported because not doing
so would lead to China’s demise.
Second, the value of human rights was ‘hegemonized’ and was directly
attacked after the Bombing. IRIs like Fan Guoxiang viewed humanitarianism
as a pretext for the Americans: ‘[The US turned] upside down the basic concepts of human rights and sovereignty just to suit the needs of hegemonism’.90 As the argument unfolded, human rights were seen as a
synonym for hegemonism by a large group of scholars.91 That is why mainland intellectuals did not consider it odd to be found among the mobilized
‘representatives of the people’ demonstrating their anger against the
Bombing.92 When sovereignty and anti-hegemonism were viewed as one,
moralistic attributes linking sovereignty to righteousness and patriotism
were seen. For instance, IRI Bing Jinfu stated that China’s value in the world –
as represented by its response to the Bombing – stood for ‘fairness’ (gongping)
and ‘righteousness’ (zhengyi), because he thought the Chinese opposition to
the Blair Doctrine and limited sovereignty had gained ‘wide support among
developing countries’.93 A similar concept of ‘righteousness’ was, surprisingly, elaborated by Ji Xianlin, a heavyweight pro-liberal intellectual who
was 88 years old during the Bombing. In a post-Bombing interview, Ji
assigned two simplistic meanings for patriotism that were probably an
unequal match for his academic complexity: ‘first, never allow yourselves to
be invaded by others; second, never invade others’ – these were values justifying international righteousness.94 That was why, according to Ji, ‘patriotism and internationalism were linked together by dialectics’.95
Merging of statist and civic nationalist values by
the neo-authoritarians
Although non-liberals showed as much determination to combat the Blair
Doctrine as the party-state did, many of them – particularly those originating
from the neo-authoritarian line – did not use a pure version of sovereigntysupremacy as their counter-argument. As explained in Chapter 1, the agenda
of the neo-authoritarians was not only to protect sovereignty, but also to build
a stronger and more centralized government. Neo-authoritarians had special
reason to be excited by this case, because Yugoslavia had symbolic importance
to their argument. When Wang Shaoguang and Hu Angang started this school
of thought in 1993 by stating that the ability of governance of the Chinese
state – gauged by its capacity for ‘absorption’, ‘control’, ‘legitimization’ and
54
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
‘coercion’ – was constantly declining, reference to the fate of Yugoslavia
(which was yet to be completely dissolved at that time) was repeatedly made
as an alarm to China.96 In an attempt to study the political impact of economic decentralization, Wang and Hu compared in detail the levels of taxation received by the central governments of former Yugoslavia and China:
‘barely better than former Yugoslavia’ was a worrisome phase that they repeatedly voiced.97 After the outbreak of the Kosovo War, the neo-authoritarian
study of Yugoslavia acquired a new component, because Yugoslavia represented a sovereign state that was first weakened by its failure to handle a fiscal
crisis as studied by Linz and Stepan and had then been invaded by foreigners.98 Subjects of neo-authoritarian opposition included not only the Blair
Doctrine, but also those who refused to strengthen central government.
After 8 May 1999, many non-liberals commented on the Bombing along
these merged statist and civic nationalist lines. To start with, Wang Shaoguang
argued that if the Blair Doctrine had any validity, the logical consequence
should be the complete abolition of borders and the full promotion of the two
human rights that imply complete decentralization: ‘free migration’ and ‘free
flow of production costs’; otherwise, the US stance already declared the continued supremacy of sovereignty.99 Wang’s analogy was not only satirical:
what he said deliberately combined the ideals of sovereignty and authoritarianism. New leftist philosopher Cui Zhiyuan echoed such a view in Reading.
His criticism was that the West equated human rights with the minority rights
of ethnic self-determination within weak governments, and believed that constant changes to national borders caused by this equation – that is, easy alternation and violation of sovereignty – would only result in ‘a logical ethnic
cleansing featuring serious trampling of human rights everywhere’.100
Another innovation combining the ideals of sovereignty and centralization
came from IRI Cao Fumiao, who used a comparative approach to cite the
American Civil War (1861–65) as China’s cross-reference. According to Cao,
the victory of the Union was at least partly due to their ‘moral strength’, in
other words their respect for sovereignty, unification and centralization.101
That is why, according to Yan Xuetong, ‘Kosovo separatism’ – the victim of the
crisis in terms of humanitarianism – should receive ‘moral condemnation’
from Beijing.102 This was in direct contradiction to the focus of Western
human rights scholars like Claude Lefort, who stressed that the ‘most important mission’ to take care of should be the rights of all kinds of minorities,
‘even minorities within minority groups’.103 The reactions of Wang, Cui, Cao
and Yan were directed at the same target: not only should the Chinese people
learn to respect sovereignty from the Bombing, but they should also appreciate the merit of building a stronger Chinese central government.
The simplistic human rights supremacy
In the other camp, several Chinese liberal intellectuals tried to defend the
importance of human rights. Interestingly, most of them – particularly those
Creating a Reference Point
55
residing in the mainland – were reluctant to suggest a direct echo of any
American argument. What they attempted to do was to use human rights as
the benchmark for distinguishing ‘healthy nationalism’ from ‘fervent
nationalism’. According to this line of interpretation, rule number one for
‘human rights’ meant ‘humanitarianism’: the very right of human-beings to
live. Anyone and any nation disregarding this right was at fault. Therefore,
both the US and Chinese governments were to be blamed for their performance in the Kosovo War.
The Clinton administration was to be blamed because the Bombing, as Xu
Jilin explained, ‘not only violated Chinese sovereignty, but also – and more
seriously – violated the most fundamental human rights’, which were
defined as ‘the slaughter of innocents and disregard for life’.104 Sharing the
pain of non-liberals, liberals like Xiao Gongqin also disapproved the ‘snobbishness of the American reaction to the Bombing’, because this attitude
reflected ‘their disrespect for humanitarianism’.105
Applying the same rule, the Chinese government should also be blamed.
Besides Xiao’s assertion that contemporary Chinese politicians ‘opened the
Pandora’s Box of nationalism’ after the Bombing, some liberals presented
themselves as believers of the ‘most fundamental human rights’:
The excessive bombings conducted by the US in Yugoslavia were against
the most fundamental human rights, with an even more hostile act after 8
May. They bombed a group of exiled Albanian refugees causing hundreds
of deaths. Such movements trumpeting human rights were no longer
demonstrated by the Chinese, because they were irrelevant to them!106
The problem is that the credibility of most governments is dismissed by the
above statement, because none is able to be wary of literally ‘all’ actions violating the ‘most fundamental human rights’. Sticking to this simplistic
human rights line would lose liberals any flexibility in the future, because
some fervent nationalist comments made by non-liberals could also be
placed within the framework. The most notable example was exposed in the
article Liberalism and the Bombing written by Gan Yang. Flamboyantly quoting Western writers from John Rawls to Peter Berkowitz, the new leftist
wished to prove the inherent existence of ‘American moral corruption’ and
‘sins in their souls’, because on the one hand ‘the American people dare not
sacrifice their lives to maintain the moral principles they uphold’, but on the
other were prepared to ‘sacrifice unlimited numbers of civilian lives in other
countries to demonstrate their humanitarian values’.107
There are notable exceptions to this simplistic attitude among liberals. In
comparing the post-Bombing demonstration to the eightieth anniversary of
the May Fourth Movement in 1999, Zhu Xueqin called for a stop to studying
nationalism from the diplomatic level and asked fellow Chinese to take the
realist aggression of every single nation – including both China and the
56
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
United States – for granted.108 Zhu’s position could avoid the sacrificing of
liberal values owing to the inept performance of their alleged protector (such
as the United States) and/or challenger (such as China). But few in China
responded. As a result, liberals’ achievement in constructing civic nationalism was limited in this case, and left non-liberals in an advantageous position in the first round of this long-term rivalry. More refined arguments
evolve in the later cases from both camps of scholars.
2.2.3 Strategic layers: orthodoxy of Taoist nationalism
In examining suggested strategies for the government’s response to the
United States, most intellectuals stick to official Taoist nationalism. The fact
that the Bombing presented an excellent opportunity for Chinese intellectuals to offer professional advice was appealing enough. Some of them made
slight modifications, but compared with future cases, Taoist nationalism
stood as the orthodoxy in academia. When both liberals and non-liberals
failed to offer compelling alternatives, the main rebuttal of Deng’s legacy
arose from the far left, but they only made Taoist nationalism appear as the
national option.
Offensive realism and Yan Xuetong: limited modifications
to Taoist proposals
From the point of view of the party-state, it was timely to have intellectuals
explaining the benefits of the Taoist nationalist strategy in unofficial terms.
One of the most detailed and influential post-Bombing Taoist nationalist
proposals was made by the offensive realists. This school of thought might
be summarized in one sentence of its founder John Mearsheimer: ‘great powers behave aggressively not because they want to or because they possess
some inner drive to dominate, but because they have to seek more power if
they want to maximize their odds of survival.’109
Yan Xuetong, a professor of Tsinghua University asking the party-state to
launch a military campaign on separatism in Taiwan in light of the
‘inevitable’ American military intervention in the Strait, is acknowledged as
a leading offensive realist in China.110 The following proposals made by Yan
in CIR were important signals to offensive realists to restrain their rhetoric:
1. To use China’s limited force on issues directly relevant to China … and to
impose actual pressure against Taiwan separatism.
2. Replacing the Four Modernizations with anti-hegemony as the highest
goal of our foreign policy does not meet China’s strategic interests.
3. To maintain independence, autonomous and peaceful diplomacy, including
avoiding full scale confrontation with the United States; not to rally support
from the ‘middle zone’ (because China will be pushed to a leading role); not
to build anti-hegemonic united fronts with other powers when developing
partnership with the latter; and not to implement the SIR Alliance.111
Creating a Reference Point
57
These suggestions were made in unheated language that might disappoint
most nationalists, but they were more or less followed by the party-state after
the Bombing. Besides the unrealized ‘SIR alliance’, Yan’s suggestion ‘not to
rally support from the “middle zone” ’ went a step further than the partystate, which implied further isolation of China in the world system than the
situation in the early post-Tiananmen era. ‘Splendid Isolation’, a bit like the
principle adopted in United States in the inter-war period, became a
favourite slogan used by nationalists like the authors of China’s Road under
the Shadow of Globalization, a nationalist book published in November 1999
in response to the Bombing.112
Most IRIs endorsed Yan’s line and suggested that there was a double rationale behind de facto Chinese concessions. As some of them put it, ‘it is
impossible for China to be an equal competitor of the US in the foreseeable
future’, but cooperating with the United States – even if it meant concessions
had to be made – was beneficial to China, because ‘China was also needed by
the Americans’.113 Where scholars differed from the party-state in justifying
the Taoist proposal was mainly in their calculation of risk versus interests. As
seen from the benchmark speech made by Jiang on 12 May 1999, the partystate was concessive because of risk-aversion. But scholars proposed concessions because of another factor: they expected China to gain short-term
advantage from speaking the language of Taoism.
The Marxist rebuttal and the reincarnation of Chen Boda
From the far left of the ideological paradigm, we witness a surprising republishing in the leftist online journal China and the World of the Sixth Open
Letter to Comment on the Soviet Communist Party written in 1963 by Cultural
Revolution activist Chen Boda (1904–1989).114 A long-forgotten icon in
China, Chen was once the personal secretary of Mao and ranked number
four in the CCP Politburo during the early Cultural Revolution, but was
jailed in 1971. From Chen’s perspective, the Soviets were revisionists, and
Nikita Khrushchev’s policy of peaceful coexistence with the United States
betrayed the socialist world. The reprinting of China and the World had an
obvious intention: calling for a reversal of the path of open reform and a
return to the revolutionary diplomatic line after the Bombing. Chen himself,
who died in 1989, probably would never have dreamed of his articles being
reprinted in contemporary Chinese journals.
Similar arguments could be found among dogmatic Marxists. Take, for
example, the world view of Zhong Qiming, a professor at the Marxist
Institute of Peking University. Unlike most of his non-liberal colleagues,
Zhong believed the Bombing was not an anti-Chinese conspiracy, but was
instead an anti-socialist plot. This was because, according to Zhong, ‘the
only possible reason for sovereignty to be placed lower than human rights
would be the ultimate eradication of classes in the final stage of communism’.115 Therefore the Blair Doctrine – proposed before the ‘final stage of
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
communism’ – was a plot to promote ‘national nihilism’ (his term for
humanitarianism) for mobilizing dissidents of socialist countries against
their own nations.116
The above argument was marginalized among mainland intellectuals and
found little support with mainstream academics or the ordinary citizens. The
Bombing simply provided a platform for one of the last performances of the
dogmatic leftists – including the Fourth International quoted at the beginning of the chapter – in the international arena. When Chinese intellectuals
provided more solid challenges to official foreign policy in later cases, the
old leftist line became harder to detect. In the same way that liberals were
dubbed ‘Western puppets’ by Gan Yang after the Bombing, the proposed
Marxist strategy gave liberals an opportunity to demonize their opponents
in return. Xiao Gongqin, in particular, repeatedly quoted this case as a warning against the return of the tragic past of the Cultural Revolution.117 The
legendary name ‘Chen Boda’ – to a certain extent only a ‘straw man’ –
became an easy tool for liberals with which to threaten the new generation.
2.3 The nationalist response of the lower-level public
Ordinary Chinese in the post-1976 generation had little opportunity to
express their ideas in terms of international relations before the Bombing.
After 8 May 1999, conscious attempts by ordinary citizens to dominate
expression in different domains by speaking in nationalist terms could be
easily noted. But in other respects they were rational, despite this receiving
little coverage in the West.
We should be reminded that the United States was a dream country for
many Chinese people in the 1980s and early 1990s. The Bombing dashed the
remnants of such a dream, as was illustrated in a long poem titled A Shattered
Dream submitted to the Guangming Daily.118 Identifying some aspects of the
transition from Americanism to anti-Americanism, this section examines
the last part of the story and looks at how ordinary citizens: (1) tried in all
possible ways to express nationalist sentiments; (2) paid little attention to
civic nationalist values, instead emphasizing the American conspiracy;
(3) opted for the Taoist nationalist strategy despite fervent offensive realist
proposals made in the virtual community; and (4) enhanced their sense of
self-importance by participating in the nationalist discourse.
2.3.1 Expressive layers: the general eruption
The Bombing was a rare case in which most of the options for expressive
nationalism defined in the introductory chapter can be found. Other than
the observation that Chinese people expressed their strong anger towards
the United States, there have previously been few complete studies of the
multiple messages behind these expressions. Whether by their involvement
in anti-American demonstrations, their participation in the martyr worship
Creating a Reference Point
59
campaign or their call for an economic boycott, ordinary citizens demonstrated their grievances about the way that the party-state had handled the
Bombing. The lower-level groups’ three aims of anti-Americanism, antigovernmentalism and their own aspirations to create a social movement in
which they could be heard dominated their response in all later cases.
Demonstrations, cyber warfare and their triple missions
After the Bombing, anti-American demonstrations erupted all over China.
According to official sources, a thousand demonstrators – mostly students,
but also including specially invited groups like monks and artists – gathered
in front of the US Embassy in Beijing on 8 and 9 May, while ‘tens of thousands’ did the same at the US consulates in Shanghai, Chengdu and
Guangzhou.119 On the third day (10 May), at least according to Western
sources, demonstrations were still on.120 Immediately after this, large-scale
demonstrations suddenly ceased, although other forms of protest continued
for a while through ‘forums, gatherings, interviews and various other
means’.121
While the people were calming down in public in their demonstration of
how they ‘resolutely supported Jiang Zemin’s speech’, anti-American
demonstrations moved to a cyber stage. Long after the physical protests, outrage still continued in the virtual community: as observed by Reuters,
‘protests reached into cyberspace with one popular chat-room jammed with
24,000 messages filled with anti-US venom and profanity’.122 Directly instigated by the Bombing, SCDF was set up on 9 May 1999 and originally known
as the ‘Discussion Forum Strongly Protesting against NATO Barbarism’.123 It is
difficult for us to study the SCDF archive as a primary source in this case,
because of a level of secondary censorship, but similar slogans posted by
Chinese were still to be found in lesser-known forums such as the Kosovo
Crisis Forum (KCDF), a sub-forum of the United Discussion Forum.124 The first
Sino-American cyber war, in which ordinary citizens had a comparative
advantage in terms of the time available to them and a new technology
(when compared with their older intellectuals), had come into existence. As
revealed by the China Daily, the achievement of cyber fighters was quite
spectacular: ‘Chinese hackers attacked many websites in the United States,
with one large attack leaving the White House website paralyzed for three
days.’125 The signature ‘Crystal, I love you’ that appeared in hacked websites
was a well-known synonym for Chinese hackers. It became an annual practice for ‘Crystals’ to attack US websites on the anniversaries of the
Bombing.126
The anti-American mission. Regardless of the fact that the Chinese were used
to self-victimizing discourse, the early public emotion and anger seemed to
be sincere. However, it was easy to lose control of such sincerity. Although
the party-state repeatedly stressed the point that ‘the demonstration was
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
well ordered’, the demonstrators did cause some physical damage to US
embassies and consulates.127 As reported from Hong Kong, ‘some protesters
set light to petrol-soaked spears and threw them at the embassy, but the fires
were put out by police’.128 A more serious incident involving Western civilians was reported by Reuters, but not by any official Chinese media:
Several Western reporters were punched and kicked. CNN correspondent
Rebecca MacKinnon was struck while delivering a live telephone report
from the scene. As some students hustled her to safety others yelled ‘Kill
her’! Frequently the students broke into English to shriek four-letter
curses.129
The Reuter’s photo showing US Ambassador James Sasser looking through a
broken window of the damaged embassy soon became a modern classic. It
was usually accompanied by a caption such as: ‘Ambassador James Sasser left
the damaged and paint-splattered US Embassy on Wednesday, ending an
emotional four-day ordeal as a virtual hostage in his own office’.130 The
photo, together with the experience of Sasser and the type of caption used,
might have reminded the world not only of the Red Guard Movement and
the May Fourth demonstrations, but also of a traumatic incident in modern
Chinese history some years earlier: the Boxer Rebellion.
After leaving Beijing, Sasser told a Chinese journalist in a relaxed personal
interview that he was ‘not at all mad at the demonstrators’, and he would
not take the Bombing as an accident ‘if he were a Chinese’.131 He did not
explain why. But he seemed to understand that like the multiple messages of
the Boxer Rebellion and the May Fourth Movement, demonstrations in
response to the Bombing were far from targeting the US alone.
The social movement mission. The Boxer Rebellion was originally an antiQing court movement but later turned to providing support to the government in the name of patriotism. As American scholar Warren Cohen
commented during the Bombing, ‘historians would remind us of how the
Qing court in 1900 channelled the anti-dynastic Boxer movement into a war
against foreigners: if you can’t stop them, join them’.132 No matter what
stand they took, the Boxers became an organized social movement.
The anti-American demonstrations in response to the Bombing generated
a similar social momentum, which, as suggested by AFP, had ‘ridden on the
momentum generated by a campaign to commemorate a 1919 protest that
led to the founding of the CCP’.133 In such a social movement, ordinary citizens could easily propose alternative agendas that suited them. For instance,
the author was told by a professor from Hangzhou that student demonstrators in the area used ‘down to US-Japanese imperialism (meiri diguozhuyi)’ as
a convenient slogan, although Japan was not even a NATO member.134
Internet activists became proud of the demonstrations in every later inter-
Creating a Reference Point
61
national conflict, as they frequently asked ‘haven’t you experienced the
momentum of such an eruption when your country bombed our Yugoslavian
embassy last time’.135
The anti-governmental mission. Riding on this momentum, demonstrators
found it appealing to use the same means to express their disapproval of the
official handling of the Bombing. As revealed by Sang Wei’s qualitative
assessment, the most sensitive issue, namely the impotency of the Chinese
leadership, was spontaneously addressed in the demonstrations.136 According
to a controversial secondary source, cited in Zong Hairen’s biography of Zhu
Rongji, slogans circulating on campuses, subway stations and supermarkets
included the following: ‘Even worse than the Qing government’, ‘Jiang
Zemin – a tortoise with its head down’, ‘Thinking of Chairman Mao’ and
‘Exchanging positions between Jiang and Yeltsin’.137 ‘Zong’, the alleged
‘insider’, went as far as suggesting that the demonstrations featured a latent
anti-governmental tendency as had appeared in 1989.138
Few foreign reports of the demonstrations drew parallels with the
Tiananmen demonstrations of 1989. In the eyes of the West, they were totally
different. However, as shown by results of polls, ordinary citizens also
directed their disapproval towards the official camouflage tactics and concessions in 1999. Probably owing to the sensitivity of the topic, Horizon refused
to conduct polling in direct response to the Bombing. But a poll conducted
by three professors from Zhejiang University led by Yu Xunda, targeting
undergraduates or above in Zhejiang Province and published in August 2001
by Chinese Diplomacy, still revealed such public sentiments. According to Yu’s
findings, only 3.6 per cent of interviewees regarded the Americans as having
done enough to apologize and provide compensation: the rest believed that
the US offer was ‘not enough’ or ‘totally not enough’ (see Table 2.1).139
Table 2.1 Was the US apology and compensation
for the Bombing enough?140
Response
Enough
Not enough
Totally not enough
Percentage
3.6
40.5
52.9
If the government wished to better divert nationalist feelings of the common
people, it should have done more to educate them about what their government could do. Of course, the impression ordinary citizens had of the government was gained for various reasons, but this provided more than
enough excuse for asking the government to react more nationalistically.
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Nominal memorial of the martyrs
Many Chinese people joined the martyr-worship campaign. As previously
mentioned, a commemorative homepage in the Guangming Daily dedicated to Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying received 281 mailings in the few days
after the Bombing. However, most of these messages of condolence targeted the US directly instead of responding to the official call to regard the
deceased as heroes worthy of worship. The professionalism of the
reporters was not given comparable attention. On the commemorative
website dedicated to the three journalists, most messages of condolence
were also a demonstration of anti-Americanism, with relatively few postings elaborating on the personal attributes of the journalists.141 A typical
response is shown in the following poem written by two students from
Wuhan University:
My heartfelt respects to Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying!
Your blood will not have been shed in vain!!!!!!!!!
The Chinese people cannot be bullied,
And the Chinese people cannot be insulted!!!!142
The way ordinary citizens ‘commemorated’ their martyrs could be rather
eclectic, too. For instance, on 17 May 1999, the PDO reported how people
from the hometown of Xu Xinghu ‘competed’ to learn from Xu, erected a
bronze statute of him at his alma mater and built a new road to reach Xu’s
home ‘in order to remember him by practical action’.143 Such reports, part of
the obvious official agenda to disseminate nationalist sentiments in everyday life, only reminded people of the unreal/surreal hero-worship in the
Maoist era that was often initiated by the government. There was little evidence that the hero-worship following the Bombing was likely to garner
popular support for the government, as might have been planned.
Boycott of American products: ideological versus economic rationale
Another nationalist expression denounced by the party-state, malign economic nationalism, as defined in Chapter 1, was also observed among ordinary citizens. In the demonstrations, the most eye-catching slogans calling
for a boycott included ‘Burn all McDonald’s in China’ and ‘Damage
American intellectual property by practical action: free provision of pirated
software’.144 These slogans were elaborated on in detail in the virtual community. Posted message number 360 of KCDF recorded how the author told
his 6-year-old daughter ‘not to drink Coca-cola and not to eat KFC and
McDonald’s’, because ‘the Americans used the money earned from Cocacola, KFC and McDonald’s to make bombs which bombed our embassy’.145
Several poems sent to the Guangming Daily explicitly called for sanctions
against US products, for example the following poem, When We are Wearing
Creating a Reference Point
63
Pierre Cardin and Nike, submitted by an anonymous reader from Shenyang:
When we are wearing Pierre Cardin and Nike …
When we are driving Cadillacs, Lincolns, and going to KFC and
McDonald’s …
Do we have a clear conscience?
No!!! … …
Koreans are proud to use their own national products …
Can we still find glory by using foreign products?
No!!!
Let’s resolve to produce and use national products!146
In addition to the call for an economic boycott, there were more constructive
alternatives. For instance, a reader Wu Jing suggested in the same newspaper that
a ‘commemorative fund’ could be established and asked all fellow Chinese to
donate one RMB per person to the fund to show the sense of unity in China.147
Common sense might dictate that few economic demands were actually
realized. But it was not totally true. The Fujian United Information Services,
an IT company in Fujian, for instance, told the Guangming Daily that they
would cease retailing IBM, Lotus and other US products.148 It was true that
KFC and McDonald’s remained favourites of Chinese youngsters, and none
of the home-made ‘colas’ were able to compete with the US brand, but as
Tang Huiliang, general manager of KFC in Beijing, revealed, business at KFC
outlets dropped by 20 to 30 per cent for a short time after the Bombing.149
The effect was undoubtedly short-lived: journalist James Miles suggested
that the consumer boycott lasted only a few weeks, and Tang revealed that
‘[everything] was back to normal within a week’.150 But the economic
response of the Chinese people was already capable of being manipulated.
Interestingly, most slogans inciting a boycott of US products after the
Bombing did not address the position of other economic nationalists who
were fighting against China’s accession into the WTO at roughly the same
time.151 Among those advocating economic protectionism in response to the
challenge of the WTO were those offering more strategies focusing on internal development instead of merely calling for boycotts. In addition to suggestions like ‘learning from the Korean and Japanese [awareness]’ to use
domestic products, ‘Wangluo Fupin’ (meaning helping poverty on the internet) once proposed strategies like ‘to open internally’ and ‘to give domestic
law higher status than the WTO regulations’ in SCDF.152 In an effort to suggest diversification of China’s economy to meet the American ‘challenge’ of
entering the Chinese market, after PNTR was passed by the US Congress on
20 November 1999, ‘Himalayas’ proposed ‘winning back the foreign capital’
by developing non-labour-intensive products ‘unless we are not confident’.153 The lack of similar proposals after the Bombing suggests that the
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call for a post-Bombing boycott was due largely to ideological instead of
materialistic concerns. The boycotts had little economic impact on the US
economy. However, these actions were already at variance with the official
call to harmonize economic relations with foreign powers.
2.3.2 Ideological layers: realist perceptions of
twin conspiracies
Ordinary citizens overwhelmingly placed the United States on the wrong side
of the Bombing. Unlike the party-state or intellectuals, ordinary citizens
showed little interest in establishing values to guide criticism of the United
States. The call for respecting international sovereignty or human rights was
not enough to pacify the public. When ordinary citizens justified antiAmerican expressions, they gave conspiracy theories as the dominant reason.
Basic logic leading to conspiracies
Different US-conspiracy theories arose from the same fact: that most Chinese
people saw the Bombing as an intentional attack. This perception is shown
by the results of most of the polls. According to the poll conducted by the
Zhejiang professors, only 5.7 per cent of Chinese ‘totally agreed’ or ‘basically
agreed’ that the Bombing was caused by wrong intelligence (i.e., the
American explanation), when the rest chose to ‘not so agree’ or ‘totally disagree’ (see Table 2.2).
In another survey conducted among university students in Beijing in
August 1999 by sociologist Dingxin Zhao, more than 70 per cent reported
that they ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ with the statement that ‘the Bombing
was a deliberate act of the US government’ (see Table 2.3).
Table 2.2 Was the bombing caused by wrong
intelligence?154
Response
Perfectly agree
Basically agree
Not so Agree
Perfectly disagree
Percentage
1.6
4.1
19.2
73.0
Table 2.3 Was the bombing a deliberate act by the
US government?155
Response
Strongly agree
Agree
Not so sure
Disagree
Strongly disagree
Percentage
47.4
27.7
15.7
7.0
2.2
Creating a Reference Point
65
To suggest his intentions, Clinton was portrayed with a Hitler-type moustache in the demonstrations; and it was noted that the slogan ‘Punishing
Clinton the Slaughterer’ alarmed Western observers.156 According to a
Shanghai reader of the Guangming Daily, Clinton was indeed a ‘terrorist’.157
The logic of conspiracies was not the whole picture, however. The mindset
of ordinary citizens was explained by Wang Xiaodong as follows: ‘no matter
whether it was a plot or an accident, it at least shows that the US does not
care that much about Sino-American relations.’158 This attitude was ridiculed
by liberal Ren Bingqiang, who said that ‘the nationalists particularly cannot
tolerate the fact that China, in the eyes of the US, is totally insignificant’.159
A hidden agenda in constructing the conspiracies was to regain face for the
Chinese and to influence the United States to view China as a significant
nation. Two types of conspiracy theory – one focusing on subversion against
the Chinese government and the other targeting Chinese influence in the
world – were used by ordinary citizens to justify their beliefs. Unlike the relatively reserved arguments given by the party-state and intellectuals, who
rarely hinted at full conspiracies, the ‘theories’ espoused by ordinary citizens
were much more boldly imaginative and innovative.
The domestic conspiracy
Realist thinking dominated most conspiracies. According to Zhao’s poll,
most students believed that ‘America’s China policy is based on its national
interests’, with the next most popular view being that ‘America’s China policy is to maintain American hegemony’.160 Zhao tried to use his findings to
prove the rationality of the Chinese people, because options like ‘America’s
China policy aimed at opposing communism’ were not selected. But his poll
could not indisputably serve this purpose, as options like ‘America’s China
policy aimed at deterring the rise of China’ were simply not given.
Indeed, a zero-sum realist relationship between China and the United
States was believed by most Chinese people, as suggested by Yu’s poll, in
which the majority agreed with the statement ‘the US is the strongest major
threat towards China’s development in the long run’.161 According to this
logic, an American proposal would automatically suggest America’s need to
weaken China. As observed by Rosalie Chen of Chinese perceptions of the
United States after the Bombing, it was almost universally believed in China
that the Bombing was a ‘deliberate, calculated attack to punish China’s
opposition to the war, to destabilize and humiliate China, and to probe
Beijing’s external reaction and domestic response to the outburst of nationalism that the bombing was bound to ignite’.162 There was wide speculation
of such conspiracies as shown by the letters of condolence sent to the
Guangming Daily. Contributors believed the Americans wanted ‘to foment
chaos’, ‘to topple China without fighting’, ‘to incite domestic chaos’, ‘to test
the Chinese government’s resolve’, and ‘to humiliate China’.163 Discourse
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
like ‘a battle between justice and evil’ – in a Manichean view of SinoAmerican relations – became the currency with which Sino-American relations was studied.164
The international conspiracy
Another brand of conspiracy that was less frequently referred to focused on
the American wish to weaken the role of China in the international arena.
Unlike the domestic conspiracy, this one emphasized the ultimate goal of
the United States. Guangxi’s Peng Xuewu summarized what many Chinese
believed about America’s aspirations: ‘I have a dream – I wish to be the king
of the world!’165 In order to achieve this goal, accordingly, the Americans
tried against all odds to weaken enemies and friends.
Sometimes such conspiracy theories aimed simply at constructing an
unrealistic power capability for China that it did not have. For instance, in a
popular book titled American Conspiracy: Inside Story of NATO to Infuriate
China and Russia, published in May 1999 (meaning that the 400-page conspiracy document was written immediately after the Bombing), China was
projected as a superpower that was going to play a larger role in ‘the looming WWIII’.166
Sometimes the logic of these ‘theories’ could be unnecessarily convoluted.
For instance, No. 415 of KCDF suggested that the ‘unexpectedly fierce
defence’ of Yugoslavia would have led to a European economic downturn,
including the ‘depreciation of the Euro, the slump of stock market and loss
of international capital from Europe to Asia’, thus the Bombing was designed
to ‘destroy the peaceful investment environment’ and mean the flight of
capital back to Europe.167 Conspiracy theories did not exclusively target the
United States: the role of Russia and Yugoslavia could be viewed as equally
suspicious and alarming. One twisted conspiracy theory suggested the
Bombing was an American plot to kill Milosevic, and that there was a Slavic
sub-plot to draw China into the war.168
From any point of view, these conspiracies made it impossible to provide a
solid reference point for Chinese people to construct civic nationalist values,
when most of the theories had few grounds for being believed. Civic nationalism was simply not a mainstream option for the lower-level public in this case.
2.3.3 Strategic layers: sense and/or sensibility?
As regards strategic layers, ordinary citizens provided a full list of offensive
strategies, all of which were sensationalist and largely impractical. Their suggestions can be framed into what is called here the strategy of offensive
nationalism, which can be seen as a rival to the official Taoist line. Although
they did not point out the deficiencies of the Taoist strategy as they would in
future cases, they had already provided the most viable challenge to Deng
Xiaoping’s legacy since 1991.
Creating a Reference Point
67
The perception of a Chinese people speaking for a strong offensive strategy
after the Bombing can, however, be countered by two facts. First, the offensive element was revised by alternative proposals. Second, polling results
suggest that people in fact opted for similar Taoist options to those proposed
by the party-state. Fervent nationalist and ideological expression in public
did not necessarily mean the same would be extended to a strategic level,
especially when the voice of ordinary citizens had already been heard.
Offensive realism and the ‘new Cold War’
After the Bombing, suggestions of directly confronting the United States
were prevalent on the internet and in demonstrations. Sensationalist predictions such as ‘The aggressors will pay a heavy price for their heinous crimes’
or ‘Our blood will not flow in vain’ dominated letters of condolence sent to
the Guangming Daily.169 Popular idioms such as ‘Return blood debts with
blood (xuezai xuechang)’, ‘Eye for an eye (yiyahuanya)’ and ‘Kill the Americans’
characterized certain popular mindsets after the Bombing.170 Demands that
openly contradicted the official line, for example ‘we beseech President Jiang
to declare war on the United States’, were also recorded from the ordinary
citizens.171 As seen from the Guangming Daily, most suggestions of future
military conflict with the United States referred back to the Chinese military
‘victory’ over the United States in the Korean War, which was an argument
first outlined by the party-state in the PDO.172
Undoubtedly, memories of the Cold War and the special relationship
between China and the former communist bloc haunted many Chinese people. Some postings on the internet tried to link China to Russia and
Yugoslavia or suggested that China should take the opportunity to form an
alliance with Russia and India to oppose the Americans.173 Slogans like ‘Send
the PLA to assist President Milosevic of Yugoslavia’ were visible during the
demonstrations.174 When such an option was something that the party-state
(and even Yan Xuetong) firmly ruled out, it became an easy way for the ordinary citizens to get noticed.
Initiation of ‘Falun Gong diplomacy’
Not all citizens and internet elites in China proposed the same confrontational line, even at the height of the exchanges. Some suggested innovative
means to challenge the United States without directly influencing the bilateral
relationship. A notable example was an imitation of Falun Gong diplomacy.
Such ‘diplomacy’ is the common practice of dissidents wishing to ‘sue’ their
national leaders when the dissidents are in exile. The frequent legal actions
taken by Falun Gong followers over Jiang Zemin and his assistant Luo Gang –
for their ‘violation of human rights’ – gained considerable global attention.175
Although the acceptance of such cases in the American federal court in 2003
inevitably demonstrated its stand, the cases have not greatly influenced
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
Sino-American relations.176 Applying the Falun Gong strategy, a Shanghai
reader of the Guangming Daily proposed suing the United States, Clinton and
NATO in the Chinese courts.177 When Falun Gong sued Jiang through
American law, this reader cited Penal Law Codes of the PRC in urging that the
above entities be sued and indemnity be sought.178 Although no serious
actions were taken upon his suggestion, the introduction of ‘Falun Gong
diplomacy’ into the PRC was nonetheless an innovative proposal made by the
lower-level public.
Rationality behind rhetoric
On campus and in the virtual community, Chinese people did not use Taoist
strategic language after the Bombing as much as offensive language. But
there were still examples that echoed the official call to ‘work hard’ or ‘study
hard’ to strengthen China in the long term. Some Harbin Medical University
students ‘promised the party and all countrymen to turn grief into strength,
by studying hard to strengthen our country into a world superpower’.179 A
biochemistry class of Nankai University pledged similarly: ‘we will study
hard to strengthen the motherland … so that in the not so distant future no
hostile force will dare or be able to take military action against China’.180 The
objects of support, as expressed in these letters, were multi-faceted because
they not only included the Taoist nationalist strategy, but also explicitly the
party-state. They show that despite the spontaneous anti-government outbursts found in the demonstrations, the party-state was still one of the effective channels through which to express patriotism.
When the popular outcry had died down, strikingly, popular acceptance of
the Taoist strategy was overwhelmingly supported by polling results, and
‘promises’ made by good students became mainstream. In Zhao’s survey,
which was a rare exception in taking note of the concept of ‘public preference’
as compared with the research criticized by Alastair Johnson, interviewees
ranked three economic goals the highest among eight options as China’s most
Table 2.4 Correlation coefficients of the eight statements measuring Beijing students’
understanding of China’s policy priority182
China’s most important national goal
1. Fast economic development
2. To reform China’s SOEs and
financial systems
3. To develop a market economy
4. To fight government corruption
5. To maintain political stability
6. To strengthen China’s defence capacity
7. To foster political democracy
8. To counteract US hegemony
Coefficient to the highest ranking
option (fast economic development)
1.0
0.455
0.465
0.348
0.373
0.378
0.288
0.221
Creating a Reference Point
69
important national goals on a five-point Likert scale, whereas the two relating
to diplomacy were ranked among the lowest (see Table 2.4).181
The methodological limitations of such polls should be noted, as they did
not offer alternative internationally-oriented goals such as ‘to cooperate
with US hegemony’, so that even the lowest-ranked diplomatic option (‘to
counteract US hegemony’) might be a relatively popular choice concerning
international policy alone. As is repeatedly stated, it was almost impossible
to find direct public disapproval of the party-state in any poll conducted on
the mainland. But we can at least learn that owing to the potential split
between public and private identities, it is possible for someone to support
offensive nationalism online while at the same time calling for economic
development offline.
Chapter summary
Because the Chinese public had limited precedents to draw on, the division
of labour among the groups in the various layers of nationalism remained
unclear. This would develop in a more clearly defined way in the following
years. But the groups’ implicit common intention was to strive independently for their own good in the nationalist discourse that was taking shape.
Their approaches can be summarized thus: (1) The risk-aversive mindset of
the party-state prompted its concessions made to the United States. The
same risk-aversion encouraged the party-state to tolerate other groups to
express themselves nationalistically and publicly. (2) Intellectuals spent
more energy in extending their ivory-tower rivalry – which had been contained at the elitist level before – into a wider discourse than offering viable
proposals on nationalism for the government. (3) Ordinary citizens presented a different set of nationalist expressions when compared with the
party-state and most intellectuals, but the same fervour was not extended
into the strategic level. When disapproval of the party-state was featured in
nationalist demonstrations, ordinary citizens succeeded in making themselves heard without necessarily pushing the nationalist agendas of their
group forward.
As for the nationalist discourse itself, three conclusions can be reached:
(1) Owing to the need to counteract the Blair Doctrine, national sovereignty
became the basis for the party-state and non-liberals from which to construct civic nationalist values. Their argument was primitively constructed
and based on a simplistic sovereignty-supremacy, and gained limited attention when compared with the widespread conspiracies attributed to the
United States. (2) Deng’s Taoist nationalist strategy faced a tough challenge,
but owing to the fact that neither intellectuals nor ordinary citizens proposed many viable alternatives, its deficiencies had yet to be exposed. The
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strategy continued serving as the indisputable orthodoxy by which to handle the United States after the Bombing. (3) As the Bombing became the
most memorable historical event for the Chinese since the Tiananmen
Incident, all later cases of Sino-American relations will be seen in the light of
what can be called the ‘Belgrade syndrome’. The next case study, of an event
that took place in April 2001, investigates whether these trends continued or
whether further breakthroughs were reached.
3
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist
Conflict: The Spy Plane Collision
Incident (April 2001)
Michigan lawmakers notwithstanding, Americans tend to focus on the
issue of fault, seeking to get ‘inside the mind’s eye’ of those
involved … Chinese, by contrast, are more like Michigan lawmakers: they
tend to have a more pragmatic, consequence-oriented view of responsibility. Regardless of who was at fault, a Chinese citizen is dead.
Peter Gries and Kaiping Peng1
On 1 April 2001, almost two years after the Bombing, an American EP-3
reconnaissance plane (conveniently referred to as a ‘spy plane’) and a
Chinese F-8 war plane collided over the South China Sea. The Chinese
plane was destroyed and its pilot, Wang Wei, went missing; the American
plane was forced to land at Hainan Airport. The body of the pilot was
never found. This incident in many ways resembled the Bombing, but
whether the exact spot where the aerial incident occurred belonged to
China or was in international territory was open to dispute. Unlike the
Bombing, which was treated by China as a ‘non-accident’, the Collision
was defined by the party-state as an accident. The ‘accidentalization’ constitutes the setting for the second case study and points to the different
outcome in this case.
Two arguments are made in this chapter. First, although after the
Bombing, sovereignty supremacy was a major issue, in this case it was an
insufficient argument on its own to justify nationalism. Likewise, although
the Taoist nationalist strategy continued to hold sway, was more heavily
challenged than it had been in 1999. Second, although the official attempt
to contain the Collision as an accident generated more public disapproval,
the different groups maintained a symbiotic relationship with the partystate in this nationalist discourse.
71
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
3.1 The nationalist response of top-level groups
Four issues are covered in this section: how the party-state: (1) took the initiative to merge human rights with sovereignty to construct civic nationalist
values for China; (2) camouflaged concessions made to the United States and
how this differed from the post-Belgrade approach; (3) continued its riskaversive thinking by distinguishing this case from the Bombing in order to
better monitor the nationalist sentiments of the diverse publics; and
(4) developed a need to institutionalize the Taoist nationalist strategy.
The ‘unexpectedly high emands’ on the negotiation table
From 1 to 4 April 2001, various members of the party-state raised a list of
demands on the United States: the United States should provide an explanation; the United States should bear all responsibility, including compensation; the United States should apologize to the Chinese people; and the
United States should stop such flights in the interests of fostering the SinoAmerican relationship.2 The detailed review by Joseph Cheng and Ngok
King-lun of the People’s Daily in the week after the Collision best summarizes
the unfolding of the official wording.3 These demands were strengthened by
Beijing’s inspection of the US spy plane. But the most sensitive issue for the
Americans was the Chinese decision to place the plane’s 24 US crew members in custody at Hainan Airport. According to Lampton, this ‘made the
Americans remember the Iranian Hostage Crisis twenty years ago’.4 At the
time, possibly with deliberate exaggeration, some Western media believed
the US captain ‘could be prosecuted for the Chinese pilot’s death; electronic
specialists could be accused of spying’.5
From the Chinese point of view, the death of a Chinese automatically warranted an official US apology. The apology request, regarded as mild by the
Chinese, was seen by China-threat theorists as an attempt ‘to inflict upon
the US a public international humiliation with the intent of consciously and
deliberately forcing the United States to lose face’.6 In the Chinese edition of
Same Bed Different Dreams, and not found in the English version, these
demands were described as ‘doomed to be rejected by whatever American
governments and departments’.7 Lampton’s views were supported by the initial US response – including the ‘nothing to apologize for’ – after the
Collision.8
3.1.1 Ideological layers: when humanitarianism
meets sovereignty
Lampton believed that the immediate response of the party-state was ‘unrestrained’.9 The familiar phrase ‘US hegemonism’ appeared once again as it
had done after the Bombing.10 However, whereas the party-state retreated
from its heavy moralistic criticism after the Bombing, this time it
employed cautious rhetoric early on to justify its nationalist expressions.
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 73
After the initial days of the crisis, the party-state also tried to use humanitarian language to justify both its claims of victimization and its decision to
release the US crew members. This argument was put below the primacy of
sovereignty, but the two did not sit well together.
‘Domineering action with hegemonic logic’
An editorial in the PDO – using an ancient Chinese saying, ‘the guilty party
files the suit first (erenxiangaozhuang)’, as the subtitle – illustrated how the
party-state assessed American responsibility for the Collision: ‘we sternly
warn the US side that it should not absolve its “domineering action with its
hegemonic logic’’ ’.11 But this term was not directly equivalent to hegemonism. Literally, it consisted of two components. The former, ‘domineering action’, referred to the technical reasons responsible for the Collision.
For instance, the military sector encouraged many of Wang’s colleagues to
disclose the usual tactics US spy planes used to provoke the Chinese.12 These
are the ‘domineering actions’ of the Americans that technically caused the
accident.
Referring to the second part of the phrase, the Chinese did point to the
‘hegemonic logic’ of the United States to account for the background grand
strategy of the accident: the US’s long-term spying on China. Jiang closed
the discussion by saying: ‘we cannot understand why the United States often
sends its planes to make surveillance flights in areas so close to China’.13
Perhaps Jiang could understand, but he could not elaborate on it to permit
nationalist outbursts in China. Therefore, he saw a ‘hegemonic logic’: a
hegemon spied on other countries to show that it was the hegemon, but the
accident itself did not qualify as a hegemonic attempt to overrun China.
According to both pro- and anti-Beijing unorthodox sources in Hong Kong,
even during the most hostile days, the party-state did not speculate on the
American intentions behind the accident or suggest that the Collision had
been planned, because the CCP Politburo had held an emergency meeting
immediately after the Collision and reached a consensus that it should be
treated as an accident.14 The PDO specifically referred to Sino-American
friendship at a civil level, which was not the case after the Bombing.15
Recalling Blum’s classification of the multiple Chinese usages of the term
‘hegemonism’, in this case the term was used with great circumspection: in
most official articles, it was referred to as an ‘attitude’ shown in an
unfriendly accident instead of part of a design to rule the world.16
The ‘first convergence’: when humanitarianism
mingles with sovereignty
When the party-state avoided interpreting the Collision as a deliberate
attack, it could only try to rally nationalist support around two fixed civic
nationalist values. As in the Bombing, the first was sovereignty, but with an
even heavier emphasis placed on compliance with international laws than
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had been the case after the Bombing. In an attempt to design a universal
value to convince even the Americans, the PDO published many articles
referring to international laws, in which an extensive list of international
charters or references was quoted to endorse China’s legal position.17 The
Foreign Ministry also made great efforts to endorse these claims.18 Whether
the Collision took place in Chinese territory requires professional knowledge
of international law that is beyond the scope of this book to discuss. But
there is an epilogue to which attention is drawn here. While all official arguments stressed that the Collision took place within China’s EEZ, two years
previously, there had been an unexpected PLA intrusion into the Japanese
EEZ adjacent to the Diaoyutai Islands after the Bombing. Unless the regime
had done a complete turnabout in two years, this contradiction suggests that
the party-state was yet to be prepared to treat a fixed code – be it the respect
of its own sovereignty or that of others – in absolute terms.
In the absence of empirical evidence to identify the exact location of the
Collision, the argument of sovereignty alone was considered inadequate by
the world – and amateurs in international law – to justify the Chinese stance.
To compensate for this, therefore, the party-state promoted another area of
primitive civic nationalist values, one not used in its response to the
Bombing: humanitarianism. As Rosemary Foot suggested in Rights Beyond
Borders, respect for human rights and its impact on China’s internal affairs
have been constantly on the increase since the late 1990s.19 In the Bombing,
the further inclusion of human rights in Chinese politics was put on hold
because the justification for the Kosovo War had been guided by the theory
of ‘human rights above sovereignty’. But in response to the Collision,
human rights and sovereignty were juxtaposed and given almost equal
weight. The principle of human rights or humanitarianism – the two were
never clearly differentiated in China – was used by the party-state on two different occasions.
First, it was referred to in the context of China’s response to the loss of one
Chinese life, the pilot Wang Wei’s. For instance, Jiang told the world, in a
sensational tone, that ‘what is most precious is human life’, followed by how
he was ‘deeply concerned about the safety of the missing pilot and have
given the instruction many times to make the utmost effort in the searchand-rescue work’.20 The same line was followed by Wang’s widow, Ruan
Guoqin, when she was interviewed by the Xinhua Agency: she accused the
United States of ‘being indifferent to life’.21 She even wrote to Bush directly
and gave the US president an impromptu lesson in humanitarianism.22
Another reference to this principle was its use to justify the release of the
24 US crew members on 12 April ‘out of humanitarian consideration’.23
Coincidentally, but not irrelevantly, on 9 April 2001, the State Council
released a white paper on the Progress in China’s Human Rights Cause in 2000,
which reiterated that ‘China has consistently advocated carrying out dialogues and exchanges by all countries on the human rights issue on the basis
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 75
of equality and mutual respect so as to enhance understanding, promote
consensus and reduce differences’.24 However, the party-state did not make
much effort to resolve the logical contradiction between human rights and
sovereignty. Most ironically, if the detained US crew members had violated
Chinese laws, their easy release meant a de facto Chinese approval of the
‘human rights above sovereignty’ clause. If they had not violated Chinese
laws, they should be released anyway. This was the first of the three attempts
of the party-state to converge the two values covered in the case studies: the
paradox will start to resolve in the next cases, in the ‘second’ and ‘third’ convergence.
3.1.2 Expressive layers: a new type of camouflage
and appeasement
The party-state had attempted to camouflage its de facto weakness, lacking
the necessary courage to alter it – in Chinese idiom ‘selineiren’ – in response
to the Bombing. In a similar manner, the party-state employed three means
to redirect popular nationalism away from the government: acknowledging
the pluralist nature of China while banning demonstrations; allowing the
military to mount a large-scale rescue exercise for the missing pilot to create
the same populist effect; and glorifying the pilot as a national hero. But the
official camouflage after the Collision provoked a different agenda: that is, to
regard the Collision as an accident, instead of a non-accident like the
Bombing.
The ‘two very sorries’ farce and the Chinese interpretation
of the ‘accident’
Why was an apology a must for the Chinese? The issue has already been
extensively probed, producing among others the old ‘face diplomacy’ argument suggested by Gries or the negotiation argument given by Yee.25
However, an often-neglected point is that an apology can justify everything
for an accident, but not for a conspiracy. Without an American apology, the
party-state could not justify the characterization of the incident as an ‘accident’ and therefore would not be able to prevent conspiracy theories – to be
given by the public – from dominating the ideological layers of nationalism.
Therefore, after a few days of verbal battle, China and the United States
began backdoor negotiations. The most revealing indication of this was
given by Jiang’s reinterpretation of an ‘apology’ when he visited Chile on
5 April: ‘I have visited a lot of countries and seen that it is normal for people
to ask forgiveness, to say “excuse me” when they collide in the street’.26
Following Jiang’s wistful tips, the myth of an ‘apology’ was negotiated.
According to Chinese Foreign Minister Tang, he ‘accepted a letter of apology’ from the US ambassador Joseph Prueher on behalf of the American government on 11 April, in which the term ‘very sorry (shenbiao qianyi)’
appeared three times.27 The Chinese translation was a pre-approved diplomatic
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evasion of the Americans, since they were informed of the translated version
in advance.28 Once the phrase was seen in Chinese, the official media were
unstoppable in interpreting, exaggerating and constructing this national triumph. When the rhetoric reached surreal proportions, perception became
reality. In a conclusive article reviewing the crisis, official reporters called it
an American ‘concession’ – ‘the firm struggle by the Chinese government
and people against US hegemony’ to have forced the US government ‘to
change from its initial rude and unreasonable attitude to saying “very sorry”
to the Chinese people’ – under the emotional title From Pride and Prejudice to
Reality and Impotency.29
As the American media, as well as Powell, explained, ‘sorry’ did not constitute an apology as demanded by the Chinese authorities.30 In the Chinese
language, however, ‘very sorry’, ‘regret’ and ‘apology’ do not have the same
subtle differences as in English. The Chinese staff of the US Embassy in
Beijing made their own translations: the first ‘very sorry’ was translated as
‘great sympathy (feichang wanxi)’, whereas the second was translated as ‘deep
expression of regret (shenbiao qianyi)’.31
The controversy did not stop there, as the Chinese version of the letter was
deliberately abridged. The full and unabridged version of the US letter said
that ‘although the full picture of what transpired is still unclear, according to
our information, our severely crippled aircraft made an emergency landing
after following international emergency procedures’.32 The ‘cause’ of the
‘tragic incident’ had to be further discussed in future meetings. Why was the
letter not given in full? The reason suggested here is that if it was apparent
that further causes could in the future be revealed, the incident might not be
seen as solely accidental. This might prevent the party-state from controlling
nationalist sentiments in China.
The under-studied numerical embarrassment: 34,567
and 450 million
Another government trick played in disseminating information that has
been poorly studied is the compensation issue. If we look at what was
reported on paper, on 7 July 2001, China sent the United States a bill for
US$1 million ‘to cover the costs of one of its spy planes landing on Chinese
soil for three months’ – not it should be pointed out an indemnity or nationto-nation compensation as it had been in the Bombing.33 This was rejected
outright by the US Congress, because ‘the idea that American taxpayers
should start rewarding communist piracy is as contemptible as it is unlikely
to happen.’34 A protest from the Chinese Foreign Ministry followed, which
minimized the level of opposition: ‘a few anti-China members of the US
House of Representatives bar compensation to China’.35 On 10 August, it was
Pentagon spokesperson Craig Quigley – instead of the White House
spokesperson – who casually disclosed that ‘an appropriate amount of
money’ had been sent to China; the amount in question was reported by the
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 77
PDO to be ‘around US$34,000’.36 On the following day, another protest was
recorded from the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhang Qiyue.37 One year
later, the issue was still on hold, with no additional money paid.38 From the
American perspective, it had de facto been settled.
The failure to obtain the demanded compensation was not the only
humiliation. A more humble detail, a point neglected by most scholars, was
the exact amount offered by the Pentagon. Instead of ‘about US$34,000’, as
the PDO described it, the precise figure was US$34,567 – the Pentagon did
not officially release the amount of the compensation, but it was discovered
by various Western media.39 The party-state’s avoidance of disclosing the
precise figure might be due to practical reasons like the convenience of
rounding up figures in reporting. But it might also suggest that there was
something embarrassing about the casual pattern in the amount ‘34,567’
that could provoke nationalist sentiment in China. In modern Chinese
diplomatic history since the Treaty of Nanjing, the only other similar pattern
of numbers could be found in the Boxer Protocol signed in 1901, in which
the Qing government was asked to pay a huge, but arbitrary, figure as indemnity: 450 million taels. As studied by historian Tang Degang, the figure was
fixed to convey the following message: 450 million Chinese people should
contribute one tael per person for their ‘collective sin’.40 In the case of the
US$34,567, the semiotic message might be the collective disdain of the
United States and their unwillingness to treat the Chinese demands seriously.
After the apology issue was settled, the US crew members were immediately released. Other official demands were not pursued. Once his boys had
gone home, Bush proudly announced that ‘reconnaissance flights are part of
a comprehensive national security strategy’ and their renewed mission in
the future would still be undertaken as a necessary act because ‘that helps
maintain peace and stability in our world’.41 Bush seemed to act upon his
words more seriously than the Chinese: the missions were resumed as soon
as 7 May 2001.42 These developments made it more pressing for the partystate to redirect the nationalist energy of the public in a containable manner.
Three types of appeasement could be interpreted.
Appeasement (I): missing demonstrations and
flexible ‘public opinion’
The first type of appeasement stemmed from coercion and was related to the
official order to ban demonstrations after the Collision. It is difficult to prove
that instructions came directly from the regime, but we can consult sources
outside China. According to an unauthorized Hong Kong source quoting
‘special channels from Beijing’, Jiang Zemin instructed his colleagues to
‘spread the patriotic impulse of students and the people, but they have to
stay in their positions and not demonstrate on the streets’.43 South China
Morning Post senior editor Willy Lam, a well-known authority on Chinese
politics in East Asia, quoted an ‘insider source’ on a highest-level meeting,
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allegedly chaired by Jiang, in which Jiang asked explicitly for there to be no
repeat of the anti-US demonstrations after the Bombing.44 As a result, as
Washington Post journalist John Pomfret – who also reported on the postBombing situation in 1999 – observed, ‘the government this time has moved
swiftly to censor nationalistic rhetoric from Internet bulletin boards and
keep a tighter than usual rein on the state-run press.’45
These gestures echoed Shambaugh’s term ‘Chinese defensive nationalism’: the form of nationalism to be found is ‘assertive in form, but reactive
in nature’.46 Elaborating on Shambaugh’s concept, Zhao Suisheng believed
that the Chinese leaders ‘have hence demonstrated a clear antipathy to
letting the nationalist sentiment of the masses dictate their actions’,
therefore ‘the anti-governmental embarrassment in mass demonstrations
could be avoided’.47 As Zhao repeatedly stressed, the control imposed on
populist nationalism represented how the ‘pragmatic Chinese leaders
trumpeted the success largely for a domestic audience, as they did not
want to let nationalism get out of hand and hurt both the communist
state and the Sino-US relationship’.48
The fact that no demonstrations were allowed might not mean an official
disregard of the Chinese public as Zhao suggested. On the contrary, the partystate tried to signal the following message: the demands of ordinary citizens
have been well noted, but the people do not have to waste their time demonstrating because their government will carry out their agenda for them. The
momentum of the public was nonetheless recognized. For instance, an
unnamed ‘insightful senior PLA officer’ explained to the Americans why
China could not let the US plane go in terms of populist nationalism: ‘the
Chinese masses would immediately regard the government as being too soft,
as the leaving plane could even spy on China on its return trip.’49
This kind of comment was not easily made against the unitary background
of the PRC tradition. The earliest source of this type of statement to have
been found was recorded before the Bombing. When Zhu Rongji visited
Washington DC in April 1999, he shocked his hosts by making the following
statements: ‘I worry that even if I signed the agreement, our Chinese people
will not agree’, and, ‘if I say so in China, then I will have to be ousted’.50 Such
comments made by someone of Zhu’s rank implies official acknowledgment
of some degree of free will on the part of ordinary citizens with respect to
nationalism. From then on, the fact that China was a pluralist nation –
whose nationalist response might cause ‘extremely harmful consequences’ –
was gradually accepted by American politicians led by Clinton.51 When
there were no major physical demonstrations after the Collision, and when
the nationalist response of internet users was subjected to censorship, decision-makers – such as the ‘unnamed senior PLA official’ – could conveniently exert their own nationalist pressure at the diplomatic table in the name
of responding to ‘public opinion’, or what Yee called the ‘deflection of
domestic opposition’.52
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 79
Appeasement (II): the populist element in the military
rescue campaign
One single form of appeasement was insufficient. Although demonstrations
were ruled out, the party-state did aim to give the nation some sense of mass
participation. An exaggerated rescue campaign was launched by the military
to search for the missing pilot Wang. While it was perfectly natural for the
army to try to rescue a comrade, according to the PDO the scale of the search
was unprecedented in China for one man.53 Acknowledged by the party-state
as ‘the largest-ever rescue effort in the history of the Chinese armed forces’,
the mission lasted for 14 days and was ended on 14 April.54 It was only made
possible with the consent of the military, which was given with some care
because the mission – unlike the surreptitious Diaoyutai campaign after the
Bombing – could be seen as a ‘demonstration’ by the military sector.55
Scholars like Lampton and James Mulvenon speculated that the PLA – and
its Guangzhou military region in particular – had supplied misinformation
about the Collision to the top Politburo leaders and manoeuvred the situation for their own benefit.56 Yet, there is no evidence to suggest that the military gained anything. The only open accounts suggest the opposite, because
the party-state deliberately assigned the job of negotiating with the US State
Department to the State Council instead of leaving the negotiations to the military.57 To a certain extent, the military was a direct victim, as Chinese military
officers were banned from communicating with the Pentagon until 2002.58
However, the rescue campaign was still of importance, because when
Chinese people watched television after the Bombing, they would have seen
the news reporting the anti-American demonstrations; when they looked at
the same screens after the Collision, they were able to watch the spectacular
military campaign in place of their own physical actions. In deploying the
rescue mission, the party-state spread the same message: we understand your
wish-to-demonstrate agenda, and have carried it out for you.
Appeasement (III): the myth-making campaign for Wang Wei
The final form of appeasement was cultural nationalism. The martyr-worship
campaign for Wang Wei moved to a higher level than that afforded to the victims of the Bombing. From 5 April 1999, a date that coincided with China’s
traditional Qing Ming Festival (a festival celebrated to remember the deceased),
Wang was systematically and universally glorified by the media nationwide.
On 14 April, when Wang was presumed dead two weeks after the downing of
his plane, he was accorded the status of ‘revolutionary martyr (geming lieshi)’ by
the State Council, at the suggestion of the Navy.59 As this honour was the same
as that granted to the three dead journalists after the Bombing, another title
‘Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Waters (haikong weishi)’, was conferred on
Wang on 16 April by Jiang on behalf of the CMC.60 Differences between the
two titles are hierarchically unclear. Yet, judging from the grammar, and
putting aside power struggle explanations, haikong weishi does not necessarily
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need to be conferred only on the dead because a ‘guardian’ can be a living man
whereas a ‘martyr’ may no longer be alive. Two days later, Wang was also
awarded the ‘Chinese Youth May Fourth Medal’, the highest honour available
to a young Chinese person, by the Central Committee of the Communist
Youth League of China and the All-China Youth Federation.61 In terms of titles,
Wang obviously outdid the Belgrade martyrs.
Various reasons may explain this escalation of martyrdom. First, the partystate needed to provide large-scale displays when physical demonstrations
were no longer an option. Second, Chinese demands had this time been
viewed even more casually by the United States than had been the case after
the Bombing. Third, there was a wish to outdo the honour afforded to the US
crew members by the Pentagon on the other side of the world. But most
importantly, in glorifying Wang, it was easier to link his personality cult to
the party-state than it had been for the journalists in the Bombing.62
The military sector took the expected lead in glorifying their pilot. On
25 April, the CCP Committee of the Chinese Navy launched an official educational campaign for naval troops to ‘learn from Wang’, in order to ‘make
new contributions to safeguarding state sovereignty and national dignity
and realizing the reunification of the motherland’.63 While it had never
done so after the Bombing, the PLA journal National Defence dedicated the
whole inner front page to advertising its determination to ‘learn from the
heroic behaviour of Comrade Wang’, and called on fellow military officers
‘to be loyal to our motherland and not to disappoint our superiors’.64 The
wishful thinking was that if Wang was being equated with the party-state
and Chinese society demonstrated their respect to Wang, the party-state
would be respected as well. This repeated artificial value-adding ensured that
Wang would become a spokesman for the party-state after his death. The following is a good example of the kind of emotional outcry that arose about
Wang – and the party-state that he represented:
Wang Wei, your kinsfolk are calling you, your comrades-in-arms are calling you, and people are calling you! You left in spring, mountain flowers
everywhere become woven garlands for you; you left from the sky and the
sea, immortal elegiac couplets are written for you amid white clouds and
blue waves.65
3.1.3 Strategic layers: attempts at institutionalizing
Taoist nationalism
Although the party-state demonstrated a very different approach in the handling of the Collision compared with the Bombing, the national strategy it
deployed was almost the same. However, because of all its shortcomings, the
strategy of Taoist nationalism was increasingly being challenged by the public. The major modification that the party-state felt obliged to introduce was
to make the strategy more institutionalized.
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 81
Shortcomings of a copycat: can Taoist nationalism handle accidents?
Like the keynote speech made by Jiang on 14 May 1999, the PDO editorial
titled Turn Patriotic Enthusiasm into Strength to Build a Powerful Nation published on 12 April 2001, the day the US crew members were released, outlined the most important official stance in response to the Collision:
‘Through the struggle, Chinese people from all ethnic groups have further
reached a common understanding that China needs development, the
nation needs reinvigoration, and society needs stability.’66 Like the postBombing editorials, this one linked economic development to Sino-American
bilateral relations, and naturally ended with a familiar pattern: the case ‘displayed the ability to cope with complicated situations and to handle complicated issues of the CCP Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at the core’.67
As another tenet of Taoist nationalism, the possibility for China to take
revenge in the long run – a rather illogical conclusion if the party-state really
wished to contain the Collision as an accident – was also declared: ‘China
has won initial success in its struggle, which still continues, noting that the
struggle between the pursuers and opponents of hegemony and the unipolar
world and the multi-polar world is a long-term and complicated one and it
will not be completed through one event or one round of encounters.’68 This
direct copy of the post-Bombing rhetoric risked undermining the intensive
efforts of the party-state to differentiate between the two incidents. An
important flaw in the strategy was therefore revealed: designed to handle
hostile attempts to subvert China in 1991, its rhetoric was not suited to ad
hoc accidents. When the party-state asked the people to calm down, it had
no proper language with which to do so.
The National Security Council initiative
The party-state might not be able to tackle the above logical flaw, but did
address another weakness of the strategy. If opponents of China were to read
only official newspapers and the fanatical nationalist response of the public,
they could be confused about whether the Chinese realist reaction – supposed to be offensive only in the very long run – was imminent or not. The
fact that the initial response of the United States was hostile suggests that
there was a lack of top-level bilateral communication for the countries to
placate each other.
The US bureaucratic system also contributed to this lack of communication. As Robert Sutter noted, the Bush Administration ‘did not resort to highlevel envoys or other special arrangements often used to resolve difficult
US-China issues, insisting on working though normal State Department and
Defence Department channels that did not raise China’s stature in US foreign policy’.69 The situation was set to get worse if the Americans intentionally blocked further channels of communication. As revealed by John Keefe,
after the Collision the White House acted like post-Bombing Beijing by
ordering all US officials to avoid all but the most essential contact with
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Chinese officials in Washington and elsewhere.70 Yang Jiechi, the newly
arrived Chinese Ambassador to Washington DC, despite his well-known
friendship with the Bush family dating back to the 1970s, was also a victim
and was ignored by Washington officials during the crisis.71 According to
Sutter, Yang could only have carried out his mission by ‘adopting a carefully
moderate tone emphasizing China’s sincere interest in moving the relationship forward in speeches to Washington DC think tanks’.72
In the hope of formally establishing a better communication channel, so
that any offensive rhetoric observed in China could be reported and toned
down in due course, the party-state made an effort to solve the problem after
the Collision was settled. This attempt was guided by the defensive realist
idea of institutional building. What exactly was proposed, but never
announced to the public, was revealed by Western sources such as an interview between Lampton and an ‘unnamed Chinese top official’. According to
Lampton, the party-state proposed establishing a National Security Council
(NSC) – a standard bureaucratic unit in the United States – to handle similar
crises in the future, something which was not proposed after the Bombing.73
NSC is not an unusual bureaucratic structure in other countries: apart from
the well-known US NSC, there are others in Russia, India, South Korea and
Taiwan. In order to understand this proposal fully, it helps to look at the
duties of the NSC in the United States, established in 1947 by Harry Truman
(1884–1972)’s National Security Act. The five major functions of the US NSC
were described by Philip Odeen as follows:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
setting a policy framework;
forcing decisions;
managing the process;
monitoring implementation; and
crisis planning.74
With this would-be-American counterpart in mind, it is suggested that this
executive unit might help institutionalize the Taoist nationalist strategy in
terms of creating a direct correspondence with the US NSC and designing a
set of predefined crisis management codes for similar crises in the future.
Both features could theoretically eliminate, or diminish, the uncertainties
caused by Sino-American miscommunications during accidental crises.
In the United States, the NSC could, however, quite often be a rival of
other American government agencies. Allegedly for bureaucratic and personal reasons, particularly the potential for conflict between the NSC and
the CCP’s Politburo as well as the semi-autonomous CMC in time of crisis,
the plan was formally abandoned in 2005.75 As will be discussed in Chapter 4,
this was probably also due to Sino-American cooperation after 9/11, which
diminished the need to establish such an agency. Yet, the official initiative to
launch an NSC suggests that the legacy of Deng Xiaoping was not static.
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 83
When the party-state took longer to respond with caution, the public in
China were more eager to point out its further problems.
3.2 The nationalist response of the
intermediary-level public
After the Collision, the liberal-non-liberal debate continued among intellectuals. But most heavyweight new leftists like Gan Yang, Wang Shaoguang
and Cui Zhiyuan took a remote stance in this case. Academic responses from
IRIs were less vigorous, resulting in the dominance of less prominent participants in the 2001 debate. Another noticeable difference was that a limited
intellectual consensus was reached to challenge the official response, making the intellectual contribution to defining China’s diplomatic strategy and
(to a lesser extent) civic nationalism more substantial than in 1999. Four
issues are looked at here, how different intellectuals: (1) regarded the official
response as impotent; (2) lagged behind the official discourse in mixing
humanitarianism with sovereignty, but used their imagination in assessing
the US’s intentions; (3) systematically challenged the Taoist nationalist strategy; and (4) continued their rivalry between liberals and non-liberals.
3.2.1 Expressive layers: limited coalition against
governmental impotency
After their initial success in getting heard following the Bombing, intellectuals showed more confidence in making blunt comments in 2001. The official
treatment was still approved by some intellectuals, including the non-liberal
Luo Cheng and the liberal Yang Zhichu.76 But looking at all four case studies,
the official response given in this case was the one that received the greatest
level of disapproval from intellectuals. They no longer argued about the role
of demonstrators and media workers, as they had after the Bombing. Their
main focus shifted to the party-state, giving their attention to assessing
whether the official response to the Collision was appropriate. Two issues
were most critically reviewed: the official distortion of the ‘two very sorries’
and the martyrdom of Wang Wei. The escalated intellectual attention given
to the official discourse suggests that the assigned accidental nature of the
Collision did not go down well with many scholars, whether non-liberal or
liberal.
The younger new leftists and the ‘premature ejaculation
of the Chinese government’
Non-liberals were discontented with the party-state because most of them
were resolute about the apology and compensation issues. Their voices were
not often heard in mainstream newspapers in China, but they were available. When the leading nationalist Wang Xiaodong was interviewed by the
British newspaper The Independent, he suggested that the proper way for the
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party-state to settle the crisis would be ‘for Bush and Blair to keep their dirty
and stupid mouths shut, and therefore to apologize and compensate our
loss’.77 As revealed by Hong Kong newspapers, many professional scholars
were disappointed in the official response and suggested that the party-state
should retain the US plane and crew members ‘because of the valuable information stored in their minds’.78 The party-state was satirized by many other
like-minded commentators, most of whom gathered in an interesting forum
called the Points of Suspicion Discussion Forum (PSDF). This was launched to
unveil all ‘points of suspicion’ in the Collision (such points were usually
from the United States, but official arguments of the party-state were also
included).79
The example of new leftist Shi Hanbing, who is well known among young
intellectuals, is particularly significant because he claimed that his decision
to become a public intellectual and a freelancer was triggered by the unforgettable experience of the Collision.80 The obscenely titled The US Vagina and
the Chinese Premature Ejaculation was one of the hysterical commentaries
written by Shi. It argued that the appeasement of the dirty Americans (the
‘US vagina’), and the release of crew members (the ‘Chinese premature ejaculation’), had had four negative results for China:
1. The United States will surely next ask for the spy plane.
2. The departure of the US crew members meant recognizing that the loss of
Wang Wei was the result of an accidental collision.
3. The Chinese lost a trump card to show its strength against the United
States, unless they never intended to be strong against them.
4. The Americans saw that Bush’s strong stance had brought results, encouraged by us, so that the United States would be equally strong towards us
afterwards.81
The second two of Shi’s alleged outcomes belong to the strategic level,
which will be discussed later. His first two were precisely the effect the partystate was expecting, because it was indeed an ‘accidental clash’ from the
point of view of the party-state. As many intellectuals could not accept this
interpretation, they regarded the party-state as compromising and impotent.
Like Wang and Shi, liberals ridiculed the settlement made by the partystate as not being nationalistic enough. Historian Liu Guokai, who founded
the ‘Chinese Socialist Democracy Party’ in New York in 2000, suggested that
‘Aggressive Bushism (bushen qiangquan zhuyi)’ and ‘PRC Pseudo Nationalism
(zhonggong weiminzuzhuyi)’ were a pair of Siamese twins, because the PRC
helped suppress domestic nationalism in favour of US interests – and those
of their protégé CCP.82 Fellow liberal Li Xianyuan wrote an open letter to the
party-state to propose direct mobilization of populist demonstrations in
China and published many private advertisements in the US newspapers to
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 85
‘uncover the truth’ of US hegemony.83 Another prominent liberal Ye Fu – a
Vietnam-based Chinese writer who gained in reputation by disclosing the
tragic behaviour of the Khmer Rouge and its Chinese allies – bluntly concluded that ‘the Chinese only gained some useless lip service, which is neither the “apology” that the party-state distortedly promoted, nor a
“significant victory” ’.84 These remarks suggested that, whereas liberals had
been suspicious of the manoeuvring role played by the party-state after the
Bombing incident, some of them were unhappy that here the Chinese government seemed unable to distinguish between an accident and an international conflict, if not a plot.
Wang the martyr: individualistic heroism versus collective heroism
Liberals and non-liberals held more dichotomized views over the official
attempt to impose statist control in China by means of spreading patriotism.
The personality cult of Wang Wei became the centre of the debate. On the one
hand, before the party-state started the glorification campaign, many nonliberals had already sensed their duty to respect Wang. However, this did not
mean the convenient transfer of their support to the party-state via Wang.
Without acknowledging the role of Wang in the party-state, Han Deqiang simply said, ‘whenever the soul of the Chinese race is alive, Wang’s soul is alive
too’.85 Worried that the weak stance taken by the party-state over the Collision
would hurt the morale of nationalists, Shi Hanbing credited Wang only as an
independent entity and claimed that his personal challenge against the
United States – regardless of the impotence of the state – represented ‘China’s
opportunity to implement stronger diplomacy against the US’.86
While non-liberals did not tie Wang to the party-state, liberals saw it the
other way round. Reminiscently addressing the type of ‘revolutionary
heroism’ that had been preached in the past, journalist Dai Qing viewed
Wang’s status after the Collision as ‘involuntary martyrdom’, and drew a
parallel between Wang and a list of household names, Chinese who were
revolutionary heroes with re-fictionalized lives such as Huang Jingyu
(?–1940) Ouyang Hai (1940–1963), Dong Cunrui (1929–1948) and Huang
Jiguang (1931–1952): Huang Jingyu died in the Second Sino-Japanese War;
Dong died in the Chinese Civil War; Huang Jiguang died in the Korean
War; Ouyang died in a railroad accident when he was on duty as a soldier.87
No wonder Dai was criticized by Gan Yang for ‘dancing to the Western
melody’ after the Bombing in 1999. In the same way that he spread his
anti-statist ideology in his reports on the Khmer Rogue, Ye Fu questioned
why the action of Wang ‘seriously endangered aerial safety but was praised
and glorified’ and described it as ‘a doomed result of the official media
encouragement and mobilization’.88 When Wang failed to attract non-liberal
support for the party-state, he ironically became a target inviting liberal
criticism of the party-state at the same time.
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3.2.2 Ideological layers: civic nationalism, in contempt
As a gesture to demonstrate their reluctance to accept the official interpretation of the Collision, in written documents most intellectuals declined to
follow the official call to construct civic nationalism on an accident. The
challenge to mix human rights and sovereignty was not a problem for intellectuals because they held both values less resolutely than in the Bombing.
What was more openly contested was whether the Collision revealed realist
calculation or plots on the part of the United States, as alleged by non-liberals; or, by contrast, realist calculation or plots on the part of the PRC, as suggested by their rivals.
Side-effects for values of ‘downgrading’ the collision
When the party-state introduced both sovereignty and humanitarianism
after the Collision, most intellectuals did not discuss humanitarianism: for
the non-liberals, it was not the point; for the liberals, the official argument
was not about real humanitarianism. On sovereignty, there were quite a few
experts, liberals included, who elaborated on how sovereignty could put
China on the right side of the Collision. Law experts were invited to write
lengthy articles to endorse the official perspective.89 In order to prove his
impartiality, for instance, one of the experts Qin Xudong explained that
according to international law the Chinese had no right to shoot a US spy
plane.90 The same rationale was given by liberal Yang Zhichu, who suggested
that if the negotiation failed, the two sides ‘should accept trial by international court’.91
However, most Chinese intellectuals of both camps thought there was little point in studying either human rights or sovereignty because they were
more concerned to prove that the Collision was not an accident. Some intellectuals – especially the new leftists whom we might have expected to voice
their declaration of the supremacy of sovereignty as they had after the
Bombing – used sarcasm in interpreting ‘sovereignty’. As Yang Zhichu
summed it up, new leftists believed that the sole lesson of the Collision was
that international laws simply and solely served the interests of strong powers:
‘since we have no ability to spy in front of America’s door, international laws
that allow the Americans to spy in front of our door are unfair’.92 Speaking
of the American spying activities on China’s coastal areas, Li Xiguang of
Tsinghua University pointed to the unfair nature of international laws by
suggesting that if Beijing conducted the same spying activities on the
Atlantic coast, the Americans would immediately shoot down the Chinese
spy plane.93 Sovereignty became a not-so-objective value as viewed by some
intellectuals after the Collision because ‘it [was] related to the strength of a
country … China [was] too weak, it could do nothing even when the
Americans arrived at its border.’94 These reactions suggest that civic nationalist values could only be constructed under the premise that they were to
the Chinese nation as well as to their drafters. When the coexistence and
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 87
interrelationship of human rights and sovereignty could not be used with
advantage by the intellectuals, it was of little surprise that they showed no
interest in either.
Realist warning (I): against the Republican administration
and the ‘New Cold War’
In order to show that the Collision was more than an accident, many intellectuals – especially IRIs – deviated from the official line and focused on a
realist interpretation of the agenda of the Republican administration in the
United States in general. Between the end of the Bombing and the eve of the
Collision, the biggest change in Sino-American relations had been the inauguration of Bush in 2001. Since the beginning of his election campaign,
Bush had pressed for a foreign policy on China that differed from that of
Clinton’s second term. This departure was most clearly demonstrated by his
advisor Condoleezza Rice’s article Promoting the National Interests.95 Bush’s
alleged anti-Chinese tendency alarmed Chinese intellectuals as early as during his campaign. When the author attended a US election cocktail party
organized by the US Embassy in Beijing in 2000, almost two-thirds of the
one thousand or so Chinese who attended – most of whom were intellectuals – ‘voted’ for Al Gore.96 Bush’s victory disappointed many IRIs like Jin
Junhui, who warned that the Neo-Conservatives were ‘no Clinton’.97
The Collision, therefore, was directly linked to the Republican policy by
IRIs. Yang Jiemian, brother of the Chinese Ambassador to the United States
Yang Jiezhi (who served in the post immediately after the Collision),
believed ‘Bush has made use of moralistic issues such as nationalist sentiments and security interests to suppress the opposition’s voice, so as to
implement his consistent China policy.’98 Jia Qingguo of Peking
University, among the relatively few mainland scholars who contribute to
English-language journals, explained the origin of the Collision in terms of
Bush’s need to fulfil his pledges made in the presidential campaign.99
When Bush’s agenda became a hot topic, many academic conferences – like
the one convened by CIR in June 2001 – were dedicated to demonizing the
Bush administration.100
With this unfriendly incumbent US administration, what would be its
next ‘plot’? The suggestion of a looming head-to-head conflict was spread
mainly among ordinary citizens after the Bombing, but it became more popular among intellectuals in 2001. Calling the Bush administration the ‘most
conservative Republican administration in American history’, Luo suggested
that the Collision reflected an attempt by Bush to dismantle the multi-polar
world: ‘the reason for the Bush administration to position Sino-American
relations like that is because they see China as its greatest threat towards
establishing a Post-Cold War unipolar world order.’101 His colleague Jin
Junhui elaborated on how the administration was turning the Post-Cold War
order back to the balance of terror: ‘its strategy is to look for a major enemy
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as its aggressive target and a catalyst for their internal solidarity’, adding
‘China is indeed such a target viewed by the American rightwing conservatives’.102 As another IRI Lu Jiaping puts it, the Collision was believed by some
to have marked the start of the ‘New Cold War’.103
Realist warning (II): against the Chinese communist administration
Although most liberals had been hesitant to get involved in the American
argument in 1999, the Americans did have a few defenders among Chinese
intellectuals in 2001. Some liberals did not believe the Americans were to
blame. Beijing Spring writer Yang Liyuan, for instance, compiled a ‘six-point
negotiation strategy’ on behalf of the PRC and suggested that the party-state
had been ‘hypocritical’ to portray China as a victim, to incite populist nationalist mobilization and to use US hostages as bargaining chips in the negotiation.104 More provocative was Hu Ping’s conspiracy theory, which suggested
that the Collision was not an accident but instead ‘a deliberate Chinese
action to stop American spying activities’.105 He supported this by the ‘fact’
that China was sending small F-8 war planes to provoke large American spy
planes, and by the impossibility of the Americans’ having started the provocation owing to the ‘1:24 ratio’ of human lives involved in the two types of
plane, and so on.106 A report in the PLA Daily on 15 April 2001, which explicitly warned that the Collision would be repeated if the United States continued spying on Chinese coastal areas, became Hu’s evidence to support
China’s ‘blackmailing’.107 This conspiracy idea arose from a logic the reverse
of the one offered by non-liberals, and it seemed to Hu that it was the PRC
which exemplified its ‘domineering action with hegemonic logic’.
3.2.3 Strategic layers: intellectual impatience
with Taoist nationalism
The continued official embracing of Taoist nationalism had already exposed
two shortcomings: its inability to handle value-free accidents and its lack of
an established method of communication to enable others to comprehend
its Taoist language. Although intellectuals failed to take advantage of these
flaws in 1999, after the collision they contributed significantly in identifying
other weaknesses of the strategy in the hope of repudiating – or at least modifying – it in the foreseeable future.
Taoist nationalism in non liberal revision: time
frame and interest check-point
Most Chinese IRIs continued to endorse the Taoist nationalist line on paper.
As suggested by Cheng’s interview, most of them, in talking to visiting
guests, believed the party-state ‘had worked hard to avoid a sharp setback in
the bilateral relationship’ and stressed that the official settlement of the
incident ‘was not a reflection of their weakness in dealing with the US’.108
But unlike the party-state, which employed almost identical Taoist rhetoric
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 89
in 1999 and 2001, the intellectual proposals were subtly different from
those made after the Bombing. The proposals of IRI Shi Xin after the
Collision serve as an example:
1. China and the United States should still try to develop a strategic partnership.
2. As an economically rapidly growing nation, China has no intention of
challenging the American status quo.
3. The two nations should put aside their serious differences and strive for
their common interests.
4. China will be able to cooperate with the mainstream faction of the
incumbent Republican Party, which has vast economic interests in
China’s open market.109
If we look carefully at the wording, Shi – in suggesting that a Sino-American
strategy partnership should ‘still’ be developed – imposed two conditions for
China to continue practising Taoist nationalism. First, if, or once, China was
no longer an economically rapidly growing nation, the strategy should be
dumped. Second, if the mainstream faction of the Republican Party ceased to
have economic interests in China, the strategy should also be dumped. The
two conditions were meant to redress further shortcomings in the Taoist
nationalist strategy. The first was that it provided a time frame for altering
China’s position in the weaker stage of the Taoist cosmology: China could
not be concessive indefinitely and the people should understand that the
nation was being so for good reasons. The second was that it provided a
check-point for the United States, which was needed to ensure China economic benefits in its process of taoguang yanghui.
Why did intellectuals realize these weaknesses after the Collision but not
after the Bombing? Different answers were again offered. As Shi Hanbing
said, the precedent set by the Bombing put pressure on the Chinese not to
have history repeated.110 Or, as one of the Say No authors Fan Ning
explained, the location and military casualty of the Collision suggested an
American indifference to the economic prosperity of China: ‘the US [was]
stirring up trouble in front of our door. If we backed down, who would still
take us seriously in the future?’111 That is probably why even Chu Shulong,
a prominent liberal IRI often cited to contrast with Yan Xuetong, suggested
that the party-state should not release the US crew members without soliciting a real apology.112 His moderate colleague Jia Qingguo also acknowledged
that the eventual resolution of the Collision ‘did not help produce any good
feelings on either side’.113
Taoist nationalism in liberal revision: the ‘dirty diplomatic wisdom’
There was another problem of the strategy that other nations cared much
more about: the declared long-term hegemonic implications. While not
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addressed after the Bombing, this issue was raised by liberals after the
Collision. The article that we should pay special attention to was written by
liberal Liu Xiaobo and titled Taoguang Yanghui: A Dirty Diplomatic Wisdom.
Regardless of his value judgment, Liu was correct in saying that those
supporting Taoist nationalism (the party-state) and those regarding it as
not radical enough (non-liberals) ‘have completely overlapping modes of
thought’, that is, a realist orientation.114 Their difference, according to
Liu, was only one between ‘cynics’ and ‘Boxers’.115 To elaborate, Liu
believed the party-state was handling matters in a low-key way to camouflage its long-term realist attempt to overcome the United States (i.e., ‘cynics’),
whereas radical intellectuals were hoping for an immediate victory (i.e.,
‘Boxers’). Liu’s recipe, to ‘implement real systematic reform and innovation’, was not new and contained no surprises.116 But the party-state
would have done well to heed his ‘cynics–Boxers’ dichotomy, because Liu
pointed out the fact that other countries might not view the strategy –
which was designed by Deng in the turmoil years in the interests of internal stabilization more than anything else – in a positive manner. If the
party-state cared about its global image, some modifications needed to be
made.
Offensive realism or bismarckianism: alternative suggestions
When non-liberals became impatient with the Taoist nationalist strategy,
they did in 2001 offer alternative proposals, which they had not done in
1999. The time, according to them, had come for China to switch to offensive nationalism and to abandon Deng’s legacy completely. For instance, Jin
Junhui asked the government to ‘pay attention to the significant changes in
the China policy of the Bush administration’, to call for ‘all necessary struggles with the US’ and to have ‘psychological preparation towards the wouldbe-worsened and would-be-cooler Sino-American relations’.117 On various
occasions, hardcore new leftist Han Deqiang, who had written dozens of
articles in response to the Collision, suggested that Beijing should terminate
its formal diplomatic relationship with the United States, Jiang should no
longer demand an American apology, and China should reconsider its decision to join the WTO. 118
According to this line, there was a great diplomatic opportunity after the
Collision: ‘now the Chinese government had both international support
and international sympathy, but Bush was challenged by an economic
downturn internally and isolation internationally’.119 Another initiative,
therefore, was to reignite diplomatic relationships with other countries to
counterbalance the United States. Without going into serious isolation as
Han suggested, Shi Hongbing believed that diplomatically ‘being strong to
the US could force the Bush administration to unveil its hidden-card and
could surprise the Americans’.120 In contrast with Yan Xuetong’s proposed
disassociation from Russia after the Bombing, Ling Xu of the Defence
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 91
University reintroduced the idea of playing the Russian card after the
Collision by suggesting that ‘as long as China does not threaten Russian
security’, the joint force of China and Russia could ‘post a positive countereffect to the development of Sino-American relations.’ 121 Moderate scholars
studying nationalism like Zheng Yongnian also appealed for China to
resume its united-front strategy, ‘or the Americans would enjoy what the
Chinese should have enjoyed’.122 While the offensive proposal was difficult
to implement, this engagement line – modelled on the multi-polar balance
of power initiated by Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898) in the late nineteenth
century – would appear as a legitimate alternative for consideration when
the next case unfolded.
3.3 The nationalist response of the lower-level public
The precedent of the Bombing in 1999 caused most Chinese people to consciously compare it with the Collision. As few people accepted that the
Collision had been a mere accident, greater feelings of public discontent
with the party-state were recorded in 2001. As we shall see in Chapter 4, such
‘public opinion’ became consultable reference points for the party-state
when it attempted to modify its nationalist ideologies and strategies. Four
issues are exploerd in this section, how ordinary citizens: (1) made use of
alternative nationalist expressions when demonstrations were not feasible;
(2) paid little attention to either human rights or sovereignty; (3) helped, as
had the intellectuals, to expose the flaws of the Taoist nationalist strategy
using vernacular language; and (4) effectively demonstrated their disapproval of the party-state without violating the security of the people.
3.3.1 Expressive layers: reading censored messages
Despite heavy official attempts at censorship, a number of gestures made by
ordinary citizens to demonstrate their defiance against orthodoxy in handling the incident can be identified. One is the fact that there were still smallscale protests – unreported on the mainland – in spite of the official
censorship. Another is the self-initiated ‘cyber war’ against US government
websites. But the most neglected message of all is that of their support of
anti-government elements in the worship of Wang Wei, turning him into a
Greek tragic hero instead of a mere nationalist martyr produced by a statist
factory.
The unreported protest: virtual and reality
It is commonly believed that there were no populist protests in response to
the Collision. This is, technically, not true. As reported by AFP, but not by
any media on the mainland, when the Sino-American negotiated statement
was announced on 11 April 2001, followed by the release of the US crew
members, 75 protestors did manage to march on Hainan Island, where the
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crew was detained.123 Their slogans were never meant to be subtle:
China is a coward! President Jiang Zemin must step down! All Chinese
people will not accept this. China’s leaders nowadays are no good. We
have seen what happened after the Belgrade Embassy Bombing. A few
more incidents like this and the leadership won’t be able to maintain its
hold on power.124
Comparing these with the slogans of the anti-American demonstrations
after the Bombing, it is clear that the target of public anger in 2001 had
become the government. There have been no sources suggesting the fate of
the 75 protestors, who could not have been particularly fortunate in any
sense, and the fact that they were not even mentioned in China is clear testament to the banned nature of the march.
Such public disapproval of official performance was well noted by the virtual community. Every single official decision invited criticism. Before the
release of the US crew members, almost all internet users requested an immediate US apology, and their arguments were more detailed – despite being
factually dubious – than those given by other groups. For instance, ‘Huang
Yan’ (meaning ancestor of the Chinese) quoted US President Eisenhower’s
apologies to the Soviets and the Chinese during the Cold War – the writer
was alluding to the truce in the Korean War – as a precedent for what he
expected Bush to do in 2001.125
The deliberate confusion between the expressions ‘regret’, ‘very sorry’ and
‘apology’ did not deceive most people. As Yee has shown, such confusion
not only suggested the analytical capability of the Chinese, but also their
access to alternative information.126 On SCDF, ‘Daishu Yeyu Aiguo Renshi’
(meaning an amateur patriotic kangaroo) was even able to distinguish the
three types of ‘very sorries’ in American usage and concluded that unlike its
ideational meaning of real regret in Chinese, the American approach to
using such words was ‘solely materialistic-driven and insincere’.127 Not surprisingly, there were heavy protests against the easy release of the US crew
members: ‘today many internet users have made it loud and clear that it was
a concession to release the American killers, and I am quite angry and dissatisfied, too.’128
Cyber war: asymmetrical warfare between the Chinese
public and US government
As a form of secondary censorship, most internet articles of the ‘many internet users who disapproved of the official response’ quoted by ‘Shuangpin’
were missing from the archive of SCDF. From the accessible archive, readers
might have been deceived into concluding that most users supported the
official performance by declaring something like ‘I support the Chinese government in releasing the crew’.129
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 93
However, secondary censorship was impossible to effect completely. Some
of the best evidence of the uncensored sentiment was the fact widely
reported in the West that from 30 April to 7 May 2001 (i.e., from the postCollision turmoil to the second anniversary of the Bombing), Chinese internet users launched an anti-American campaign to express their anger by
hijacking official US websites. The attack resulted in a cyber war between the
Chinese people and the US government. Although this ‘war’ also existed
after the Bombing, the fact that demonstrations were missing after the
Collision meant the ‘war’ received far greater attention in 2001. On 26 April
2001, even the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Centre warned of ‘the
potential for increased hacker activity directed at US systems during the
period of April 30 to May 7, 2001’, and named a list of ‘particular dates of
historical significance’ as the highlight of the warning, all China-oriented,
including: ‘May 1 is May Day; May 4 is Youth Day; and, May 7 is the anniversary of the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade’.130
The fact that no mainstream Chinese media reported this ‘war’ suggests
the official disapproval of this behaviour. But anti-Americanism was not its
sole importance. From the internet response, one should be able to understand that the ‘war’ had more subtle meanings. To start with, many internet
users were excited by their direct participation in and contribution to patriotism. It became their means to boost their group morale, as trumpeted in
the following: ‘[we should] strengthen ourselves via war and mobilize more
fellow Chinese to join us so as to increase our internet war potentials’.131 The
‘war’ had done something reinvigorating that the government was unable to
do, which was said to have ‘encouraged the patriotic passion of the Chinese
people’, and ‘diminished their disappointment’ after the Bombing and the
Collision.132 The ‘war’ could therefore also target fellow internet users:
Once again I am reminded of the few individual internet users who distributed unauthorized news and the American threat theory on SCDF. Do
not trust American lies anymore, or what you will face is a great ocean of
strong Chinese people. You must know the shameful outcome of hanjian
in the Anti-Japanese War!133
But more important is the fact that the ‘cyber war’ proves that ordinary citizens in China (at least the educated portion) already possessed independent
ability – bypassing the official intermediary – to challenge the United States.
This asymmetrical warfare – implying bilateral, state-to-state relationship was
no longer the only rule of international relations – was a new challenge to the
global order frequently referred to by politicians like Donald Rumsfeld after
9/11. Many organizations embracing similar tactics on the internet, such as
the ‘online guerrillas’ of the Zapatistas or the Tamil Tigers, were conventionally labelled ‘cyber terrorists’ by the FBI.134 From the media reports of the
cyber war in the West, such as by The New York Times and the BBC, as well as
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overseas Chinese media such as the Epoch Times, we know that the West
already regarded the ‘cyber war’ as a national and not a civilian issue, and the
enemies in the ‘war’ were no longer represented by a unitary government.135
The Wang Wei memorial campaign: China’s Tom Cruise
or China’s Oedipus?
It would seem that ordinary citizens took part in the campaign to glorify
Wang Wei with enthusiasm. The level of their participation far exceeded that
for the victims of the Bombing. Some empirical findings show this at a
glance: a year after the Bombing, a few self-initiated ‘online memorial halls’
were created for the dead journalists, but Wang’s online memorial hall was
created even before he was confirmed as dead. Up to January 2005, there had
been 3941 messages of condolence posted on Xu Xinghu and Sun Ying’s
‘hall’, and 1956 on Shao Yunhuan’s, but there were ten times as many
(52,671) messages of condolence for Wang Wei.136 The significance and popularity of Wang among the Chinese was evidenced on the other side of the
Strait. In May 2004, Taiwanese writer Liu Taiping published a book about the
PRC’s ‘imminent war against Taiwan’, disclosing a ‘secret’ he claimed to have
heard from senior CCP members: Wang was still alive and hidden somewhere in Beijing; his ‘martyrdom’ was simply a means of arousing Chinese
nationalism in the cause of some future foreign policy making.137 But this
was never taken seriously on the mainland. Indeed, the author also heard of
the above as a ‘joke’ from friends – mostly ordinary citizens but also intellectuals – in China during field studies and private visits. If Wang had not
been a household icon, and if ordinary citizens had not believed in his
importance, he would never have become such a target for black humour.
Some internet poems dedicated to Wang focused primarily on his bravery.
The most spectacular being Ode to Wang Wei, comparing Wang to the popular American actor Tom Cruise, who is famous for playing a US pilot in the
Hollywood movie Top Gun:
For his bravado, his flashy and flamboyant way,
He soared ‘neath the plane, then in front with his spray,
Spewing fumes in their faces as if to say,
To every American who dares to spy China’s way,
‘I’m here, I’m there, I’m always in your way,
I’m the Tom Cruise of China, I’m the great Wang Wei’!138
The fervent public attention given to Wang could also be read as the indirect expression of public grievance against the party-state. In the immediate
aftermath of the release of the US crew members, when the official mythmaking had not even yet started, at least half of the entries on SCDF were
already glorifying Wang. The following excerpt from a long poem written
by ‘Xiaotian Chaolong’ (meaning dragon shouting at heaven) titled Wang
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 95
Wei, Where are You reflects the emotion typical of those participating in the
campaign:
Wang Wei, where are you?
Do you know?
The bandits are going home,
With hegemonic fierceness.
The hypocrites again will celebrate the victory of human rights,
the greatness of democracy, the holiness of freedom,
With lips wet with your heroic blood.
The devil once again succeeds in realizing its universal value,
Through trampling over the dignity of our motherland
and the soul of mankind.139
The words seem to imply that the tragic fate of the martyr Wang was caused
by the impotency of the government to protect its territories and people
(‘trampling over the dignity of our motherland’) and to punish the murderers (‘the bandits are going home’). On the basis of messages of condolence
dedicated to Wang, it would seem that to many Chinese he was not only a
contemporary nationalist icon, but also a tragic hero comparable to the
popular historic anti-Jurchen idol Yue Fei (1103–1142), who was betrayed by
his government and sent on a mission impossible.140 This Oedipal sense of
tragedy – in direct opposition to the ‘China’s Tom Cruise’ label – was not evident in the myth-making surrounding the Belgrade journalists, because the
feeling of official betrayal was relatively absent in 1999. The lack of a channel for the public to vent their anger benefited Wang’s position in the
nationalist pantheon.
3.3.2 Ideological layers: unilateralism as the ‘bigger picture’
Apart from two or three postings using international law to explain the
Collision and calling for ‘wise governmental interpretation of international
law to win the moral battle’, most Chinese people rejected the use of universal values to study the incident and viewed such values with suspicion.141
According to a report in The New York Times, in one opinion poll on the
Chinese internet (which no one could reference afterwards), ‘13,000 of
15,000’ net surfers said the Collision was the result of a deliberate provocation.142 In addition, findings of an online poll conducted by Time magazine
on 3 April 1999 that 77 per cent of the respondents – it is unknown how
many were Chinese – believed the United States should assume major
responsibility for the Collision were widely reported in China.143 To account
for this provocation, there was again a proliferation of conspiracy theories,
with a heavier emphasis placed on the unilateralism of the Bush administration than in 1999. To the Chinese, conspiracy was referred to as the bigger
picture, which is a very serious matter.
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
‘Lump sum’ conspiracies: comparison with the
post-bombing versions
Instead of repeating here the same types of conspiracies that were discussed in Chapter 2, this chapter traces how the Chinese linked the two
issues in a similar and ongoing ‘bigger picture’. ‘Yedi Xifeng’ (meaning
West wind in the wild land) explained this continuation most clearly on
SCDF: ‘since the Americans bombed the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia,
its secret conspiracy over China has gradually increased from just making
a noise to outright military action … the Americans have started to physically fight China!’144 ‘Diqiu Cunmin Wang Luoke’ (meaning global villager Wang) went further in giving one of the ‘biggest pictures’ of how
some Chinese people lumped together everything relating to SinoAmerican relations. According to this user, the United States was ‘taking
the future well-being of 1.3 billion Chinese people as hostage’, and the list
of threats included certain disasters, deteriorating Sino-American relations, the halt of trade, arms sales to Taiwan, civil war, military confrontation, an Asian financial crisis … , and the like.145 The type of anti-Chinese
logic used is similar to that adopted after the Bombing: it was not easy to
surpass the innovation of 1999.
Another allegation that was made after the Bombing was that the United
States had attacked the Chinese Embassy to warn China not to intervene in
its hegemonic attempt to rule the world. Probably because of the policies of
the Bush administration, the Chinese people gave this line more emphasis
after the Collision in terms of warning against US unilateralism. There was a
feeling that the Chinese no longer had the patience to construct impeccable
conspiracy theories for the Americans and have every single step worked out
as in the Bombing. Instead, since Bush wished to act unilaterally anyway,
this was reason enough for the US’s global conspiracy. Cheng and Ngok
researched the internet response from the forum zone of the PDO (they did
not specify their source, but judging from the findings it is almost certainly
SCDF) and observed comments warning that the US government was ‘the
wolf fond of telling lies’, ‘the head of the triads’, an ‘evil force in today’s
world’, ‘a government of rascals’ and ‘a rogue state’.146
These descriptions show a subtle change of impressions of the United
States from 1999 to 2001. After the Bombing, the United States was seen as a
wicked foe of China from the majority of Chinese perspectives, but it was
believed to have planned carefully for intervention and subversion. When it
came to the Collision, with the unilateral Bush administration as the plotter,
the United States was perceived as more unreasonable, having little rationale
for its masterminded conspiracies besides a mere demonstration of force.
That was why conspiracy ‘theories’, judging from their quantity as well as
quality, were less widely circulated among the Chinese public after the
Collision than after the Bombing two years before.
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 97
3.3.3 Strategic layers: outright repudiation of
Taoist nationalism
When intellectuals identified various flaws in the Taoist nationalist strategy,
ordinary citizens did the same but mainly elaborated on one point only: the
issue of a time frame and their collective impatience. They showed equal
rationality in polling as after the Bombing. But since this time they offered
explanations for their reservations on the Taoist line, the party-state could
more easily understand their concerns and, if they wanted, make appropriate and timely changes in the future.
Looking for the end of the weak stage of Taoism
Many internet users did acknowledge the ideal of the Taoist line, especially
accepting that ‘we very much need to have a stable environment to develop
our economy, to strengthen our capability so as to become a determinant
force in world peace.’147 There were patient nationalists like ‘Shuangpin’,
who offered the following optimistic assessment after the Collision:
In the next 50 years, the possibility of China beating the US is more than
90 percent, with no possibility of losing … however, for the time being,
China still needs the evil role of the US if it is to act on the world
stage … the youth will be the new blood for future competition with the
US. Thus, this incident is positive for China’s competition with the US in
the future.148
The overwhelming concern, however, was that there should not be unlimited concessions. The patience of ‘Shuangpin’, prepared to wait for fifty years
or more, was not common. For instance, despite his support for the release
of the American crew members (which was rare enough on the internet),
‘Tangta’ worried whether the words ‘gentlemen may take revenge in ten
years’ were still valid, ‘because as we grow stronger, Japan, the United States
and other countries do not really want us to be strong’.149 ‘Qijie Jiayijie
Dengyu Bajie’ (meaning seven taboos plus one equals eight taboos), who
acknowledged the ideal of Dengism, warned that China ‘should clearly
observe that the US and its strategic alliance do not wish to and will not act
according to our plan’.150 Citing the weakness of the late Qing dynasty, ‘Yedi
Xifeng’ reminded his compatriots that ‘modern Chinese history has heavily
taught us that giving concessions would lead to us being bullied’.151 The
‘generosity’ of China after the Bombing was also regretted: ‘look what they
did to our embassy in Yugoslavia. We did not do much to them then. This
time, it is no longer bearable’.152
These postings, in spite of their fierce tone, revealed an important message: it was hardly possible for the ordinary citizens in China to know when
the final stage of Taoist nationalism – ‘to overcome the hard and strong’ – would
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come. As with most ancient philosophies, this judgment was vague and
unscientific. The Chinese just wished to have a clear time-table for China to
stop behaving as a weak country in front of the United States. They wondered when the concessions made by Beijing – in the weaker stage of the
Taoist strategy – would end and worried whether the stage would last an
unreasonably long time, or even forever. Many postings directly lobbied the
United States and Bush, suggesting it was their turn to offer concessions: ‘our
ancient culture stresses “tolerance”, but it is surely not a culture of “submission”. When we can no longer tolerate, we will erupt, and the power of eruption is not something that you can withstand.’153
The trend towards engagement in offensive proposals
For the impatient, offensive nationalism became a more popular strategy.
The strategy usually had a peaceful camouflage, as seen when ‘Qijie’ told the
Americans that the Chinese need a peaceful environment in which to
develop, ‘but it is not the only condition for our development’.154 The
Chinese wish to befriend the Americans, ‘but also do not want to be afraid of
being their enemies even on battlefields’.155 The article by ‘Yedi Xifeng’, ominously titled Bloody Debts have to be Paid Back by Blood, besides recalling a
similar title used after the Bombing, also typically represented the thoughts
of those demanding immediate redress of Dengism.156
One does not necessarily have to take this kind of emotional rhetoric too
seriously. Among the concrete proposals suggested for China to turn to
offensive nationalism, the one offered by Zhen Duo was more comprehensive and is deserving of greater attention because it highlighted some new
trends in the Chinese mindset when compared with the last case. As a strong
supporter of Samuel Huntington, one of the most frequent posters in SCDF
and one of the most prominent anti-American activists identified by the
forum administrator Guan Jianwen, Zhen Duo in 2001 amazingly offered
nine strategies for China to confront the US hegemony.157 His proposals,
however, contained two rather different components. First, there were the
unsurprising suggestions like that of ‘Yedi’, suggesting direct confrontation
with the United States, including to:
1. Provoke many disputes in the world to challenge American ability to
maintain global hegemony.
2. Settle the Taiwan question as soon as possible.
3. Proliferate nuclear weapons technology by all means available to challenge the American defence system.
4. Increase the military budget so that the military capability of China could
be suitably demonstrated.158
Then the second concurrent component proposed an emphasis on diplomatic contact, engagement and balance of power to enable China to com-
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 99
pete with the United States in a global manner. The following approaches
seemed to be more greatly stressed by the internet user:
1. Incorporate neighbouring countries into a national defensive buffer zone
while developing the economy.
2. Form different types of alliances with anti-American lobbies.
3. Use divide-and-rule tactics against the pro-American lobby.
4. Use the UN as a platform to disclose the impotency of the American hegemony.
5. Support all anti-American organizations in the world.159
These strategies were not dissimilar to others, such as either forming an ‘SIR
alliance’ or employing mere Bismarckian diplomacy as some intellectuals
suggested. Such ‘public advocacy’ to turn from isolationism to more active
engagement in the world – as we shall see in Chapter 4 – would soon be
taken seriously by the party-state. Despite the public acknowledgment of the
potential benefits of engaging with different poles of the world as a strategy,
the virtue of multilateralism itself had not yet been directly addressed in the
ideological layer. Had this happened, ordinary citizens might have helped
introduce this value into the civic nationalist values of China in 2001 and
enabled the constructive process to be completed sooner.
Blind-spot of polling: dialectical unity of sensation and rationality
As had been the case after the Bombing, the general anxiety about Taoist
nationalism was hard to demonstrate statistically. The underdeveloped
polling industry in China means that we do not have for comparison any
polling results conducted by the same organization immediately before and
after the Collision. From available sources, it is possible to suggest that ordinary citizens did not change their attitude on the United States dramatically
after the incident. For instance, a poll released by Horizon on 20 April 2001
showed that 27.1 per cent of respondents regarded the United States as ‘a
friend of China’, 47.2 per cent as ‘competitive partner’ and only 13 per cent
as China’s enemy (see Table 3.1).160
Table 3.1 Is China a friend of the United States?
(conducted after the Collision)161
Response
Friend
Competitive partner
Enemy
Other relationship
Difficult to tell
Percentage
27.1
47.2
13.0
4.1
8.6
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Table 3.2 Was China a friend of the United States? (conducted
before the Collision)162
Response
Friendly nation but not a cooperative partner
Strategic cooperative partner
Unfriendly to China but not yet an enemy
One of the major enemies of China
Difficult to tell
Percentage
16.0
20.6
48.8
12.3
8.6
Although different jargon was used, the distribution was more or less
similar to the poll conducted by Yu Xunda and his colleagues, which was
conducted just before the Collision (see Table 3.2).
Applying his two-level negotiation theory again, Yee argues the following:
‘the Level 1 negotiations [the two very sorries] sufficiently altered domestic
support for this issue to make it politically feasible for Chinese leaders to
deflect the criticisms of domestic hard-liners in their Level 2 negotiations
[domestic interactions].’163 However, besides reading these polling results as
acceptance of the primacy of economic development, one could interpret
them in another way because there is a blind spot in the methodology. Since
those who viewed the United States as a ‘competitive partner’ could include
people who regarded China in both the ‘yin’ (concessive) and ‘yang’ (aggressive) stages of Taoist nationalism, these polls made it difficult to study questions like ‘do you think that this incident should be the last one in which
China should concede to the US’. Pragmatic and sensationalist responses by
ordinary citizens did not necessarily have to be seen as opposite and unrelated: common to both were their general impatience with Taoist nationalism and a sharing of the developmental ideal. This statistical limitation
shows that there could be room for innovation in the strategic layers that
would better please ordinary citizens that might be deployed in the future.
Chapter summary
As seen from their response to the events of April 2001, many Chinese people
did view the Bombing and the Collision – and even earlier Sino-American
conflicts like the Yinhe Incident in 1993 – as a continuous ‘war’. Because of
the difference in nature between the Collision and the Bombing, although
both were part of the same ‘war’ in the popular perception, the Chinese public responded with a stronger sense of discontent than they had in 1999.
Exploration of the relationship between the politics of the different public
entities and the nationalist discourse established these developments:
(1) The party-state received wider intellectual and general public disapproval
for its performance because of its attempt to ‘accidentalize’ the conflict, but
‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict 101
these disturbances also became its trump card on the diplomatic table.
(2) Intellectuals reached a relative consensus in criticizing the official handling of the affair while continuing their inner-group rivalry. By contrast with
their reaction post-Bombing, concrete strategic revisions were proposed in a
more academic manner, which the party-state was obliged to consider.
(3) Ordinary citizens managed to continue their nationalist momentum
despite official censorship, and even found their own means to directly challenge the US government without domestic approval.
In terms of the nationalist discourse, the Collision did create considerable
symbolic, even if not very substantial, progress: (1) Because the issue of sovereignty was disputable, the party-state hastily introduced the concept of
humanitarianism to justify its reaction. The real construction of civic
nationalist values in contemporary China was due to the need of the partystate to pacify the moralistic nationalists by ‘accidentalizing’ the Collision.
However, the party-state was not prepared to reconcile these two very different values, nor were the intellectuals or ordinary citizens enthusiastic about
studying either of them. (2) Owing to a stricter level of official censorship,
fervent expressions of nationalism were heard less often. But different groups
succeeded in getting round censorship to express their emotions – to the
United States as well as the party-state – through affordable channels, such as
turning the martyr-worship campaign into a tragic hero-commemorating
campaign. (3) The strategy of Taoist nationalism was subjected to heavy challenges, with its flaws exposed by different groups. The tendency to abandon
the Dengist isolationist legacy, and to promote multilateral engagement to
counteract US unilateralism, became a notable trend for the party-state to
take into consideration. In May 2001, what the different groups were looking
for was a breaking point to further advance the nationalist discourse. On a
time scale shorter than most might have anticipated, this breaking point
came only five months after the Collision: on 11 September 2001.
4
Response to US Patriotism:
The 9/11 Incident and the
War in Afghanistan
(September–December 2001)
If the people of a sovereign state do not love their country, how does the
country stand firm in its fierce competition with other countries in the
world? If certain Western experts condemn patriotism as ‘just another -ism
(ideology)’, what should they say about the rising patriotic passion
among the American population in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks?
The People’s Daily Online1
The above editorial from the PDO might seem to suggest the official Chinese
understanding of US patriotism after 9/11. But the statement was in fact
made in 2004. Three years before, China was not quite the same. Like the
Crazy English, the Chinese response to 9/11 is difficult to understand in
Manichean terms. Many photo albums ‘in memorial of 9/11’ were published
in China shortly after the attacks, but the publications – as proven by their
poor quality and cut-and-paste content – might only be black humour and a
means for the market to make easy money.2 How much black humour could
the Chinese afford?
We all know what happened on 11 September 2001 and in its aftermath
(the chapter takes the period from 11 September to 31 December 2001 as its
time frame). When the constructive process of Chinese civic nationalism and
international relations strategies were waiting for a breakthrough, this
unforeseen and cataclysmic event, stemming from somebody else’s patriotism, took place with dramatic and timely impact. Two arguments are made
in this chapter. First, although the attacks did not involve China’s direct participation or feature Sino-American confrontation, the public in China still
participated in the nationalist discourse. Second, since Bush’s anti-terror campaign was organized in the name of universalism, China was under pressure
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Response to US Patriotism 103
to accelerate its own construction process of civic nationalism instead of
embracing this value. With 9/11 as a vital catalyst, a better combination of
human rights and sovereignty was therefore reached. As 9/11 introduced a
new world order, it provided China with the opportunity of revising its obsolete Taoist nationalist strategy, particularly as its various flaws had already
been exposed.3
4.1 The nationalist response of the top-level groups
The Collision in April of that year posed little in the way of a barrier for the
party-state to declare its outright support of the anti-terror campaign.
Profound all-round changes were seen as a cut-off from the Bombing and
the Collision. Four issues will be studied in this section, how the party-state:
(1) announced its support for the United States but plotted to tone down its
pro-Americanism; (2) faced the challenge of universalism and proposed
what is here called ‘authoritarian liberalism’ by merging sovereignty with
human rights in response; (3) repudiated Deng’s Taoist nationalism and formulated new theories, which included substantial content taken from proposals put forward by the public as outlined in Chapter 3; and (4) faced
nationalist challenges from the public and diverted these challenges away
from the government.
4.1.1 Expressive Layers: Friendship Underground
The Chinese government, as we shall see in this section, did contribute substantially to the anti-terror coalition. For the same reasons that it had to
camouflage the de facto concessions made to the United States after the
Bombing and the Collision, it had to pre-empt possible crises resulting from
actions by the public, who might have regarded the party-state as being too
weak. Therefore, it marginalized radical anti-American sentiment as illegitimate and re-diverted nationalist attention towards domestic separatists in
Xinjiang.
Semi-covert contribution of Chinese membership
in the anti-terror coalition
In an attempt to use 9/11 to mend previous nationalist cleavages, the gesture
of support China gave to the United States was in every way enthusiastic.
Representing one of the first nations to express condolences to the United
States, Jiang, despite his pidgin English, made frequent phone calls and wrote
frequent letters to Bush and Blair.4 In the phone calls, Jiang attempted to
erase the unfriendly labels applied to Bush after the Collision by acknowledging Bush’s leadership in flattering tones.5 On 18 September he made a
bold statement, saying for the first time, ‘in the fight against terrorism, the
Chinese people stand with the American people’.6 These gestures soon led to
China’s membership of the anti-terror coalition, when Foreign Minister Tang
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
Jiaxuan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell signed a five-point joint statement after their meeting in Washington DC, which – like the meetings
between China and Russia after the Bombing – was arranged as an ‘emergency summit’.7 There were two terms listed in the agreement which merited special attention. First was the understanding for the two sides to ‘hold
anti-terrorist consultations at expert level in the near future’.8 This suggested
that the NSC initiative – as proposed after the Collision – was no longer
urgent. Second was their agreement to ‘hold inter-governmental human
rights dialogue in the near future’.9 This would be instrumental in the partystate making a more serious effort to incorporate human rights into its civic
nationalist values.
As correctly studied by scholars like Chung Chien-peng, China did actualize its role in the coalition despite sending no troops.10 Considering the scale
of change in such a short time frame, the single week after 9/11 should be
considered as providing one of the most dramatic U-turns in Chinese diplomatic history. However, because of concerns that the turnabout was too dangerous, Chinese assistance to the United States was given a low profile
within China. For instance, one of the most substantial Chinese contributions, the green light given to the shaping of close post-9/11 relations
between the United States and Pakistan, was never revealed by the official
press.11 It is also a fact that the party-state rarely used the term ‘US-led antiterror coalition’ for the group that it had just joined (whereas ‘US-led NATO’
had been extensively used in 1999).
Be careful: dismissal of anti-Americanism
In addition to expressing its support to the United States but toning down its
actual contribution to the coalition, the party-state acted to dismiss alternative or dissident voices in China in response to the atrocity. As disclosed by
mainland journalists to a Hong Kong publisher, on 12 September 2001 the
Propaganda Department issued five guiding principles for the media on how
to report the attacks:
1. report the official response of the CCP and Foreign Ministry leaders;
2. objectively report only, do not comment, do not quote unconfirmed
sources or internet messages;
3. ensure stability by channelling public opinion;
4. use Xinhua reports only, do not report sources from outside media; and
5. have official verification on the deaths of Chinese before reporting.12
Calling on the media not to quote ‘unconfirmed sources or internet messages’ and ‘sources from outside media’ suggested that in recent years the
public had already done so. As seen from the instructions, the party-state
understood that, were ‘public opinion’ not ‘channelled’ properly, it might
jeopardize China’s stability. Any dubious deaths of Chinese might enable the
Response to US Patriotism 105
public to start a new round of nationalist campaigning. In short, the instructions were meant to pre-empt unexpected reactions.
The party-state wished to prevent excessively anti-American sentiment
appearing as well. This can be seen from the fact that all articles in the SCDF
archive for the dates 11 and 14–20 September, the only blank dates in the
archive, were deliberately deleted (whereas the reactions at the time towards
the Collision remain to this day). According to unauthorized Western
understandings, the Propaganda Department might even have ordered censorship of anti-American remarks in newspapers and internet chat-rooms.13
While this type of assertion could not be referenced officially, we can at
least confirm that most examples of an unfriendly American attitude
towards China were not reported by the party-state. For instance, the
attempt by Americans to bug Jiang’s plane were not seriously protested
about by Beijing. Other US military actions unfavourable to China, including its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and its continual arms sales to
Taiwan, were temporarily put aside.
From Americastan to East Turkistan: from pan-Chinese
to ethnic nationalism?
Knowing that its cooperative stance might not be popular among domestic
nationalists, the party-state offered solutions other than coercion and censorship. The Chinese-sponsored anti-terrorist campaign is examined in this
context because the campaign is seen as, at least partially, having been
launched to divert nationalist attention.
The Chinese anti-terrorism campaign originated on 10 October 2001
when Tang and his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov reached the following
conclusion: ‘Russia is being severely harmed by the Chechen terrorists as
China is also harmed by separatist-minded Eastern Turkistan terrorists.’14
This was the first time the name ‘ETIM’ (Eastern Turkistan Islamic
Movement, Dongtu), one of the four major separatist groups in Xinjiang, was
mentioned in public after September 2001, at a time when 9/11 was still the
main topic of discussion. Afterwards, 9/11 itself faded in the Chinese version
of anti-terrorism and the role of ETIM became increasingly visible. On
12 November, when Tang addressed China’s anti-terrorist efforts at the UN,
he showed further signs of switching China’s anti-terrorist focus by linking
the ETIM to ‘international terrorist groups’ and suggesting the US-led campaign cover this Chinese problem.15 This rhetoric survived the war with the
Taliban and was reiterated by the State Council in 2002.16 According to
Beijing, any country harbouring East Turkish separatists, applying the
dichotomizing worldview of the Bush Doctrine, meant ‘harming the sentiments of the Chinese people’.17
Most scholars regarded the anti-ETIM campaign as a realist move to maximize China’s national interests after 9/11.18 But the sudden acceleration in
the campaign against Muslims – together with the concurrent official
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
discouragement of any promotion of anti-Americanism – could also be taken
to imply a more inward-looking strategy: that the party-state was using one
form of nationalist sentiment to replace another. Here some elaboration of
the distinction between the pan-nationalism of multi-ethnic nations and
ethnic nationalism should be given. Officially, there are 56 ethnic groups in
China, with the Hans as the single dominant group. But in the early twentieth century, Chinese nationalism almost meant only Han ethnic nationalism: in sanmin zhuyi, minzu was originally a slogan used to mobilize the
anti-Manchu revolution among the ethnic Han.19 Later, when the
Manchurians no longer stood as a threat to the Hans, Sun extended the
term to fit his multi-ethnic agenda. The PRC emphasizes pan-Chinese
nationalism on paper: ‘people of all ethnic groups in China (quanguo gezu
renmin)’ is one of the most overused terms. However, the activities of separatist movements among Tibetans and Uighurs in China have become
widespread in recent decades. When Friedman presented his findings in
1992, he was already boldly asserting that one could ‘bet on the universal
tendencies delegitimating the old, northern, Leninist nationalism’ in
China.20 Owing to the close association between Han and pan-Chinese
nationalism, ethnic nationalism in China could easily accelerate the former
in the name of the latter.
This interplay of strategy between anti-East Turkistan and ‘Americastan’
was more complex than the mere camouflage used in the previous cases.
Ideally, on the one hand, the party-state would have some evidence of a US
backlash with which to propagandize. The American face-reward to China –
the eventual listing of the ETIM by the United States on the list of terrorist
organizations – was far more substantial than anything it offered after the
Bombing or the Collision, and was regarded as a national triumph for
China.21 Chinese suspicion about the United States could be partly pacified
by such an American ‘coup’ in favour of Beijing. On the other hand, the
party-state could channel the sentiments of nationalists – both the PanChinese and the Han nationalists – by setting the ETIM as a new target.
New martyrs again: who are they?
This agenda was helped by the foolish strategy of the ETIM. As Pan Zhiping
has shown, earlier bombings that had been carried out by the ETIM had been
on dates chosen for their symbolic significance for both the ethnic Han and
the multi-ethnic PRC. These dates included the Han’s Lunar New Year on
5 February 1992 and the official mourning period after the death of Deng
Xiaoping on 25 February 1997.22 However, despite the ETIM’s alleged frequent pre-9/11 actions, there were few reports of this group in Chinese
propaganda before October 2001 (the first White Paper on History and
Development of Xinjiang was not released until May 2003).23 To a certain extent,
the Xinjiang Muslims were the straw men used to unite the public in a relatively controllable way. While ordinary citizens might not be as fervently
Response to US Patriotism 107
xenophobic in their internet expressions, the threat of the ETIM might not
be the prime concern of the party-state, either.
As a means of attention diversion, the creation of martyrs was revived, in
the style of the Belgrade martyrs and Wang Wei, in an anti-ETIM nationalist
context. In the first book studying the topic of the ETIM in China, Report of
Chinese Attack on the ETIM (with the subtitle ‘For the Supreme Interests’), a full
section was dedicated to the ‘anti-terrorist heroes in China’.24 Based on official reports like Xinhua, the book introduced six policemen killed by the
ETIM from 1996 to 2001 – Abulimi Tiwulayin (a Uighur), Lung Fei, Kong
Yongqiang, Nu Ertai (a Kazak), Huang Yabo and Chen Ping – as martyrs.25
Lovely poems were again dedicated to them:
The standing stone is called the Great Wall,
The lying stone is called the Gobi.
Living I am called a Northwest fellow,
Dead I am called a Northwest Soul.26
Their instant paths towards martyrdom were suspiciously familiar: like the
dubious-sounding fairy tales in the Mao era, all six volunteered to use their
bodies as shields against bullets from ETIM members to protect the people of
Xinjiang. Circulation of these top-down imposed stories, unlike those of the
Belgrade martyrs and Wang, was, however, very minimal. At least, the
author has not come across any non-official newspaper or internet article
that has named any of the new martyrs at all.
4.1.2 Ideological layers: the ‘supra-universal’
definition of anti-terrorism
The universal value of anti-terrorism in the United States, and its potential
applicability to the Chinese in particular, was explicitly summarized by
Rice.27 When Jiang declared that the attacks had ‘not only brought about a
disaster to the American people, but also challenged the sincere desire for
peace of the world people’, he seemed to understand perfectly what Rice had
meant.28 Yet, even in the post-9/11 Sino-American honeymoon period,
Beijing viewed such a universal definition with reservations. For the sake of
maintaining independence in the anti-terror coalition, China found a pressing need to project the idea that it held its own set of universal values – what
we regard as a set of ‘supra-universal values’ of anti-terrorism – over and
above Rice’s recipe. This forced the party-state to further mingle sovereignty
and human rights – both heavily featured in the anti-terrorist discourse –
after its inept attempt to do so with the Collision.
Fighting the ‘unholy trinity’ against sovereignty
Earlier efforts of the party-state to distinguish its rationale for participation
in the anti-terror coalition from American values – by emphasizing the
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respect for sovereignty and international law – could be seen from a telephone conversation between Jiang and the French President Jacques Chirac
on 18 September 2001. In this dialogue, Jiang stressed that ‘any military
action must comply with the objectives and principles of the UN Charter as
well as widely recognized norms in international laws’.29 Later, when Tang
attended the UN anti-terrorist meeting on 12 November 2001, he emphasized the authority of the UN to define the universal meaning of terrorism
and used the UN’s authority as a prerequisite for China’s willingness to join
this global campaign.30 Although China stressed that ‘anti-terrorism must be
differentiated from any particular religion and nationality’, its intrinsic
worry was precisely the contrary: the fact that anti-terrorism was not targeting any particular religion and nationality made China a potential target
under the same coalition.
Beijing, therefore, started to construct its own definition of terrorism,
which became intertwined with the construction of civic nationalism. In
conventional Chinese usage, ‘anti-terrorism’ and ‘sovereignty’ are interrelated. The initial, pre-9/11, attempt by China to construct a theory linking
the two could be seen on 10 December 1999 when China and Russia signed
a joint anti-terrorist statement. In the statement, terrorism was assigned two
siblings: ‘religious extremism (zongjiao jiduan zhuyi)’ and ‘ethnic separatism
(minzu fenli zhuyi)’ to form what we call an ‘unholy trinity’.31 This trinity has
only one thing in common: anti-multiethnic sovereignty. We can elaborate
a bit here. ‘Religious extremism’ – like the Taliban’s Islam – speaks universal
rhetoric to unite mankind, and nation-states are seen as the unneeded level
of intermediary between God and its subjects on earth. ‘Ethnic separatism’,
on the other hand, wishes to define different ethnic nationalisms by establishing new ethnic nations by means of secession from parental multinational entities. ‘Terrorism’ was only referred to as the illegal means of
advancing one’s agenda: for instance, the controversial religious sect Falun
Gong was viewed as a terrorist group on the mainland because it was designated as a ‘cult’, and therefore is ‘illegal’ and does not get the protection
afforded to officially recognized religions.32 Anti-terrorism therefore became
part of the sponsored patriotic campaign in multiethnic and, to various
extents, authoritarian nations like China and Russia.
Berlin in China: the ‘second convergence’ of sovereignty and
human rights by means of anti-terrorism
No matter how appealing it might be to frame it under the same anti-terrorist umbrella, it was harder after 9/11 to view sovereignty as China’s sole civic
nationalist value. The Chinese support for America was rationalized in terms
of the loss of civilian lives, regardless of nationality. As part of China’s support
package offered to the United States after 9/11, a clause about holding intergovernmental human rights dialogue ‘in the near future’ was reiterated.33 The
Response to US Patriotism 109
subsequent US military campaign against Afghanistan, inevitably having a
huge impact on Afghan human rights, brought the issue of sovereignty in for
the same consideration. The party-state was given ample chance to demonstrate its humanitarian and sovereignty concerns for the Afghans, Muslims
and fellow Chinese, in what is called here the ‘second convergence’.34
In the convergence, the party-state interpreted the loss of innocent lives
caused by the US-led campaign – which spoke in the name of freedom and
liberty – as proof of the US ‘double standard’ on human rights. Highlighting
the neglect of Western attention to Chinese losses inflicted by the ETIM, the
logic was skilfully used by Zhu Bangzao. According to Zhu, the ETIM was
‘camouflaging’ its ‘terrorist’ agendas that caused human losses in China with
this universal language: ‘although they have engaged or are still engaging in
terrorist activities, they all emphasized that their activities are intended for
freedom, democracy, human rights, etc.’35 But the real target of Zhu’s statement was the West. After the war in Afghanistan, Sha Zukang, Chinese
ambassador to the UN, abandoned the official euphemism to warn against
the double standard in the UN Human Rights Commission: ‘if the same acts
against me are labelled as terrorism and against you praised as defending
human rights, the world will be in chaos.’36 The key to avoiding world chaos
was statism: ‘the essence of double or multiple standards is still one standard, namely, the standard of one country’.37
In order to understand the essence of the double standard, and how it can
be used to arrive at Sha’s conclusion of ‘the standard of one country’ (or, the
respect for sovereignty, as is discussed), we can look at a bisected definition
of liberty, as proposed by Isaiah Berlin. To oversimplify the Jewish philosopher’s meticulous theory in one sentence, to defend one’s human rights
from being usurped by the government and, in the extreme, to overthrow
authoritarian regimes could be framed as one’s ‘negative liberty’; the kind of
liberty needed to advance individual upward mobility was called ‘positive
liberty’.38 As analysed by Margaret Ng, the pro-liberal legislator in Hong
Kong, Beijing more or less equates human rights with Berlin’s positive liberty.39 ‘Human rights’ when used by the United States (or the ETIM), on the
other hand, often refers to Berlin’s negative liberty. When Beijing emphasized the positive liberty of the Chinese people in the PRC, it believed
Western countries were more interested in safeguarding the negative liberty
of other people – whether Afghans or Chinese – against their governments.
How could 9/11 reconcile the two values? As seen from the speeches of
officials like Zhu and Sha, the value of sovereignty was linked to human
rights because the party-state believed it had the responsibility to protect
and promote the positive liberty of its subjects. The US bombing in
Afghanistan, the ETIM attack on ordinary Chinese, or even the Bombing and
the Collision, all implied a violation of positive liberty by an external power
or an internal subversive force. The chain of logic of the party-state might be
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expressed as follows: without the principle of the inviolability of sovereignty
and full respect for international laws, positive liberty cannot be protected in
any country; advancing one’s negative liberty without any limit will simply
challenge the world order and the rule of sovereign states, which might in
turn jeopardize the positive liberty of their people. The confusion between
the two liberties was one of the reasons that the Chinese considered the
Western humanitarian principle as representing a ‘double standard’. When
the party-state made it clearer after 9/11 that its civic nationalist value was to
protect a person’s positive liberty through rectifying sovereignty, the public
readily accepted this simple explanation. This officially designed concept of
civic nationalist values is referred to here as ‘authoritarian liberalism’ (weiquan ziyouzhuyi), and will be further revised and elaborated on in the coming sections and chapters.
4.1.3 Strategic layers: ‘Guiguzi nationalism’ and
Jiang’s divorce with Deng
When the war in Afghanistan ended, Jiang instructed his Foreign Minister to
declare revised guiding principles for Chinese foreign policy. This should be
seen as an explicit attempt to repudiate the Taoist nationalist strategy laid
down by Deng by means of implementing a new doctrine invented by the
third generation of leadership, that is, Jiang. Whereas Deng used 24 characters to summarize his strategy, Jiang used a more concise 16 words to conceptualize his ideas:
Lengjing guancha (making cool observations);
Chenzhuo yingdui (dealing with the situations calmly);
Bawo jiyu (grasping opportunities);
Yinshi lidao (making best use of the situation).40
Whereas taoguang yanghui was the central thesis of Deng’s recipe, yinshi lidao
was the key to Jiangism. This Chinese idiom, originated from Records of the
Grand Historian (Shiji), is a teaching given in the warring-states period
(476–221BC) by philosopher and diplomatic theorist Guiguzi to his student
Sun Ban (an alleged descendent of the military strategist Sun Tzu) for his
military tactics.41 It taught people to take advantage of a situation created by
others instead of creating the situation directly. Both continuity with and
changes from Dengism can be observed in Jiang’s revisionism. Regarding the
continuity, the risk aversion against direct confrontation with the United
States remained unchanged; the issues of time frame and the lack of a mechanism for forcing the United States to make concessions – as addressed in
Chapter 3 – remained unresolved. But two other problems, the lack of a
direct communication mechanism and the isolationist nature of China in
the globalized system, were redressed. This Jiang-style strategy is given the
name ‘Guiguzi nationalism’ here to differentiate it from the previous line.
Response to US Patriotism 111
Continuity from Taoist nationalism (I): risk-aversion
from direct confrontation
As seen from an opinion article in the PDO at the conclusion of the war in
Afghanistan, defensive realism continued to guide Jiang’s prescription. The
article opined, with a little disappointment, that 9/11 ‘has not weakened the
comprehensive national power of America, nor has it changed the balance of
power or the current world structure’.42 Sino-American relations were still
asymmetrical in nature. Direct confrontation, no matter whether from
strategic or practical concerns, should be firmly ruled out.
If China dissociated itself from the opponents of the United States – such as
Milosevic and Yeltsin – in the Bombing and the Collision, it tried much
harder to detach itself from terrorist suspects after 9/11. We might now take
Chinese cooperation with the United States for granted, but immediately
after the atrocity, some Western media hinted otherwise. On 15 September, in
a nervous manner, Zhu Bangzao dismissed as ‘absurd’ the reported close linkage between China and the Taliban alleged by The Washington Times and The
Wall Street Journal, and highlighted the establishment of a consulate of the
anti-Taliban coalition in China.43 A week later, Zhu again dismissed The
Guardian’s report claiming that Osama bin Laden was hiding in China as
‘totally nonsense’, and added the following comments for his audience: ‘I do
not know what the intention of its reporters is to spread this rumour at this
time.’44 The PDO exhibited the same prudence by, atypically, criticizing fellow Chinese journalists who called bin Laden a ‘war hero’ for being ‘politically incorrect’ and ‘openly standing by the terrorists’.45 The party-state had
reason to be nervous: unauthorized sources from Competition for Voice in
Hong Kong ‘disclosed’ that the instant response of Jiang towards 9/11 was his
fear of another American ‘mistaken bombing’, as had happened in 1999.46
Continuity from Taoist nationalism (II): the long-term realist agenda
While studying Jiang’s keynote speech – and also farewell speech – made at
the CCP’s Sixteenth Party Congress in November 2002, David Shambaugh
noticed that the official rhetoric of anti-hegemonism or anti-intervention
had been greatly toned down; the United States ‘was almost not mentioned
at all’, and such rhetoric was replaced by discourse on anti-terrorism.47
Shambaugh’s observation might be technically correct, but as with Taoist
nationalism, the ultimate goal of Jiang’s China to modify the unfavourable
world order remained unchanged. As warned by a commentary of the
Liberation Daily when the US victory in Afghanistan was confirmed, ‘until
now, the anti-Chinese lobby in the United States is still trying to “put the
clock back” and to once again provoke Sino-American confrontations’.48 In
the same month, the PDO suggested China ‘[stick] to the principle of maintaining independence and keeping the initiative in its own hands while
opposing hegemonism and power politics as part of its foreign policy’.49
Regardless of how Shambaugh saw it, Jiang’s keynote speech commented on
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China’s international situation in this way: ‘hegemonism and power politics
have new manifestations’.50 The ‘new manifestations’ were obviously referring to American advancement after 9/11.
Response to the official call: the de facto national security council
According to Foreign Minister Tang, the intentions of China’s diplomacy
after 9/11 were to ‘further enhance our sense of adaptability and innovation’
and to ‘change our style of work to a more down-to-earth manner’.51 Tang’s
bold and pragmatic confession inevitably implied that this had not been the
case in the past. Its impact can be summed up by describing what was actually changed by Jiang.
The party-state was aware of the lack of a direct communication channel
to the United States. As seen in Chapter 3, it attempted to solve the issue by
setting up the National Security Council. This initiative was no longer
needed after 9/11, because China had decided to hold constant dialogues at
three levels with the United States: ‘anti-terrorist consultations at expert
level’, ‘constant dialogues between the two Foreign Ministries’ and ‘intergovernmental human rights dialogue’.52 Incidents such as the Bombing or
the Collision, if they occurred after September 2001, should be institutionally tackled by these mechanisms. That is partly why new jargon was used
for Chinese cooperation with the United States. In October 2001, when Bush
and Jiang met at the APEC summit in Shanghai, the US president pledged to
‘seek a relationship that is candid, constructive and cooperative’ with China
to replace the ‘strategic competitor’ label he had assigned the same nation
during his election campaign.53 These terms implied a de facto existence of
the NSC without the title.
Response to the intellectual and public call: ‘grasping the opportunities’
The most important change Jiang made was to abandon isolationism.
Indeed, the need to isolate after the Tiananmen Incident was more of a result
than an intentional strategy. The abandonment was partly a response to
intellectuals and ordinary citizens, who had pressed for more engagement
with the world as a means of facilitating China’s long-term competition with
the United States.
In order to do this, Jiang assumed China’s agenda-setting capability
instead of waiting for an agenda to be set. How the party-state ‘grasped the
opportunities’ of 9/11 to set the anti-ETIM agenda, forge patently friendly
relations with the United States, get China removed from the short-term US
enemy list, and pacify both the Americans and nationalists were some examples discussed. Using the rhetoric of anti-terrorism, China further ‘grasped
the opportunity’ to initiate closer cooperation with other countries, as with
the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness
and Friendly Cooperation signed between China and Russia on 28 January
2002, for instance, would have been considered sensitive after the Bombing,
Response to US Patriotism 113
but was not regarded as such after 9/11.54 Unlike the Chinese aloofness to
the implementation of the SIR alliance in response to the Bombing, Beijing
took a leading role in implementing the trilateral cooperation after 9/11 (this
was positively credited by China specialists in India in the New Delhi-based
journal The China Report).55 These strategies, among many others, were
framed as ‘multi-faceted diplomacy (quanfangwei waijiao)’ to promote further engagement of China in the world.56
Framing the strategy of ‘Guiguzi nationalism’
As if copying the post-Bombing and post-Collision reports, the official media
once again said that the party-state with Jiang at the core ‘took a broad and
long view and made wise decisions’, and skipping the needed logical steps,
that ‘China’s international status [had] been notably enhanced’ as a result.57
Newsweek’s international page editor-in-chief Fareed Zakaria regarded China
as the ‘greatest beneficiary’ after 9/11.58 Some middle-level US diplomats, on
private occasions, viewed 9/11 as the beginning of China’s greater emergence on the world stage.59 Amitav Acharya of Singapore, on the contrary,
suggested that China ‘comes out a “loser” on several fronts’ in terms of
geopolitics.60 Whether a winner or a loser, there is one thing in common:
most scholars interpreted the engagement of China as a realist rather than a
neo-liberal design; few viewed it as a continuation of economic engagement.
Since the change in Chinese foreign policy was caused by its determination to stop practising isolationism by means of diplomatic engagement,
with its nationalist, defensive realist and risk-aversive intention to overtake
the United States remaining unchanged, ‘Jiangism’ is referred to here as the
strategy of ‘Guiguzi nationalism’. This might not be the expected version of
global engagement of hyper-globalizers like Fukuyama. But this was in line
with another branch of scholars like Victor Cha, who suggest that nonphysical security and diversification of threats are key effects of globalization.61
4.2 The nationalist response of the
intermediary-level public
Although 9/11 was not directly relevant to China, the momentum for
Chinese intellectual comment was undiminished. Intellectuals brought their
previous rivalry into the post-9/11 discourse and almost gave their own discourse an independent existence. But few Western scholars – without studying their previous intra-group battles – have attempted to date to explore
this dimension of 9/11 and Chinese nationalism. This section looks at four
issues, how: (1) liberals launched an outright attack on non-liberals by signing a declaration and how the other side ‘gave as good as they got’; (2) the
debate developed while intellectuals did not greatly disagree on the role of
Beijing in handling 9/11; (3) the two camps competed to interpret the term
‘terrorism’ for their own benefit and how this process echoed the official
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attempt to construct civic nationalism; and (4) intellectuals continued to
address the lack of a time frame in the strategy of Guiguzi nationalism.
4.2.1 Expressive layers: the war of declarations (round one)
Not many Chinese intellectuals were interested in commenting on the official performance on 9/11. Among the few commentators, with some exceptions, little difference was found between liberals and non-liberals.62 In an
open letter drafted by liberal Xu Youyu that is discussed here, most liberals
declared their approval of the ‘mainstream Chinese reaction to 9/11’ –
including that of the party-state – as ‘timely and healthy, which demonstrates the necessary attitude of the Chinese people towards the common
aim of human beings to maintain international peaceful order and civilization’.63 This liberal conclusion was like the one given by non-liberals and
IRIs, most of whom said that China ‘had done what it could’.64
The fact that a fanatical intellectual debate still erupted suggests that the
group interests of the intellectuals pushed them to look for a means of showcasing any case relevant to Sino-American relations and Chinese nationalism, no matter whether it addressed China and the Chinese government or
not. The events of 9/11 featured in the first round of the ‘war of intellectual
declarations’: the next round drew its material from the unfolding of the
Iraqi crisis in 2003 and is discussed later.
The liberal ‘One Night American’ declarations
As seen from Chapters 2 and 3, non-liberals had the upper hand over liberals when mixing nationalist and non-liberal rhetoric was a fad. With
this background in mind, 14 liberal intellectuals – led by historian Bao
Zunxin, literature scholar Liu Xiaobo and popular writer Yu Jie – presented
an open letter to Bush on 12 September 2001, sensationally titled Tonight
we are Americans. The title was taken from columnist Jean-Marie Colombani’s
article nous sommes tous Américains published by French newspaper Le
Monde.65 In the letter, which was circulated within the intellectual circle
and was signed by 491 people, Bao and his colleagues described 9/11 as
follows:
This is the abnormal cost the American people paid for safeguarding the
global liberal order which is still developing, and is also a common catastrophe of human beings. We express deep condolences towards the victims,
deep sympathy towards the American people, and strong condemnation of
terrorism.66
Regarding the motivation of terrorists as challenging the protector of ‘the
global liberal order that is still developing’, something that even Bush might
have felt uneasy about declaring, this letter was inconsistent with the official
description of 9/11. Its linkage of the origin of terrorism to anti-liberalism
Response to US Patriotism 115
might be difficult to understand without following the liberal–non-liberal
rivalry in previous years.
Bao’s letter was not the only declaration, or irritation, posed by liberals
after 9/11. Nor was it the most challenging for non-liberals. On 14 September,
another letter was prepared by another group of liberals who were even more
academically distinguished. The leading icons included Xu Youyu, Qin Hui,
Zhu Xueqin and Yuan Weishi, who not only represented the biggest cities in
China (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou), but also – thanks to the collaboration of the newcomer Yuan, a historian of the ‘Southern School (nanfang
xuepai)’ holding a sympathetic attitude to the late Qing reform – implied a
coalition of anti-nationalism in political and historical studies.67 As an
attempt to conclude the decade-long debate, this ambitious letter presented
three statements about 9/11. Unlike the declaration drafted by Bao, the contents were directed explicitly towards non-liberals, rather than the partystate or the United States:
1. To send our deep sympathy to the victims of the barbaric attack, to
express our strongest anger and unconditional condemnation against the
rioters causing this terrorist attack. We strongly request severely punishing the trouble-makers.
2. Anti-terrorism should bypass civilizational differences, ethnicity and ideology, and should be unconditional and absolute. This is the self-respect
and self-protection of mankind towards life. The value of life is above
everything.
3. We notice a certain portion of people expressed an abnormal reaction and
happiness towards such very tragedy, which made us uncomfortable.68
The last point made was the highlight. Before Xu drafted this letter, Ren
Buzhen, one of the writers of the first letter, had described such ‘abnormal
reaction’ – which will be discussed in the last section of this chapter – as the
‘Beijing tragedy’ in his article titled Tonight, We Are Beijingers.69 Considering
the timeliness of these letters, which were drafted one to three days after the
atrocity, the readiness of liberals to ‘grasp the opportunity’ and ‘make best
use of the situation’ against non-liberals was more impressive than that of
the party-state. They not only addressed the ‘tragedy’ indirectly, but also
proffered strategic advice for the party-state in handling nationalism. Xu’s
letter suggested that the reason leading to the ‘tragedy’ in China was ‘the distortion made by journalists and educational conceptions in a certain period
of time’.70 They also called for ‘a deep reflection in all spheres of public life
in China including education, propaganda and journalism’, and asked fellow Chinese to ‘learn from this lesson and agenda to reform the above arenas as soon as possible’.71 These spheres should have been the responsibility
of the party-state, but education, propaganda and journalism had long been
dominated by non-liberals in China. These letters, therefore, could be seen
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as an outright challenge launched by liberals in the hope of redressing their
disadvantaged position in the 1990s.
Many liberals had previously been sensitive about being dubbed proUnited States. When some dissidents led by Wei Jingsheng and Wang Xizhe
lobbied the US Congress against China’s PNTR in 1999 and 2000, they were
kept a considerable distance from pro-PNTR liberals such as Dai Qing.72 In a
dialogue with the author in 2001, Wang Dan stressed his difference in style
from that of the anti-Beijing Wei.73 Fortunately for the unity of liberals, 9/11
was seen as an incident transcending national borders, resulting in the successful building of a united front among Chinese liberals in various disciplines and geographical locations. Blaming nationalists for losing the
moral high ground for China, scholars like Zheng Yongnian found their
courtesy friendship with non-liberals embarrassing and sided more closely
with liberals in 9/11 than previously.74 As Wang Dan confessed: ‘the post9/11 advance of liberalism in China was very encouraging’.75
The journalist rebellion and the clapping farce
Non-liberals fought back slowly and incrementally. At first, they only
expressed their alternative emotions. One example was the labels – ‘a friend
of the Afghan people’ and ‘a hero fighting against the Soviet army’ – given
to Osama bin Laden by Beijing Youth Daily, one of the fortresses of nonliberals, on 21 September 2001.76 Probably having some influence on public
opinion, this kind of report was out of step with the official tune and, as previously mentioned, was seen by the party-state as an example of criticism.77
A better known incident, which tarnished the image of China in post-9/11
America, took place on 17 September 2001. The firsthand account was given
by AFP, which reported, ‘US expels visiting Chinese journalists after reports
they applauded terror strikes’.78 These 14 visiting journalists – who could be
counted as intellectuals because of their senior ranking, and whose visit had
to be recommended and approved by the party-state – had joined an international exchange programme organized by the US Department of State
from 8 September to 6 October, but were forced to have their journey cut
short because of the applause incident. After returning to China, one of the
journalists wrote an article in the Xuchang Daily, a regional newspaper in
Henan province that the writer worked for, saying that the journalists did
not applaud at all.79 The writer – who from his writing should be considered
a non-liberal – confessed that ‘although there was no applause, the situation was a bit confused’, because, ‘any journalist facing such a huge piece
of international news would naturally feel excited’.80 The journalist
believed that it was such ‘excitement’, which gave the people around them
the wrong impression that the Chinese were clapping, coupled with the
unfriendly behaviour of the anti-Chinese officials of the US State
Department who had leaked the news to AFP without confirmation, that
had caused the controversy.
Response to US Patriotism 117
Regardless of the trivial fact of whether the journalists clapped or not, the
farce told us two things about the situation of non-liberals after 9/11. First,
unlike the overtly pro-US liberal declaration, these journalists were sensitive
to the anti-Chinese attitude in the United States after 9/11. Second, the fact
that the above confession article was published four months after the incident, and was not printed in official media like the PDO, suggests that nonliberals were subjected to pressure to publish unfriendly articles towards the
United States. This environment, coupled with the liberal assault, caused
non-liberals to suffer one of their most difficult moments since the 1990s.
Non-liberal fight-back against The Wall Street Journal
When the war in Afghanistan was imminent in October, non-liberals
mounted a fight-back on a larger scale. Applying the strategy of Mao’s and
Deng’s nanxun (southern expedition), tht is, deploying counter-attack from
a distance when the centre area was dominated by the opposing forces, the
arena to start the fight-back was not liberal-dominated post-9/11 China, but
was instead the United States.
The trigger for the non-liberal reaction was columnist Paul Johnson’s opinion article, Twenty-First Century Piracy: The Answer to Terrorism? Colonialism,
that was published in The Wall Street Journal on 6 October 2001. Drawing
parallels between 9/11 and the ‘militant Chinese terrorist group known as
the Boxers’ in 1900, Johnson concluded his article by suggesting that colonialism was a feasible means of ending terrorism, and implying long-term
occupation of the target territories of the anti-terrorist campaign.81 The
nightmare of the emergence of Boxers – a reference typical of the habitually
literary approach of Western writers in that it draws an analogy instead of
referring specifically to any nationalist or Orientalist discrimination – was
once again brought back by the Americans, as it had been after the Bombing.
This article helped non-liberals a lot by finally tying the debate on 9/11 back
to the discourse of nationalism, suggesting that an anti-Chinese mindset survived in the United States even when China sided with Bush. The explicit
and absurd call for colonialism refuted the benevolent image of the anti-terrorist campaign presented by liberals. Most problematically, the fact that
Johnson interpreted the Boxers as a ‘militant terrorist group’ might imply
that contemporary Chinese nationalists also had the potential to be
regarded as terrorists.
Nineteen non-liberal intellectuals found Johnson’s article so annoying
that they jointly signed an open letter to The Wall Street Journal. Looking at
the signatures, including those of prominent new leftists Wang Shaoguang,
Han Deqiang and Kuang Xinnian, the letter was more like a collective nonliberal counter-response to the liberal declarations than a mere ‘reader’s
opinion’ to a columnist who was little-known in China. The letter expressed
two major thoughts: the campaign in Afghanistan would fail to eradicate the
root of terrorism, and the writers were traumatized and angered by Johnson’s
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‘imperialist and aggressive’ description of China.82 As a logical induction
from the two points, the letter warned of possible American aggression in
China after 9/11: ‘obviously, as long as the United States and its allies find out
that other countries are enemies of the “international community,” the list [of
terrorist countries] can be further enlarged’.83 It became the stepping-stone for
non-liberals to launch further counter-attacks when the United States targeted
Iraq in 2003. When non-liberals and nationalists were experiencing their
moment of darkness, their nation was the safest it had been in recent years,
which suggests that their intellectual rivalry might have a more direct relation
to the politics of diverse publics than to Sino-American relations.
4.2.2 Ideological layers: a linkage between
nationalism and terrorism?
Although many intellectuals preferred realist explanations to civic values
after the Bombing and the Collision, both liberals and non-liberals were
pressed by the declarations of the other side to demonstrate their values after
9/11. Both camps attempted to capture the ‘anti-terrorism’ flag for their side,
edging the other side closer to terrorism. Two specific ideological debates
were noted: first, what was the origin of 9/11 and what possible implications
could be drawn from it for Chinese nationalists; second, should China
respond by constructing a set of universal values and, if so, what should it
contain?
‘Fanatic nationalism’: another unholy trinity
As seen from their letters, liberals believed the origin of 9/11 was the non-liberal challenge of the liberal ideal. Unlike previous incidents, in which the
nationalist sentiments of liberals had intermittently been made public, the
same group dared to declare their ‘one-night-American’ primordial identity
after 9/11. It was probably because, according to their logic, distancing
themselves from the United States – the ‘protector of liberal values’ – meant
abandoning their liberal identities.
This logic jumped to a provocative conclusion. Whereas the party-state
assigned terrorism the twin values of ‘religious extremism’ and ‘ethnic separatism’, liberals replaced ‘ethnic separatism’ with ‘fanatic nationalism’ –
those opposing the United States (and thus the liberal values that the United
States represents) – the partner of terrorism, while retaining ‘religious
extremism’ as a favourite sibling. This was evident in Bao’s letter, which
warned that ‘we must be constantly alert for fanatic nationalism (jiduan
minzuzhuyi) and religious fundamentalism (zongjijao yuanjiaozi zhuyi)’.84
Within this alternative unholy trinity, nationalism was the real target:
‘lessons from history have always taught mankind: the last shelter of bullies
has always been nationalism.’85 In other words, Bao meant that if Chinese
nationalism were to grow increasingly fanatical, Chinese nationalists would
become terrorists, the ‘bullies’ in the ‘last shelter’.
Response to US Patriotism 119
Anti-American jihad anti-Japanese guerrilla?
In contrast, non-liberals saw the origin of 9/11 as being heavily realist oriented. The most representative article interpreting this line was Han
Deqiang’s sharing of his personal diary, The Real Murderers of the WTO Attack,
which never appeared in print, but was circulated on the internet. In his article, Han suggested that the oil policy of the United States, and the fact that
‘Americans are the main consumers and wasters of energy of the world’, was
the real origin of 9/11.86 The inability of people in the Middle East to safeguard their oil – because their rulers were either bribed by the Americans or
subjected to potential American aggression – made ‘jihad’ their only solution. Han therefore named the attack ‘a just war filled with sacrificing spirit
and high idealism’.87 Han chose the following lyrics from a Chinese patriotic
movie Railroad Guerrilla, screened in 1956, to illustrate the orchestration of
the atrocity:
The one driving is responsible for handling the machine-gun;
The one hijacking the train is responsible for bombing the bridge,
Just like a sword piecing into enemy’s chest,
Therefore the Japanese (guizi) are hysterFically terrified.88
Han’s article matched the observation of Nayan Chanda, who suggested that
most young Chinese scholars believed that ‘while the attack on September 11
was condemnable, the United States largely brought it upon itself by its hypocritical and hegemonistic policy’.89 Falling in perfectly with the liberal
assertion, Han’s bold parallel put the Chinese nationalists and the terrorists
together. No wonder Xu Youyu was delighted to use Han’s article – without
naming Han in person – as a typical example illustrating the post-9/11 new
leftist response in China.90
Within the camp, a slightly different perspective – suggesting that a less
aggressive US policy in the Middle East could not have prevented 9/11 from
happening – was given by dogmatic Marxists. According to Zi Zhongjun of
the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the representative of this line of
thought, the attack on the United States was ‘almost inevitable even if it
adopted multilateralism’, because ‘from the Marxist social development
stage theory, the United States has been in the leading position in terms of
social system, productivity and production relationship since its foundation’.91 The ‘huge gap’ between the United States and other countries at different stages of social development, according to Zi, was the origin of
terrorism.92 This kind of Marxist interpretation led easily to the conclusion
that as long as the United States remains the leading capitalist country, its
corrupt system deserves our anger.
In contemporary China, this explanation was more marginalized than
Han’s line.
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Reinstatement of Gan Yang’s prophecy on the
Two Concepts of Liberty
Addressing the values represented by anti-terrorism, liberals saw 9/11 as a
breaking-off point from the old world. In the ideal new order of liberals, in
which anti-terrorism should ‘bypass differences in civilization, ethnicity and
ideology, and should be unconditional and absolute’, there should be one
value remaining: ‘the global liberal order which is still developing’.93
Developing this logic further, the civic nationalist values of China – according to the liberal declarations – could only imitate America’s, because the
United States is the guardian of ‘the global liberal order’; otherwise, the
Chinese would be alienated from global universalism.
Such a liberal assumption was considered as a parody by the other camp.
The way Bush spread American values abroad was viewed by many Chinese
intellectuals as counter-productive. Residing in the United States, cultural
scholar Ban Wang believed the post-9/11 Chinese had good reason to think
of American culture as ‘embedded in a tangle of imperial ambition, global
economic domination, and the masking of the US national interests as the
transnational goodwill to benefit all nations’.94 From September to
December 2001, however, there were few non-liberal articles directly linking
9/11 and China’s civic response. The response of the most outspoken new
leftists – Gan Yang, Wang Hui and Cui Zhiyuan – was again muted. Apart
from signing the letter to The Wall Street Journal, Wang Shaoguang resumed
the role of an academic to comment on the flaws of the CIA in 9/11.95
But that did not mean the renouncement by non-liberals of the construction of civic nationalism. The officially designed authoritarian liberalism, as discussed in the previous section, was not unfamiliar to them. As
proudly and repeatedly reminded by the translator, it was Gan Yang who
‘first’ introduced Berlin’s concept of the two liberties to China in 1989.96
While keeping an unusual silence after 9/11, on 1 February 2002, Gan
published a preface that he wrote for his mentor Tang Tsou (1918–1999)’s
new book Reinterpretation of Chinese Revolution. Besides summarizing and
flattering Tsou’s articles, Gan surprisingly rebutted Tsou a bit by reiterating that the tension between personal freedom and statist reconstruction
in China was not likely to be resolved in the twenty-first century.97 This
was a reassertion of his argument given in Reading, when Gan claimed that
the way liberals promoted their liberalism in China would delay the
process of China’s democratization and modernization, because they
neglected positive liberty and emphasized only negative liberty.98 Not surprisingly, Gan’s attempt to include positive liberty in a discussion of
human rights in China was ridiculed by China critics like Ng.99 Indeed,
Gan’s rhetorical attack on liberals who allegedly promoted negative liberty –
calling them people suffering from the ‘collective moralistic decaying
syndrome’ – made it difficult to ‘refute the Manichean relationship between
Response to US Patriotism 121
the two liberties’, despite the phrase being cited as his purpose for introducing Berlin in China.100
Non-liberals did not explicitly repeat Gan’s interpretation of the two liberties after 9/11. But a similar line to the civic nationalist values designed by
the party-state could be reconstructed. Regarding human rights as a ‘convenient weapon employed by the US administration in its actions against
other countries’, non-liberals discouraged China from adopting these US
values.101 Stressing ‘national interests higher than everything’, regional studies scholar Ma Dazheng saw criticisms of human rights in Xinjiang by the
United States and Amnesty International as ‘battles in a new battlefield of
anti-terrorism’.102 Ma’s colleague Li Wai invented the term ‘separatist terrorists (fenli kongbufenzi)’, a term that was tailor-made for the ETIM.103 After all,
China’s anti-terrorism, according to non-liberals, should be unique rather
than universal. As leading IRI Yuan Peng explained, China was ‘a nation
with an independent diplomatic tradition and a nation suffering from ethnic separatism and terrorist activities’.104 Merging these principles, the civic
nationalist values of China became strikingly similar to the ones assigned in
official discourse.
4.2.3 Strategic layers: responsible state in the
realist encirclement
Intellectuals might consider it an achievement for their criticism of Taoist
nationalism in the Collision to be heard by the party-state. Their main concern about the lack of a time frame for ending China’s stage of weakness was,
however, still valid after 9/11. They furthered their criticism to assess post9/11 Chinese national strategy in three ways: (1) Most intellectuals interpreted the strategy of Guiguzi nationalism as realist- instead of liberal-driven,
and regarded the economic engagement of China since the late 1990s as a
realist precedence of this strategy. (2) No matter whether intellectuals viewed
Sino-American relations after 9/11 positively or not, their perception of the
United States as China’s long-term rival remained unchanged. (3) The suggestion that Guiguzi nationalism was a means of projecting China as a
responsible state was mentioned by a few scholars, and was one of the first
signs of deviation from the realist-dominated discourse.
Realist juxtaposition of economic and non-economic activism
Engagement of China in the post-9/11 order was noted by most intellectuals. Theoretically, being more engaged could serve both ends: more engaged
with potential rivals of the United States under neo-realist calculations, or
more engaged with the world order under neo-liberal assumptions. Unlike
the party-state, which never compared its economic liberal activism with its
post-9/11 diplomatic activism, many scholars, non-liberals in particular,
assigned a causal relationship between the two. One of the most vivid
descriptions is given by IRI Lu Qichang, who said China’s accession into the
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WTO provided a significant ‘anchor’ to Sino-American relations and laid the
‘economic-oriented primary foundation’, whereas the anti-terror cooperation was a new ‘anchor’ and laid the ‘non-economic-oriented secondary
foundation’.105 How China fought for PNTR and WTO membership, according to Lu’s logic, were earlier signs of its embracing Guiguzi nationalism.
Previous intellectual worries about economically engaging with the United
States, expressed in terms of the peaceful evolution theory, were automatically extended to the non-economic front after 9/11.
What were such worries on the economic front? According to another IRI
Xi Laiwang, the US decision to grant China PNTR was a strategic decision
made by Clinton and Al Gore from ‘non-economic motivations’ to transform China.106 Favouring the former, Pang Zhongying carefully distinguished between ‘China joining the world system’ and ‘the West incorporating
China into the world system’.107 The reason for liberals to endorse China’s
economic engagement with the United States, that is, the belief that this
would help the regime to evolve peacefully, further worried non-liberals.108
Such a stand revealed the bottom line for Guiguzi nationalism, as interpreted by non-liberals: its ability to resist peaceful evolution.
Taoist assumptions continued
Many Chinese intellectuals shared the view of Zakaria that Sino-US relations
benefited from 9/11, thanks to the sudden existence of common enemies. IRIs
like Lu Qichang and Yuan Peng rationalized Sino-American cooperation after
9/11 by ‘their need of our help in fighting terror’, therefore ‘the ideological differences and conflicts of values between the two nations are either put aside or
blurred’.109 In this regard, the Taoist principle of taoguang yanghui was upheld.
When Han Deqiang justified the 9/11 attack in terms of ‘jihad’, most new leftists instead advised that China ought ‘not to count on the Islamic jihad’ to
overthrow the United States, or China would stand with the losers.110 Even the
Marxist Zi Zhongjun urged the party-state to be ‘more objective to assess ourselves and not to exaggerate’ for the reason that: ‘if we do not bring the majority of the poor people of China into a more advanced social development
process, we cannot work further in the international arena.’111
Leading IRIs from Beijing and Shanghai, as interviewed by Chung Chienpeng, described China’s post-9/11 cooperation with the United States as
resting on the three pillars: ‘anti-terrorism, anti-proliferation and anti-recession’.112 The last ‘anti’ implied that the decision for China to join the antiterror coalition was due in part to its attempt to develop its economy against
recession. Having advised China to achieve this purpose by avoiding confrontation with the United States after the Bombing and the Collision, most
intellectuals linked together Sino-American cooperation, anti-terrorism and
China’s priority in developing its economy after 9/11. Their support for
China’s membership in the anti-terror campaign was derived from the same
thought process.
Response to US Patriotism 123
Early warnings against the US post-9/11 aggression
Most intellectuals remained uncertain as to when, in the long-term struggle
with the United States, China could stop behaving as the weak party. A
Chinese dictum ‘save something for a rainy day (weiyu choumou)’ could summarize their psychological condition after 9/11: although they welcomed
the changes of Guiguzi nationalism, the strategy could not fully alleviate
their worries as they never knew when it would rain. Therefore scholars like
Yuan Peng suggested that the term ‘Sino-American Constructive Cooperative
Partnership’ developed after 9/11 would be short-lived, as similar terms such
as ‘Sino-American Constructive Strategic Partnership’ – which ended immediately after the Sino-American cooperation during the Indian-Pakistani nuclear
crisis of 1998 – had never been lacking.113 Similarly, liberal Xu Zhiyuan
believed that the ‘benefits’ that China enjoyed after 9/11 were partly played
up by the Chinese government and media, and called them the next ‘dot-com’
bubble.114 Lu Qichang, despite his enthusiasm for anti-terrorist cooperation,
also reminded China that the inherent conflicts between the two countries
had survived 9/11 and remained as China’s potential problems.115
That is why, despite temporary harmony, intellectuals were alert to the
United States encirclement of China in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. As
early as 26 September 2001, Peking University’s Zhu Feng warned of a
gloomy future, saying that ‘we have no choice but to monitor the American
military presence in South Asia’, because American presence in the region
‘might be a huge counter-balance against future Sino-American strategic
conflict over the Taiwan issue’.116 Yu Shuman believed that ‘the United
States would maintain the overall framework of engagement plus containment towards China given its own strategic requirements and economic
interests’.117 Jiang Lingfei saw the Americans as increasing their efforts in
‘bossing the world’ under the flag of anti-terrorism.118 Wang Zaibang even
saw the American response to 9/11 as an ‘imperialist conspiracy’ to expand
its hegemony to the Middle East and Central Asia, as it had expanded it to
the Russian border in the Kosovo War.119 Such a ‘conspiracy’, according to
the above ideas, might be helpful to China’s development in the short term.
But IRIs never wavered in pointing towards the long-term possibility of SinoAmerican confrontation after the honeymoon.
Early construction of a responsible state
An important intellectual innovation originated from this case. Asserting
that the changes brought about by 9/11 implied an attempt by China to construct a more responsible image in the world – instead of fighting for its realist-driven existence – some intellectuals started thinking that the issue of a
time frame was unimportant, and perhaps irrelevant. With similar thoughts
to British scholar Rosemary Foot, who published an article on this topic in
the same year, Diplomacy Institute’s Qin Yaqing was notable in suggesting
this line.
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According to Qin, 9/11 strengthened the sense of global governance in the
international system, which was beneficial to cooperation among major
powers for joint handling of such governance. After continual development
over the previous 20 years, China ‘now has the capability to assume such
duties, and should have the confidence to act as a responsible big power to
contribute to international governance’.120 When he was invited to have a
face-to-face dialogue with Mearsheimer in Beijing, Qin bluntly dismissed any
possibility of China’s responsibility assuming process restraining its sovereignty in the Westphalian system.121 With the potential to get them out of the
realist deadlock, the perspective of scholars like Qin was what the party-state
was looking for in terms of having its Guiguzi nationalist strategy further
refined, and revised. This soon evolved into what became known two years
later as the ‘peaceful rise theory’, which will be discussed in Chapters 5 and 6.
4.3 The nationalist response of the lower-level public
When the party-state attempted to cut off the unwanted connections
between pre-9/11 and post-9/11 Sino-American relations, ordinary citizens
assigned a causal relation between the two. Without US provocation, they
reacted equally strongly. This section will focus on four issues, how some of
the ordinary citizens: (1) challenged the government by expressing excitement over 9/11; (2) appreciated Osama bin Laden in a way that can be
viewed as similar to their worship of Wang Wei; (3) extended conspiracy theories from previous cases to interpret the origin and consequence of 9/11
and neglected signals to construct civic nationalism; and (4) applied the concept of the ‘war of unlimited boundaries’ to advise China to imitate the terrorists in confronting the United States.
4.3.1 Expressive layers: challenging the government
by joy, and bin Laden
There was open, public celebration of 9/11 in the Chinese community. The
collective facts that these sentiments were discouraged by the party-state,
that access to the archive of SCDF after 9/11 is now prohibited, and that the
same governmental control was witnessed after the Bombing and the
Collision, suggest that the celebration was a challenge to the government. If
the celebration and counter-attack targeting the party-state was less obvious,
the self-initiated worship of Osama bin Laden was blunter, and effectively
offset the officially designed anti-ETIM martyrdoms. While the worship was
tied to the Che Guevara fad created by new leftists, it was comparable to the
previous public worship of Wang Wei, their tragic nationalist hero.
Jubilation abounds
By contrast with the subtlety of other groups, mass hatred was publicly and
physically expressed against the United States after 9/11. As recorded by
Response to US Patriotism 125
sociologist Jenny Hill, who was based in Yunnan on 11 September 2001, the
atmosphere described here was common:
People across China were reported to have been celebrating the attacks at
work, after class, and that weekend. Banners and cakes decorated with the
new skyline of New York City were found in offices. A Chinese man was
seen shaking a beer bottle and letting the contents spray over the sidewalk celebrating the attacks on the streets of Kunming in Yunnan
Province.122
These expressions of hatred were not restricted to Hill’s Yunnan, and were
more explicit in the virtual community. The ‘overnight excitement’ – which
could be divided into ‘stages’ reaching a climax – of ‘Luntan Youguan’
(meaning discussion forum’s discipline), allegedly a staff member of an
American-owned enterprise, was the most commonly found expression on
SCDF.123 On other less-focused platforms such as ZNDF, an author named
‘Zifeng Chaoyu’ (meaning strong wind and intermittent rain) said the
American victims ‘had reasons to be dead’.124 Since some days in the SCDF
archive were missing, Xiao Shu’s research contains valuable secondary information on the atmosphere of those days.125 For instance, an article titled
Resistance of the Mobs said that ‘it was great to observe the collapse of the
WTC. Everyone who cared for the suffering of the base-level working people
would be joyful of this.’126
This atmosphere was never reported in the official media, nor was any
empirical support found there. But the claim that it existed was not
ungrounded. In the Yale-China Journal of American Studies, a poll reported by
a Jilin University teacher immediately after 9/11 recorded a majority ‘joy or
delight’ response in China (see Table 4.1). Considering the rarity of polls in
China regarding international events (Horizon acknowledged that no polls
were conducted on the Chinese response to 9/11 because it happened unexpectedly), the poll is a viable aspect of this research.127
Table 4.1 Immediate response upon hearing
about the 9/11 attack128
Response
Joy or delight
Astonishment
Sympathy
Indifference
Fear/worry
Blame America
Percentage
58
20
13
6
2
1
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The poll has obvious limitations: a very small sample size, lack of regional
diversity, and lack of generational diversity. It would not be prudent to automatically assume that the figures represent the whole country, and they
already revealed a more restrained response compared with the overwhelming anti-US expressions on the internet. But even if Wang’s poll only
accounted for the youth response, the jubilation it revealed was still in striking contrast to the official honeymoon.
Cross-group counter-attack: hit back at ‘One-night-Americans’
When non-liberals were reticent about directly counter-attacking the liberal
letters, ordinary citizens took over the job. During the war against
Afghanistan, ‘Wangji Xingfu’ (meaning forget well-being) scornfully commented on ZNDF that no one among the liberals who declared Tonight we are
all Americans after 9/11 stood up to say Tonight we are all Afghans when
Afghanistan was attacked.129 The user’s intention was to highlight the double
standards of Chinese liberals. As time went by, there were more person-oriented xenophobic assaults. On the first anniversary of 9/11, as a representative example, ‘Yidaiba Nianjile, Yigeairen Yemeiyou’ (meaning having zero
lovers at old age) posted an offensive article to summarize what had happened in China in the previous year:
There were many Tonight we are Americans-type bastards (bailei) coming
out … I don’t know whether these ‘one-night Americans’ can still name
the three Chinese victims in the Bombing? … For those Chinese dreaming of being ‘one-night Americans’, particularly young Chinese, please
love your own country first. You love America, but does America love
you?130
Such cross-over-dialogues between different members of the public were not
commonly found after the Bombing and the Collision. They suggested that
the groups were increasingly inter-dependent in the nationalist discourse.
Hero-worship in line (I): from anti-ETIM heroes to Osama bin Laden
When the party-state attempted to introduce the ETIM issue to divert antiAmericanism, Xinjiang was far from being a major concern of ordinary citizens. According to the dozens of qualitative interviews conducted by Hill,
‘only two interviewees mentioned the possible effects this war may have on
the separatists’ movement in Xinjiang’.131 Lung Fei, Chen Ping and Abulimi
Tiwulayin – whoever they were and for whatever reasons they died – aroused
no noise at all.
Instead, noise could be aroused by a comrade of their enemies. Despite his
alleged links to some separatist Islamist groups in China including the ETIM,
Osama bin Laden – previously almost unknown to the Chinese – was, at
times, regarded as a quintessential anti-American hero. In November 2001,
Response to US Patriotism 127
Chanda recorded the following observation in Beijing:
Police were assigned an unusual task: halting the sale of buttons bearing
the image of the FBI’s most-wanted person. Under the bearded visage of
Osama bin Laden, the button on sale in wholesale markets and retail
stands read: ‘I’m bin Laden. I’m not afraid of anyone’.132
Young Chinese scholars were among those who tended most to articulate
kind words for him to defy the United States: ‘even the human rights of
Osama bin Laden were not respected by the Americans’.133 The Jilin campus
poll was one of the few available empirical sources showing the popularization of bin Laden in China, and it recorded that at least half of the Chinese
young people asserted his heroic nature (see Table 4.2).
Table 4.2 Perception of Osama Bin Laden after 9/11134
Response
A hero
A criminal and terrorist
A hero, criminal and terrorist
An average person, nationalist, or hard to define
Percentage
20
25
27
28
Although the sample size of the poll might be too small to prove much, a
more profound implication of the bin Laden-worship was the association
between him and other household names in the popular mindset.
Hero-worship in line (II): from Che Guevara to Osama bin Laden
When the author visited Beijing in March 2002, hawkers told him that
T-shirts with an image of Osama bin Laden – imposed in a Che Guevara-like
manner – were bestsellers and favourites of the youth. These T-shirts cost
RMB60 while all others only cost RMB50, ‘because both the T-shirt and the
person were popular in China’.135 The difference was not difficult to comprehend in the capitalist world, but why Che?
The comparison was made not only because of the anti-capitalist and antiimperialist symbolism of the guerrilla figure. Dating back to mid-2000, a
stage drama titled Che Guevara – written and directed by five new leftists led
by Zhang Guangtian and Huang Jisu – was shown in Beijing. The drama was
the most successful attempt by non-liberals to convey their ideas to ordinary
citizens: playing to audiences totalling more than 10,000, the attendance
rate at the shows was a terrifying ‘120 per cent’.136 The main discourse of the
drama was typically new leftist: speaking against capitalism, questioning
market reform of China, denouncing consumer culture introduced from the
United States and – perhaps more importantly – not-so-subtly attacking
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Chinese liberals for betraying the ideal of egalitarianism.137 Anti-Americanism
haunted the drama, with many of the lyrics of its theme songs reminding
the Chinese of the Bombing:
Go to the place where President Salvador Allende is immortal …
Go to the place where former Yugoslavian mothers are weeping …
Go to the place where your salaries would be confiscated in one day …
Go to the place where the dark force returns.138
Crediting Che’s campaign as righteous assistance to Third World liberation,
the outspoken nationalist Wang Xiaodong was touched by the drama and
linked Che to Chinese nationalism: ‘in contemporary China, one must have
at least thirty per cent of “Che Guevara spirit” to qualify as a nationalist.’139
This nationalist-leftist alliance in the name of Che was confirmed by the
other side, as new leftists like Kuang Xinnian believed that revolutions in the
Third World ‘automatically implied nationalist meaning’ owing to their
anti-imperialist nature.140 It comes as no surprise that the script-writer,
Zhang Guangtian, was known as an anti-American: one of his most famous
quotations, drawn from personal experience when he studied in the United
States, was that ‘spending a consecutive 18 hours washing dishes in a US
fast-food shop gave you a different impression on America’.141 When Che
was revered by this camp, counteraction was expected from the other:
according to liberals like Xiao Gongqin, Che was ‘the unsuccessful Pol Pot’,
and the drama was criticized for its ‘populist tendency demonstrated by new
leftists’ – even though the play-writers ‘guaranteed’ the US Embassy that no
Americans watching the show would be ‘mis-attacked’.142
New leftist intellectuals might have needed extra courage to have accepted
the parallel between Che and bin Laden after 9/11. Yet, as seen from the popularity of the ‘Che–bin Laden’ T-shirts, ordinary citizens were more directly
influenced by this ‘nationalist-leftist’ line. The joint venture of bin Laden
and Che had extended borders. The most famous and outspoken die-hard
fan of Che among contemporary Chinese was not a mainlander, but a dissident and legislator in Hong Kong, Leung Kwok-hung. Even he believed
‘Osama bin Laden is the modern version of Che because they shared the
same ideology of anti-imperialism.’143
Hero-worship in line (III): from Wang Wei to Osama bin Laden
The anti-ETIM heroes might be the icons the party-state was using to follow
in the line of the Belgrade journalists and Wang Wei. But ordinary citizens
assigned this continuity to bin Laden, who was compared by internet
activists with a list of Chinese heroes including PRC martyrs Dong Cunrui,
Huang Jiguang and the ancient assassin Jing Ke (?–227BC).144 In the way that
internet activists had written poems such as Wang Wei, Where are You for
Wang, they now did the same for bin Laden and his al-Qaeda followers. For
Response to US Patriotism 129
instance, ‘Boyang Hu’ (meaning Lake Boyang) wrote a poem titled Those with
No Fears are Invincible – Mourning of the 9-11 Hijacking Heroes in the Peking
University BBS:
I know one thing, which is the fact that you’re the real heroes of all
deprived people of the world!
Even the bitches want to erect monuments for their chastity.
Even the bandits wish to create excuse for their sinful behaviours.
Therefore they have made many beautiful lies to cover up their crimes.
They like to say something like ‘human rights should be placed higher
than sovereignty’, ‘freedom and democracy is the way to global
harmony’, ‘we are the forerunners of freedom and democracy’, etc.
Now, before God expresses His anger, you strike first.
You act on behalf of the will of God, holding a sword representing
fairness and justice, piercing into the chest of bandits with no
reservations.145
Such poetical rhetoric would be familiar to Wang’s fans. Both poems used
‘qiangdao (bandits)’ to refer to the Americans. Both satirically reviewed the
concepts of human rights, freedom and democracy. Both hinted at the
impotency of the party-state. Analysing the poems using discourse study
methods, one comes to the conclusion that they were written by similarminded persons.
Tragic elements had been added to the worship of Wang; although bin
Laden is supposedly still alive in exile, he was accorded the same tragic status. That bin Laden was a prime terrorist suspect did not appear to compromise his tragic position. As cultural scholar Jin Ze has demonstrated, parallels
were drawn between bin Laden and many national heroes, like Yue Fei,
Koxinga (1624–1662) or Jing Ke, who had been worshipped in Chinese history but had not been particularly merciful: in fact, they had been experts of
‘asymmetrical warfare’ on behalf of the weaker side, and in the twenty-first
century might have been dubbed ‘terrorists’ by Rumsfeld, if not Jiang
Zemin.146 Dong Cunrui, another PRC hero brought up for comparison, could
be regarded as a ‘suicide bomber’ in the contemporary definition.147 Killing
innocents was not going to be a strong barrier in preventing bin Laden gaining the respect of nationalists. But the same respect would be hard for impotent governments to earn if they couldn’t stop tragic heroes from appearing
on their soil.
4.3.2 Ideological layers: social science theories
in popular perception
Foot said 9/11 deepened the sense of ‘ideational and material interdependence’ and empowered a new range of voices, ‘including non-governmental
and other groups within transnational civil society’.148 Such ‘ideational
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interdependence’ was not easily observed in China (at least in public). Civic
nationalism, although the term ‘double standard’ was repeatedly quoted,
was underdeveloped. The efforts of ordinary citizens, probably influenced by
the simplistic views of intellectuals when they commented on international
issues, were spent applying lay social science theories to rationalize terrorism. The two theories of this sort most often referred to were: karma/relativism, and the clash of civilizations.
Karma and relativism: the grass-roots version
Ordinary citizens did not consciously attempt to construct civic nationalist
values after 9/11, but they did reject liberal universalism. Many internet
users in China echoed Han Deqiang in denouncing the Americans as imperialists using the concept of karma or nemesis: what the United States had
done in the past led to others’ revenge. Linking the attack to the
Israeli–Palestinian conflict, as ‘Wohenhutu’ (meaning I am very lost) saw it,
was a particularly common practice.149 A certain number of internet users
condemned terrorism, but most did so as a politically correct footnote: ‘terrorism should be condemned, but Americans should double check their past
behaviour’.150 That is why many students in China believed 9/11 was a mere
‘US problem’ (see Table 4.3) which should teach the American government
to ‘reflect on what it has done in the past and not continue to pursue its wild
ambitions anymore’:
Table 4.3 Is 9/11 a global crisis or strictly an
American problem?151
Response
Global crisis
US problem
Both
Percentage
47
44
9
Closely tied to karma, relativism was another favourite of the Chinese. It is
not unconvincing to argue that the definition of ‘terrorism’ is confusing.
However, the world would be even more confusing if relativism were applied
to its maximum degree. According to popular writer Le Min, there are no
universal definitions of terrorism because all brands were subjected to relativism: ‘what is terrorism and what is not is only decided by the standpoint
(ideology and class) of different discussions.’152 While this argument could
be logically sound, his suggestion that terrorism could be defined by anyone
as ‘anything that could be felt terrible’ was not.153 Criticized by Xiao Shu as
an attempt to nullify the value judgment of human beings, the line of Le
Min was nevertheless popular.154 Internet activists suggested distinguishing
between ‘righteous’ and ‘unrighteous’ terrorism, between ‘revolutionary’
and ‘counter-revolutionary terrorism’, and between ‘banditry terrorism’ and
Response to US Patriotism 131
‘anti-imperialist terrorism’.155 In the same way that Han equated antiJapanese guerrillas with the 9/11 bombers, ‘Juezhan’ (meaning duel) equated
‘terrorists’ in the eyes of Bush with Marshal Zhu De (1886–1976) and Mao,
who had been denounced as ‘thieves’ (tufei) by the KMT.156 Supporting
‘righteous’ and ‘anti-imperialist’ terrorism ‘to exercise civil disobedience’,
these activists – in their virtual identities – indeed dared to be called terrorists in China.157
When the concepts of karma and relativism were combined, any Chinese
defiance against the Americans could be justified. ‘Luntan Youguan’ took the
opportunity of reminding others that the United States was the ‘founder of
terrorism’ and a ‘state terrorist’; its bombing of the Chinese Embassy in
Belgrade had also been a ‘terrorist act’.158 ‘Wu Chenzi’ used Mao’s motto
‘wherever there is suppression you have resistance’ as a rationale to account
for the anti-American reaction in China’.159 ‘Juezhan’ called terrorism
against the United States a ‘righteous movement’ and a ‘people’s revolution’.160 Most bizarrely, and stretching credibility, Britain’s past colonial
action towards China was also raised as a means of justifying the 9/11 attacks
on the United States – using some very fuzzy logic:
Long ago the Britons formulated gunboat policy to open the door of
peace-loving ancient China … now, their descendents face their first bullet which they have long deserved … the Muslims punish their sins on
behalf of heaven for us. Shouldn’t we rush to celebrate instead of reversing morality and crying for the wolves?’161
The clash of civilizations: the grass-roots version
Another frequently quoted theory was Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’. Its popularity in China did not start from 9/11: it had been a
household term since the mid-1990s, when its various translated versions
were published. The most relevant component of the theory for China was
an eventual ‘WWIII’ between the alleged alliance of Sinic, Japanese and
Islamic civilizations and the alliance of Christian, Orthodox and Indian civilizations.162 The theory was not taken seriously by scholars, but
Huntington’s self-fulfilling prophecy was noted by the Chinese.163 New leftists like Gan Yang frequently reference Huntington – such as how Turkey
failed to strive as a big power owing to its ‘self-torn’ nature between two civilizations – to impose the same warning on China.164 While quoting
Huntington became a conventional habit among Chinese, ‘civilizational difference’ was not given as much focus as the ‘conflict’. After 9/11,
Huntington’s theory became logically consistent with the agenda of the
party-state (anti-ETIM) and some nationalists (anti-US). Although even Yan
Xuetong dismissed the theory, Yan could not ask his followers in the virtual
world to abandon Huntington.165 Many internet activists applied the theory
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after 9/11, as Zhen Duo did, to account for the ‘hegemonic essence’ of post9/11 America and to predict another attack on US soil.166
When the realist interpretation was mixed with Huntington ideas in public, warnings of the US hegemonic threat to China, despite some rejections,
were tied more closely to its grand strategy.167 ‘Quanzhou Lisi’ warned of
being aware of the flag of ‘anti-terrorism’ because ‘the dream of the
Americans to rule the whole world might come earlier than expected’.168
‘Youxia Awei’ (meaning the wandering warrior) saw that 9/11 ‘advanced and
strengthened – instead of contained and weakened – American hegemonism’,
which was bad news for China, Russia and the whole Third World.169
4.3.3 Strategic layers: learning from terrorists?
Ordinary citizens were not excited by the movement from Taoist to Guiguzi
nationalism, making others understand more clearly that their target of
engagement in the strategy of Guiguzi nationalism should be the whole
world, and not the United States. Like the popularity of Huntington after
9/11, another strategy attracted similar mass interest. It was the ‘war of
unlimited boundaries’ or, in lay terms, the strategy of learning from the 9/11
terrorists and their deployment of asymmetrical warfare.
Rehearsing Chaoxianzhan: The War of Unlimited Boundaries
The idea of the ‘war of unlimited boundaries’ came from a book titled
Chaoxianzhan, written by PLA officers Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui in
1998.170 Its central thesis was that weaker countries could overcome
stronger ones in a ‘war with no boundaries’ – not only fought in military
terms. Terrorist attacks, computer hacking and natural geographical
destruction were amongst the strategies proposed. In 1999, there were liberals like Xu Yongliang who criticized the book for ‘presenting a collection
of terrorist measures’.171 After 9/11, Xiao Shu further accused the book of
‘presenting extreme nationalism’ – again, terrorism and nationalism were
joined.172 The book was far from being a household name before 2001, but
the similarities between 9/11 and the strategy the book proposed encouraged its wide circulation.
In these three cases, ordinary citizens were often faced with a dilemma:
aware that China was not yet strong enough to challenge the United States,
they had, however, no reassurance that China would get stronger in the foreseeable future – 9/11 and Chaoxianzhan offered an attractive escape clause by
removing the technical problem for China to overcome the United States.
Internet users like ‘Fuyu’ believed 9/11 – ‘the rehearsed Sino-American asymmetrical warfare’ – was a ‘symptom of death of the United States as a strong
power’, and interpreted Jiang’s instruction as one to ‘oppose all terrorism’ by
means of ‘opposing the biggest terrorist of all – the United States’.173
Seeing terrorism as an outlet, some radical postings called for the formation of a ‘united front of terrorism’, though few of them assigned an explicit
Response to US Patriotism 133
role to China in this front.174 When they were brought back to the real world
after enough noise had been made, however, rationality reigned again.
Isolating from the United States, engaging with the world
Many postings were recorded asking China to ‘try its hardest to avoid direct
confrontation with the US’ and warning that it ‘must be prepared to back
down to the US in the future’.175 There were users like ‘Lao Bunniu’ (meaning stupid old cow) who, while surrounded by anti-American jubilation,
were proposing that all celebratory messages on internet forums be erased
‘because they will not be beneficial to China’s public image in the world’.176
When asked about the perceived effects of 9/11 on Sino-American relations,
some optimists forecast better relations for sarcastic reasons: ‘when a country has too many enemies, it must choose to change some enemies into
friends’.177 Relying on these remarks alone, it would be difficult to prove
whether taoguang yanghui remained the rational choice in the real world; but
by looking at similar comments in previous cases, we see more Chinese calling for taoguang yanghui after 9/11 than had done so after the Collision five
months earlier. Even taking into account the design problems raised before,
those linking 9/11 and deteriorating Sino-American relations were probably
in the minority as reflected by the Jilin poll (see Table 4.4).
In Chapter 3 we looked at how the Chinese asked for active engagement
and less isolationism. The same type of people did not show particular
excitement over the official switch to Guiguzi nationalism. The fact is now
clearer that many internet users preferred an isolationist policy towards the
United States while engaging with non-US powers. That is why, despite their
expectation of improved Sino-American relations, most of them did not suggest that China should assist the United States at all.
Chapter summary
The significant impact of 9/11 on the United States caused China to be
reshaped by the global political landscape; 9/11 indirectly brought three longterm changes for China’s PDS: (1) Although the attempt by the party-state to
divert nationalist attention from its cooperation with the United States was not
Table 4.4 Perceived effects of 9/11 on Sino-American relations178
Response
China and US attack terrorism together, relations improve
America’s position in the world lowered, relations may improve
US focuses on terrorism; its oppression of China is reduced
US suspects China of the attack
Percentage
35
24
7
14
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very effective, its leading role in the construction campaign of civic
nationalism and international relations strategy became more entrenched.
(2) Intellectuals exploited the incident to escalate their liberal–non-liberal
rivalry even though the case was not directly relevant to China. (3) Ordinary
citizens demonstrated their ability to catch global attention by expressing
themselves nationalistically and exploiting the semiotic value of Osama
bin Laden.
With reference to the essence of the nationalist discourse, the universalism
of 9/11 expressed by liberals helped accelerate the process for the following
reasons: (1) While stressing the inviolability of sovereignty, the party-state –
inspired by intellectuals like Gan – reactivated its assault on the double standards of US-styled humanitarianism, making authoritarian liberalism the
primitive meaning of Chinese anti-terrorism as well as civic nationalism.
(2) In response to those of the public who had exposed weaknesses in Taoist
nationalism just five months earlier, the strategy was revised into ‘Guiguzi
nationalism’, but the ambiguous time frame for eventually getting ahead of
the United States remained unchanged. In order to settle the issue, the public initiated the ‘responsible state’ construction strategy and Chaoxianzhan
respectively, which the party-state would soon take notice of. (3) When the
national interests of China were indeed secure, the party-state and the different public groups still found it convenient to use 9/11 and nationalist
expressions to advance their goals. National crises and nationalist discourse
were proven to be independent of each other.
5
Happy Division of Labour:
The War in Iraq (January
2002–May 2003)
With the assistance of the Iraqis, the kidnapping of seven Chinese people
in Iraq in April 2004 was quickly resolved. The diplomatic ability of the
Chinese that the incident revealed impressed the United States and
Britain, and made Japan and Korea jealous. Many Japanese in Iraq like to
disguise themselves as Chinese in front of Iraqis.
The Xinhua Net1
It is possible to track a tentative division of labour in the previous cases studies. Ordinary citizens seemed to focus most on the expressive layers of
nationalism, but paid little attention to other areas, particularly that of civic
nationalist construction. This construction process was primarily handled
by the party-state: the public either fell behind its progress, or simply
ignored it. Since intellectuals had a comparative advantage in being able to
point out the benefits and drawbacks of different theories, their greatest
impact was exerted in the modification of the international relations strategy. Both the party-state and ordinary citizens indicated their willingness to
consider the intellectuals’ proposals in this regard.
Chapter 4 covered the period until the fall of the Taliban. Five months later,
in the wake of Bush’s newly announced policy of ‘pre-emptivism’, Iraq
emerged as the next target of ‘anti-terrorism’. On 8 November 2002, the UN
Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, which stated that Iraq
could suffer ‘serious consequences’ if it did not comply fully with the conditions for weapons inspections.2 As represented by the short-lived FrancoGerman-Russian (FGR) alliance, countries worldwide responded in a drastic
realignment. On 20 March 2003, together with a ‘coalition of the willing’, the
US army finally entered its weakened rival. Iraq’s Saddam regime collapsed in
May 2003, but guerrilla warfare has continued to this day.
The world was attentive to the stand that China would take, and found
that the Chinese response in 2003 was very different. The following arguments are made in this chapter: First, the ‘authoritarian liberal’ values identified after 9/11 – the promotion of positive liberty by means of placing
135
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negative liberty below sovereignty – became somewhat inconsistent with the
Chinese stand in the war in Iraq. In addition, although the strategy of
Guiguzi nationalism was in place, circumstances could not preclude China
from being the next Iraq. Therefore, the civic nationalists started to prepare
to sacrifice some degree of sovereignty to the UN. Second, once the partystate and the various public groups came to understand their inter-dependency, they realized that they did not have to invest equally in the different
areas of the nationalist discourse. Their division of labour, as outlined at the
beginning of this chapter, is further refined at the end of it.
5.1 The nationalist response of the top-level groups
As the crisis in Iraq unfolded into war, the party-state responded in a relatively transparent manner, which was most likely largely prompted by its
experience in handling the public in previous cases. Four issues are investigated in this section, how the party-state: (1) slightly relaxed its control of
nationalist expression by the public; (2) exercised restraint in the use of
nationalist rhetoric; (3) added statist multilateralism to sovereignty absolutism to refine China’s civic nationalist values; and (4) continued the strategy of Guiguzi nationalism but pondered most seriously towards constructing
China as a ‘responsible state’.
5.1.1 Expressive layers: confident demonstration
of pro-Americanism
In previous cases, the party-state often covered up the concessions it made to
the United States, discouraged fervent anti-American (and symbiotic antigovernmental) expressions, and diverted nationalist attention to cultural or
ethnic issues to control the public’s nationalist expressions. However, in this
case, besides openly employing an obscured tolerance of the US aggression
in Iraq, the party-state also highlighted Jiang’s Texas visit, broadcast every
single piece of news on the war when China was suffering from the SARS crisis, and approved some demonstrations. These gestures suggest that the
party-state was no longer worried that nationalist expressions of the public
would be able to subvert it with ease.
Obscured neutrality in the anti-war globe
It is commonly known that China was siding with the FGR group and maintained close ties with the triple power. After Resolution 1441 was passed in
November 2002, it was China, France and Russia – with no German participation – which issued a joint statement saying that ‘Resolution 1441
adopted today by the Security Council excluded any automatic use of force’.3
This resolution became the justification for the FGR to oppose a war in Iraq
without a new UN mandate. On 11 February 2003, after receiving a phone
call from the French President Jacques Chirac, Jiang officially declared
Happy Division of Labour 137
China’s support for the FGR Joint Declaration.4 When the war started on
20 March, the Foreign Ministry declared its ‘serious concern’ over ‘bypassing
the UN Security Council’ to launch the war.5 At face value, this case could be
regarded as a ‘confrontation’ between China and the United States. But it
was, at most, contained at the level of a declaration of position.
The real stand of China was not anti-war – instead, its emphasis was on
settling everything within the UN framework.6 Beyond that, China almost
took a stance of neutrality, as the party-state tried to avoid taking an obvious
side.7 Pei Minxin, a right-wing ethnicly Chinese – US commentator, best
described how the world viewed the Chinese stance: ‘obscure’.8 Such obscurity, however, favoured the United States at a time when the world expected
China to speak louder. For instance, only two weeks prior to the outbreak of
war, when asked whether his country would veto the American-drafted resolution to settle the ‘Iraqi question’ by force, the Chinese Foreign Ministry
avoided giving clear answers by making bureaucratic comments.9 The fact
that China never committed itself to vetoing the US-proposed war resolution was in sharp contrast to the stance of the FGR. Indeed, the nature of
this war could be considered somewhat comparable to the Kosovo War of
1999 because it featured a similarly unilateralist action, the argument for
human rights above sovereignty, alleged US conspiracies to redraw the world
map, and the like. Compared with its official condemnation of ‘American
hegemonism’ during the Kosovo War, however, the rhetoric the party-state
assigned to this conflict was surprisingly muted.
From camouflage to transparency: the Texas farewell
and the SARS crisis
Although China’s stand might not suit the popular nationalists, the partystate did not camouflage its favoured treatment of the United States as they
had done in the past. The change of expression was due to domestic rather
than external reasons. On the one hand, previous attempts at camouflage
had not worked well: the public had been able to discover the truth, and the
camouflage became a catalyst for nationalist eruption. On the other hand,
the fact that non-liberals and ordinary citizens – in spite of their radical
expressions of nationalism – rarely really promoted their nationalist ideologies and strategies in the previous cases was reassuring to the party-state.
Various groups also had longer to prepare their response to this war, making
a sudden nationalist outburst less likely.
Therefore, the party-state almost chose to publicize its full stance. One
obvious deviation from the tactics of camouflage was the high-profile visit of
Jiang to the United States. When anti-war ideas began to gain popularity in
the world, the retiring Jiang was invited to Bush’s private ranch in Crawford,
Texas, in October 2002. The PDO reminded its readers that ‘Bush’s special
arrangements for a meeting with Jiang at his ranch in Crawford, Texas,
[reflected] the close relationship between the two leaders and [revealed] the
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great importance they attach to Sino-US relations’.10 It was obvious that the
party-state wished to propagandize the visit to justify the post-9/11 SinoAmerican cooperation and to orchestrate an ideal finale to the end of Jiang’s
term of office. Jiang’s status as the ‘fourth special guest’ of Bush after British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi
Arabia Crown Prince Abdullah was repeatedly stressed not only by the official mouthpiece, but also other civilian newspapers.11
Another deviation from the camouflage tactic was the very transparent
reporting of the war in Iraq, particularly in comparison with reporting of the
concurrent SARS crisis. Overseas dissidents like Zhang Weiguo suggested that
the party-state collaborated with journalists to amplify the news from Iraq,
so that an ‘irrelevant war’ could help release current public disapproval of
poor governmental reform, ‘the great anger towards re-election of Jiang as
the CMC Chairman’, and concerns about SARS.12 Whether the official report
on SARS was strategically timed or not is not investigated here. But at least
the world witnessed the removal of Zhang Wenkang, Minister of Health, and
Meng Xuenong, Beijing mayor, on 20 April 2003 because of their ineffective
control and non-transparent reporting of the crisis.13 The fact that the partystate preferred to broadcast more on Iraq than SARS suggests that the possible nationalist reaction to the former was only a secondary worry.
Public demonstration: different scales of approval
By contrast with the second and the third cases, the party-state in this
instance allowed limited anti-war demonstrations. Three different groups
applied to demonstrate on the second weekend after the start of the war
(30 March 2003). The relative difference in the way they were handled reveals
how the ‘threat’ of these different groups – and their respective spheres of
interest in the nationalist discourse – were received by the party-state.
The first group was made up of 150 to 300 foreigners in residence in
Beijing, who were allowed to march to the US Embassy in Beijing – a route
which had not been permitted after 1999.14 The second group comprised
students, who were allowed to demonstrate on campus with a quota fixed at
150 participants. According to the pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper
Wenweipo, their petition to demonstrate ‘in front of the targets’ (i.e., the US
Embassy) was declined.15 The third was a group of intellectuals led by new
leftists Tong Xiaoxi and Li Ning, who were in charge of the new leftist online
journal China and the World (the source that published Chen Boda’s article
after the Bombing). Initially, the demonstration was approved, albeit with
the smallest quota allowed (100 and later reduced to 40). Yet more restrictions were soon imposed. According to Tong and Li, they were only to be
allowed to go to Chaoyang Park (a remote resort in Beijing) and to demonstrate for less than 40 minutes. They would not be permitted to make any
speeches or stage any sit-ins, and could not use amplifiers. At the last
minute, they were forced to start an hour earlier than the publicized time. As
Happy Division of Labour 139
they disclosed on the internet later, even their email mobilization was censored.16 Because of all these constraints, the organizers called off the demonstration as a gesture of protest.17
Such differences in scale suggest that together with its restraint in camouflaging its stand from ordinary citizens, the party-state departed from totalitarianism in handling anti-Americanism. It started to understand that
ordinary citizens only cared about their expressive layers of nationalism, and
not the implementation of the ideological or strategic nationalist agendas.
Therefore, the lower-level groups were granted more autonomy in the forms
of nationalism found in the expressive layers, that is, in this case, demonstrations. On the other hand, since the new leftists showed more interest in
other layers of nationalism, their attempts to organize demonstrations
alarmed the party-state more as these could have a domino effect on the ideological and strategic fronts, such as lobbying for civic nationalist change.
They were perceived by the party-state as potentially a more serious threat.
5.1.2 Ideological layers: revision of ‘authoritarian liberalism’
On the first day of the war, the PDO said the campaign lacked ‘legality’ and
‘moral strength’.18 These two concepts, representing sovereignty and human
rights respectively, were absorbed into Chapter 4’s framework of authoritarian liberalism. Owing to the need of China to acknowledge the UN’s potential encroachment on sovereignty, the war in Iraq obliged the party-state to
further refine civic nationalist values. ‘Sovereignty absolutism’, as named by
Michael Davis in 1997, was refined to what is called here ‘statist multilateralism.’19 And a more active role was taken in rebutting US humanitarianism.
The ‘third convergence’: adjusting sovereignty
absolutism by multilateralism
When China emphasized that everything should be settled within the UN
framework, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing – former ambassador to the United
States during the Bombing – made it clear that the party-state endorsed the
rival of unilateralism. According to Li, multilateralism was a ‘forceful promotion and guarantee for the benign development of globalization’ and ‘the
best way to promote a democratic and law-based international relationship’.20 What Li told us were supplements to the values of sovereignty
supremacy. They became the rules of the third official attempt to converge
human rights and sovereignty after April and September 2001.
China now acknowledged the fact that sovereignty was a product of a
‘democratic international relationship’. Because such ‘democracy’ could
overrun sovereignty by unanimous consent, China became keener to project
its importance as a multilateral partner. The fact that Resolution 1441 was
passed while China was serving as the rotating chairman of the UN Security
Council was highlighted as a success of the nation and a triumph of multilateralism.21 China’s self-declaration of importance as a big country and a
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leader of multilateralism was revealed by former Chinese ambassador to Iraq,
Sun Bigan, when he said: ‘[China] receives popular welcome and praise from
the international community’.22 By contrast, an editorial in the Guangming
Daily declared that the US attitude demonstrated in the war ‘seriously challenged the norms of international relations and the authority of the UN’ and
‘revealed the impotency of the international community’.23
During the war in Iraq, China discovered that the value of sovereignty
taken as an absolute might not be directly compatible with the benign development of globalization. Unlike its usual declaration that ‘internal politics
cannot be intervened in’, the party-state began accepting the practice of calling upon external powers to help out on problems viewed as under its sovereignty. For instance, when Taiwan planned to hold a referendum among
the island’s population in January 2004, Beijing petitioned for multilateral
support instead of fighting the battle for sovereignty alone. Extending its
friendship with China in the war in Iraq, France offered rather substantial
support by commenting on the push for a referendum as ‘a grave error’.24
Owing to the status of France as one of the more experienced referendum
holders in the world, thanks to Charles de Gaulle’s preference for this mechanism, the French support carried more symbolic weight than that given by
other countries, with the exception of the United States.
When the party-state made it clear that it was multilateralism, not the UN,
to which China dedicated its values, the platform for China to practise multilateralism was never confined to the weakened UN. China demonstrated its
flexibility in bypassing the UN framework when in August 2003, it took the
initiative of holding a ‘six-party-summit’ with the two Koreas, the United
States, Russia and Japan to deal with another member of the ‘axis of evil’.
Such a ‘fairly realist, state-centric understanding of multilateralism’ of the
party-state, as Hughes suggested, became a new element found in the
Chinese civic nationalism.25
The US human rights conditions records
Since 2000, China had gradually been repudiating its defensive role in the
international human rights saga by means of the State Council’s annual
release of US Human Rights Conditions Records to rebut the American
Human Rights Reports on China. Despite the obscure stand of China, the US
State Department still chose to criticize Beijing for its human rights record
on 1 March 2003. A month later, the fourth US Human Rights Conditions
Record was released on 3 April 2003, at the peak of the war in Iraq.26 Direct
competition between the United States and China to define human rights
was witnessed as follows.
Immediately after the release of the US report, Premier Wen Jiabao
declared that ‘no country should exclude itself from the international
human rights development process or view itself as the incarnation of
human rights that can reign over other countries and give orders to others’.27
Happy Division of Labour 141
The Chinese description of the war in Iraq as ‘a war lacking moral strength’
was a reference to US abuse of the concept of humanitarianism. The drawback of positive liberty in Iraq was highlighted by the Chinese Foreign
Ministry, which said the war would ‘inevitably lead to humanitarian disasters and undermine the security, stability and development of the region and
the world at large’.28 As explained by Tina Chen and David Churchill,
China’s release of the US Human Rights Conditions Records at the time represented the attempt by China to ‘mobilize human rights discourse against
the United States to undermine the validity of US state practices’.29 When
the Abu Ghraib abuse was unveiled in 2004, the party-state took a more
offensive stand in attacking America’s double standards with regard to
humanitarianism. In an official statement, it suggested Washington ‘ought
to resolve its own human rights problems first’, questioning whether in the
face of the abuse scandal, the United States would continue ‘boasting itself
as the “human rights defender” or “human rights judge” ’.30
These developments implied a slight revision of authoritarian liberalism in
China. When the negative liberty of the Iraqis was acknowledged by Beijing
if their regime in Baghdad – be it ruled by the Baa’th Party or Paul Bremer –
failed to maintain a reasonable standard of positive liberty, civic nationalism
in China was no longer a unilateral concept seen in total favour of the latter.
As a result, negative liberty began to be given conditional approval, albeit
largely as an emergency clause.
The PNAC conspiracy interpreted by the peripheral party-state
When the party-state focused on constructing civic nationalist values, it
rarely warned of American subversive attempts against China in referring to
the war in Iraq. Instead, it transferred this role to the public, and only lowermiddle ranking members of the establishment could afford to offer such
unorthodox warnings. For instance, Wang Yusheng, former Chinese ambassador to APEC, viewed the war as a conspiracy of the ‘US New Conservative
idealists’ and believed that those rightists would only bring adverse effects
for the United States in the long run.31 On another occasion, Wang said that
‘to talk about an ‘American empire’ and ‘new imperialism’ is entirely reasonable’.32
Lesser-known but more conspiracy-driven arguments were given by Lau
Nai-keung, a CPPCC delegate from Hong Kong. After the war in Iraq, he
offered extensive ‘proof’ to suggest that there was an ongoing US intervention plan targeting China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as Hugo Chavez
in Venezuela.33 The rationale for Lau to launch his attack was the fact that
the ‘conspiracy’ to attack Iraq was planned by the right-wing think tank
Project for the New American Century (PNAC), and coincidentally Ellen
Bork, a staff member from the PNAC and a former assistant to anti-Beijing
senator Jesse Helms, was serving as voluntary advisor to Hong Kong’s leading democratic councillor Martin Lee at that time. These comments, made in
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personal capacities, represented the suspicion with which some peripheral
members of the party-state like Wang and Lau greeted the United States, but
were discouraged from expressing it at the top level.34
5.1.3 Strategic layers: towards a responsible state
By 2003, the strategy of Guiguzi nationalism had been adopted by the partystate. The risk-aversive behaviours exhibited by the party-state during the
war in Iraq, as well as the attempt by China to further engage in the world,
remained roughly the same as was observed in Chapter 4 in response to 9/11
and the war in Afghanistan. In spite of this continuity, the partystate – especially after the change of leadership in the Sixteenth Party
Congress in 2002 – attempted to test a new strategy based on the concept of
a responsible state, as initiated by Qin Yaqing after 9/11. The possible dismissal of China’s realist ambition in the latter’s approach became a preliminary version of the ‘peaceful rise theory’ of Hu Jintao.
Continuation of Guiguzi nationalism by Jiang Zemin
When the war in Iraq started on 21 March 2003, an editorial in the PDO
called for domestic self-strengthening.35 This did not mean isolation, however: the post-9/11 engagement of China with various international communities was actually strengthened. We can take Central Asia as an example.
When the war was looming, the Chinese PLA from the Xinjiang Military
District and the army of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan conducted a two-day
joint military exercise, which was China’s first military exercise with a
Central Asian nation.36 After the war, China sent 1000 soldiers to participate
in the SCO anti-terrorist military exercise on the Sino-Kazakh border.37
Kazakhstan – the largest country in Central Asia – became a particular focus
of China’s ‘all-round diplomacy’.38
On the economic front, as the Asia Times cynically commented, ‘China is
also keen to win business in Iraq if sanctions are lifted or a new government
embarks on a massive economic reconstruction programme.’39 An article titled
Chinese Companies Have Much to Gain issued by the Ministry of Commerce after
the war, which encouraged Chinese merchants to invest in the US-controlled
Iraq, was among the visible evidence suggesting the party-state’s unwillingness
to be left behind.40 The stand of Lau Nai-keung, who suggested that receiving
non-Chinese funds and meeting US officials should be regarded with suspicion, was not in keeping with the official stand of maintaining activism.41
Blueprint of the responsible state by Hu Jintao
No matter how much the party-state emphasized its love of peace in handling
the war in Iraq, global engagement alone could not directly prove the point.
After 9/11, as discussed in Chapter 4, Qin Yaqing was among the first to propose that China should assume the duty of an internationally responsible
Happy Division of Labour 143
state, and continue its activism in terms of the fulfilment of responsibilities.
In using such ideas to target less realist assessments but also to erect a more
positive image for China, the party-state was seen to embrace a set of alternative policies after 2002, particularly after Hu assumed power.
One example is the way the party-state handled the SARS crisis concurrently with the war in Iraq. As the author argued in Asian Perspective, after its
initial ineffectiveness in reporting and controlling the epidemic, Beijing
demonstrated full cooperation with international organizations in introducing an internal information revolution, seeing the need to compete with
Taipei as the more responsible Chinese entity in ‘SARS diplomacy’.42 On
14 April 2003, in order to prove that China was a ‘responsible state’, Wen
Jiabao linked the credibility of the anti-SARS campaign with the international reputation of China.43
Another example can be found a year after the end of major combat in
Iraq. China had been well known in the UN for its customary practice of
abstaining from voting. From 1990 to 1996, it abstained 29 times but did
not veto any resolution.44 On 24 May 2004, abandoning its practice of
abstaining as well as its obscured position before the war, China took the
rare step of revising an Anglo-American proposal, which was a resolution
to hand Iraqi sovereignty back to its people. As explained by Wenweipo,
the Chinese revision ‘was not made to offend the United States and
Britain, but instead only wished that the two countries consider international opinion so that they could revise their bad draft’.45 This Chinese
revision was more consciously undertaken when compared with the role
China took in the drafting of Resolution 1441, because this time China –
already having stepped down from the rotating chairmanship of the UN
Security Council – had no obligation to take the lead. Together with the
increasing inclination towards statist multilateralism, these moves suggest
that China had started to regard itself as having certain kinds of ‘responsibility’ in the international arena.
5.2 The nationalist response of the
intermediary-level public
The response of intellectuals was a continuation of their battle fought after
9/11. Besides studying how non-liberals attempted to reverse their
unfavourable position after the liberal attack in 9/11, three more issues are
assessed in this section, how various intellectuals: (1) studied human rights
and sovereignty to support the party-state revision of civic nationalism,
while at the same time interpreting the US realist mindset; (2) compared Iraq
with China and proposed alternative solutions – particularly the would-be
peaceful rise theory – to address their concerns; and (3) collectively benefited
from the war by becoming public intellectuals in China.
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5.2.1 Expressive layers: the war of declarations
(round two)
In contrast to their response to the official handling of 9/11, intellectuals
were at greater variance with the official performance over the invasion of
Iraq. However, the liberal–non-liberal rivalry, with the populist emphasis on
numerical strength developing among intellectuals, grew increasingly
detached from the main nationalist discourse. These seemingly irrelevant
observations were combined in the following manner.
The non-liberal anti-war declaration: ‘intellectual populism’
This time it was non-liberals who took the initiative of presenting a joint
declaration. After the beginning of the war, on 27 March 2003, 76 Western
intellectuals led by ‘stars’ like Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and Immanuel
Wallerstein launched an online anti-war movement among global intellectuals.46 By 28 April, 108 mainland scholars had joined the campaign, suggesting that non-liberals were seizing the opportunity to interact with other
anti-war intellectuals in the world.47
At the same time, non-liberals also targeted fellow Chinese intellectuals
exclusively. Partly appearing as a continuation of their open letter to the
Wall Street Journal in 2001, their declaration was a vigorous counter-attack
against the liberal advancement made after 9/11. From 10 to 18 February
2003, a total of 506 Chinese intellectuals, led by new leftists Han Deqiang
and Zhang Guangtian and joined by heavyweights like their ‘Gang of Four’
leaders Wang Shaoguang and Cui Zhiyuan, signed a Declaration of
Opposition to the US Government’s War Plan on Iraq. The declaration had two
cornerstones, an anti-war stance and anti-Americanism, and contained five
points:
1. We determinedly oppose and strongly condemn the aggression and war
policy of the United States towards Iraq.
2. We determinedly oppose and strongly condemn the high-tech slaughter
of Iraqis who have no capability to fight back.
3. We determinedly oppose the UN Security Council passing any resolution
that might give the appearance of giving the United States UN endorsement of the Iraqi invasion.
4. We hope that most countries in the UN Security Council, particularly
China, Russia and France as its standing members, can maintain its principles, resist pressure and take up their responsibility for world peace.
5. We call for all peace-loving and righteous Chinese both inside and outside
China to unite together, to exemplify our glorious tradition of anti-imperialism and anti-hegemonism, to be a part of the global anti-war movement, and to contribute our part in opposing the US government’s war
plan against Iraq.48
Happy Division of Labour 145
Among the signatures there were unexpected household names including
Nobel Prize for Literature nominee Bei Dao. But one might discern populist
pressure in this declaration: the composition and number (506) of the list –
suspiciously, a dozen more than the number of signatures on the liberal declaration after 9/11 (491) – aroused much controversy. At least ten people
whose signatures appeared complained that their names had been submitted
by persons unknown.49 Some signatories later distanced their anti-war intentions from the declaration’s anti-American rhetoric.50 Some agreed with
comments that the declaration was using the ‘rhetoric of Red Guards in the
Cultural Revolution’.51 Discounting these dubious signatures, the number
491 would be difficult to exceed.
While the emphasis on number could be seen as an attempt to exert populist pressure on liberals, non-liberals – in a rare move – actualized their
rhetoric by applying to demonstrate on the streets. On 18 February 2003,
four non-liberals led by Han Deqiang went to the US Embassy in Beijing, presented their declaration to US officials and were questioned by Chinese
police for 20 minutes.52 After the war broke out, as previously mentioned,
non-liberals – this time led by Tong Xiaoxi and Li Ning – planned a gathering of 500 colleagues to demonstrate at the US Embassy but were discouraged by the party-state.53 This populist tendency of non-liberals – most
suggesting a re-evaluation of the merits of the ‘mass line’ in the Cultural
Revolution – was alarming not only to their intellectual rivals, but also to the
public. For instance, in response to Al-Jazeera’s report on the non-liberal declaration, the pro-liberal Southern Cosmopolitan Daily presented a united front
with the party-state and reminded the world that ‘only the position held by
the Chinese government could represent all the Chinese people’.54
The non-liberal declaration versus Deng Liqun and Wang Xiaodong
Overtaking liberals and catching the attention from the party-state and ordinary citizens were the primary focus of the non-liberal declaration and their
participation in the nationalist discourse. Therefore, it is of little surprise to
observe that the nationalist discourse of non-liberals became increasingly
detached from the authentic essence of Marxism. On 16 February 2003,
Deng Liqun, the senior leader of the old leftists and a one-time top cadre of
the PRC’s Propaganda Department, allegedly posted an article on the internet forum Century Salon.55 His article did not mobilize anti-Americanism, but
only talked about the doomed fate of Saddam.56 It seemed impossible to confirm whether the author was really the famous ‘Little Deng’, but the 88-yearold ousted ex-leader apparently had no alternative channels of expression at
the time, and was famous for posting commentaries online after losing
power. Whether its author was Deng or not, the article, which featured typical Marxist perspectives, did not generate any notable response in the virtual community even among non-liberals, and was reported to have been
deleted shortly after it was posted.57
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Interestingly, the nationalist discourse of the non-liberal declaration – particularly its anti-governmental essence – also became somewhat detached
from the essence of nationalists like Wang Xiaodong. When interviewed by
Le Monde, Wang – unlike the new leftist demonstrators despite the presence
of his signature on the anti-war declaration – was very sympathetic towards
Iraq but reacted in a surprisingly restrained manner. He did not imply disapproval of the official performance at all: ‘I did not hope the Chinese government would express a strong anti-war stand’, because, practically speaking,
‘I always believed the moral anti-war voices would not generate much actual
impact.’58 Whether ‘all peace-loving and righteous Chinese both inside and
outside China united together’ for Iraq was actually a non-issue to him.
The failed attempt of Yu Jie and the liberals
Only a day after the release of the non-liberal declaration, Liu Xiaobo, one of
the drafters of the first 9/11 liberal letter Tonight we are Americans, rebutted it
by posting an article on his personal internet column. In the article, Liu said
he did not believe that ‘those new leftists who were silent about the CCP’s
violation of human rights’ would oppose a war owing to their ‘love of righteousness and peace and concern for the universal rights of mankind’.59 In
other words, he saw the non-liberal declaration as interest-driven. Nine days
later, criticizing non-liberals for their lack of condemnation of Saddam’s violation of human rights, Yu Jie – another drafter of the same post-9/11 liberal
letter – released a Declaration by Chinese Intellectuals in Support of the US
Government’s Military Operation Against Saddam’s Autocratic Regime and
invited like-minded intellectuals to add their signatures.60 Yu’s declaration
was a direct challenge against Han’s, saying that, ‘we cannot agree with the
rhetoric and basic stand of the declaration … we think it would accelerate
the fall of Chinese intelligentsia.’61
In this round of competition, liberals were no match in terms of number.
Embarrassingly, only two intellectuals – the little-known Shi Tao and Wang
Guangze – endorsed Yu’s declaration. Although there were liberals willing to
condemn Saddam, few – when the universal 9/11 language faded – dared to
be labelled as pro-United States and non-nationalist. It can be concluded
that non-liberals did manage to exert populist pressure on their opponents
when the war in Iraq – unlike the 9/11 atrocity – did not alter the sensitivity
of Chinese intellectuals about being labelled as hanjian.
The IRI epilogue: nationalist professionalism or professional nationalism?
The war in Iraq provided another opening for Chinese intellectuals in the
nationalist discourse. Probably owing to the ‘professional basic instinct’ socalled by the clapping journalists expelled from the United States after 9/11,
Chinese intellectuals were enthusiastic about sharing their professional
knowledge with a wider audience in this remote war via television, radio,
journals, newspapers and websites.62
Happy Division of Labour 147
Many intellectuals, whether conscious or not, demonstrated their embrace
of nationalism in their professional commentaries in order to attract wider
support. Described by Mark Mancall as the ‘Confucian-Mencius’ paradigm for
Chinese diplomacy, the exhibition of a China-centred or ‘Middle Kingdom’
worldview was part of the repertoire of strategies employed in almost all Iraqrelated programmes.63 For instance, when the United States applied a ‘shock
and awe’ strategy to demoralize and destroy the Iraqi leaders in the first days
of the war, most Chinese reports likened the strategy to that of the ancient
Chinese military genius Sun Tzu.64 Many military intellectuals suggested the
possibility of Saddam resisting ‘for a few years’ – if he followed Mao’s lectures
on guerrilla warfare.65 The diplomatic comment from Interim Iraqi Premier
Iyad Allawi to Chinese journalists that Iraq should ‘learn from the Chinese
experience’ was seriously, and happily, taken up by the mainland media.66
Although such a worldview was dismissed by cynics as a bankrupt idea in the
‘pre-historic stage of contemporary patriotism’, this case presented the
Chinese with a rare opportunity of acting as a legendary power.67
Whether Chinese IRIs should be labelled as nationalist professionals or ‘professional nationalists’ is difficult to decide. The intertwining of the two identities had certainly influenced popular perception of the war. Before the
outbreak of the war, IRI Lin Limin said that it ‘would surely be difficult to have
achieved a result [in the war] in the short term’.68 On the third day, military
expert Zhang Zhaozhong said ‘the performance of the Iraqi army deserved
nine points, but the US army is only worth six points’.69 Most television stations and newspapers edited reports of the American army entering Baghdad
by showing the picture of the fall of Saddam’s statue for one shot only.70
Appreciation for the nationalist sentiment featured in the professional reports
and commentaries meant that those expressing such sentiment, like Zhu
Zengquan who told readers how to study the war from the military and patriotic perspective, soon took on a role as public intellectuals in the Chinese
household.71 When these experts commented in real-time, they did so with
enthusiasm, as observed by a reader of UDF in a satirical but objective way:
All my friends watching the television programme unanimously believed
the military advisory headquarters of Saddam is indeed here! I do not
know if Saddam watched this programme. If he did, he might win more
battles. The enthusiasm of several ‘senior advisors’ to achieve something
for Saddam’s regime was well received by the audience from their facial
expressions.72
5.2.2 Ideological layers: institutionalization of
civic nationalism
In this particular case study the intellectuals made the most conscious effort to
support – and institutionalize – the concept of civic nationalism. An obvious
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reason that led to the ‘awakening’ was the global discussion of civic nationalism during the war in Iraq. Taking this opportunity, the new leftist
philosopher Cui Zhiyuan – whose last active participation in the nationalist discourse dated back to the Bombing – told readers how the pre-emptive
doctrine of Bush implied that Leo Strauss’s ‘natural right’ theory – a complicated theory suggesting the existence of a set of universally applicable
codes in human nature present at birth, which will not be elaborated upon
here – would eventually ‘challenge the whole world for a single finite
answer’.73 Citing how Habermas envisioned a set of European values during the war in Iraq to compete with New Conservatism in the United
States, new leftists like Gan Yan and Guan Yuqian – a prominent younger
professor residing in Hamburg during the war – started to advocate comprehensive implementation of ‘Chinese values’.74
Institutionalization of the human rights value:
the human rights society
We have discussed Yu’s liberal declaration accusing non-liberals of ‘tolerating’ Saddam’s violation of human rights. Although only a couple of minor
intellectuals contributed their signatures to support him, there were quite
a few others who echoed Yu’s point of view. One such point of view
emanated from overseas liberals like Hu Ping, who simply copied the
Washington arguments in support of the war (including the ‘linkage’
between Saddam and 9/11 or Saddam’s ‘possession of WMD’).75 These liberals also focused on the positive impact of the war on Iraqis’ negative liberty. Another point of view came from mainland liberals like Ge Hongbing
from Shanghai, who ‘already noticed that the Americans love the subjects
of Milosevic more than Milosevic did’ in the Kosovo War and believed ‘liberating Iraq from demons like Saddam’ directly benefited the positive liberty of the Iraqis.76
The overwhelming interpretation of ‘human rights’ among the Chinese
intellectuals, however, followed the official line. Attacks on US double standards on human rights were made by non-liberals, as well as some of those
known for rationality. For instance, Warwick DPhil holder Pang Zhongying,
one of the few liberal IRIs using the internet as his main channel, opposed
the war because it would be ‘extremely cruel’ when Bush – the one stressing
his benevolent concern over the Iraqi lives – used ‘decisive military force’.77
Many scholars like Ling Dequan found it difficult to endorse the US human
rights argument once the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal became public.78 These ideas were presented in institutionalized and collective forms by
the China Society for Human Rights Study. Established in 1993 as an academic association to promote human rights and to rebut Western criticism
of the state of human rights in China, the society realized it had in 2003 its
most visible role to play since its founding. When the war began, the society
launched a detailed website called The War in Iraq and the Humanitarian
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Tragedy, whose introductory section began as follows:
The US and Britain disregarded widespread opposition within the international community and launched the war in Iraq. Following the increasingly tragic development of the war, what people most worry about is the
humanitarian tragedy it has brought on … 79
When people in China could monitor issues relating to human rights in Iraq
via the Society’s website, the US interpretation of universalism and human
rights was greeted with intellectual contempt. Social science scholar Wang
Yizhou, for example, proposed inventing the term ‘US new imperialism’ –
whose only difference from the ‘US old imperialism’ was its modern rhetoric
of freedom, democracy and human rights.80 Ban Wang believed the war
refuted the universal façade of post-9/11 US, which was ‘breaking up the liberal universals’ and also ‘breaking up the touted attractions of the manifest
destiny in the process’.81 What makes these interpretations of human rights
different from the pre-2002 discourse, however, was their intertwining with
the Chinese intellectual discussion on international law.
Institutionalization of the sovereignty value: international law seminars
Chinese liberals had their own interpretation of international law in the war
in Iraq. In order to defend the US violation of international law, unlike
Western pro-war scholars who tried to follow UN Resolution 1440 as their
mandate of force, home-grown liberals like Liu Yong doubted the very value
of the UN and used the realist anarchical assumptions to justify the UN’s lack
of authority.82 Those like Liu Guokai simply disregarded the value of the UN
outright and thought that as long as ‘the US military action in Iraq was a
righteous and necessary step’, the step would ‘prove the absurdity and impotency of the UN’.83
By contrast, non-liberals – who demonstrated their distrust of international
law after the Collision – now understood the importance for China to respect
such laws as the pillars of multilateralism no matter whether the concept of
‘the rule of law’ was really respectable or not. In particular, in the non-liberal
declaration, two of the five positions spoke for multilateralism. The ‘disrespect for and weakened role’ of the UN became one of the topics of most concern to Chinese intellectuals.84 In suggesting that international laws were a
vital means for countries like China to guarantee their sovereignty, an antiwar stance became a potential intermediary of cross-Strait unification, which
was seen as a ‘threat’ by the pro-independence media in Taiwan.85
Dating back to the early Reform Era, intellectuals had started introducing
the idea of ‘international law’ and ‘humanitarian law’ and attempted to
institutionalize them. International humanitarian law studies, for example,
had been introduced to 22 tertiary institutions in China from the 1980s.86
However, only scant attention was given to this discipline until the war in
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Iraq. In April 2002, Fudan University organized the first Annual Conference
of the Chinese Association of International Law to address sensitive issues
like the legitimacy of anti-terrorist measures.87 A year later, coincidentally on
the first day of the war, the same organization held a seminar in Beijing to
discuss the legitimacy of the United States in attacking Iraq. The conference
participants, according to the organizer, ‘unanimously believed that the US
war in Iraq lacks a legal base and disobeys the basic criteria of international
law and the United Nations Charter’.88 Similar discussions proliferated nationwide. For instance, Renmin University organized a seminar on ‘The War in
Iraq and International Criminal Law’ on 27 March 2003 with, unsurprisingly, the same unanimous conclusion being drawn.89 Shortly afterwards, a
‘Centre for International Humanitarian Law’ was established at the same
university (whose director, Zhu Wenqi, once served at the International
Tribunal handling cases relating to former Yugoslavia and the Kosovo War).90
In the history of the PRC, most similar academic seminars had been centred on anti-imperialism or anti-hegemonism. Interestingly, these seminars
against the US violation of international law and/or humanitarianism were
organized in the same format, setting and repertoire. The change of subject
in these seminars was definitely a milestone in the development of civic
nationalism in China.
Realist supplementation
In addition to their declaration in support of multilateralism, the intellectuals helped speculate about US motivation in using unilateral tactics. To
give the speculation an overview, Lin Limin said that if the United States
won the war, ‘its global status and fame will be hugely enlarged’, making the
nation even more inclined to ‘risk-taking, aggressiveness and unilateralism
abroad’.91 Ban Wang saw the war ‘tilting quickly towards the raw self-interest,
economic expansion, control of resources, imperialist ambition, and the
national security agenda of the United States’.92 Guan Yuqian, who had
become more outspoken before the war, simply demeaned the United States as
the ‘bully messiah’, a country creating ‘a big lie’ and ‘the shitty universal
truth’.93 A more interesting alternative was the ‘natural balance theory’ proposed by Wei Zonglei. According to him, the so-called ‘rogue states’ like Iraq
are assuming the role of an opposition party internationally equivalent to that
in the domestic politics of the United States; the opposition raised by other
countries towards the US hegemony is in fact an international ‘parliamentary
balance’.94
This kind of realist intellectual explanation supplementing official civic
nationalist construction was commonly found in most anti-war nations in
response to the war. The point to note about China was that such realistnationalist interpretations no longer copied the old-style moralistic rhetoric.
A look at the tactics of the leading offensive realist Yan Xuetong helps close
the discussion in this section. On the one hand, as usual, Yan believed that
Happy Division of Labour 151
Bush’s purpose in launching the war was to ‘pick the easiest way to dominate
the world’.95 He summarized the intentions of the United States in the following fairy-tale manner: the United States, he said, wished to be the world
leader in terms of politics; the world’s police in terms of world security; the
richest country in terms of economy; and the global film-maker in terms of
culture.96 Yan, on the other hand, however, very carefully stated that the war
revealed the ‘hegemonic mindset (baquanxintai)’ and ‘imperialist mindset
(diguo xintai)’ of the United States but not the ‘essence of imperialism (diguo
xingtai)’ as seen in the Roman Empire.97 Similarly to how the party-state
described the Collision as revealing a ‘hegemonic logic’, Yan seemed reluctant to describe the United States as a head-to-head rival of China. If the
United States had the ‘essence of imperialism’, China would have no choice
but to respond to such an essence directly.
5.2.3 Strategic layers: not to be Saddam II
When Chinese intellectuals proposed diplomatic strategies for their government in 2003, their key reference was the ease with which Saddam had been
toppled. Four types of analysis were put forward to explain Saddam’s fate:
(1) he violated liberal values; (2) his challenge of the United States was not
effective enough; (3) he unwisely exposed his weakness when he challenged
the United States; or (4) the idea of challenging the United States was a fundamental mistake.
No matter which argument they preferred, most intellectuals regarded the
strategy of Guiguzi nationalism as a transitional strategy only and proposed
various alternatives based on their interpretation of the fate of Saddam.
Building on Qin Yaqing’s post-9/11 suggestion for China to be a responsible
state, Zheng Bijian’s proposal, which became known as the peaceful rise
strategy, gradually gained more attention. As will be discussed in Chapter 6,
it was not only a victory for Zheng, but also a victory for the intellectuals in
general, who successfully had their sphere of influence confirmed.
Learning from Saddam (I): Today We Are Iraqis
The first explanation, proposed by liberals, traced Saddam’s human rights
record to account for his fate and called for the end of dictatorships to solve
everything. For instance, on the day of the toppling of Saddam’s statue in
Baghdad, Fan Gong wrote an article titled Today We Are Iraqis to share his
happiness with fellow Chinese ‘under the same autocratic rule as Saddam’s’:
‘seeing the Iraqis jumping on Saddam’s statue, I really hope the Chinese government can better preserve the wax inside the memorial hall before we
Chinese destroy that corpse.’98 Such liberals welcomed the idea of regime
change in China being brought about by Americans, as had happened in
Iraq. To some, the arrest of Saddam in December 2003 should be seen as a
wake-up call for the Chinese to walk out of the shadow of Mao the dictator.99
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For obvious reasons, this line was not a legitimate option, nor was it pragmatic to expect US intervention. As Liu Guokai confessed, Jiang’s strategy of
post-9/11 Guiguzi nationalism successfully used international opportunities
‘to turn negative factors into positive factors’, such as supporting American
anti-terrorism ‘in exchange for a decrease in American support for the democratic movement in China’.100
Learning from Saddam (II): offensive stand without
actions and the ‘French model’
His ineffective challenge against the United States was cited as another
explanation for the fate of Saddam. According to this logic, the solution for
China to overcome the United States was to turn to offensive nationalism.
The non-liberal declaration presented the most aggressive call for actions: ‘to
exemplify our glorious tradition of anti-imperialism and anti-hegemonism,
to be a part of the global anti-war movement, and to contribute our part in
opposing the US government’s war plan against Iraq’.101 The vintage vocabulary – reminding us of Mao’s ‘three world theory’ – might be a classic.102 But
it might also be outdated.
Another version was more pragmatic. As Guan Yuqian suggested, taoguang
yanghui ‘does not mean being over-modest, over-patient, lead-aversive or
non-competitive in the world’.103 This line only called for the declaration of
a stand, like the initiation of ‘court diplomacy’ after the Collision, and
warned the party-state that ‘declaring no stand when a stand should be made
and having no courage when courage is needed would only expose your status as a coward, which would be looked down on by Westerners.’104 But a
stand on its own was already more than enough, and that was the greatest
level of challenge that even Yan Xuetong could afford to propose. When Yan
spoke to French scholar Marie-Claude Smouts, he only suggested building a
‘moral alliance’ with ‘like-minded’ countries like France to protest against the
‘moral infringement’ constituted by US unilateralism, and nothing else.105
Why was a stand on its own enough? IRIs Zhang Guoqing and Ruan
Zongzi had provided the answer. When commenting on the leading anti-war
role of France, Zhang and Ruan said bitterly on the People’s Net: ‘in fact, the
FGR tasted advantages from their struggles in the UN’, because after their
challenge, ‘France is no longer the France of one year ago; Chirac becomes
an anti-war leader; we heard that the chance for him to win the Nobel Peace
Prize is very high’.106 Although Chirac is yet to win the Nobel Peace Prize, his
reputation in 2002–03 already made some Chinese intellectuals jealous.
Lesson from Saddam (III): U-turn to Taoist nationalism
Another branch of Chinese intellectuals was alarmed by the demonstration of the awesome force used by the United States in the war. Many military scholars wrote detailed reflections after the war in order to urge the
party-state to upgrade its arsenal to be able to deal with future wars.107
Happy Division of Labour 153
Suggesting the major effect of the war was the fact that most countries
became afraid of the United States, Yin Zheng believed ‘extremism and
terrorism’ – his least wanted options – would be the only force that could
be used to fight back against the Americans.108 Tan Zhong, a mainland
Chinese scholar born in Malaysia, captured how shocking the easy victory
was: ‘social science regards war as a continuation of politics, but this war
reversed such a law: war is the starting point, from which a long-term
process of political solution has been elaborated’.109 Even the nationalist
Wang Xiaodong concluded from the war that ‘the Chinese national
defence had been flaccid in the past twenty years’.110
The official response towards the war in Iraq and the Bombing, as we have
seen, was totally different. But intellectuals observed more similarities
between the two cases. To most IRIs, Saddam’s greatest mistake had been his
foolishness in exposing his full capabilities. While facing such a formidable
long-term opponent as the United States, most IRIs advised the party-state,
based on the Taoist nationalist philosophy again, to conceal its capabilities
and not to provoke the United States. For instance, Ye Zicheng of Peking
University said China should ‘learn a lesson from the Kosovo War’, during
which ‘some intellectuals advocated a switch to national defence and military priority that was later proven unnecessary’.111 Wang Xiaodong
expressed similar concern and said that ‘it was very commonplace for the
Chinese government not to over-irritate the US government owing to the
huge economic interests in the US’.112 These ideas were similar to Wang’s
‘splendid isolation’ strategy proposed after the Bombing. These proposals
revealed that although the idiom taoguang yanghui was officially replaced by
yinshi lidao after 9/11, there were new attempts by intellectuals to re-embrace
the former in 2003.
We should pay attention to the close timing between cases three and four
so as to avoid interpreting them as two isolated incidents. Yet it was obvious
enough that after the war in Iraq the self-assessment among Chinese intellectuals of inferiority in Chinese society was different from the relative optimism found in Chapter 4. This U-turn was seen most dramatically from new
leftists Yu Jianhua and Cui Zhiying, who – previously speaking little about
the whole concept of taoguang yanghui – used Hague’s dialectical theory to
justify the ‘unity’ between taoguang yanghui’s passivism and Guiguzi nationalism’s activism (‘yousuo zuowei’) in 2004.113 Another interesting example
was the publication in 2004 of Essays on Taoguang Yanghui, a little-known
classic written by Yang Shen (1488–1559) in the Ming dynasty, by Southern
Publishing (nanfang chubanshe), a member of the liberal-minded Southern
(nanfang) media group. In the preface, the publisher praised taoguang yanghui
as ‘more than a conspiracy’, but ‘a great strategy once implemented by great
men like Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping’, and declared that its motivation in
publishing the classic was to ‘teach the public how to utilize the theory at
the optimal level’.114
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Lesson from Saddam (IV): constructing a responsible state
The last interpretation on the fall of Saddam was that it ruled out having the
United States as China’s short-term or long-term opponent. According to
this view, the failure of Saddam was not due to his forcefulness or his strategy in challenging the United States, but was caused by the fact that he presented himself as an irresponsible status quo challenger in the world. A
representative of this line was Zheng Bijian, vice-president of the Central
Party School and chairman of a think-tank called China Reform Forum. On
19 January 2002, when Zheng joined an academic seminar to prepare for
Bush’s visit to Beijing, he was confident about the post-9/11 Sino-US relationship and Taoist nationalism: ‘we must bear in mind Deng’s words’.115
When he made a visit to Washington DC in late 2002 and met with top US
officials and scholars, including Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger and
Zbigniew Brzezinski, such optimism faded, however, because, as he himself
revealed to journalists, he was deeply worried by the China threat theory circulating in the United States even during the Sino-US honeymoon period
and when the Americans were busily preparing for the war in Iraq.116
When Zheng returned to China, he formed a study group to research the
‘third road’ of Chinese nationalism and Chinese diplomacy – without falling
into either offensive or Taoist discourse. The solution that he came up with
was the strategy that became known as ‘peaceful rise’, which was first
announced to the world on 24 November 2003 in an academic – instead of
political – manner.117 According to Zheng’s original explanation, the strategy
first approved Jiang’s Guiguzi nationalism: ‘engaging in economic globalization’.118 It also approved Deng’s Taoist nationalism: ‘building socialism with
independent Chinese characteristics’.119 But the following was the most
important: ‘when China strives to rise, it must maintain peace and refuse to
compete for hegemony;’ instead, this peaceful image should be maintained
by building a ‘spiritual pillar’ for China based on the products of Chinese
civilization.120 China, said Zheng, should assume its responsibility to world
peace instead of deploying any realist ambitions.
The Iraqi lesson promoted a few spontaneous suggestions of this kind.
Besides Qin Yaqing’s and Zheng Bijian’s work, the Singapore-based PRC
scholar Zheng Yongnian also asked China in 2002 to ‘share its responsibility
with the US’ in maintaining regional peace.121 But in general, intellectuals
did not pay great attention to this until its eventual adoption by the partystate, which will be covered in Chapter 6.
5.3 The nationalist response of the lower-level public
Ordinary citizens in China paid close attention to the developments in Iraq,
particularly when they were forced to stay at home with nothing to do but
watch television during the concurrent SARS crisis. Unlike the party-state and
intellectuals who devised new ideologies and strategies, ordinary citizens
Happy Division of Labour 155
Table 5.1 Do the Chinese people support
the war in Iraq?122
Response
Support
Not support
Difficult to tell
Percentage
8.2
79.7
12.1
focused again on their nationalist expression, which remained relatively contained when the party-state was not an obvious target for defiance. Focus will
centre on four issues pertaining to this group in the last of the case studies,
how ordinary citizens: (1) responded to the war when censorship was lessened; (2) responded to civic nationalism by highlighting Chinese culture;
(3) embraced more rational strategies in response to suggestions proposed by
other groups; and (4) refused to directly challenge other groups in the politics
of public diversity.
5.3.1 Expressive layers: less censorship, less nationalism?
Like most people around the world, the Chinese were critical of the US-instigated war. But their expression was very different. As the party-state became
more relaxed, ordinary citizens exercised self-restraint in their nationalist
expression and did not take their protests any further. Few sensitive slogans
were displayed in the demonstrations, and the public attention given to
Saddam failed to evolve into a fourth round of nationalist/tragic icon worshipping.
The registered anti-war demonstration
Public opinion in China was overwhelmingly anti-war, with almost 80 per cent
of Chinese (residing in Beijing) expressing their disapproval of the US military campaign, according to a poll conducted by Horizon in March 2003 (see
Table 5.1).
Equally expected was the fact that anti-war and anti-American sentiments
were an indispensable part of most internet postings, like this one recorded
in the SCDF:
The fall of an empire always starts from its most bullying era!
Righteous voices should condemn the immoral policy of the US government and call on the good heart of the US people!
Concerning the war tricks of the US government, the world should have
the strongest voice to shout unanimously: NO WAR!!!123
As calculated and reported from Taiwan, there were 3458 mainland internet
signatures – that can no longer be located – declaring their anti-war position
156
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
in response to a petition campaign circulated from 10 February to
20 April.124 Such anti-Americanism continued to at least May 2004, a year
after the end of major combat in Iraq. By then, Anthony Spires of Yale
University had studied 500 internet postings made by Chinese in response to
the Abu Ghraib scandal. Although 25 per cent were ‘praising the US media
for its role in exposing the abuse and criticizing China’s press for not being
able to do the same on problems at home’, the largest group – 45 per cent –
expressed ‘clear anti-American sentiment’.125 In order to express their opinions, quite a few internet activists – in addition to commenting online – had
signed the non-liberal declaration. A significant new feature suggesting a
merging of reality and internet reality was the juxtaposition of the names of
academic heavyweights like Wang Shaoguang and internet ‘heavyweights’,
who might only have been college students, like one of the interviewees for
this work, Li Roufou, a first year undergraduate of Zhuhai College and the
webmaster of the ‘Leftist Forum’.126
The student demonstration held on 30 March 2003, albeit on Peking
University campus only, was the first approved demonstration for the
Chinese since the anti-American demonstrations in 1999. We should pay
attention to the fact that when students first applied for a demonstration on
campus in February 2003, the application failed.127 The non-liberal demonstration planned for the same day (30 March 2003) had severe controls
imposed upon it and was eventually called off.128 The most important characteristic of the anti-American sentiments expressed in this approved
demonstration was the students’ restraint in referring to the government in
the same discourse. Slogans proposed by the students, according to a demonstration organizer Sun Dongyong of Peking University, were cleverly and
meticulously crafted: ‘respect for life, no war, be prepared for crises when we
are safe (juan siwei), self-strengthen China (ziqiang xingguo)’ – and were
almost equivalent to the party-state’s old rhetoric: taoguang yanghui.129 This
is a convincing reason why the party-state imposed strict control over nonliberal intellectuals but did not force the same restraint on the students.
The incomplete Saddam ‘worship’ workshop
While most Chinese did regard Saddam as a dictator, quite a few internet
users believed him to be democratically elected: ‘otherwise, he could not
possibly have been in power for so long’.130 Thinking along the same lines,
‘Fengzhi Chuhuo’ (meaning candle in the wind) proposed to ‘hold a referendum on Saddam for the Iraqis’ and to ask the UN to chair the referendum.131 Some compared Saddam with the corrupted Four Ruling Families
(sida jiazu) in Republican China and argued that the Iraqis should support
Saddam in the same way that the Chinese supported their corrupt regime in
preference to the invasion of ‘an uncorrupted and democratic nation like
Japan’.132 Among the innovative postings, some suggested that Saddam be
invited to take a lie-detector test under UN mandate to rebut the Americans.133
Happy Division of Labour 157
When Saddam was put on trial in 2005, there were internet users calling
themselves ‘Saddam’s fans’ and protesting against his fate by sending open
letters of support to Saddam and suggesting the goal of the United States was
only to ‘construct’ a Hitler-of-our-time.134
Internet elites were particularly enthusiastic about advising Saddam to
escape from the invasion, or even win the war. The proposal given by the
‘clash of civilizations’ online theorist Zhen Duo was one of the most detailed
and deserves our attention. He advised Saddam ‘to extend the Iraqi war to
the whole world to preserve the existence of his regime in Iraq’ by means of
oil diplomacy, pre-emptive attacks on the United States, guerrilla warfare
and worldwide revolution. Four steps were identified by this internet strategist for Saddam:
1. to use his oil to bargain with American allies to switch their positions;
2. to adopt a pre-emptive strategy to attack the US army before its full
deployment;
3. to adopt a strategy of guerrilla warfare in neighbouring countries; and
4. to involve the whole world in this chaos by spreading anti-Americanism
throughout the world.135
Zhen’s strategy was not only similar to the well-known foco theory – creation
of a subjective condition of victory over imperialism by igniting the spark of
rural-based guerrillas – proposed by Che Guevara in the 1960s. It was also
comparable to the one proposed by Western war game simulation websites
after 9/11 that foresaw an eventual establishment of a ‘Fundamentalist
Islamic Union’ in the Middle East.136 Taking the above sympathetic attitude
to Saddam into consideration, the perception of the Chinese of Saddam’s Iraq
was amazingly improved in 2003 when compared with 2002 (see Table 5.2).
Any passionate Chinese support for Saddam, however, did not match that
for bin Laden after 9/11, not to mention the worship of Wang Wei. Whereas
bin Laden had assumed the partial identity of an anti-American (and antiestablishment) icon for Chinese nationalists, Saddam failed to achieve the
same significance. This difference could be partly explained by the credibility
of Saddam himself, as the Chinese were never overwhelmingly supportive of
his ineffective challenge to the United States after the Gulf War of 1991. As
Table 5.2 The perception of the Chinese towards Saddam’s Iraq (2002–2003)137
Response
Very appreciated
A bit appreciated
Not so appreciated
Very disliked
Percentage 2002
Percentage 2003
2.1
27.8
49.4
20.6
11.6
47.3
32.0
9.1
158
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
revealed in a Baghdad travel journal written by non-liberal writer Yu Qiuyu,
most Chinese were sympathetic about, rather than impressed by, the living
standards of people under Saddam’s rule.138 But more importantly, Saddam
failed to be bin Laden II because when the party-state adopted a relaxed
approach to the public’s expression of opinion, challenging the official performance ceased to be an obvious issue in the discourse. The ‘pro-Saddam’
messages were then characterized by a greater emphasis on humanitarian
concerns, even among the usually xenophobic internet users.
Some widely circulated poems – following the format of the most famous
poem of Mao Zedong – written by Chinese internet users who named themselves ‘Saddam’, presented very different content from the poems introduced in previous chapters like When We Are Wearing Pierre Cardin and Nike,
Wang Wei Where Are You or Mourning of the 9/11 Hijacking Heroes. Let us first
have a look at Mao’s original version:
Spring of Qinyuan: Snow
North country scene:
A hundred leagues locked in ice, A thousand leagues of
whirling snow …
The mountains dance silver snakes and the highland charge
like wax-hued elephants,
Vying with heaven in stature …
All are past and gone!
For truly great men, Look to this age alone.139
Then compare with it the one written by ‘Saddam’ on the Chinese internet:
Spring of Qinyuan: Blood
North country scene:
Thousands of miles are covered by crazy soldiers and blood …
When you wield the stick, I can only make use of primitive
weapons,
For the God and Allah to compete …
Everything was bombed!
Besides the bloody river and the cannons of the Gulf!140
In another circulated version of the poem, another ‘Saddam’ changed the
last stanzas to the following:
All and past and gone!
For truly romantic person, look into Hu Jintao.141
The authors of these poems, regardless of their exhibited sentiments, tended
to avoid embarrassing the party-state. Being sympathetic to Iraq or Saddam
Happy Division of Labour 159
was one thing, but initiating worship or martyrdom – which required a conscious bottom-up attempt to assign semiotic values to the targets – was quite
another. When an anti-governmental mission was lacking in the Saddam
‘worship’, his semiotic values became limited. The Chinese sympathy for
Saddam was therefore contained to the arena of anti-Americanism, which
should only be seen as a parallel to their deteriorating perception of the
United States in the same period, from 2002 to 2003 (see Table 5.3).
Half-hearted multimedia innovation of the virtual war veterans
The fact that the party-state found it easier to satisfy ordinary citizens in the
war in Iraq could be seen indirectly from other Horizon polls. Interpreting
the polls, the positions of those asking China not to support the war, not to
intervene in the war and to support ‘whatever measures were endorsed by
the UN Security Council’ were more or less included in the official obscure
response: therefore, only the 3.7 per cent asking the party-state to show its
support of the war could not be satisfied (see Table 5.4).
The design of the poll, as with that of the other polls conducted by the
same company, was a bit problematic when the options offered were not
mutually exclusive. People pushing for further Chinese involvement in the
war, for instance, could not find a suitable box to check. However, the
design also revealed how official obscurity might defuse public fanaticism.
Fung Hong of Red Net, a Chinese internet activist, summarized such a
dilemma: ‘the handicapped response shown by China towards the war
might make compatriots feel dubious. But after serious pondering, when
Table 5.3 The perception of the Chinese towards the United States (2002–2003)142
Response
Very appreciated
A bit appreciated
Not so appreciated
Very disliked
Percentage 2002
Percentage 2003
11.7
45.8
32.0
10.5
2.6
6.9
41.3
49.2
Table 5.4 Should the Chinese government support the war in Iraq?143
Response
Should support
Should not support
Should support the decision of UN Security Council
Should not intervene
Difficult to tell
Percentage
3.7
44.1
21.8
21.8
8.7
160
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
huge national interests were involved, we had no choice but to carefully
declare our position’.144
When the Chinese were that ‘careful’, they only followed the development of the war as if watching a soap opera on television. For instance, on
the internet, ‘Shangqiong Biluo’ presented a fictionalized serial titled Bush
Versus Saddam: The Competition of Wisdom Saga and narrating the development of the war in the ancient Chinese story-telling (yanyi) format.145 In the
traditional press market, Wang Yiwei, a PhD student at Fudan University, used
the rap format to explain the origin of war for readers of the Chinese Industrial
and Commercial Times.146 Beyond that, internet veterans in China were conservative about challenging the United States compared with internet users in
other countries at the same time. Such provocative multi-media products as
the simulated war game cited before, or hacked versions of a Congress speech
of Bush calling on the Iraqis to ‘go home and die’ were produced in other
countries, but never in China. The online task was taken over by anti-war
activists in other countries. Given the proven ability of the Chinese to launch
cyber-wars against official US websites, they could surely have contributed
more to their anti-American comrades if there had been a need to do so. This
is further proof of the mass psychology of the Chinese: although they were
not happy about the war, they were not too emotionally disturbed either
because their importance had already been noted by other groups.
5.3.2 Ideological layers: late civic response prompted
by a remote call
Chapter 4 has explored how ordinary citizens interpreted 9/11 using various
‘grassroots theories’. The Chinese looked at what happened in Iraq in a similar manner and warned as usual of possible US realist aggression. Going
beyond this, ordinary citizens finally responded to the call to civic nationalism, as illustrated by internet postings recommending the use of Chinese
culture to frame civic nationalist values in addition to the official version.
Chinese culture as a supplement of civic nationalism
According to the previously mentioned Horizon poll, one-fifth of the
Chinese suggested that the government should respond to the war according
to ‘whatever decision was made by the UN Security Council’, which implied
their support for war if a multilateral agreement was reached (see Table 5.4).147
This echoed the promotion of a utopian international order led by the UN as
expressed in the internet community.148 Such a gradual popularization of
multilateralism as an overriding value, above sovereignty supremacy, could
not have been observed in the previous cases.
As ordinary citizens became aware of the need to construct universal
values, their familiarity with simplified social science theories, as discussed
in Chapter 4, was applied in a slightly different manner. Huntington’s theory did not inspire the Chinese to construct their ‘civilizational values’ after
Happy Division of Labour 161
9/11, but there were visible attempts to do so during the war in Iraq. For
instance, there were wishful forecasts of a decreasing number of international confrontations after the war, because ‘Chinese culture would
assume the responsibility for modifying Western culture’.149 Predicting the
dissolution of the Islamic world after the war, and the formation of voluntary alliances between some Muslims and the United States/Europe/China,
‘Huashan Jian’ (meaning sword of Mt Hua) asked China, ‘a nation with a
tradition of forgiveness’, to be prepared to establish alliances with as many
Islamic nations as possible.150 There were calls for Chinese compatriots to
stress the famous Confucian teaching of zhongyong (moderation) – ‘a gentleman conforms to the principle of zhongyong because he adheres to the mean,
going neither too far nor not far enough’ – otherwise, ‘we are not China but
“US the second’’ ’.151 These were not only bottom-up attempts to highlight
the grandeur of Chinese culture, but also signals for people beyond national
borders to look to China.
Realist interpretation again: ‘kill a chicken to warn the monkeys’
Most ordinary Chinese citizens tended to believe that the war was being
waged as a warning to other countries including China. Speaking of oil,
‘Fengzhi Chuhuo’ warned that US control of the Middle East ‘actually meant
controlling the critical point of China’s stable economic development’.152
Speaking of geopolitics, ‘Wolung Feng’ (meaning crouching dragon and
phoenix) suggested that the US army would focus on North Korea next ‘to
directly blockade and enable surveillance of China’, therefore the ‘continual
long-term economic development of China would be irreversibly terminated’.153 Reiterating that ‘interest is the core for every country to formulate
foreign policies’, Zhou Bibo reminded readers that Iraq and the United States
had been allies when Iraq attacked Iran ‘and Kuwait’ – as had China and the
United States in the anti-terror coalition – but Iraq had later been betrayed
by the United States, ‘the most untrustworthy petty man’.154 To summarize
the above, borrowing a famous Chinese idiom, ‘Zhuanpai Naodai’ (meaning
turning brain) said the American intention in attacking Iraq was to ‘kill a
chicken to warn the monkeys (shaji jinghou)’, and worried that China might
be the next monkey.155 How should this ‘monkey’ respond is the topic of discussion in the coming section.
5.3.3 Strategic layers: rationalization
The easy collapse of Saddam was as shocking to ordinary citizens as to intellectuals. Given the availability of new proposals as prepared by other public
groups, ordinary citizens rationalized their strategic rhetoric online in different ways. Without feeling nationalistically compromised, those embracing
Guiguzi nationalism proposed collaboration with the United States.
Offensive proposals were heavily rationalized to avoid direct confrontation
with the hegemon. The concept of constructing China as a responsible state
162
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
was for the first time echoed in some internet postings. These were signals
that encouraged the party-state to synthesize these ideas into the ‘peaceful
rise’ lump sum strategy, as will be discussed in the conclusion.
Guiguzi nationalism as a strategy of collaboration
Although most Chinese people believed the war was about ‘killing a chicken to
warn the monkeys’, there were nonetheless suggestions that China should collaborate with the ‘killer’. When Jiang had explained the strategy of Guiguzi
nationalism in terms of grasping the most opportunities for China, this had
not easily been understood in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. But by now it
was well received as a Machiavellian strategy of collaborating with the ‘lion’.
For instance, ‘Aisuanle’ felt relieved when the United States gave the impression that the FGR was more of an enemy than was China.156 ‘Yidian Shengyin’
(meaning some voice) suggested China should walk closer to the anti-FGR
camp because he viewed anti-war nations as ‘maintaining their “righteous
stand” in the UN’, but repeatedly forcing Iraq to sign ‘unequal treaties’ (bupingdeng tiaoyue), a term that was meant to echo China’s pre-1949 experience.157
This user also called the war a ‘liberation war’, citing how the one-time occupation of West Germany, Japan and South Korea by the United States had made
these countries rich, and said that ‘in comparison, neighbouring countries with
no records of American occupation are all poor guys’.158 The argument was
straightforward: when you are not strong enough to oppose them, join them.
Challenge the self-fulfilling Taoist prophecy: rational
offensive nationalism
The dominant response among ordinary citizens was, however, to advise
the ‘monkeys’ not to be trapped by the trick of the ‘killer’. In direct contrast to the response of some intellectuals who were alarmed by the US
exhibition of force, one of the suggested public challenges was meant to
overcome the psychological warfare waged by the United States. This
pointed to a weakness in the strategies of Taoist and Guiguzi nationalism
that was yet to be fully exposed by intellectuals: when defensive realists
opted for cooperation if the levels of uncertainty or risks were high, the
assessment of ‘uncertainty’ or ‘risk’ was normatively driven by perceptions,
rather than positively driven by empirical data. Internet users like ‘Shuxue’
(meaning mathematics) explained how this normative assessment might
be exploited by the United States. According to the user, the precise US
intention in launching a war in Iraq was to confuse the perception of its
rivals by ‘launching psychological warfare against all nations in the world’,
so that other people – the ‘monkeys’ – would be afraid of US military capability and alleged invincibility.159 As Zhen Duo suggested, from the US
perspective, the wanted outcome of the war ‘would further increase the
sense of fear in the Middle East’, which could eventually stop the Islamic
world and its friends like China from uniting into a group.160
Happy Division of Labour 163
The purpose of ‘Shuxue’ and Zhen Duo was to point out the fact that the
Taoist and Guiguzi nationalist strategies might easily create a self-fulfilling
prophecy for the Chinese. As ‘even the media in China were used by the US’
to create a hegemonic image for the United States, the Chinese had already
helped in ‘constructing’ the United States as an invincible threat.161 According
to this logic, if China continued practising these strategies in the global arena,
it would be the exact outcome welcomed by the United States. Repudiating
the strategies would be their suggested way for China to handle this psychological warfare launched by the United States. This line of thought might
belong to the offensive nationalist line, but the line was already rationalized.
Like some intellectuals, internet users began looking for the type of
‘offensive challenge’ against the United States as in the ‘French model’:
‘although we may be unable to stop the American action, we could ask for
a price and get as much as possible’.162 While dismissing the idea that China
could still taoguang yanghui, ‘whole-heartedly opt for development’ and ‘ask
for ten to twenty years more’, ‘Wolung Feng’ only asked for a full symbolic
response to break the Chinese silence instead of having an overt antiAmerican confrontation.163 Suggesting the war in Iraq would soon lead to
‘WWIII’, which would be a ‘good opportunity’ for China to recover the
Diaoyutai Islands, and next the islands in the South China Sea, was a marginalized voice.164
The rationalized line not only avoided direct confrontation with the
United States, but also avoided direct confrontation with the official line.
For instance, instead of pointing out the impotency and obscurity of the
party-state, ‘Sikao De Wugui’ (meaning a thinking tortoise) cleverly quoted
Jiang’s words – ‘hegemonism and power politics have new manifestations’
in the Sixteenth CCP Party Congress – to ask China to ‘stand up’ after the
war in Iraq.165
Only a respondent: initial public understanding
of a ‘responsible state’
Responding to various calls from the party-state and intellectuals, a few
ordinary citizens made raw suggestions that China should assume the duty
of a responsible state before the peaceful rise theory was introduced in late
2003. These suggestions were not theorized in the same way as they had
been by Qin Yaqing or Zheng Bijian, but at least they suggested alternatives
that had not been frequently found in the public arena previously.
In general, the ‘responsibility’ of China was believed to be its maintenance
of world peace. But different conclusions could be drawn. According to users
like ‘Xiaoguo Guamin’ (meaning few people in a small country), the ‘responsibility of China as a big country to the international community’ included
its contribution in ‘ensuring long-term peace and security’ and ‘maintaining
stability of the oil market and supply’.166 China could only assume this
responsibility by ‘relying on the US capability and cooperating with the
164
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
United States to fight against terrorist forces in the Middle East’.167 The above
argument was similar to the theory of hegemonic stability in political economy: in order to contribute to world peace, China could be a junior partner
of the hegemon. Another very different attitude suggested that China had
the ‘responsibility’ to counterbalance US values by spreading Chinese culture so that ‘the creation of a peaceful world would no longer be a dream’.168
These understandings of ‘responsibility’, however primitive, seemed to be
in direct response to proposals of intellectuals like Qin and Zheng, revealing
that the role of ordinary citizens in the strategic layers was more of that of a
respondent than an initiator. The fact that they rationalized their rhetoric
was an indicator of how they were influenced by other groups in this dimension, instead of the other way round.
Chapter summary
In this final case study, the participation of the party-state and the different
public groups in the nationalist discourse and their division of labour has
been confirmed. Three findings can be summarized in terms of the politics
of public diversity. (1) Non-liberal intellectuals primarily targeted liberals.
Their discourse – from which both nationalists and leftists were somewhat
alienated – became increasingly detached from the subject matter in Iraq.
(2) The party-state no longer attempted to camouflage its stand that might
be viewed as pro-American, and showed a relatively relaxed attitude towards
expressions of other groups when it started to realize the spheres of interest
of the latter. (3) Ordinary citizens – given more autonomy in demonstrations
when compared with non-liberal intellectuals – did little to challenge the
legitimacy of the party-state once they had a greater voice. They seemed to
understand their responsibility in containing their anti-Americanism to a
level with which the party-state was comfortable.
In terms of the essence of the nationalist discourse, again three features are
summarized: (1) The party-state firmly guided the constructive process of
civic nationalism and introduced statist multilateralism to modify authoritarian liberalism, especially to repudiate its absolute definitions given in previous cases. The new values were better received by the public, who
contributed to the process by institutionalizing the values and adding a cultural dimension to them. (2) When the weaknesses of strategies like Taoist,
Guiguzi and offensive nationalism were further exposed, intellectuals took
the lead in designing a new strategy by defining China as a responsible state,
which was gradually received by the party-state and ordinary citizens.
(3) When the above division of labour was mutually understood, relative
harmony was observed in China in its response to the war in Iraq.
The findings of the questions posed in these case studies are complex, but
they are consistent. Their interpretation forms the basis of the concluding
chapter.
6
The Stabilizing Function of Chinese
Nationalism: Conclusion
In my Foreign Affairs article, I labelled this civilization Confucian. It is
more accurate, however, to use the term Sinic.
Samuel Huntington1
In July 2005, after London had endured two days of terrorist attacks on its
transport system, Tony Blair proposed tightening the British law to guard
against potential terrorist threats. According to the draft of his act, anyone
expressing support for terrorists, such as a little-known Muslim cleric Abu
Qatada (who was alleged to have Al-Qaeda connections), would be considered a terrorist and deported.2 There might be a few Abu Qatadas in China
after future bombings. But there will probably be few ‘Chinese Qatadas [sic]’
assuming the role of executioner, as the real Qatada was alleged to have
done. However, if a Chinese person were to express joy after the London
attack, as some Chinese had done after 9/11, would he or she also be
deported? Would the media depict his nation as a potential sponsor of terrorism, or a growth environment for xenophobic nationalism? To extrapolate, does this imply any alliance between the ‘Islamic’ and ‘Sinic’
civilizations as groundlessly prophesied by Huntington?
If one looks at the expressive layers of Chinese nationalism alone, one might
easily come to the same monolithic conclusion as did Zheng Yongnian, Zhao
Suisheng, Maria Chang and others along the lines that there is a comprehensive ‘revival’ of a Chinese nationalist campaign which could destabilize both
domestic and external order. If, however, the theoretical framework established
in Chapter 1 is applied, counter-intuitively, the opposite situation could be
derived. Indeed, the idea of a harmonious society that the Chinese government
and intellectuals are currently promoting can be seen as a natural extension of
the development of the complex Chinese nationalism discussed in the book.
The first part of this concluding chapter summarizes how separate processes
developed in the three layers of contemporary Chinese nationalism. The second part focuses on how the party-state, intellectuals and ordinary citizens
participated in the nationalist discourse primarily to advance their identities
165
166
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
and interests, rather than with the aim of projecting their nationalist rhetoric
(see Table 6.1). Using the findings from the summary, the final part shows
how, if all of these groups gained from the discourse in a positive-sum manner
when China remains a non-democratic nation, and if the developing civic
nationalist values of China have the potential to be accepted by its neighbouring countries, the combination of these developments would make
Chinese nationalism a stabilizing force for international relations and domestic politics – even if ‘Chinese Qatatas’ survive in the country.
6.1 Summary of findings on the layers of
Chinese nationalism
This section probes the following questions: (1) What are the major forms of
Chinese nationalism in the expressive layers, and how do they reflect the
voices of the public without destabilizing Sino-American relations? (2) How
has the construction of civic nationalism proceeded continuously while realist interpretations of America remain prevalent? (3) How have various groups
contributed to the repudiation of Taoist nationalism and became placated by
the new official international relations strategy called ‘peaceful rise’?
6.1.1 Expressive layers: the independent variables
As the cases show, the nationalist expressions were independent of other layers of Chinese nationalism. Once the public had found their voice and
expressed themselves for the domestic audience, their mission was completed. This section analyses the patterns of diplomatic, populist and cultural nationalist expression found in the four cases. Economic and territorial
expressions, the less commonly seen variants, are covered briefly. It is then
shown how, if these expressions are interpreted as representing the whole
picture, studying the prospects for Chinese nationalism might produce
deceptive – and sometimes dangerous – conclusions.
Diplomatic nationalism: from camouflage to counter-camouflage
From 1999 to 2003, the party-state continued to seek an official explanation
from the US government for its various actions, which is in full compliance
with international norms. The apology requests made in the first two cases, and
the party-state’s anti-terror positions declared in the last two cases, were the reference points for the public to assess whether reasonable diplomatic demands
had been met. The public might have had a slightly different focus, as is best
represented by the following internet message addressed to George W. Bush:
Mr Honourable President, to be frank, you really don’t understand the
substance of the Chinese. Let me sincerely tell you, the Chinese have the
following common characteristics: first, they act upon their words; second, they are very tolerant, but with limits; third, the Chinese can especially stand hardship.3
Table 6.1 Summary of the findings in the cases
Cases
Groups
Expressive layers
Ideological layers
Strategic layers
1. Belgrade Embassy
Bombing
(May 1999)
Top
The opening of Pandora’s
Box
● Face-saving camouflage
and beyond
● Appeasement (I): The
military and ‘power
struggle’ interlude
● Appeasement (II): A
calculated populist
experiment
● Appeasement (III):
Value-adding
revolutionary martyrs
Manipulated or voluntary
nationalism?
● Assessing the demonstrators: Patriots vs. Boxers
● Biased Western media vs.
biased mainland media
How to retreat from the
‘moralistic’ high ground?
● From American barbarism
to hegemonism
● From anti-hegemonism
to ‘anti-Blairism’
Loyal followers of
Dengism
● The standard application
of ‘Taoist nationalism’
● The Slavic disappointment
Human rights vs. what
sovereignty?
● The simplistic sovereignty
supremacy
● Merge of statist and civic
nationalist values by the
neo-authoritarians
● The simplistic human
rights supremacy
Realist perceptions
of twin conspiracies
● Basic logic leading to
conspiracies
● The domestic conspiracy
Orthodoxy of Taoist
nationalism
● Offensive realism and Yan
Xuetong: limited modifcations to Taoist proposals
● The Marxist rebuttal and
the reincarnation of
Chen Boda
Intermediary
Bottom
The general eruption
●
●
●
Offensive realism and
the ‘New Cold War’
Initiation of ‘Falun Gong
Continued
167
Demonstrations, cyber
warfare and their triple
missions
Sense and/or sensibility?
168
Table 6.1 Continued
Cases
Groups
Expressive layers
Ideological layers
● The international
Nominal memorial of the
martyrs
conspiracy
● Boycott of American
products: ideological vs.
economic rationale
A new type of camouflage
When humanitarianism
and appeasement
meets sovereignty
● The ‘two very sorries’ farce
● ‘Domineering action with
and the Chinese interprehegemonic logic’
● The ‘first convergence’:
tation of the ‘accident’
● 34,567 and 450 million:
when humanitarianism
the under-studied numerimingles with sovereignty
cal embarrassment
● Appeasement (I): missing
demonstrations and flexible
‘public opinion’
● Appeasement (II): the populist element in the military
rescue campaign
● Appeasement (III): the mythmaking campaign for
Wang Wei
Limited coalition against
Civic nationalism, in
governmental impotency
contempt
● The younger new leftists
● Side-effects for values of
and the ‘premature ejacu‘downgrading’ the collision
Strategic layers
●
2. Spy-plane collision incident
(April 2001)
Top
Intermediary
●
diplomacy’
Rationality behind rhetoric
Attempts at institutionalizing Taoist nationalism
● Shortcomings of a copycat: can Taoist nationalism handle accidents?
● The National Security
Council Initiative
Intellectual impatience
with Taoist nationalism
● Taoist nationalism in
non-liberal
lation of the Chinese
government’
Wang the martyr: individualistic heroism vs.
collective heroism
Bottom
3. The 9/11 Incident
and the war in
Afghanistan
Sept.–Dec. 2001)
Top
Revision: time frame
and interest check-point
●
● Taoist nationalism in
●
liberal revision: the
‘dirty diplomatic wisdom’
● Offensive realism or
Bismarckianism: alternative suggestions
Reading censored messages Unilateralism as the ‘bigger Outright repudiation of
picture’
Taoist nationalism
● The unreported protest:
● ‘Lump sum’ conspiracies:
● Looking for the end of
virtual and reality
comparison with the postthe weak stage of Taoism
● Cyberwar: asymmetrical
● The trend of engagebombing versions
warfare between the Chinese
ment in the offensive
publics and US government
proposals
● The Wang Wei memorial
● Blind-spot of polling:
campaign: China’s Tom
dialectical unity of
Cruise or China’s Oedipus?
sensation and rationality
Friendship underground
The ‘supra-universal’ defini- ‘Guiguzi nationalism’ and
tion of anti-terrorism
Jiang’s divorce with Deng
● Semi-covert contribution
● Fighting the ‘unholy trinity’
● Continuity from Taoist
nationalism (I): riskof Chinese membership in
against sovereignty
● Berlin in China: the
aversion from direct
the anti-terror coalition
● Be careful: dismissal of
‘second convergence’ of
confrontation
● Continuity from Taoist
anti-Americanism
sovereignty and human
● From Americastan to
rights by means of antinationalism (II): the longEast Turkistan: from Panterrorism
term realist agenda
● Response to the official
Chinese to ethnic
nationalism?
call: the de facto National
●
Realist warning (I): against
the Republican administration and the New Cold War
Realist warning (II): against
the Chinese communist
administration
●
169
Continued
170
Table 6.1 Continued
Cases
Groups
Expressive layers
●
Ideological layers
New martyrs again: who
are they?
Strategic layers
Security Council
Response to the intellectual
and public call: ‘grasping
the opportunities’
● Framing the strategy of
‘Guiguzi nationalism’
Responsible state in the
realist encirclement
● Realist juxtaposition of
economic and noneconomic activism
● Taoist assumptions
continued
● Early warnings against the
US post-9/11 aggression
● Early construction of a
responsible state
Learning from terrorists?
●
Intermediary
The war of declarations
(round one)
● The liberal ‘one night
American’ declarations
● The journalist rebellion and
the clapping farce
● Non-liberal
● Fight-back against the
Wall Street Journal
A linkage between nationalism and terrorism?
● ‘Fanatic nationalism’:
another unholy trinity
● Anti-American jihad antiJapanese guerrilla?
● Reinstatement of Gan Yang’s
prophecy on the two
concepts of liberty
Bottom
Challenging the government
with joy, and bin Laden
● Jubilation abounds
● Cross-group counter-attack:
hit back at ‘one-nightAmericans’
● Hero-worship in line (I):
from anti-ETIM heroes to
Social science theories in
popular perception
● Karma and relativism:
the grass-roots version
● The clash of civilizations:
the grass-roots version
●
●
Rehearsing Chaoxianzhan:
the war of unlimited
boundaries
Isolating from the US,
engaging with the world
Osama bin Laden
Hero-worship in line (II):
from Che Guevara to
Osama bin Laden
● Hero-worship in line (III):
from Wang Wei to
Osama bin Laden
Confident demonstration of
pro-Americanism
●
4. The war in
Top
Iraq (Jan. 2002–
May 2003)
●
●
●
Intermediary
Obscured neutrality in the
anti-war globe
From camouflage to transparency: the Texas farewell
and the SARS crisis
Public demonstration:
different scales of Approval
The war of declarations
(round two)
● The non-liberal anti-war
declaration: ‘intellectual
populism’
● The non-liberal declaration
vs. Deng Liqun and Wang
Xiaodong
● The failed attempt of Yu Jie
and the liberals
● The IRI epilogue: nationalist
Revision of ‘authoritarian
liberalism’
Towards a responsible
state
The ‘third convergence’:
adjusting sovereignty
absolutism by multilateralism
● The US human rights
conditions records
● The PNAC conspiracy interpreted by the peripheral
party-state
Institutionalization of civic
nationalism
● Institutionalization of the
human rights value: the
human rights society
● Institutionalization of the
sovereignty value: international law seminars
● Realist supplementation
●
●
●
Continuation of Guiguzi
nationalism by Jiang
Zemin
Blueprint of the responsible state by Hu Jintao
Not to be Saddam II
●
●
●
Learning from Saddam
(I): today we are Iraqis
Learning from Saddam
(II): offensive stand
without actions and the
‘French model’
Lesson from Saddam
(III): U-turn to Taoist
nationalism
171
Continued
172
Table 6.1 Continued
Cases
Groups
Expressive layers
Ideological layers
professionalism or
professional nationalism?
Bottom
Less censorship, less
nationalism?
● The registered anti-war
demonstration
● The incomplete Saddam
‘worship’ workshop
● Half-hearted multimedia innovation of the virtual
war veterans
Strategic layers
Lesson from Saddam
(IV): constructing a
responsible state
Rationalization
●
Late civic response prompted
by a remote call
● Chinese culture as a
supplement of civic
nationalism
● Realist interpretation again:
‘kill a chicken to warn
the monkeys’
●
●
●
Guiguzi nationalism
as a strategy of collaboration
Challenge the selffulfilling Taoist
prophecy: rational
offensive nationalism
Only a respondent: initial public understanding of a ‘responsible
state’
Conclusion 173
These comments, which represent a commonly seen online line of thought,
suggest that most Chinese people preferred consistency between official
rhetoric and behaviour (‘act upon their words’) to any sort of face-saving
camouflage. They preferred to be treated seriously, instead of receiving symbolic insults such as the compensation of US$34,567 after the Collision.
They regarded their patience and tolerance as a bargaining chip that should
be acknowledged because it hinted at their unexploited potential. Whether
they personally did ‘act upon their words’ in the nationalist discourse, however, is another matter, to be discussed later.
No matter whether the demands were met or not, the main function of
diplomatic nationalism rested on its status as the platform offered by the
party-state for the public’s demonstration of patriotism. Inter-group dialogues based on the official response were observed as follows:
1. After the Bombing, the party-state played an active role in supplying false,
or holding back important, information – such as its delay in announcing
Clinton’s apology and its unwillingness to disclose the Chinese compensation paid for the damage done to the US embassy during anti-American
demonstrations – to camouflage its weak diplomatic reaction to the US’s
stand. Such camouflage simply served to invite the public to highlight the
official weakness.
2. After the Collision, as seen from the two ‘very sorries’ settlement, among
others, the party-state no longer created false news but ‘only’ distorted
information. The public were still able to establish the truth.
3. After 9/11, the major state-sponsored camouflage was to downplay the
Chinese contribution to the anti-terror coalition, which could, at most,
be regarded as supplying selective information. The public continued to
know the details of what was going on.
4. In the war in Iraq, the party-state exhibited its diplomatic strength and
weakness in a more transparent manner. Public resentment of the regime
expressed in the form of anti-American rhetoric was reduced, if not
absent. The frank acknowledgement of Beijing of having played a small
role in attempting to prevent the war from happening, for instance, was
less vigorously attacked by the public.
It is therefore reasonable to expect more transparent diplomatic information to be supplied by the party-state in the future. As long as the credibility of the information is guaranteed, ordinary citizens tend to understand
the party-state’s need for them to contain their opinions to diplomacy
alone without touching on sensitive issues relating to the legitimacy of the
CCP dictatorship.
The above observation deviates from the popular understanding of the
concept of ‘face (mianzi)’ in Chinese diplomacy. Since American Chinese
scholar Hu Hsien-chin introduced ‘the Chinese Concept of Face’ to the West
174
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
in 1944, the Chinese people, their nation and their nationalism have been
well known for the importance they attach to ‘face’.4 As summarized by
Hwang Kwang-kuo, the sociological authority studying ‘face’ in China,
when Chinese people suspect they are losing ‘face’, their ego is damaged.5
Therefore the Chinese not only have to passively maintain their ‘face’, but
also actively fight for better ‘face’.6 In another article, Hwang introduced the
concept of ‘virtual face’ – ‘face’ constructed by marketing and verbal propaganda instead of being backed up with substance – for the Chinese.7
Scholars have reasonably suggested that the camouflage-oriented state
behaviour of the PRC in the international arena was a ‘face-saving’ device.
As one of the new-generation China specialists, and one who had read
Chinese sources extensively, Gries dedicated his whole book China’s New
Nationalism to tracing the need of the Chinese to ‘save face’ for the origin
of their nationalism.8 However, every government, including Beijing and
Washington, would in some way distort facts in the name of promoting
national pride, which is different from Hu’s or Gries’s understanding of
‘face-saving’. The term, in their understanding, is a motivation instead of a
decoration. In the past, simple ‘face-saving’ measures in China might have
been narcissistic enough to pacify the whole nation. Now, owing to the
easy access to worldwide information, camouflage – as seen from the cases –
could be counter-productive. The Chinese still like to save ‘face’, as do all
human beings, but it is difficult to see such a characteristic as the origin of
diplomatic nationalism.
Populist nationalism: the inward-looking masses
One of the most exciting observations of Chinese nationalism for the West
was the recent demonstration of populist nationalism. But demonstrations
and presenting anti-war declarations to the United States were insignificant
when compared with both bottom-up anti-war campaigns conducted in
Western Europe and top-down anti-US demonstrations mobilized in countries like Iran. The existence of populist nationalism in China did not cause
the United States to treat China as a pluralistically decision-making nation.
When demonstrations took place in China, the first question to be raised
abroad was always the voluntary nature of the organizers and participants.
But this is probably not a meaningful question to ask. The real momentum
of populist nationalism instead rests on the interaction between the partystate and the public. Various models of demonstration can be identified from
the cases:
1. The first type is encouraged – or deliberately not intervened with – by the
party-state, represented by the first two days of anti-American demonstrations after the Bombing.
2. The second type can be described as ‘approved but contained’ by the
party-state, such as some of the anti-war demonstrations in response to
Conclusion 175
the war in Iraq. Anti-Japanese demonstrations in 2005, organized by several ‘patriotic’ websites but in which university students were discouraged
from taking part, also belong to this category.9
3. The third type includes the unsuccessful initiatives vetoed by the partystate, such as the absence of large-scale demonstrations after the Collision
(despite the small-scale Hainan protest), 9/11 and, to a certain extent, the
called-off non-liberal demonstration in response to the war in Iraq.
The categorization suggests that when demonstrations aim at – or might
hint at – questioning the basic official policy, such as the attempt to ‘accidentalize’ the Collision, the membership of China in the anti-terror coalition and the return to Maoist diplomacy in the reform era, they are more
likely to be banned. The more restrained the demands, like those of the student protestors in 2003 who almost shouted taoguang yanghui as a slogan,
the more likely the demonstrators are to be tolerated. Also, when a case
develops over an extended period, such as the war in Iraq, owing to the relative certainty of the outcome, the party-state needs not hold a totally supportive or unsupportive attitude towards the demonstrations. But when a
case occurs more unexpectedly and the outcome is therefore less predictable,
to prevent a loss of control because of the uncertainty the party-state tends
to be more assiduous in guiding public opinion. In addition to this, the flexible but authoritarian approach of the party-state to populist nationalism
was crafted with a purpose: it gave the party-state a chance to make use of
the relatively primitive polls and unscientific ‘public opinion’ in China on
the diplomatic table.
The intellectuals’ obsession with the quantity of support for their declarations, where non-liberals in 2003 ‘overtook’ liberals in 2001 by a margin of
15 (506 vs. 491), by cheating, and the attempt of internet activists to create
multiple pseudo-identities to launch a cyberwar against official US websites,
belonged to the same populist nationalist mindset. Such demonstrations of
quantity were inward-looking, targeting liberals and the party-state instead
of the United States. After all, whether 500 or 5000 Chinese intellectuals
signed a declaration and whether the hacker named ‘Crystal, I Love You’ was
one lone person or a thousand meant little to the Americans, and would
only receive the same official comment from the United States: ‘the Chinese
people have a right to express their ideas’.10
These case studies do not suggest that populist nationalism in China was
comparable to the Boxers or the Red Guards. Attempts at linking contemporary demonstrations to the officially mobilized movements in history simply
overlook the independent public identities developed in the last 20 years. If
a comparison must be drawn, it is more relevant to do so between contemporary populist nationalism in China with the model of South American
delegative democracy as theorized by Guillermo O’Donnell in 1994, that is,
the attempts of polyarchic governments to institutionalize populism and to
176
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
construct public opinion – by both incorporating and excluding populist
participants in the decision-making process – in a secondary manner.11
Cultural nationalism: communist, nationalist and tragic martyrs
One convenient practice of the party-state for diverting nationalist attention
from targeting the regime is to construct new nationalist icons (like Xu
Xinghu, Shao Yunhuan, Zhu Ying and Wang Wei) or nationalist hatred (as
occurred after the deaths of six police members at the hands of ETIM).
Intellectuals welcome any assignment of cultural nationalist icons because
of their comparative advantage in interpreting them.12
Constructing a set of communist traditions (martyrdom included) from a
seemingly bottom-up but de facto top-down manner, as described by
Chinese cultural critic Hong Changtai, contributed significantly to the success of the Communist Revolution in 1949.13 Large-scale funerals had been
part of the values-spreading process of revolutionary movements since the
French Revolution, as noted by French scholar Mona Ozouf.14 The ‘construction’ of the three Belgrade martyrs was modelled on the construction of
both communist and revolutionary martyrs. In addition, the Belgrade martyrs received considerable attention from nationalists, just as the old martyrs
had served as spokespersons for the communists. Most people worshiped
them as part of the official patriotic package without looking deeply into
their personal (journalist) identities.
After the creation of the martyrdom of Wang Wei, changes were observed.
This was evident from discourse study of the various linguistic sources dedicated to him. The bottom-up glorification of Wang started before the official
myth-making movement and public worship of him often related his death
to the impotency of the party-state. Instead of being regarded merely as a
nationalist icon, Wang came to be viewed as a tragic hero like Yue Fei, the
loyal anti-Jurchen general who was beheaded by the Southern Song Dynasty
‘for no reason’ (moxuyou). The changes suggest that officially constructed
cultural nationalism created a double-edged sword for the party-state.
After that, the language of martyrdom became a platform for the partystate and the different public groups to communicate with one another. The
trend survived 9/11, as witnessed by the (partial) transfer of tragic and antiestablishment worship to bin Laden and Che Guevara, as well as the lukewarm response towards the official idols: the anti-ETIM martyrs. When the
party-state relaxed control during the war in Iraq, Saddam Hussein – despite
his ‘tragic’ ending as the Ace of Spades – failed to become bin Laden II.
By contrast, the effort made to erect inverse icons – traitors of nationalism, or vernacularly hanjian – was limited. That does not mean the Chinese
did not exert pressure on those who epitomized pro-Western sentiment:
‘one-night-American bastard’ was a label frequently given to liberals on the
internet. But when such terminology almost disappeared from official
rhetoric, intellectuals who referred to the terms – like Gan Yan – came under
Conclusion 177
immediate pressure. The Chinese restraint in creating the opposite of
nationalist martyrs was exercised for practical reasons: those regarded in the
Communist past as the most infamous hanjian – like Zeng Guofan
(1811–1872) and Li Hongzhang (1835–1901) – have been ‘rehabilitated’ by
some historians in recent years, largely because of their unveiled anti-establishment inclinations.15 When the definition of hanjian itself became more
controversial, the Chinese naturally found it less convenient to use the term.
Economic/territorial nationalism: the scrutiny of money and blood
Unlike diplomatic, cultural and populist expressions of nationalism that
have limited opportunity cost, economic and territorial expressions of
nationalism – money and blood – proved to be too costly for the Chinese
politics of the public to play upon. Zu Zhiguo believed that economic
nationalist slogans like ‘boycotting Japanese products’ would only be jeered
at by the public in the 1980s.16 In order to explain why the youth in China
were suspicious of the US involvement in the war in Iraq, Chen and
Churchill claimed that the response was not due to any ideological or value
differences, but only represented an economic realist competition within the
same capitalist framework.17 These two extremes are not supported by the
research for this book. Economic boycott was not absent from the cases as Zu
implied. But it was only explicitly proposed after the Bombing. As with the
short-term anti-Japanese boycott slogans found in 2005, the earlier boycott
campaign was not economically driven as Chen and Churchill suggested,
but was ideologically based. The actual effect of such a boycott was minimal.
The lack of interest in an economic boycott is precisely the result of the
‘pragmatic’ nature of Chinese nationalism, as Zhao Suisheng repeatedly
stressed. Economic systems that could make sanctions work, such as the
ancient Chinese tributary system in which ‘barbarians’ had to depend on
the generosity of the imperial rulers, no longer exist in the twenty-first century. The globalized nature of market products and the introduction of foreign venture capital into China made boycotts technically impractical.
Economic nationalism was emphasized in a constructive sense in China,
that is, as a means of enabling the Chinese economy to catch up with the
world, although over-confidence in the Chinese economy is overwhelmingly noted on the internet. As studied by different polls conducted by Yu
Xunda and the PDO, Chinese people almost always supported increasing
Sino-US economic transactions, even though they believed such deals
might be ‘benefiting the US more’.18 As Mitter says, for the Chinese, developing alternative products is a much more effective means of competing
with the ‘US hegemony’ in the economic or cultural sphere.19 Anti-WTO
economic nationalism was almost absent from the nationalist discourse in
our cases studies.
Another little-seen nationalist expression from the cases, but one which
Maria Chang preferentially stressed, is irredentism. As seen from their
178
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
overwhelming stress on the inviolability of sovereignty, the Chinese are
undoubtedly conscious of defending their territories. Irredentist response
to Sino-American relations was, however, rarely found apart from two
exceptions: the navy’s journey to the Diaoyutai Islands after the Bombing
and the rescue campaign for Wang Wei by the PLA in China’s disputable
EEZ. Still, they were more or less meant to protect existing territories
rather than recover historically lost territories.
6.1.2 Ideological layers: ‘authoritarian liberalism’
As long as ordinary citizens tended to focus on expressions and intellectuals
considered the strategic layers of nationalism their arena, the party-state was
able to maintain a firm hold on the construction of civic nationalism. There
was a need for a response to global universalism which would elevate the
degree of China’s ‘like-mindedness’ to the United States, as American political scientist James Huntley called it.20 In taking this line, the party-state
gradually gave up its practice of countering US hegemonism to the public,
and created ‘authoritarian liberalism’ as its civic nationalist values. This language of values is likely to have more credibility in the long run for the
Chinese people, as well as others beyond China’s borders.
Anti-US hegemonism: from moralistic to realist interpretation
The findings from the cases suggest that the party-state gradually handed
over its old duty of interpreting US intentions to the public, which exhibited a greater belief in primordial nationalism and conspiracy theories.
Several identifiable trends can be regarded as being encouraging in terms
of rationality of the Chinese. The interpretation of US interests was no
longer solely based on morals; instead, ‘Americans pursuing their national
interests’ became an understandable issue.21 The term assigned to the
United States was toned down from ‘hegemonism’ to ‘hegemonic logic’,
and further to ‘hegemonic mindset’, suggesting that the Chinese were
consciously avoiding assigning the term ‘hegemonic essence’ to the
United States.
The change in wording is by no means coincidental. In his autobiography (published in 2002), diplomat Chen Youwei, who had worked in the
PRC Embassy in Washington, identified ‘anti-US hegemonism’ as one of
the ‘ten mis-estimations’ of Chinese foreign policy.22 The prevalent realist
interpretation of Sino-American relations produced a result that was different from the popular perception: even when the Chinese were opposing a certain US policy, they might not necessarily label the United States
as ‘anti-Chinese’ because the US policy was only being assessed under
rational realist calculations. As Prasenjit Duara rightly pointed out,
‘nationalism can’t simply be a civic nationalism based on rights’.23 It also
has to appeal to ‘ideas of deep histories and ethnic, racial, cultural identities for mobilization’.24
Conclusion 179
Rejection of US civic nationalism
Before the construction process of civic nationalism was complete, a prerequisite had to be met. That was the rejection of civic nationalist values
designed by others. The first attempt by the Chinese to construct their own
civic nationalist values was not to create something out of the blue: instead,
when Heshang introduced Westernization into everyday life in 1988, it can
be seen as an attempt by its producers, led by the now-exiled Su Xiaokang,
to transplant US civic nationalist values – the broadly defined human rights,
liberty, freedom, and the like – to China. In the 1990s, however, these values
gradually came to be taken as conditional rather than universal. The cases
that have been covered here confirm the impossibility of directly transplanting such values into China for the following reasons:
1. The belief in human rights above sovereignty was interpreted as an imperialist disguise. To the Chinese, the essential reason to reject US liberalism
was not ideological difference, but instead alarms over US advancement
of ‘liberal realism’, as John Ikenberry terms it.25
2. The US hold on universalism was often seen as implying discrimination
against most cultures and systems other than those of the United States.
As revealed in the memoir of former Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, ‘playing the humanitarian card’ was seen broadly by Chinese – as well as their
friends in the developing world – as a means for Western repression of the
Third World.26
3. As will soon be discussed, the Americans were thought to have neglected
the problems caused by the poverty of people in the Third World – basic
problems of livelihood in terms of positive liberty – but were only interested in subverting foreign regimes in the name of supporting the negative liberty of others.
4. It was believed that many unhealthy elements – such as the ‘three evils’
defined in China, which included terrorism, religious extremism and ethnic separatism – could easily be advanced through expressions of humanitarian and democratic discourse.
These negativities and the hypocrisy of US values were summed up in concepts like ‘manipulated democracy’, as Wen Jiabao expressed it in the United
States in 2003.27 Whatever had been respected as civic nationalist values by
Americans were likely to be denied by civic nationalists in China.
This tactics of the Chinese in constructing their own values by refusing
values of ‘the other’ might be traced from their post-colonial experience.
One is the experience of Taiwan, which was ruled by Japanese imperialists
from 1895 to 1945. During colonial rule, the Japanese tried to ‘Japanize’
native Taiwanese in the Kominka Movement by linking images of modernization and the spirit of bushido as Taiwan-Japanese civic nationalist values.
However, when Taiwan was returned to the Chinese, the KMT Nationalists
180
Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
tried strenuously to shed remnants of Japanese influence, including these
values.28 A more recent example can be seen in the case of Hong Kong, where
intellectuals are now debating the relevance of British civic nationalist values. Although China was never colonized by the United States, the determination of the Chinese to construct their own civic nationalist values was
partly a result of their rejection of ‘the US other’ in the name of patriotism.
Authoritarian liberalism: a four-stage construction
The construction of civic nationalist values in China was not a stand-alone
process, but was instead shaped and reshaped by external challenges that
have been identified in the case studies. As has been shown, there were four
stages in the attempts to merge the values of human rights and sovereignty
in the course of constructing civic nationalist values:
1. In 1999, when the party-state merely reversed the Blair doctrine and
argued that sovereignty – and various international laws defining it –
should be placed higher than human rights, the absolutism of sovereignty was their sole solution without any real substance to back it up. It
was indeed the official tone of Qian Qichen throughout the 1990s, when
he frequently said that ‘sovereignty, the rights to live and the rights to
develop’ were most essential for Third World countries.29
2. In 2001, because the Collision had taken place in disputable territory and
the loss of a human life became China’s trump card, the party-state suddenly highlighted human rights as almost as important a civic nationalist
value as sovereignty. However, neither the division of labour between the
two nor their compatibility were defined, and this resulted in the dismissive reception of both by the public.
3. 9/11 recharged the process when the whole nation understood the need
to construct its own values in the universal anti-terrorist rhetoric. This
opportunity was taken to amplify the ‘double standards’ of US humanitarianism, while the need for the protection of positive liberty by the state
machine – instead of advocacy of negative liberty against statist control –
became the consensus Chinese values.
4. In 2002–03, owing to China’s need to articulate its righteous stand in the
war in Iraq, the merit of multilateral negotiation on domestic affairs of
third nations was added to the emphasis on sovereignty; the importance
of negative liberty in Iraq was acknowledged as long as the regime was
failing to satisfy a minimal level of positive liberty for its people. Such values addressed the limitations of sovereignty and acknowledged the existence of the trans-border nature of human rights in the globalized order,
even though the revisions were, for the time being, still made symbolically more than anything else.
Analysis of the four stages enables us to summarize the set of codes developed for Chinese civic nationalism – particularly as the party-state perceives
Conclusion 181
them because the publics often lagged behind – as follows:
●
●
●
●
●
China takes good care of the positive liberty of the Chinese and is obliged
to improve their well-being as much as possible.
China defends the ability of states to supply positive liberty by upholding
the inviolability of the sovereignty of all countries.
China is willing to address negative liberty of a trans-border nature when
regimes fail to maintain minimal positive liberty for their people.
China, instead of holding sovereignty as a static value, supports international democracy in terms of statist multilateralism, which is seen as an
acknowledged mechanism for removing ineffective states that fail to protect the positive liberty of their people.
China does not support countries placing human rights above sovereignty and emphasizing negative liberty on an absolute basis.
The most important development of such values, deviating from the definition given by mainstream Chinese human rights scholars like Wu Zhongxi,
is their deviation from dichotomization.30 Sovereignty is no longer absolute;
positive liberty is not a full substitute for negative liberty; individualism and
collectivism are not mutually exclusive; human rights beyond borders are no
longer a taboo, and should no longer be viewed as ‘human rights nihilism’.31
In September 2005, when Hu Jintao proposed a reform of the UN Security
Council, his agenda featured many of these obvious civic nationalist values
of the Chinese.32 They became much clearer to identify than they had been
in 1999 (when the time frame chosen here began).
The above values could be framed as ‘authoritarian liberalism’ or ‘statism
with a human face,’ as borrowed from the US neo-conservative jargon ‘conservatism with a human face’.33 Comparing US neo-conservatism with
Chinese nationalism is not totally arbitrary. As Chen and Churchill suggested, after 9/11, the most significant development of American democracy
was its ‘move toward a more restrictive and authoritarian form of neo-liberalism’, which can be proven by the enactment of legislation that has
restricted civil rights and suspended the usual protection of criminal procedure.34 This version of the post-9/11 authoritarianism of the United States,
surprisingly, rather resembled the civic nationalist values promoted by
Beijing. With China adopting humanitarian language and the United States
applying authoritarian measures, the twenty-first century might well, ironically, provide an unexpected way of bridging the differences in values
between the two nations.
6.1.3 Strategic layers: peaceful rise as a compromise
The strategy outlined by Deng Xiaoping, that of Taoist nationalism, was
the strategy of consensus for China in the early post-Tiananmen era. But as
the offensive realist intellectual Yan Xuetong told his nation, ‘since 1994, the
usefulness of this strategy in maintaining national interests has been
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ever-decreasing; whereas the Chinese threat theory is increasingly popular
[in the West]’.35 The real challenge to this strategy did not come until 1999,
when its flaws in handling the United States were incrementally exposed
by the public. By participating in the nationalist discourse from 1999 to
2003, the different public groups (particularly the intellectuals) contributed significantly in directing the changes and exposing the full weaknesses of the former official strategy.
Taoist nationalism: major weaknesses exposed
Some of these weaknesses were closely related to the inept performance of
the party-state in handling the events that surrounded the Bombing and the
Collision. They included its lack of a time frame for ending China’s projection of itself as a weaker nation; its lack of a mechanism for guaranteeing any
US concessions even when China acted in a concessive manner; its isolationist tendency, which contradicted the globalized trend; its implication of
a long-term challenge to the United States as long as it harboured the China
threat theory; and its lack of a direct communication mechanism to eliminate unnecessary misunderstanding when accidents occurred.
Other areas of weakness in the strategy were identified after 9/11. They
included its lack of magnitude assessment to differentiate verbal protest from
military measures; its danger of turning the strategy into a self-fulfilling
prophecy by encouraging the United States to launch psychological warfare on
China; its incompatibility with the new international environment in which
nations tended to speak of global responsibility; and its deficiencies in boosting
the national morale of the Chinese people. The potential inability of the strategy to settle the Taiwan issue says it all: if China continued practising taoguang
yanghui, it would risk backing down on its separatist claims; if it repudiated the
doctrine, it would be seen as considering itself as confident and powerful
enough to reverse the weak stage of Taoism and challenge the hegemon.
This long list of shortcomings accounts for the way the public turned
Taoist nationalism into a new strategy. In December 2003, when Wen Jiabao
made his first official visit to the United States, peaceful rise (heping jueqi)
became the new mandate of Chinese foreign policy.36 When Hu Jintao
attended the Boao Forum for Asia in June 2004, the theory was renamed as
‘peaceful development (heping fazhan)’ but the former name remains a
more popular choice in everyday usage.37 ‘Peaceful rise’ is boldly regarded
here as a compromise of the diverse politics of the Chinese public and is seen
as a strategy built on three pillars. These pillars are: (1) the continued legitimacy of Guiguzi nationalism (which was a modification of Taoist nationalism); (2) a rationalized version of offensive nationalism; and (3) the concept
of making China a ‘responsible state’ framed by constructivist tactics.
Without the participation of the different public groups in the nationalist
discourse in response to Sino-American relations, the dismantling of the old
strategy might have taken much longer.
Conclusion 183
Peaceful rise Pillar One – Guiguzi nationalism: Remnants
of Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin
After 9/11, Jiang revised the Dengist policy as Guiguzi nationalism. Two cornerstones of the strategy deserve particular credit in the revision of the Taoist
nationalist weaknesses. The first is the creation of a direct communication
mechanism with the United States after 9/11 – despite the attempt to establish a NSC being called off – to minimize accidental misunderstanding.
When Wen Jiabao visited Washington in December 2003, further institutionalization of a Sino-American senior communication mechanism became
a central theme in developing ‘Sino-US constructive and cooperative relations’.38 The second is the abandonment of the isolationist doctrine of locking in the country and the subsequent embracing of global engagement. The
continuous engagement of China in the world and Sino-American cooperation, according to the same logic of Premier Wen, should be ‘engaged’,
‘respected’ and ‘tolerated’ in an active manner without harming the ‘different social systems and cultural traditions’.39
Some of the Guiguzi nationalist tenets, such as the continued implication
that China would challenge the United States in the long term, had to be further modified. But the revisions identified above were largely retained and
absorbed, albeit with some modifications in phrasing, into the peaceful rise
theory, constituting a symbolic continuation of the legacies of Deng and
Jiang. This continuation helped to counter the ever-present, disturbing
power struggle argument in which the peaceful rise theory was seen as a
competition between the old and new leaderships.40
Peaceful rise Pillar Two – offensive nationalism: from
radical rhetoric to a rationalized escape clause
Offensive realism remained a major strand in the rhetoric of China’s diverse
society. But it was never a legitimate option, as even its patrons perceived.
No matter how radically the Chinese might express themselves on the internet and (to a lesser extent) in journals, polling results almost always suggested that there was a coexisting rationality. In the four cases discussed,
demands raised under the offensive nationalist framework became increasingly rationalized. This offensive realist language is best viewed as the ‘revisionist form of offensive realism’, to use a term coined by Taiwanese scholar
Wang Yuan-kang, who – in his study of imperial China – defined this format
as the ‘intentions of a state to change the balance of power in its favour,
which may not reflect actual behaviour if the state lacks such capability’.41
This rationalized form of offensive nationalism had the capacity to remedy a number of identified weaknesses in the Taoist nationalist strategy
because it demanded that China take a moral stand, instead of maintaining
the obscured position of Taoist nationalism. If the declaration of a stand did
not trigger major US retaliation, the issue of lack of magnitude assessment
would be addressed. The remnants of its offensive nature could counter the
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tendency of the Taoist nationalist strategy to create a self-fulfilling
prophecy. Given these contributions, this rationalized form of offensive
nationalism should be regarded as the second cornerstone of the peaceful
rise theory. But this cornerstone is often neglected, because the name
‘peaceful rise’ invites one to reconsider the viewpoint of Zbigniew
Brzezinski: that the theory rules out all possibility of an offensive element
for economic development and peace.42 From such perspective, a conflict
over the Taiwan question would be the ‘litmus test’ and the potential
‘Waterloo’ of the whole theory.43
However, the peaceful rise theory already subtly provided an ‘escape
clause’ which was reserved for the Taiwan issue, for which most Chinese
tolerated no taoguang yanghui at all. The logic of the theory was straightforward: every nation, in its process of ‘peaceful rising’, had to defend its
territorial integrity – instead of adding irredentist claims as the Nazis did –
in an offensive manner. One favourite historical example cited by Wen
Jiabao in referencing the theory was to compare the willingness of
Americans to ‘pay a heavy price’ to defend ‘the principle that “the Union
is perpetual” ’ to the Chinese determination to uphold its one-China principle.44 Most Chinese endorsed the position stated in the CCP’s Party
School media Learning Times: ‘we cannot say that China’s use of force as a
last resort to settle the Taiwan issue and its exercise of the legitimate right
to unite Taiwan by force would signify that the peaceful rise theory had
failed’.45 That is why peaceful rise founder Zheng Bijian, in an article contributed to Le Figaro in March 2004, compared the peaceful rise of a ‘united
Europe’ and that of China to show that settling the Taiwan issue was perfectly within his overall framework.46
We must pay attention to the different types of support from the different
public groups for the peaceful rise theory. When the escape clause of offensive nationalism was given, orthodox (or ‘non-rationalized’) offensive proposals became unwanted elements, as the party-state sees them. The most
notable example is given by Yan Xuetong, who often supplied sharp critiques of the theory after 2003. Yan insisted, for example, that the realist
implication in the term ‘rise’ – ‘meaning bridging the difference with other
countries’ – must be retained, and the ‘satisfaction of self-progression’
implied in the term ‘peaceful development’ was ‘very dangerous to a country’.47 Viewing Sino-American relations alone, Yan suggested that ‘both
China and the US realized that strategic cooperation with real meaning is
already impossible, but nominally they are still pretending to search for
cooperation’, which shows that the bilateral relationship ‘lacks the most
basic sincerity’.48 Speaking on Taiwan, Yan believed only a war by 2008 could
settle everything.49 There were quite a few of Yan’s supporters on the internet proposing to replace ‘peaceful rise’ with ‘peaceful expansion’.50 This line,
in short, went beyond the escape clause given to offensive nationalism that
the peaceful rise theory could afford.
Conclusion 185
Peaceful rise Pillar Three – ‘constructivist nationalism’: from
a responsible state to its peaceful development
With most of Taoist nationalism’s shortcomings addressed, the remaining
weaknesses were covered by what is called here the new strategy of Zheng
Bijian: ‘constructivist nationalism’. Issues of definition in this third pillar of
peaceful rise must be explained. Briefly, constructivism emphasizes the role
of constructed images and self-image imposed on other nations, instead of
absolute interests. According to leading constructivist Alexander Wendt,
‘anarchy is what states make of it’, because ‘there is no “logic” of anarchy
apart from the practices that create and instantiate one structure of identities
and interests rather than another; structure has no existence or causal powers apart from process.’51 Realist interpretation of national interest-maximization in the international order did exist to a certain extent, but as
explained by constructivist Douglas Porpora, they were only useful in
explaining international relations when they were ‘embedded’ into the
‘social knowledge’ of a country.52 This concept is applied to the diplomatic
front in Wendt’s classic example: it accounts for why the more advanced
nuclear weapons of Britain did not cause fear in the United States when compared with the primitive nuclear facilities of North Korea.53 Wendt’s assertion was challenged by scholars like Maja Zehfuss, who believes the
constructed national images are highly political – ‘just a rhetorical manoeuvre’ for politicians – instead of arising from any objective process of deconstruction and reconstruction.54
These academic debates are not enlarged upon here, but politicians could
well apply constructivism to explain the mechanism of international relations as a strategy – a strategy designed to construct an image of reality.
When a nation wishes to advance its national interests through constructing
a desired national image and have it taken up by the international system, it
may intentionally use constructivist techniques – such as reconstructing
reality – to create a more appealing national image. This is the background
of Qin Yaqing’s initiative of constructing China as a responsible state, the
‘SARS diplomacy’ of China when it stressed international responsibility and
Zheng Bijian’s peaceful rise connotation. The last remnants of Taoist nationalism were deconstructed and turned into parts of the peaceful rise strategy
as follows.
First, constructivist nationalism was directed at deconstructing the perception of China as an international nouveau riche country, like Germany in
the second half of the nineteenth century. This direction was designed to
remedy Taoist nationalism by dismissing the assumption of challenging the
United States in the long term. As one forerunner of constructivist nationalism in China, Jia Qingguo, puts it, ‘despite initial resistance, the Chinese
government gradually accepted the post-cold war international reality and
decided that it was not in China’s interests to challenge the most powerful
country unless China’s own core national interests are involved’.55 Party
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propaganda soon came up with a detailed justification for China to give up
challenging the United States: the calculations given by the Learning Times
were the most representative of these. The official mouthpiece linked to this
the advantage of global cooperation, and the tactic of viewing the rise of
China as a representative, instead of an individual, case: ‘China is only one of
the group of rising big powers; intervening in the rise of China also challenges
the whole “group of rising big powers” ’.56 The last notion might be contradictory to a report in the PDO, which suggested that China’s peaceful rise was
‘unique in human history’.57 However, the next sentence of the same PDO
article said it all: ‘peaceful rise is now very much an idea China wants to share
with the rest of the world’, by definition implying that China was the de facto
leader of this ‘group of rising big powers’.58 Therefore, Wen found it politically
correct and nationalistically safe to stress the ‘peace-loving nature of China’
when he first presented the argument to the United States in 2003.59
Second, constructivist nationalism was courageous in facing the issue of a
time frame. When direct challenge to US hegemony had been ruled out,
Wen convinced the world of the friendliness of China by revealing China’s
inability to challenge any hegemon: ‘China is still faced with such problems
as unemployment, poverty and uneven development, which we cannot
afford to ignore. These problems are enough to keep us busy’.60 The time
frame for China to catch up with – not even challenge – developed countries,
according to Wen, requires ‘arduous endeavours of generations’.61 As shown
by their presentations and articles, old-fashioned mainland scholars like Jin
Canrong seemed unable to comprehend with ease the difference between
peaceful rise and taoguang yanghui.62 However, the future, according to the
Chinese premier, should not be worried about, because he further assured
that even generations later, ‘China will never seek hegemony and expansion
even when it becomes fully developed and stronger’.63
Third, constructivist nationalism addressed the new international environment because, quoting the Learning Times again, ‘focus on lives and love
of peace became core values of people worldwide in the twenty-first century’.64 In taking its place in the new world, China aimed to assume a greater
role as a stabilizing regional force and thus to put into action its universal
rhetoric and civic nationalist values. In the Boao Forum Asia in 2004, Hu
Jintao introduced the active and responsible role of China as a ‘world peace
patrol’ and a ‘common development promoter’.65 When Hu made his
keynote speech in the UN on 16 September 2005, the responsibility of China –
to ‘actively participate in international affairs and fulfil its international
obligations, and work with other countries to build a new international
political and economic order that is fair and rational’ became as high-sounding as that of the United States.66 The cooperation of China with the WHO
during the SARS crisis and its role as mediator in the marathon of North
Korean hexagonal summits in 2004 and 2005 were examples of its carrying
out this responsibility. As argued by Rosemary Foot, even if the definition of
Conclusion 187
a ‘responsible state’ includes normative values like the embracing of democracy, Beijing might still wish to risk the influx of democratic ideas and
assume the role of a responsible state in order to repudiate its previous label
as a challenger of the status quo.67 It was hoped that with all the above modifications, the last shortcoming of Taoist nationalism – its impact on
national morale – could be addressed.
New leftists like Wang Shaoguang are generally doubtful about this strategy and suggest that the United States would still ‘plan for the worst’.68 The
military sector, echoing Mearsheimer from the opposite side of the Atlantic
Ocean, views the abandonment of challenging the United States as a ‘strategic option’ rather than a national goal. The following intriguing comments
are found in the PLA Daily: ‘in principle, the path of peaceful rise development is China’s international strategic option’.69 Literally speaking, the
phrase ‘in principle’ implies slight reservation, if not disagreement; the
phrase ‘strategic option’ is different from ‘policy’ or ‘goal’.70 But this stance
in China, featuring recognizable internal opposition, was enough to placate
some Americans, including George H. W. Bush, the father of George W.
Bush. According to Bush Sr, China’s peaceful rise is ‘very reassuring and very,
very important to the Asian horizon and Asia’s landscape’.71 The modified
version of the peaceful rise theory therefore became what we see today.
6.2 Summary of findings on the politics of
China’s diverse society
As the cases exemplify, no single group in China should be labelled as the
nationalists. The nationalist rhetoric of the party-state was balanced by subsequent diversionary measures designed to cover up their real agenda. AntiAmericanism on the part of intellectuals was often primarily intended to
target fellow intellectuals. When popular nationalism was much in evidence,
polls suggested the existence of a rational version of ‘public opinion’.
Although nationalism and diplomacy might not form the core focus of all
groups across China, it is one of the domains in which the agendas of the different groups can be addressed in a relatively free manner. Nationalist discourse on Sino-American relations enabled: (1) the party-state to strengthen
its rule; (2) intellectuals to seize the momentum in society and to create a
platform for liberals and non-liberals to claim the high moral ground; and
(3) the creation of a symbol for the new generation and an alternative channel for the expression of public opinion.
6.2.1 The party-state: ‘delegative Absorption’
of public opinion
The party-state’s major achievements in participating in the nationalist
discourse included its constructing a set of values that could also guide
domestic politics; transferring the nationalist expressions of the public to
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the diplomatic table; and re-entrenching its legitimacy by speaking the
same language as the public. We can borrow some new leftist terminology
to explain how the party-state expanded its major capabilities by nationalist discourse. These are its ability to ‘legitimize’ rule by adopting a patriotic tone; to ‘absorb’ the nationalists into its ruling mandate; to ‘control’
the social momentum of nationalism; and to ‘coerce’ potentially subversive nationalist elements.72
‘Delegative public opinion’ in Chinese diplomacy
It would seem that some room is given for the public to participate in the
construction of ‘public opinion’ on the diplomatic front. In February 2005,
an NGO with the aim of recovering the Diaoyutai Islands from Japan was
finally allowed to register as a ‘limited company’ (albeit in Hong Kong) after
having been repeatedly turned down in the 1990s.73 An umbrella lobby
group tied to Tong’s group, the ‘China Federation for Defending the
Diaoyutai Islands’, was founded on 26 December 2003 and was acknowledged by Xinhua Agency for its ‘rationalized’ tendency.74 The official and
intellectual promotion of peaceful rise also attempted to accommodate public opinion within the nationalist format. For instance, Chu Shulong granted
‘ordinary citizens’ the ‘red line’ for Beijing to use force to settle the Taiwan
issue – the escape clause for offensive realism in the theory.75
But these developments do not mean a retreat by the party-state. As seen
from the four cases, it was rare to find any opinion that directly challenged
the party-state in the polls conducted in China, including the ones conducted by Horizon, the PDO or independent pollsters like Dingxin Zhao and
Wang Zhaohui. Contentious questions were rarely asked in a black and
white manner. Such methodological limitations echo Alastair Johnston’s
criticism of polling in China, such as their lack of knowledge of public preferences and their inability to offer random sample surveys and systematic
datasets.76 To use the formulation of the late Murray Edelman, organized
interest groups elsewhere in the world may be governed by the rule of ‘the
few defeat the many’ owing to their comparative advantage, while the unorganized public is prone to irrational perceptions of political reality.77 This is
because the ruling elite can manipulate public opinion so that an unorganized public will have difficulty in finding out the truth. Thus, the opinions
of public groups in China, because of their disorganized nature and
Edelman’s rule, are far more easily manipulated by the government than
they would be in a nation like the United States.
An achievement of the party-state in the nationalist discourse, and part of
its reason for tolerating the public’s different responses, was its attempt to
use such differences to construct public opinion in China and to present this
on the diplomatic table – because public voices are subject to official reinterpretation without any scientific assessment. When Yee conducted his research,
he lamented that, ‘Chinese public opinion had become more important
Conclusion 189
politically, even though its precise effects vary and are difficult to specify.’78
Precisely owing to such ambiguity, ‘public opinion’ became useful to the
party-state in that it could be conveniently used in diplomatic negotiations,
as seen after the Collision and, more frequently, on the economic negotiating table. While speaking civic nationalist rhetoric, the party-state could rely
on the public to express offensive realist sentiment so that additional, unofficial pressure could be exerted on foreign nations.
With this tactic in mind, the measures taken by the party-state best known
in the previous decades, such as the ‘deliberate disguises, disinformation and
full-scale, multi-dimensional information network’ as highlighted by China
specialists, were no longer needed.79 Without widely crediting quantitative
assessment, using O’Donnell’s delegative democracy model again, it is possible to regard as valid the observation that when the party-state wishes to
absorb nationalist elements into its mandate of decision making, ‘the internet
may actually be increasing the party’s ability to govern effectively’.80 Public
opinion might not be totally manipulated, but only the affirmative opinions
will be absorbed into the delegative model. When the United States faces
China in the future, it should expect there to be more ‘opinions’ circulating on
the opposite side. It would be a mistake to treat them as the equivalent of
opinions of US interest groups: appeasing them would not help the negotiations. But it would be equally wrong to treat China as a unitary bloc, because
the coexistence of multiple opinions on foreign policy is a reality – already.
Re-entrenchment of the statist machine
By means of guiding, controlling and sometimes bandwagoning the nationalist discourse of the public across China, no matter how successful or unsuccessful they were, the party-state managed to benefit from one by-product.
That is, the re-entrenchment of the power of the statist machine, with its
ability to participate in a popular movement, was reconfirmed.
The party-state became more confident in marginalizing unwanted
nationalist expression after its experience in handling the cases discussed.
Once the peaceful rise theory and civic nationalist values are seen as a compromise to the public’s response, they can be used as the reference for judging nationalism in the future: anyone speaking in the name of
nationalism, but expressing a view inconsistent with what the theory
holds with could, at the very least, be regarded as unorthodox, if not unpatriotic. Nationalist sentiments considered dangerous to the regime, such as
those calling on the party-state to declare war on the United States, could
therefore be marginalized. This approach can be seen as comparable to that
used in the Cultural Revolution: after the zenith of the Red Guard
Movement, the party-state distinguished the ‘revolutionary’ Red Guards
from the ‘counter-revolutionary’ (indeed, it should be ‘hyper-revolutionary’) ones and, in 1968, marginalized and coerced most radical elements
back to the mainstream.81
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When foreign pressure was foremost in the nationalist discourse, the
party-state re-established its nationwide communications mechanism.
Official attempts to contain popular nationalism – even if this reaction
might go in its favour – are understandable in the sense that such an opportunity to penetrate public discourse should not be missed. For instance, official pre-talks and post-talks on patriotism given to university students
during the Bombing and the Collision (and anti-Japanese demonstrations)
drew far more attention than mandatory talks on Marxism or the Three
Represents. The intellectual discussion on civic nationalism gave the partystate a chance to inculcate its desired ideology into academia. The attempt
by Mao to use anti-Americanism in the Korean War to consolidate his infant
people’s republic in the early 1950s could be viewed as a predecessor of the
same wisdom.82
The nationalist discourse also depersonalized the statist machine. The
four discussed cases show little evidence to suggest a power struggle that
significantly influenced Chinese foreign policy. Internal CCP restructuring might have played a partial role. But that does not invalidate the
observation made here that participation in the nationalist discourse
could not gain an exceptional advantage for any particular individual
when most people were speaking in the same way. As rightly prophesied
by Wang Xiaodong, using the pseudonym of ‘Shi Zhong’ in the hope of
claiming a relatively neutral position before the Bombing, the revival of
contemporary Chinese nationalism was created by a ‘united front’ of various political and social forces, or an ‘unconscious convergence of various
social groups with various motivations’, although he never explained
what these forces were and how they interacted with one another.83 As a
result of the growing involvement in politics of the different public groups
across China, elite politics is slowly, but consistently, declining in importance. In the words of Tang Tsou, this is how ‘balance-of-power politics’ is
replacing ‘game-to-win-all politics’ among top elites.84 In other words,
elite politics are no longer ‘normal politics with Chinese characteristics’.85
Instead, they have become ‘the end of politics’ in China, as Bruce Gilley
suggested, featururing ‘disengaged senior cadres’ as a result of the ‘decline
in elite contestation’.86
From civic nationalism to the new ‘three people’s principles’
Since Hu became the top Chinese leader, the party-state has made attempts
to promote the constructed civic nationalist values derived from the diplomatic scene within domestic politics. The most representative example was
seen on 18 February 2003 when Hu presented his special remarks at the conclusion of a conference to study Jiang’s Three Represents Theory. In the conference, he proposed his own ‘Three People’s Principle (sange weimin lun)’ by
elaborating on the concept of civic nationalism – especially how to maximize positive liberty by the statist machine in the proposed authoritarian
Conclusion 191
liberal framework – and advanced the following as the CCP’s new principles:
●
●
●
Power to be used for the people (quan weimin suoyong)
Sentiments to be tied to the people (qing weimin suoxi)
Interests to be gained for the people (li weimin suomou)87
At first glance, these words might sound similar to the words in Lincoln’s
Gettysburg Speech (‘of the people, by the people, for the people’). However,
the three ‘people’s’ of Hu never implied anything like ‘of the people’ or ‘by
the people’ – ‘for the people’ could summarize the humanitarian thought of
all three. The authoritarian nature of the implementation of Hu’s principles
was not subtle. After liberal scholar Zhu Houze proposed adding the promotion of negative liberty as a fourth slogan (‘mandate to be empowered by the
people’, or ‘quan weimin suoshou’), the Propaganda Department prohibited
his articles from being published.88 However, as Zhu was not only purged for
his disobedience, but also for his rejection of the officially designed version
of civic nationalism, this shows that the concept of civic nationalism and
the legitimacy of the party-state had been starting to integrate with one
another.
6.2.2 Intellectuals: rivalry under the same roof
Intellectuals exerted the most influence on the nationalist discourse with
their strategic proposals. They had a natural advantage in this arena. There is
little reason for us to agree with Rosalie Chen, who stated that ‘there seems
to be a lessened diversity of opinions and an emerging consensus on the
hegemonic nature of US foreign policy, particularly its intention of containing a rising China’ among America watchers in the PRC.89 Intellectuals were,
in fact, very diversified in their opinions, as the cases have illustrated, and
their interpretation of the ‘hegemonic nature of US foreign policy’ was only
part of the division of labour across Chinese society. But the liberal–nonliberal debate, as the most notable performance of the intellectuals in the
nationalist discourse, reached an unexpected conclusion by the end of these
four cases.
From liberal versus non-liberal nationalism to ‘liberal nationalism’
When the intellectual debate commenced in the 1990s, as summarized by
Xu Youyu, there were seven issues between liberals and non-liberals:
1. Market economy and social injustice.
2. Analysis of the internal condition of China.
3. Evaluation of the Great Leap Forward, the People’s Commune, and the
Cultural Revolution.
4. Evaluation of the Mind Liberation Movement of the 1980s and the May
Fourth Movement.
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5. Modernization of China.
6. Globalization and China’s entry into WTO; and
7. International relations and radical nationalism.90
Only the last two had significant direct relevance to Sino-American relations. After the debates of between 1999 and 2003, even these two – including the view on ‘radical nationalism’ – were of less importance, if not
missing. As Yang Xiao correctly puts it, ‘the real issue for both Chinese liberals and new leftists is where to find the complex power to counter the corrupt power that has come to dominate all spheres of justice in China’.91 Both
liberals and non-liberals began to understand the impossibility of eradicating either nationalism or liberalism. As liberals came to understand the need
to augment nationalist rhetoric for their own benefit, and non-liberals realized the need to address themselves as ‘liberal leftists’, ways became apparent
whereby the two schools could potentially be merged under the title ‘liberal
nationalism’.
Liberal nationalism is not a new concept. Its roots in modern China can be
traced at least to Hu Shi (1891–1962), who wished to promote the twin ideas
of individual liberalism and national liberalism while China was suffering
overseas aggression.92 Contemporarily, as these four cases were unfolding,
liberals sometimes found it possible to mix their ideology with nationalism
because, according to Qin Hui, ‘liberalism acknowledges reasonable nationalism and comprehends it as a reasonable competition between interest
groups’.93 Qin’s notion of ‘aesthetic symbols’ does not prevent him from
endorsing universal values or ‘reasonable competition’ among nations.94 It is
also what various scholars define as ‘rational nationalism’, which offers a
compromise between individual and nation, personal rights and national
rights, human rights and sovereignty, and so forth.95
After all, most liberals – except for a few dissidents in exile – did not welcome the United States intervening in domestic politics. The publication of
Hidden Current – Critique and Rethink towards Parochial Nationalism one year
after the war in Iraq, which aimed at promoting what it called ‘liberal
nationalism’ instead of anti-nationalism by editing dozens of circulated
articles, can be seen as a compromise by the liberals.96 Such a compromise
is best seen from the personal experience of the liberal Yu Jie. On the one
hand, after five years of a so-so relationship with the party-state (during
which he was at least not arrested), Yu suffered from a humiliating defeat in
the ‘war of declarations’ during the war in Iraq and became more radical in
challenging the party-state afterwards, resulting in his temporary custody
by the party-state in December 2004.97 On the other hand, he published
two best-selling books on Sino-Japanese relations: Contemplating a Century
of Sino-Japanese Relations and Japan: An Obscure Country in 2004 and 2005,
whose nationalist rhetoric was as strong as the target of his declaration’s
criticism.98
Conclusion 193
In comparison, the nationalists seemed to have made less of a ‘concession’.
For instance, Wang Xiaodong, the parochial nationalist spokesman, believed
that ‘the diverse themes of statism, neo-conservatism and democracy can all
be brought together as “nationalist” ’, albeit with one important condition:
‘on the grounds that they are distinguishable from a “liberalism” that has no
defining characteristics other than a desire to denigrate all things Chinese
and emulate all things Western’.99 However, as the above summary of Wang’s
words given by Christopher Hughes shows, Wang did not really reject concepts like human rights – the kind of conventional definition of liberalism –
but instead only equated ‘anti-liberalism’ with ‘anti-Westernization’. In 2002,
Wang made it clearer than before that realizing democracy internally and
pushing for an offensive realist agenda externally could be accomplished at
the same time.100 As the editor of Tides of Ideas puts it in the Preface, the nonexclusive nature of nationalism could integrate ‘all’ Chinese intellectuals.101
The birth of public intellectuals in contemporary China
Another achievement of intellectuals in the nationalist discourse was their
increasing importance in communicating between the ‘top’ and the ‘bottom’ when analysing international issues. When official policies started to
focus on academic input, the party-state found it rewarding to ally itself with
intellectuals. In return, intellectuals were clearer about their influence on the
party-state. For instance, there were Tsinghua professors who advised the
party-state to consider the US experience ‘to strengthen cooperation
between the government and academia and to give a great boost to research
in crisis management’ after 9/11, so that Chinese intellectuals could play a
greater role than their US counterparts.102
Chinese journalists also found their detailed reports on world issues
sought after by the party-state. What they offered was the existence of an
alternative – but credible – angle, like an al-Jazeera eye from China. When
journalists merged patriotism and professionalism, overseas critics made the
following observation: ‘they made best use of the opportunity to extend
their own lebensraum, that is why the Chinese media – within CCP opinion
control – could report the American–Iraqi war in a much more vigorous and
energetic manner than they could have done at any other time’.103
Intellectuals were conscious of making ordinary citizens dependent on
them, too. When Xiao Gongqin commented on the intellectual battle before
1999, he noticed that the debate – confined to a few academic journals with
a limited readership – gained little attention from ordinary citizens.104 After
the Bombing, by catching more public attention on international issues,
intellectuals of all camps enhanced their prominence through their ever-present commentary or appearances as special guests on television, radio and
internet chatrooms. As explained by Xu Xun, the nationalist discourse successfully granted intellectuals ‘cultural rhetoric hegemony’ as their means of
competing for further social resources.105 Like Zou Taofen and Du Zhongyuan,
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
who achieved bestseller status in the 1930s with their attacks on Japanese
expansionism in the journals Life and New Life, participants in the nationalist discourse in the twenty-first century claimed similar success.106 All relatively unknown to the public before 1999, IRIs like Yan Xuetong and Chu
Shulong and war-time reporters like the ‘Iron Rose’ Luqiu Luwei of Satellite
Television now became household celebrities. Even the new leftists could
earn big money by popularizing the drama Che Guevara and selling all kinds
of capitalist souvenirs such as T-shirts, CDs and photo albums.107 But there
was opportunity cost. Like their counterparts in the West, these intellectuals
were sometimes jeered at cynically as ‘omnipotent authorities’ – the public
intellectuals who appeared to know everything, but in fact knew nothing in
depth.108
In the end, neither liberals nor non-liberals were the zero-sum winners or
losers when the difference in their views of nationalism is narrowed down.
When nationalism continued to serve as the platform of both ‘liberal
nationalists’ and ‘non-liberal nationalists’, opportunities for both to convey
their ideology to the widest possible public were guaranteed. Their participation in the debate of nationalism had already helped spread their ideas,
be they liberal or non-liberal. The liberal–non-liberal debate would be
equally fierce in the future, and in order to draw wider attention, intellectuals would perhaps stay in the nationalist discourse for good. But the difference between ‘liberal nationalism’ and ‘non-liberal nationalism’ rests on
the adjective. Not the subject. In comparison with their experience in the
last century, Chinese intellectuals, as a group, are likely to experience a
golden time in the twenty-first century – in terms of wielding influence and
gaining affluence.
6.2.3 Ordinary citizens: making a new generation
via a nationalist crusade
We have discussed how the expression of fanatical nationalism – rather than
the ability to advance such expressions on the diplomatic front – was the
concern of ordinary citizens. Whether organized or not, the nationalist
response of ordinary citizens from 1999 to 2003 can be viewed as one of the
most consistent social movements in China since Tiananmen. It has a common language (nationalism), a common platform (mainly the internet), a
common weapon (also the internet, as proven in the cyber war) and some
common idols (like Wang Shaoguang, Yan Xuetong and Wang Wei).
Together these constitute a common identity in the new generation.
Social campaign, and social stigma, of the new generation
The use of ‘generation’ here not only refers to its conventional understanding, but also to it as an academic term derived from the discipline of political psychology. Generational politics is a hidden theme of Chinese
nationalism yet to be fully exposed. For instance, a publication of the
Conclusion 195
authors of Say No titled The Spirit of the Fourth Generation repeatedly uses
phrases like ‘are we an unimportant generation’ or ‘we in our thirties are
without a shadow of a sound’.109 According to Gries’s classification, these
people in their thirties should be the ‘fourth-generation of Chinese nationalists’.110 Say No did not raise generational consciousness in China to the
fullest extent, but the popular response to the Bombing did.
As proposed by the political psychologist Robert Jervis in Perception and
Misperception in International Politics, there are four variables by which an
event can most influence an individual in later life, including whether or
not:
1. The person experienced the event first hand.
2. The event occurred early in the person’s adult life or career.
3. The event had important consequences for the person or the person’s
nation.
4. The person is familiar with a range of international events that facilitate
alternative perceptions.111
The anti-American demonstrations in 1999 fit in with all these variables.
When discussing the characteristics of this generation, Xu Zhiyuan, editorial
writer of Economic Observers and a leading young commentator in China,
confessed that: ‘when I took part in the demonstrations in 1999, it was the
first experience of demonstrating in my life. My participation, however, had
more to do with the need to gain a life experience.’112 This experience
belongs to the whole generation, which is significantly different from the
young people of Tiananmen a decade earlier. Many studies on Chinese politics use 1989 as a touchstone. The year 1999 is likely to represent another
milestone for future China studies.
The educational level and exposure of this generation should not be
underestimated. It has been considerably upgraded by its participation in
the nationalist discourse. During the Kosovo War, the Collision and the war
in Iraq, many internet forums and chatrooms invited intellectuals to be
guest participants. When the distinctions between intellectuals and internet
elites began to blur, as was noted in the cases, it was apparent that the theoretical and analytical capability of internet activists had improved. This
upgrade in skill was noticed by Zhou Yongming while studying the lay
nationalist response online: ‘much of the new interpretative framework has
been borrowed from Western concepts and ideas, including comprehensive
national power, national interests, and rules of the game.’113 With ordinary
citizens equipped with more knowledge of international relations, their
learning curve shows promise. As an increasing number of activists were able
to differentiate between various diplomatic theories, there was an obvious
increase in the quality of public commentary between the Bombing in 1999
and the war in Iraq in 2003.
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
From virtual reality to reality: internet-mobilized campaigns
This chapter has discussed the delegative nature of public opinion from the
party-state’s perspective. Yet, Mitter is also correct when he says that ‘domestic public opinion, once galvanized, is not entirely under the control of the
state’.114 Based on the two-level positive-sum theory, as introduced in
Chapter 1, ordinary citizens never lost their opinions completely to the statist machine even though such opinions might be reconstructed by the partystate. Public participation in the nationalist discourse, indeed, had developed
an asymmetrical balance between rights and responsibility. In the past, political participation or social movements in China imposed serious responsibilities on participants. That is partly why university students in the 1990s
issued their ‘farewell to idealism’.115 But nationalists now added new means
of participation – such as expressing offensive realist rhetoric on the internet –
that did not carry with them many duties that needed to be fulfilled.
An issue in this asymmetrical game is the trend for activists to claim hegemony on the internet. In the way that intellectuals expanded their sphere of
influence by sharing professional knowledge, internet activists were conscious of using their technical advantage – such as their ability to launch
cyberwars – to make it difficult to replace them. Their ability to gather external information gave them further authority in disseminating facts to fellow
web-browsers. The relationship between the formation of such new online
elite groups and the nationalist discourse was explained by Zhou: ‘equipped
with this new paradigm to interpret the received information and look at the
world, the more informed Chinese are the more nationalist they may be’.116
Online platforms can easily be used to mount populist pressure in real life:
‘a significantly large critical mass of upset chat-room postings makes something an issue for everybody to take seriously’.117 The poor methodological
setting for studying public opinion, as criticized by Johnson, benefited internet users in particular, because the problem of the lack of random survey –
survey asking for voluntary responses from the readers – is more severe and
unregulated in the virtual world. The undemocratic nature of China gave
potential to ordinary citizens: the fact that real-life opinion groups are lacking granted online fanatics easier authority to intervene in everyday politics
by exaggerating their capability online.
As well as their direct assaults on official US websites, Chinese netizens
were able to demonstrate their ability to consolidate nationalist emotions on
Chinese soil. For instance, in December 2001, popular singer Zhao Wei was
demonized for wearing an outfit bearing a print of the Imperial flag of Japan,
and, as a result of online mobilization, was splashed with urine during a performance in Changsha.118 In June 2004, a concert to be held in Hangzhou
by Taiwanese singer Amei Chang – whose alleged ties with the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) angered many Chinese
nationalists – was called off as a result of the reported would-be-nationalist
protests circulating on the internet.119 Anti-Japanese demonstrations in
Conclusion 197
May 2005 were mobilized by ‘patriotic’ virtual organizations instead of reallife societies.120
With their participation upgraded in quality, ordinary citizens might take
their nationalist crusade into other real-life arenas. In Johan Lagerkvist’s Rise
of Online Public Opinion in the PRC, he found that issues of ‘a political nature
which draw most attention are of three kinds: structural, personal-oriented
or those that focus on foreign policy’.121 ‘Structural issues’ – referring to ‘the
emerging class tensions in Chinese society, corruption within the civil service’ suggested by Lagerkvist – might be the next domains for internet
activists in which to wield their influence.122 As it represents a seizure of
functions from the party-state, the potential agenda-setting capability of
ordinary citizens is a significant advancement and inverts the traditional
agenda-setting process in China.
From reality to virtual reality: public discursive rights online
Whereas Western observers often worry that ‘hyperventilating in cyberspace
has now spread to the street’, this new generation of Chinese are prepared to
retreat to the virtual world when split identities need to be stressed.123 As
seen from the cases, Chinese people frequently present contradictory opinions in real-life surveys and virtual polls. While many Chinese people tended
to express fervent nationalist rhetoric, particularly when their real-life identities were hidden, concurrent polls usually suggested that the same people
realized the importance of being rational in real life. China watchers in the
future should be prepared to study two sets of public opinion, as addressed
by the Horizon manager Shen Min:
Internet polls are randomly visited and clicked on, and concentrate only
on the relatively young and relatively information-focused activists. The
information-possessing and analytical ability of the common masses is
very different from those who use the internet. In general, the internet
opinions are more aggressive and radical.124
To a certain extent, online participation in the nationalist movement is
like a real-life role-play-game (RPG): activists assume the role of ‘Chinese
nationalists’, but there is nothing to stop them adopting a different role by
day. Zhou once researched the online nationalist rhetoric in China used
when those expressing such rhetoric were playing online war-games in a
virtual war (‘v-war’) website. The website supported RPG games and discussion forums together. He found that ‘what distinguishes the v-war site from
other military sites is that it is constructed as an imagined military community, and every member is viewed as a soldier.’125 The key factor in shaping the nationalist thinking of the ‘soldiers’, according to Zhou, was the
formation of a ‘new interest-driven game-playing paradigm’ in the ‘military community’.126
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
In the current political structure of China, the nationalist discourse is
one of the only platforms for ordinary citizens to use in order to apply the
strategy of ‘kicking the ball from the side (chabianqiu)’ if they wish to promote their freedom, interests and identity. They have shown no intention
of pressing the party-state to act on their expressions. The subtlety of this
has not gone entirely unnoticed. When Hughes analysed the discourse of
various identified Chinese nationalists, he found that most of these participants were ‘either not particularly interested in nationalism or [were]
highly sceptical concerning its possibilities for solving the problems faced
by the Chinese state’.127 Although the Chinese nationalist reaction
towards Japan is not dealt with here, it seems logical to endorse Liu ShihDiing’s observation on the internet-mobilized anti-Japanese protest in
2005, from which he noted that the lower-level groups were developing
their own form of nationalism (‘renmin minzuzhuyi’) – ‘an autonomous
political domain that is independent of the state nationalism’.128 Once the
Chinese people of the new generation were equipped with the art of using
split identity in the nationalist discourse, as Liu suggested, it became their
platform of performing ‘public discursive rights’.129 Considering the fact
that such rights had generally been lacking in the People’s Republic since
its establishment, ordinary people have achieved at least as much as the
party-state and intellectuals have got from taking part in the nationalist
discourse.
6.3 Conclusion: contemporary Chinese nationalism
and stability
This chapter has analysed the developments in the expressive, ideological
and strategic layers of Chinese nationalism, as well as the interaction
between the party-state and the different public groups from 1999 to 2003
over these developments. As proposed in the introductory chapter, it is suggested that this interaction may serve as a stabilizer for China’s external and
internal politics. This final part of the book will discuss how this optimistic
conclusion might be arrived at.
6.3.1 The ‘social contract’ and the domestic stabilizer
French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was among the first to propose
the concept of a ‘social contract’ to define the constraints on the respective
power of the state and the people, so that there would be checks and balances to prevent the encroachment of either party – absolute dictatorship or
‘tyranny of the majority’ – on the rights of the other.130 Chinese nationalism,
as Duara argued, is also a contract for citizenship – ‘an implicit understanding that you affirm loyalty to the nation-state because you recognize that
you develop some rights as a citizen’.131
Conclusion 199
In Chapter 1, we argued that the existence of PPD in China – instead of
US-styled interest group politics – is the product of a lack of democracy. As
long as China remains undemocratic, a de facto ‘social contract’ is likely to
continue governing the interrelation of the public across China: in the
nationalist discourse studied, the party-state is guiding the national ideology; intellectuals are defining better international relations strategy; ordinary citizens are subtly fighting for more expressive autonomy. Each of them –
while trying to expand their lebensraum – understands that the spheres of
interest of the others should not be totally undermined. When the party-state
is responsible for maximizing the positive liberty of others, its subjects take it
as their interests to accept the authoritarian regime in principle. The rule
defining boundaries in the ‘contract’ is the peaceful rise strategy and civic
nationalist values. The only difference between this contract and that of
Rousseau’s time is that the mutual understanding is not based on a democratic infrastructure, but instead on a pragmatic agreement developed out of a fait
accompli. Today, Chinese nationalists from the ‘top’ to the ‘bottom’ are both
differentiated and interdependent; both radical and rational; but most are
inward-looking before being outward-looking. As long as China remains
undemocratic, PPD – via different acceptable discourses like nationalism –
will have the potential to serve as a stabilizer of domestic politics.
Many US hawks, particularly the anti-Beijing ‘Blue Team’ on Capitol Hill led
by Bill Gertz, suggest that an undemocratic China is dangerous to America.132
Some American affiliations in China – such as the National Democratic
Institute (NDI) – believe institutional reform is their key task in advancing US
interests.133 But what if China were a democratic nation? In 1992, in the first
open democratic election in Algeria, the Islamic fundamentalists surprised the
incumbents and the West by winning the first-round contest. The West considered an Algeria with no ruling fundamentalists – even if it meant an undemocratic Algeria – more beneficial. A military coup followed, overturning the
election result, and was tacitly approved by the United States and its allies. If
PPD is replaced by interest group lobbying politics in a future China, whether
Chinese nationalism could still be the same as the version explored here might
be doubtful. At least, some nationalist rhetoric might be consolidated into
action-driven lobbies like those of the Blue Team.
6.3.2 Civic nationalist values and the external stabilizer
Various forms of nationalist expression are likely to continue to proliferate
in the future. But the ideology and strategy of nationalism – represented by
the civic values of authoritarian liberalism and the peaceful rise theory – are
becoming more predictable and rationalized. When these values and strategies begin to draw support beyond China’s borders through the introduction
of cultural elements, this process will potentially become a stabilizing force
for China’s external relations.
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
The ‘Sinic’ values and the ‘Sinic’ rise: from Volksnation
to Staatsburgernation
It might be pointed out that Chinese civic nationalism is not as valuesdriven as was that of the French, Swiss and Americans. It might also be noted
that, according to Mitter, race ‘remains a much more essentialized concept
in Chinese thinking even in the contemporary era, with a much stronger
conception that it is a biological reality, rather than a social construction’.134
As acknowledged by Habermas, however, French civic nationalist values
developed from the statist and moralistic creation in 1789.135 Early US
nationalism, as de Tocqueville recorded in The American Democracy, was
based on xenophobic sentiments towards the ‘old world’ and moralistic
judgment against monarchical and aristocratic rule in Europe.136 Could the
Chinese civic nationalist values be accepted by more nations then?
There have been scholars like Lucian Pye who dismissed the very attempt
of China to apply the concept of nationalism. According to Pye, ‘China is a
civilization pretending to be a nation-state’, because China was only united
by culture and nothing else, and the organization of China as a modern state
is too weak compared with its counterparts.137 In his later articles, Pye still
suggests that the concept of Chinese nationalism is regionalized (such as
‘Shanghaied’) instead of ‘nationalized’.138 However, as seen from the cases
here, the merging of civilization and nationalism is the direction in which
China is going. Since 2002, even new leftists Gan Yang and Sheng Hong
have started proposing turning China from a ‘nation-state (minzu guojia)’
into a ‘civilization-state (wenming guojia)’, and from ‘Sinic nationalism’ into
‘Sinic globalism’.139 Just as Habermas had envisioned the transformation of
‘Volksnation’ into ‘Staatsburgernation’ for a united Europe, one cannot easily
rule out the potential for Chinese civic nationalist values to be extended to
people with no primordial connections.140
That is partly why the peaceful rise theory explicitly aims to pacify neighbouring regions when it claims to fulfil its responsibility to maintain
regional peace and cultural identity in the area. After the theory was proposed in 2003, writers like Wang Tao began talking of the ‘charisma’ and
‘nuance’ of China as a ‘responsible big country’.141 Most mainland scholars
traced the expedition of Zheng He (1371–1435) – the eunuch-admiral who
led Chinese fleets to Southeast Asia and Eastern Africa in the Ming dynasty –
as the precedent of China’s peaceful rise and created a vogue for Zheng He
worship.142 Peaceful rise theorists like Peng Pai even traced the history of
China’s peaceful rise back to the Silk Road saga in the Tang Dynasty and used
this historical precedent to claim the cultural grandeur of China and its
potential to appeal to neighbouring regions.143 Chinese leaders, like the
Vice-Minister of Communication Xu Zuyuan, concluded the discussion by
adding an official stamp to the worship by saying that Zheng’s seven voyages
to the West ‘explained why a peaceful emergence is the inevitable outcome
of the development of Chinese history’.144
Conclusion 201
The looming East Asian values from Chinese nationalism?
As Chen Zhimin pointed out in the Journal of Contemporary China in 2005,
‘as China increasingly [integrated] herself into this globalized and interdependent world and Chinese confidence [grew], the current expression of
Chinese nationalism [was] taking a more positive form, which [incorporated] an expanding component of internationalism.’145 At a time when
East Asia is speaking of forming a regionalist bloc like the European Union,
there is a pressing need for the construction of a new version of ‘East Asian
values’. China – in the view of young Chinese scholars like Chen – should
be a strong candidate to offer such values, especially after the financial crisis of the late 1990s.146
The need to construct ‘Asian values’ was starting to be addressed by various Asian countries, as, for example, raised by most speakers at the Fifth
Asian International Forum in Fukuoka held in 2005, an academic conference
backed by the Japanese government and organized to discuss the next step
by which to advance the integration of the ‘East Asian Community (EAC)’.
In the forum, the most notable proposal was that made by Stephen Leong
from Malaysia. Drawing on previous communalistic suggestions of their former prime minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad, Leong proposed the following
core values for the EAC:
The aspired EAC must be based on principles of mutual respect, mutual
benefit, egalitarianism, consensus and democracy, non-hegemonic, preference for multilateralism over unilateralism, and harmony with the
global system.147
In private conversation, Leong acknowledged that these proposed values –
similar to the civic nationalist values of China – had been broadened to
dilute suspicion from countries like the United States.148 The hidden agenda
of the proposal, that is to consolidate a sense of unity among a particular
group of people in a non-US way, also remained strikingly consistent with
that of China. If Chinese nationalism could ‘grasp the opportunity’ and fill
such a vacuum in East Asia, its development into the ‘-ism’ for the ‘Sinic civilization’ might not be impossible.
Beyond Asia, former Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan saw that the Chinese
values presented during the war in Iraq and the nation’s interpretation of
anti-terrorism had given China ‘the image of a large, responsible country
featuring peace and justice’ in the world.149 China, according to Tang again,
had thus ‘won the extensive favourable comments of the international community’.150 Even more encouraging for the Chinese was the fact that the values seemed to be taken up by like-minded countries such as Russia or
Yugoslavia.151
Predictably, the Chinese values were greeted with suspicion by some
Americans, who ‘wondered whether the President has any idea on this’.152
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Redefining Nationalism in Modern China
Triggering confrontations out of the statist ‘escape clause’ given by the
peaceful rise theory, such as the Taiwan issue, is also possible. However, with
the possibility of these values being applicable to more nations in a civic
context, Chinese nationalism is unlikely to threaten global order, and might
even become a stabilizing force within East Asia, if not the world.
In the May Fourth Movement, liberals like Hu Shi, communists like Chen
Duxiu (1879–1942), Confucians like Gu Hongming (1857–1928) and students believing in various ideologies all benefited from waving a flag called
‘patriotism’. Chinese governments, from the Republican to the Communist,
always taught the Chinese to learn from the May Fourth tradition. Judging
from this conclusion, it seems that various contemporary Chinese nationalists did finally learn something from the wisdom of May Fourth. To return to
the terms of the introduction in Chapter 1, when its teachers, students and
official sponsors are all vested-interest practitioners, the Crazy English
approach will have little difficulty in claiming popularity, and little prospect
of threatening the world. By the same token, Chinese politics, both domestic and international, is likely to be stabilized by the same nationalist discourse, which could be decently called Crazy Chinese.
Notes
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212
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184. Li, Charles. ‘Internet Content Control in China’. International Journal of
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185. Issacson, Walter. ‘Going Online when the Emperor is Away’. Time, 4 June
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186. ‘Luntan Guanli Tiaoli’, SCDF.
187. Ibid.
188. Qiangguo Luntan (SCDF) [www.qglt.com]. Renmin Ribao Wangyou Zhisheng
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189. [1] Lianhe Luntan (United Discussion Forum, hereafter UDF) [www.zaobao.com/
special/forum/forum.html]. [2]Xinlangwang (New Wave) [www.sina.com].
[3] Zhongnan Luntan (Zhongnan Discussion Forum, ZNDF) [bbs.znufe.edu.cn/
main.asp].
190. Interview with Guan Jianwen after initial phone contact in Beijing, 27 August
2005.
191. For instance, Civil Anti-American Coalition of China [www.yoda.com/
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2 Creating a Reference Point for Contemporary
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Waizhang Zaicu Xiang Meifang Tichu Yangzhen Jiaoshe Bing Dijiao Zhengshi
Zhaohui (Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan Once Again Solemnly Protested to the
Notes 213
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
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26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
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‘Kelindun Zongtong Yu Jiangzemin Zhuxi Tong Dianhua Zaci Jiu Wozhunan
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‘Zhongmei Jiu Meiguo Hongzha Zhongguo Zhunanshiguan De Peichang Wenti
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214
Notes
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Notes 215
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95. Ibid.
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Notes 217
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114. Xiao, Gongqin. ‘Kesuowo Weiji Yu Ershiyi Shiji Zhongguo De Minzuzhuyi (The
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116. Ibid.
117. Xiao, Gongqin. ‘Kesuowo Weiji’.
118. GMDCP, Letter 8.11.
119. ‘Students Protest NATO’s Bombing of Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia’. PDO,
9 May 1999.
120. Pomfret, John. ‘China Insists Bombing Must Stop’. The Washington Post, 11 May
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121. ‘People Nationwide Strongly Condemn US-led NATO Atrocities’. PDO, 12 May
1999.
122. ‘China Demands Apology Amid More Protests’. Reuters, 10 May 1999.
123. It was formally renamed as SCDF on 19 June 1999. Interview with Guan
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124. The first day of the archive was when SCDF was renamed from ‘Discussion Forum
Strongly Protesting against NATO Barbarism’ in June 1999.
125. ‘Pro-China Hackers Invade US Government Websites’. China Daily, 30 April
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127. ‘Students Protest NATO’s Bombing of Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia’.
128. ‘New Clinton Apology for Attack’. South China Morning Post, 11 May 1999.
129. ‘Americans Become Beijing’s Public Enemy No. 1’. Reuters, 10 May 1999.
130. ‘US Ambassador Emerges from Beijing Compound’. Reuters, 12 May 1999.
131. Jin, Xianhong. Yingxiang Baigong Duihua Zhengce De Zhongguotong (The Sinologists
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133. ‘Chinese Anger at NATO Bombing Being Channelled by Communist
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134. Conversation with Shao Yihua of Hangzhou University. Beijing: Tsinghua
University, 15 April 2001.
135. Ming, Zhi. ‘Bushi Zongtong, Shuoni Jiju’ (President Bush, We Want to Tell You
Something)’. SCDFA, 9 April 2001
136. Sang, Wei. ‘Zayiza’, pp.52–5.
137. Zong, Hairen. ‘Zhu Rongji’, pp.59–88.
138. Ibid.
218
Notes
139. Yu, Xunda, and Chen, Xudong, et al. ‘Zhongmei Guanxi: Laizi Minzhong De
Kanfa (Sino-American Relations: Public Perception)’. Zhongguo Waijiao (China’s
Diplomacy), August 2001, pp.41–6. 850 questionnaires distributed, 756 returned,
with a response rate of 88.9 per cent.
140. Ibid.
141. [1] Shao Yunhuan Lishi Jinianguan (Online Memorial Hall of Shao Yunhuan)
[cn.netor.com/m/minren/shyh/main.asp]. [2] Xu Xinghu Zhu Ying Lishi
Jinianguan (Online Memorial Hall of Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying) [cn.netor.
com/m/minren/xz/index.htm].
142. GMDCP, Letter 2.47.
143. ‘People in Xu’s Hometown Learn from Xu Xinghu’. PDO, 17 May 1999.
144. Sang, Wei. ‘Zayiza’, pp.52–5.
145. KCDF, No.360, 10 May 1999.
146. GMDCP, Letter 10.2.
147. GMDCpp. Letter 9.6.
148. GMDCpp. Letter 1.21.
149. Miles, James. ‘Chinese Nationalism, US Policy and Asian Security’. Survival,
Winter 2000/1, Vol.42, Issue 4, p.69. The interview was conducted by its author
in September 1999.
150. Ibid, pp.59, 69.
151. Wang, Yong. ‘China’s Domestic WTO Debate’. The China Business Review,
January–February 2000, p.54.
152. Wangluo Fupin. ‘Meiguo De Rangbu Wenti Chutan Yiji Zhongguo De Duice (An
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20 November 1999.
153. Ximalaya. ‘Yangren Zhengde Zheme Rongyi Zhuan Womeng De Qian Ma –
Shizarenwei, Womeng Yie Keyi Zhuan Taimende (Do Foreigners Earn Our Money
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154. Yu, Xunda, Chen, Xutong, et al. ‘Zhongmei Guanxi’, pp.41–6.
155. The sample size was 1211 university students in Beijing, whereas the researcher
has also conducted 62 interviews with the students. Zhao, Dingxin ‘An Angle on
Nationalism in China Today: Attitudes Among Beijing Students after Belgrade
1999’. The China Quarterly, No.172, December 2002, pp.885–905.
156. ‘Americans Become Beijing’s Public Enemy No. 1’.
157. GMDCP, Letter 4.5.
158. Wang, Xiaodong. ‘Yigeren Yaozouguo Duoshaoru: Meiguo Hongzha Zhunan
Shiguan Hou De Yixie Sikou (Some Thoughts on the US’s Bombing the Chinese
Embassy in Belgrade)’. In Fang, Ning, Wang, Xiaodong et al. p.3.
159. Ren, Bingqiang. ‘Wang Xiaodong’, p.12.
160. Zhao, Dingxing. ‘An Angle on Nationalism’, pp.885–905.
161. Yu, Xunda, Chen, Xutong et al. ‘Zhongmei Guanxi’, pp.41–6.
162. Chen, Rosalie. ‘China Perceives America’, p.295.
163. GMDCP, Letters 3.44, 4.10, 5.4, 7.15, 8.11.
164. GMDCpp. Letter 3.22.
165. GMDCpp. Letter 10.5.
166. Qiu, Bin. Meiguo Yinmou: Beiyue Jinu Zhongwo Neimu (American Conspiracy: Inside
Story of the US to Infuriate China and Russia). Jinlin: Jinlin Sheying Chubanshe,
1999.
167. KCDF, No.415, 12 May 1999.
168. KCDF, No.457, 18 May 1999.
Notes 219
169.
170.
171.
172.
173.
174.
175.
176.
177.
178.
179.
180.
181.
182.
GMDCP, Letters 2.23, 4.12.
‘Americans Become Beijing’s Public Enemy No. 1’.
Ibid.
GMDCP, Letters 3.7, 5.4, 8.2, 8.9.
KCDF, No.457, 18 May 1999.
Sang, Wei. ‘Zayiza’, pp.52–5.
[1] ‘Falun Gong Zai Meiguo Konggao Jiang Zemin (Falun Gong Sued Jiang Zemin
in the US)’. BBC (Chinese), 23 October 2003. [2] ‘Falun Gong Konggao Jiang
Zemin (Falun Gong Sued Jiang Zemin)’. Taibei Shibao (Taipei Times), 16
November 2003.
Ibid.
GMDCP, Letter 3.16.
Ibid.
GMDCP, Letter 3.20.
GMDCP, Letter 2.43.
Johnston, Alastair Iain. ‘Chinese Middle Class’, pp. 605–7.
Zhao, Dingxin. ‘An Angle of Nationalism’, pp.885–905.
3 ‘Accidentalizing’ a Nationalist Conflict:
The Spy Plane Collision Incident (April 2001)
1. Gries, Peter and Peng, Kaiping. ‘Cultural Clash? Apologies East and West’. Journal
of Contemporary China, Vol.11, No.30, 2002, p.176.
2. [1] ‘Zhongfang Jiu Meijun Zhengchaji Zhuanghui Wo Jiuyongfeiji Shi Xiang
Meifang Tichu Kangyi (Chinese Government Protests to the US side regarding a
US Reconnaissance Aircraft Crashing into a Chinese Fighter)’. PRC Foreign
Ministry, 3 April 2001. [2] ‘Fayanren Tan Meiguo Junyong Zhengchaji
Zhuanghui Zhongguo Junyong Feiji Shijian Zhengxiang He Zhongfan Youhuan
Lichang (Spokesman Explained the Truth about US Reconnaissance Aircraft
Crashing into a Chinese Fighter and the Stand of the Chinese Government)’.
PRC Foreign Ministry, 3 April 2001. [3] ‘US Should Apologize to Chinese:
Chinese President’. PDO, 4 April 2001. [4] ‘US Holds “All Responsibilities” for
Plane Incident, President Jiang’. PDO, 3 April 2001.
3. Cheng, Joseph and Ngok, King-lun. ‘Spy Plane’, pp.63–83.
4. Lampton, David. Same Bed, Different Dreams: Managing US China Relations,
1989–2000 (2003 Chinese Version). Trans. Ji Qiufeng. Hong Kong: Chinese
University Press, 2003, p.453.
5. ‘No Crowing When Bush Breaks News’. Guardian, 12 April 2001.
6. Kagan, Robert and Kristol, William. ‘A National Humiliation’. Weekly Standard,
Vol.6, No.30, 16–23 April 2001.
7. Lampton, David. Same Bed (2003), p.453.
8. ‘Transcript of Powell Briefing on China-US Aircraft Accident’. Office of
International Information Programmes, US Department of State, 3 April 2001.
9. Lampton, David. Same Bed (2003), p.453.
10. ‘Turn Patriotic Enthusiasm into Strength to Build a Powerful Nation’. PDO, 12
April 2001.
11. ‘Domineering Action and Hegemonic Logic’. PDO, 5 April 2001.
12. ‘Wang Wei Zhanyou Jielu Meijun Zhengchaji Guanyong De Tianbo Jilian (Wang
Wei’s Colleagues Exposed the Provocation Tricks Often Used by the American
Spy Plane)’. PDO, 9 April 2001.
220
Notes
13. ‘US Holds “All Responsibilities” for Plane Incident, President Jiang’.
14. Liu, Lian. ‘Zhongnanhai Qinzi Chuli Zhuangji Shijian (Zhongnanhai Handled the
Collision Incident Personally)’. Jinbao Yuekan (Mirror Monthly), No.286, May 2001,
p.87. [2] Xia, Wensi. ‘Jiang Zemin Buxiang Yu Bushi Duikang (Jiang Zemin Does
Not Want to Confront Bush)’. Kaifang Zazhi (Open Magazine), No.173, May 2001,
pp.10–11.
15. ‘The majority of American people are friendly to China’, said the PDO editorial.
‘Turn Patriotic Enthusiasm’.
16. According to Blum, when the Chinese were speaking of ‘American hegemonism’
they might be referring to three slightly different meanings: the US was already a
hegemon; the US was a superpower seeking hegemony; or the US was simply displaying hegemonic behaviour. Refer to Chapter 2 n. 7.
17. Li, Qin. ‘A Look at the Plane Collision Incident from the Perspective of
International Law’. PDO, 16 April 2001.
18. ‘Fayanren Tan Meiguo Junyong’.
19. Foot, Rosemary. Rights Beyond Borders: The Global Community and the Struggle over
Human Rights in China. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
20. ‘US Holds “All Responsibilities” for Plane Incident, President Jiang’.
21. ‘Wife of Missing Chinese Pilot Accuses US of Indifference to Life’. PDO, 5 April
2001.
22. ‘Missing Chinese Pilot’s Wife Writes to Bush’. PDO, 7 April 2001.
23. ‘US Says “Very Sorry,” 24 People to Leave China’. PDO, 12 April 2001.
24. ‘Full Text of White Paper on China’s Human Rights (II)’. PDO, 9 April 2001.
25. [1] Gries, Peter. China’s New Nationalism, pp.108–113. [2] Yee, Albert. ‘Semantic
Ambiguity’.
26. China Daily, 7 April 2001. In Yee, Albert. ‘Semantic Ambiguity’, p.66.
27. ‘Waijiao Buzhang Tangjiaquan Jieshou Meiguo Zhengfu Jiu Zhuangji Shijuan Gei
Zhongguo Renmin De Zhiqian Xing (Foreign Minister Tang, Jiaxuan Accepted
Apology Letter from the US Government Regarding the Plane Collision Incident)’.
PRC Foreign Ministry, 11 April 2001.
28. ‘Bush Reaction: “That’s Good News” ’. CNN, 12 April 2001.
29. [1] ‘Turn Patriotic Enthusiasm’. [2] ‘US Urged to Halt Spy Activities along China’s
Coastal Areas’. PDO, 13 April 2001. [3] ‘The Story of Changing Face by American
Leaders’. PDO, 19 April 2001.
30. [1] ‘Bush Reaction: “That’s Good News” ’. [2] Yee, Albert. ‘Semantic Ambiguity’,
pp.64–6.
31. Zhang, Hang. ‘Culture and Apology: The Hainan Island Incident’. World Englishes,
Vol.20, No.3, 2001, p.390.
32. ‘Full Text: US Letter to Chinese Foreign Minister’. CNN, 11 April 2001.
33. ‘China Bills US $1m for Plane’s Stay’. CNN, 7 July 2001.
34. ‘US Blocks “Arrogant” Spy Plane Compensation Claim’. CNN, 18 July 2001.
35. ‘China Opposed to US Congress Vote on Reimbursement: Spokesman’. PDO, 20
July 2001.
36. ‘Pentagon Offers China US$34,000 for Plane-Collision Cost’. PDO, 10 August
2001.
37. ‘US Decision Unacceptable: China’. PDO, 12 August 2001.
38. ‘Zhongmei Zhuangji Yizhounian Zhongfang Meifang Zhifang De Lichang Bubian
(Chinese Government’s Demand on America’s Compensation Has Not Changed
on the First Anniversary of the Crash)’. Xinhua Agency, 2 April 2002.
39. ‘United States Pays 3 Per Cent of Spy Plane Bill’. China News Digest, 11 August 2001.
Notes 221
40. Tang, Degang. Yihetuan, p.181.
41 ‘Bush Takes ‘Tough’ China Stance as Crew Returns to US’. CNN, 12 April 2001.
42. [1] ‘US Resumes Reconnaissance over China’. Guardian, 7 May 2001. [2] ‘Pentagon
Considers Restarting Surveillance Flights’. CNN, 19 April 2001.
43. ‘Jiang Zemin Ding Chuli Zhuangji Wu Yuanze (Jiang Zemin Drew up Five
Principles in Dealing with the Collision Incident)’. Taiyangbao (The Sun Hong
Kong), 6 April 2001.
44. Lam, Willy Wo-Lap. ‘Analysis: Behind the Scenes in Beijing’s Corridors of Powers’.
CNN, 9 May 2001.
45. Pomfret, John. ‘New Nationalism Drives Beijing: Hard Line Reflects Popular
Mood’. Washington Post, 4 April 2001.
46. Shambaugh, David. ‘Containment or Engagement of China? Calculating Beijing’s
Responses’. International Security, Vol.21, No.2, Fall 1996, p.205.
47. Zhao, Suisheng. Nation-state, p.288.
48. Ibid, pp.271–2.
49. Lampton, David. Same Bed (2003), p.454.
50. Zhu Zongli Za Meizhong Qi Tuanti Wanyan Shang De Yuanwen (Premier Zhu’s
Speech During the Banquet with Seven American and Chinese Organizations)’.
Phoenix Cable TV, 12 April 1999: [www.boxun.com/freethinking/freetxt/shijie/
sj002.txt].
51. ‘Clinton: National Security at Stake in China PNTR’. PDO, 13 April 2000.
52. Yee, Albert. ‘Semantic Ambiguity’, pp.53–82.
53 ‘Missing Pilot Wang Wei Endorsed as Martyr’. PDO, 15 April 2001.
54. ‘Turn Patriotic Enthusiasm Huawei Qiangguo’.
55. Luo, Bing. ‘Junfang Ju Biaotai Zhichi Jiang Zemin (The Military Refuses to Come
Out and Support Jiang Zemin)’. Zhengming, No.173, May 2001, pp.10–11.
56. [1] Lampton, David. Same Bed (2003), pp.453–4. [2] Mulvenon, James. ‘CivilMilitary Relations and the EP-3 Crisis’. China Leadership Monitor, Vol.1, No.1,
September 2001 [www.chinaleadershipmonitor.org/20011/CLM20011JM1.pdf].
57. Lampton, David. Same Bed (2003), p.453.
58. ‘Rumsfeld’s Office Reverses China Ban’. New York Times, 3 May 2001.
59. ‘Missing Pilot Wang Wei Endorsed as Martyr’.
60. ‘Missing Pilot Awarded Title of “Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Waters” ’.
PDO, 17 April 2001.
61. ‘Pilot Wang Wei Awarded “Chinese Youth May Fourth Medal” ’. PDO, 19 April
2001.
62. ‘Medals Awarded to Surveillance Plane Crew’. CNN, 18 May 2001.
63. ‘Pilot Given Title Honour by CMC’. PDO, 25 April 2001.
64. ‘Haijun Guanbing Xuexi Wongwei Tongzhi De Yingqong Shiji, Juexing Zhongyu
Zuguo, Buru Shiming (Naval Officials and Soldiers Learn from the Heroic
Behaviour of Comrade Wang Wei, to be Loyal to Our Motherland and not to
Disappoint our Superiors)’. Guofang, Inside of the Front Page, May 2001.
65. ‘Wang Wei – Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Waters’. PDO, 25 April 2001.
66. ‘Turn Patriotic Enthusiasm Huawei Qiangguo’.
67. Ibid.
68. Ibid.
69. Sutter, Robert. ‘China’s Good Neighbour Policy and its Implications for Taiwan’.
Journal of Contemporary China, Vol.13, No.41, November 2004, pp.722–3.
70. Keefe, John. Anatomy of the EP-3 Incident. Alexandria, VA: Centre for Naval
Analysis, 2002.
222
Notes
71. Interview with Yu Hongyuan. Hong Kong: Festival Walk, 16 November 2005. Yu
is a research fellow of the Shanghai International Research Institute, whose director is Yang Jiemian, the brother of Yang Jiezhi.
72. Sutter, Robert. Anatomy, p.723.
73. Lampton, David. Same Bed (2003), p.455.
74. Odeen, Philip A. ‘The Role of the National Security Council’. In Inderfuth, Karl
and Johnson, Loch (eds). Decisions of the Highest Order: Perspectives on the National
Security Council. California: Brooks/Cole, 1988, pp. 340–5.
75. ‘Zhongguo Guojia Anquan Huiyi Nanchan (China’s National Security Council
Taken Out of Agenda)’. Zhongguo Xinwen Yuekan (China News Monthly), 27 June
2005.
76. [1] Luo, Cheng. ‘Cong Falijiaodu He Zhengzhi Jiaodu Kan Zhongmei Zhuangji
Shijian (A Look at the Plane Collision Incident from the Perspective of Law and
Politics)’. Guoji Guanxi Xueyuan Xuebao, October 2001, pp.14–17. [2] Yang,
Zhichu, ‘Zhuangji Shijian Yu Guojifa (The Plane Collision Incident and
International Law)’. In Le, Shan (ed), p.72.
77. Wang, Xiaodong, ‘Jiu Meijunji Zhuanghui Wo Junji Yishi Da Yingguo Dulibao Ji
Faxingshe Jizhe Wen (Answer to the Question by Journalists from the Independent
and AFP Regarding the Plane Collision Incident)’. PSDF, No.18, 1 June 2001.
78. ‘Zhuangjia Liao Mei Junji Baolu Junqing (Experts Expect the US Military Plane to
Fully Record [China’s] Military Data)’. Xingdao Ribao (Hong Kong Tsingtao Daily),
7 April 2001.
79. Yidian Luntan (Points of Suspicion Discussion Forum, hereafter PSDF): [www.confuse2000.com].
80. Shi, Hanbing. ‘Jinian Wang Wei Jun (In Memorial of Mr. Wang Wei)’. PSDF, No.16,
13 April 2001.
81. Shi, Hanbing. ‘Meiguo Weige Yu Zhongguo De Zaoxie (The US Vagina and the
Chinese Premature Ejaculation)’. PSDF, No.18, 1 June 2001. The sequence of the
four points has been rearranged by the author for editorial purpose.
82. The party appointed former CCP Secretary-General Zhao Ziyang as ‘honorary
chairman’. [1] Official website of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic
Democratic Movement: [www.alliance.org.hk/info/news/2000/news2011.htm].
[2] Liu, Guokai. ‘Zhongguo Wei Minzuzhuyu De Youyici Baolu (Another Exposure
of Chinese Pseudo Nationalism)’. Liu Guokai Wenji (Collected Works of Liu Guokai),
12 April 2001: [www.boxun.com/hero/liugk/5_1.shtml].
83. ‘Li Xianyuan Gei Zhonggong Zhongyang Zhenfzhiju De Qing: Zhuanzhu Jiyu,
Pujie Renmin Waijiao De Xinpianzhang (A Letter to the Politburo: Seizing the
Opportunity and Writing a New Chapter for People’s Diplomacy)’. PSDF, No.18,
5 April 2001.
84. Ye, Fu. ‘Cong Zhuangji Shijian Kan Zhongguo Zhengfu (A Look at the Chinese
Government from the Perspective of the Plane Collision Incident)’. Boxun Xinwen
Wangluo (Boxun News Network), 16 April 2001: [www.boxun.com/hero/yefu/6_1.
shtml].
85. Han, Deqiang, ‘Wang Wei Yu Zhonghua Minzu Tongzai (Wang Wei will Always be
Alive with the Chinese Ethnicity)’. PSDF, No.18, 8 April 2001.
86. Shi, Hanbing, ‘Zhangji Zhangchu De Waijiao Juexian He Waijiao Jiyu (Diplomatic
Deficiencies and Opportunities as Revealed from the Collision)’. PSDF, No.18,
8 April 2001.
87. Dai, Qing ‘Zhongmei Zhuanji Yishounian: Geming Yingqong Zhuyi Fansi (First
Anniversary of Airplane Collision Incident: Rethinking the Revolutionary
Heroism)’. BS, No.108, May 2002.
Notes 223
88. Ye, Fu. ‘Cong Zhuangji’.
89. ‘US Must Bear all Responsibilities for Collision: Law Expert’. PDO, 7 April 2001.
90. Qin, Xudong. ‘Cong Guojifa Kan Zhongmei Zhuangji Shijian (A Look at the
Sino-American Plane Collision Incident from the Perspective of International
Law)’. Falu Tushuguan (Law Library Online), 3 November 2003: [www.lawlib.com/
lw/lw_view.asp?no=2212].
91. Yang, Zhizhu. ‘Zhuangji Shijian’, p.72.
92. Ibid.
93. ‘Tsinghua Guoji Chuanbo Zhongxin Lixiguang Zuoke Xinlong (Professor Li
Xiguang from Tsinghua International Media Center Visited Xinlong)’. Xinlang
Wang, 2 January 2003.
94. Ibid.
95. Rice, Condoleezza. ‘Promoting the National Interest’. Foreign Affairs, Vol.79,
No.1, January–February 2000, p.56.
96. The author’s participation in the US Embassy in Beijing Reception. 7 November
2000.
97. Jin, Junhui. ‘Bushi Zhengfu Duihua Zhengce Fangzheng Ji Qi Zouxiang (Bush
Administration’s China Policy and its Prospects)’. CIR, June 2001, pp.14–15.
98. Yang, Jiemian. ‘Dui Xiaobushi Zhengfu Duihua Zhengce De Fengxi he Sikao (An
Analysis of the China Policy of George W. Bush)’. GuojiWentiYanjiu (International
Issues Study), May 2001, pp.41–6.
99. ‘Jia Qingguo Jiaoshou Yu Wangyou Tan Zhuangji Shijian Yu Zhongmei Guanxi
(Professor Jia Qingguo Discusses the Air Collision Incident and Sino-American
Relations with Online Friends)’. Renminwang (People’s Net), 13 April 2001.
100. ‘Bushi Zhengfu Duihua Zhengce Fangzheng Ji Qi Zouxiang (Bush
Administration’s China Policy and its Prospect)’. CIR, June 2001, pp.1–30.
101. Luo, Cheng. ‘Cong Falijiaodu’, pp.14–17.
102. Jin, Junhui. ‘Bushi Zhengfu’.
103. Lu, Jiaping. ‘Zhongmei Zhuanji Shijian: Shijie Xinlengzhan Shiqi De Shifadian
(The Sino-American Airplane Collision Incident: The Start of a New Cold War)’.
PSDF, 11 April 2001.
104. Yang, Liyu. ‘Ruanyingjianshi De Lianmian Shoufa: Junji Cazhuang Shijianzhong
De Beijing Tanpan Celiu (Soft and Hard Tactics: The PRC’s Negotiation Strategy in
the Plane Collision Incident)’. BS, No.97, June 2001.
105. Hu, Ping. ‘Cong Shen Guofang Jianghua He Jiefangjun Baozhang Kan Zhuangji
Shijian Zhengxiang (A Look at the Truth of the Plane Collision Incident From the
Speech of Shen Guofang and Articles of PLA Daily)’. BS, No.97, June 2001.
106. Ibid.
107. Ibid. Also ‘Shi Lixing Gongshi Haishi Eyi Tiaobo (Routine Business or Intentional
Provocation?)’. PLAD, 15 April 2001.
108. Cheng said to have studied the ‘Chinese perspective’ of more than 50 academics
and research workers on Chinese foreign policy in Beijing. Cheng, Joseph and
Ngok, King-lun. ‘Spy Plane’, p.79.
109. Shi, Xin. ‘Cong Meiguo Duihua Zhengce Tiaozheng Kan Zhongmei Guanxi
Zhong Cunza De Wenti (A Look at the Problem in Sino-American Relations from
the Recent Adjustment of US’s China Policy)’. Guoji Guanxi Xueyuan Xuebao,
October 2001, p.17.
110. Shi, Hanbing. ‘Zhangji Zhangchu’.
111. Fang, Ning, ‘Zhongguo Zhongyi Shuobu Le (China Eventually Said No)’. PSDF,
No.18, 1 June 2001.
112. AFP, 5 April 2001. In Yee, Albert. ‘Semantic Ambiguity’, p.71.
224
Notes
113. Jia, Qingguo. ‘Learning to Live with the Hegemon: Evolution of China’s Policy
toward the US since the End of the Cold War’. Journal of Contemporary China,
Vol.14, No.44, August 2005, p.402.
114. Liu, Xiaobo. ‘Taoguangyanghui: Yizhong Xialiu De Waijiao Zhihui (Taoguang
Yanghui: A Dirty Diplomatic Wisdom)’. Liu Xiaobo Wenxuan (Selected Works of Liu
Xiaobo), 21 July 2001 [www.boxun.com/hero/liuxb/14_1.shtml].
115. Ibid.
116. Ibid.
117. Jin, Junhui. ‘Bushu Zhengfu’.
118. [1] Han, Deqiang. ‘Luqing Wo Lingkong, Zhuanghui Wo Zhanji, Suijing Waijiao
Shi Neiying (Appeasement Policy is the Planted Agent of the US Air Invasion)’.
PSDF, No.18, 4 April 2001. [2] Han, Deqiang. ‘Wang Wei Yu Zhonghua Minzu
Tongzai’.
119. Shi, Hanbing, ‘Zhangji Zhangchu’.
120. Ibid.
121. Ling, Xu. ‘Yao Cong Gengbendian Yanpan Zhongmei Guanxi (An Analysis of
US-China Relations)’. CIR, June 2001, pp.10–12.
122. Zheng, Yongnian. Daguo De Zeren: Zhuanxing Zhong De Zhongguo Guoji Zhanlue
(Responsibility of a Big Nation: International Strategy of China in Transition).
Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, 2004, pp.134–68.
123. AFP, 12 April 2001. In Yee, Albert. ‘Semantic Ambiguity’, p.80.
124. Ibid.
125. Huang, Yan. ‘Zhongmei Zhuanji Shijian Fangxi: Lian Aisenghaoweoer Dou
Daoqian, Weishema Bushi Xue Zuobudaone? (An Analysis of the Airplane
Collision Incident: Even Eisenhower Can Apologize, Why Can’t Bush?)’. SCDFA,
9 April 2001.
126. Yee, Albert. ‘Semantic Ambiguity’, pp.80–1.
127. Daishu Yeyu Aiguo Renshi. ‘Cong Very Sorry Kan Meiguo Guizi De Jiaohua (A
Look at Americans’ Cunning from the Word “Very Sorry”)’. SCDFA, 12 April 2001.
128. Shuangpin, ‘Zhongmei Tuoshan Jiejue Zhuangji Shijian Shi Fuhe Shuanfang Liyi De,
Dui Zhongguo Youli (Reaching Agreement on Solving the Airplane Collision
Incident Accords in the Interest of Both Sides: It is Advantageous for China)’.
SCDFA, 12 April 2001.
129. Tangta. ‘Wo Zhichi Zhongguo Zhengfu Shifang Feixingyuan (I Support the
Chinese Government’s Release of American Pilots)’. SCDFA, 12 April 2001.
130. ‘Pro-China Hackers Invade US Government’.
131. Aying. ‘Zhongmei Wangluo Zhanzheng De Yiyi (The Significance of the SinoAmerican Internet War). SCDFA, 3 May 2001.
132. Ibid.
133. Huang, Yan. ‘Zhongmei Zhuangji Shijian’.
134. Vatis, Michael. ‘Cyber Terrorism and Information Warfare: Government
Perspectives’. In Alexander, Yonah and Swetnam, Michael (eds). Cyber Terrorism
and Information Warfare. New York: Transnational Publishers, 2001.
135. [1] ‘Hackers Leave Pro-China Trails on US Sites’. New York Times, 5 May 2001.
[2] ‘US and Chinese Hackers Trade Blows’. BBC News, 1 May, 2001. [3] ‘Beijing
Mindiao Xianshi Zhongguoren Dui Meiguo Rengju Haogan (Poll conducted in
Beijing Shows that Chinese still like America)’. TET, 3 May 2001.
136. [1] Shao Yunhuan Lishi Jinianguan. [2] Xu Xinghu Zhu Ying Lishi Jinianguan.
[3] Wang Wei Lishi Jinian Guan (Memorial Hall of Martyr Wang Wei):
[cn.netor.com/m/box200104/m5661.asp?BoardID=5661].
Notes 225
137. Liu, Taiping. Daojihua: Erlinlinba Nian Zhonggong Fadong Duitai Gehou Zhan (Plan
Island: PRC Will Launch Imminent War Against Taiwan). Taibei: Shiying
Publishing, 2005.
138. ‘Ode to Wang Wei: Fallen Pilot China’s Scarlet Pimpernel’. Anti-war.com, 9 April
2001, as translated by the article writer Justin Raimondo: [www.antiwar.com/
justin/j040901.html].
139. Xiaotian Chaolong. ‘Wangwei, Nizana? (Wang Wei, Where are you?)’. SCDFA, 10
April 2001.
140. Some contemporary historians dismissed the status of Yue as a ‘hero’ for his
anti-minority status. ‘Yuefei Wentianxiang Bushi Minzu Yingxiang (Yue Fei and
Wen Tianxiang are not National Heroes)’. Nanfang Wang (Southern Net),
6 December 2002: [www.southcn.com/news/community/shms/200212061111.
htm].
141. Gutai Mingyue. ‘Cong Guojifa Fengxi Zhongmei Zhuanji Shijian (A Look at the
Airplane Collision from the Perspective of International Law)’. SCDFA, 6 April
2001.
142. Rosenthal, Elisabeth. ‘News Analysis: Many Voices for Beijing’. New York Times,
10 April 2001.
143. ‘Shidai Zhoukan Minyi Ceyan: 77% Yingwei Meifang Yingfu Zhuyao Zeren
(Polling by Times: 77% Said the US Should Take Major Responsibility)’. Beijing
Wanbao, 5 April 2001.
144. Yedi Xifeng. ‘Xuezha Yao Yong Xue Lai Huang (Return Blood Debts with Blood)’.
SCDFA, 10 April 2001.
145. Dijiu Cunmin Wongluoke. ‘Meiguo Zhengfu Zai Jiechi Renzhi!!(The US
Government is Taking Hostages!!)’. SCDFA, 9 April 2001.
146. Cheng, Joseph and Ngok, King-lun. ‘Spy Plane’, p.75.
147. Qijie Jiayijie Dengyu Bajie. ‘Meiguo Zhezhong Zhanliu Diushou Buhui Gei
Women Shijian Qiangda Da Yuzhi Duikang (America Will Not Allow Us to be
Strong Enough to Confront Them)’. SCDFA, 13 April 2001.
148. Shuangpin. ‘Zhongmei Tuoshan’.
149. Tangta. ‘Wo Zhichi Zhongguo’.
150. Ibid.
151. Yedi Xifeng. ‘Xuezai Yaoyong Xue’.
152. AFpp. 4 April 2001. In Yee, Albert. ‘Semantic Ambiguity’, p.71.
153. Ming, Zhi. ‘Bushu Zongtong, Shuoni Jiju’.
154. Qijie Jiayijie Dengyu Bajie. ‘Meiguo Zhezhong’.
155. Ibid.
156. Yedi Xifeng. ‘Xuezai Yaoyong Xue’.
157. Written interview with Guan Jianwen.
158. Zhen, Duo. ‘Duikang Meiguo Jiutiao Ce (Nine Ways to Confront America)’.
SCDFA, 9 April 2001.
159. Ibid.
160. Nie, Yicong. ‘Zhongguo Shimin Xingmu Zhong De Meiguo (Chinese Citizens’
Perceptions of the US)’. Zhongguo Baodao Dianzi Zazhi (China Report Online
Magazine), No.188, 20 April 2001: [www.mlcool.com/html/ns000921.htm]. The
poll was conducted with 1500 respondents in Beijing, Shanghai and
Guangzhou.
161. Nie, Yicong. ‘Zhongguo Shimin’.
162. Yu, Xunda, Chen, Xudong et al. ‘Zhongmei Guanxi’, pp.41–6.
163. Yee, Albert. ‘Semantic Ambiguity’, pp.53–82.
226
Notes
4 Response to US Patriotism: The 9/11 Incident and
the War in Afghanistan (September–December 2001)
1. ‘Pondering Over Patriotism’. PDO, 21 September 2004.
2. Wang, Huping. ‘Ni Paizhang, Tai Xinteng (He Hurts When You Clap)’. In Ma, Kafai (ed.). Dang Yanlei Ninggu Cheng Zidan (When Tears Condense as Bullets). Hong
Kong: Mingpao Publishing, 2001, pp.164–7.
3. The author was invited to edit an academic collection titled China and the Post-911 World Order (hereafter CP911). This book is yet to be released, but the author
was able to study several unpublished articles on the topic.
4. ‘President Jiang Zemin Expressed Condolences to President Bush’. PRC Foreign
Ministry, 12 September 2001.
5. ‘President Jiang Zemin Had a Phone Conversation with President Bush’. PRC
Foreign Ministry, 13 September 2001.
6. ‘President Jiang had a Phone Conversation with British Prime Minister Tony
Blair’. PRC Foreign Ministry, 19 September 2001.
7. ‘Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan Made a Speech on Sino-US Relations’. PRC Foreign
Ministry, 21 September 2001.
8. ‘Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan Met with Powell’. PRC Foreign Ministry,
21 September 2001.
9. Ibid.
10. Chung, Chien-peng. ‘The Shanghai Co-Operation Organization: China’s
Changing Influence in Central Asia’. The China Quarterly, Vol.180, December
2004, p.1004.
11. Lampton, David. ‘Chinese and American Mutual Perceptions and National
Strategies after 9/11 and the Leadership Transition in China’. Guest Talk at
HKUST, 6 March 2003.
12. Wang, Xun. ‘Shouji Chuan Duanxin, Meiti Qiang Xianji (Short Messages
Circulated by Mobiles: Media Seizes the Opportunity)’. In Ma, Ka-fai (ed),
pp.136–9.
13. Hill, Jenny. ‘Chinese Reactions to the September 11 Attack’. CP911.
14. ‘China Also Harmed by Separatist-Minded East Turkistan Terrorists’. PDO,
10 October 2001.
15. ‘Statement by Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan at the UN Security Council
Ministerial Meeting on Counter–Terrorism’. Permanent Mission of the PRC to the
UN, 12 November 2001.
16. ‘East Turkistan Terrorist Forces Cannot Get Away with Impunity’. PDO, 21 January
2002.
17. ‘Waijiaobu Fayanren Ping Suowei Dongtu Yantaohui (Spokesman of Foreign
Affairs Ministry Comments on the Seminar of East Turkish Independentists)’.
Xinhua Wang, 19 October 2001.
18. Li, Rex. ‘A Rising Power with Global Aspirations: China’. In Buckley, Mary and
Fawn, Rick (eds). Global Responses to Terrorism: 9-11, Afghanistan and Beyond.
New York: Routledge, 2003, pp.217–18.
19. Sun, Yat-sen. Minzu Zhuyi Yaoyi (The Principle of Nationalism). Taibei: Zhonghua
Wenhua Chuban Shiye Weiyuanhui, 1953.
20. Friedman, Edward. ‘New Nationalist Identities in Post-Leninist Transformations:
The Implications for China’. Chinese University Hong Kong USC Seminar Series
No.4, 1992, p.25.
21. ‘Uygur Activists Not Terrorists, Says US’. South China Morning Post, 6 March 2002.
Notes 227
22. Pan, Zhiping. ‘Dongtu Kongbu Zhuyi: Youlai Yu Fazhan (East Turkish Terrorism:
Origin and Development)’. In Zhongya De Diyuan Zhengzhi Wenhua (Geopolitical
Culture of Central Asia). Xinjiang: Xinjiang Renmin Chubanshe, 2003, pp.266–7.
23. ‘Full Text of White Paper on History and Development of Xinjiang’. PDO, 26 May
2003.
24. Liu, Hantai and Du, Xingfu (eds). Zhongguo Daji Dongtu Baogao (Report on the
Chinese Attack on the ETIM). Xinjiang: Xinjiang Renmin Chubanshe, 2003,
pp.127–50.
25. Ibid.
26. Ibid, p.148.
27. ‘Bush Counselling Patience in Anti-terrorism Campaign, Rice Says’. US White
House, Office of the Press Secretary, 19 September 2001.
28. ‘President Jiang Phoned Bush’.
29. ‘President Jiang Held Phone Talks with French President and British Prime
Minister’. PDO, 19 September 2001.
30. ‘Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan Attended the UN Anti-Terrorism Meeting’. PRC
Foreign Ministry, 14 November 2001.
31. ‘Sino-Russian Joint Statement’. PRC Foreign Ministry, 10 December 1999.
32. ‘The Chinese Government’s State Terrorism Against Women and Children’.
33. ‘Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan Met with Powell’.
34. ‘President Jiang and US President Talk Over Phone’.
35. ‘Zhu Bangzao Discloses Bloody Cases Created by “East Tujue” Elements at Home
and Abroad’. PDO, 14 November 2001.
36. ‘China Opposes Double Standard in Anti-Terrorist Campaign’. PDO, 21 March
2002.
37. Ibid.
38. Berlin, Isaiah. ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’. In Sandel, Michael (ed.). Liberalism and
its Critics. New York: New York University Press, 1984, pp.15–36.
39. Ng, Margaret. ‘Are Rights Confined by Culture?’ In Davis, Michael (ed.), pp.61–6.
40. ‘Talk Freely about World Situation, Speak Glowingly of China’s Diplomacy’. PDO,
17 December 2001.
41. Guiguzi, originally named Wang Yu, is regarded as the founder of the ‘Zhongheng
School’, one of the ten major schools of thought in ancient China. Sima, Qian.
Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian). Taibei: Shangwu Yinshuguan, 1964. Book
No.65.
42. ‘Terror Attacks Influence Relations Among Big Powers’. PDO, 24 December 2001.
43. ‘Waijiaobu Fayanren Zhu Bangzao Jiu Mei Youguan Zhongguo Yu Taliban Huanxi
De Baodao Da Jizhe Weng (Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhu Bangzao’s Answer to
Report Regarding the Report on the Linkage between China and Taliban)’. PRC
Foreign Ministry, 15 September 2001.
44. ‘Waijiaobu Fayanren Bochi Xifang Meiti Huanyu Ladeng Za Zhongguo De Yaoyan
(Foreign Ministry Spokesman Refutes the Rumour reported by Western Media that
Osama bin Laden is hiding in China)’. PRC Foreign Ministry, 23 September 2001.
45. ‘Chinese Famous Youth Newspaper Openly Supported the Terrorists’. PDO,
21 September 2001.
46. Luo, Bing. ‘Zhongnanhai Dui Jiuyiyi Shijian De Fanying (Zhongnanhai’s
Response to the 9/11 Incident)’. Zhengming, No.288, October 2001, pp.10–11.
47. ‘Zhongguo Duiwai Zhengce Jiang Gengjia Wushi (Chinese Foreign Policy will be
More Pragmatic)’. Conversation between David Shambaugh and Shi Hongyin,
originally released on 12 December 2002. In Liu, Jiangyong, pp.35–6.
228
Notes
48. ‘Jiuyiyi Hou Kan Zhongmei Guanxi Hezuo Yu Moca Bingcun (Both Cooperation
and Conflicts Have Existed in Sino-American Relations since the 9/11 Incident)’.
Jiefang Ribou, 24 December 2001.
49. ‘Terror Attacks Impact Relations Among Big Powers’.
50. ‘Full Text of Jiang Zemin’s Report at 16th Party Congress (3)’. PDO, 18 November
2002.
51. ‘Talk Freely about World Situation, Speak Glowingly of China’s Diplomacy’.
52. ‘Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan Met with Powell’.
53. ‘Developing Sino-US Constructive Cooperative Relations: Interview’. PDO,
30 December 2001.
54. ‘Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Press Conference on 29 January 2002’. PRC
Foreign Ministry, 29 January 2002.
55. Myasnikov, Vladimir. ‘Global Developments after the War in Iraq and Possibilities
for Interaction among Russia, China and India’. China Report, Vol.40, No.2,
April–June 2004, pp.131–8.
56. ‘China’s Diplomacy Steaming Hot in a Cold Season’. PDO, 28 January 2002.
57. ‘Talk Freely about World Situation, Speak Glowingly of China’s Diplomacy’.
58. Zakaria, Fareed. ‘The Big Story Everyone Missed’. Newsweek, 30 December 2002 /
6 January 2003, Vol.141, Issue 1, p.52.
59. Interview with Richard W. Stites, the Head of Public Affairs at US Consulate Hong
Kong, 15 March 2004.
60. Acharya, Amitav. ‘Asian and World Order after September 11’. In Booth, Ken and
Dunne, Tim (eds). Worlds in Collisions: Terror and the Future of Global Order.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, pp.196–7.
61. Cha, Victor. ‘Globalization and the Study of International Security’. Journal of
Peace Research, Vol.37, No.3, 2000, pp.391–403.
62. Ling, Feng. ‘Beijing Ying Yiedao Gei Meiguo Chubing Afuhan (Beijing Should
Help America against Afghanistan)’. BS, No.102, November 2001.
63. Xu, Youyu, Zhu, Xueqin et al. ‘Guanyu Jiuyiyi Shijian De Sandian Gongshi (Three
Consensuses Regarding the 9/11 Incident)’. 14 September 2001: [www.geocities.
com/SiliconValley/Bay/5598/01/sd0109c.txt].
64. Yuan, Peng. ‘Jiuyiyi Shijian Yu Zhongmei Guanxi (The 9/11 Incident and SinoAmerican Relations)’. CIR, November 2001, pp.17–23; 63.
65. Colombani, Jean-Marie. ‘nous sommes tous Américains’. Le Monde, 12 September
2001.
66. Bao, Zunxing, Liu, Xiaobo et al. ‘Zhi Meiguo Zongtong He Meiguo Remmin De
Gonggaixin (A Open Letter to President Bush and the American People)’.
12 September 2001: [newyouth.beida-online.com/data/data.php3?db=xueshu&
id=zhibushi].
67. Yuan became the target of nationalist assault in 2006 when he proposed to re-evaluate
the Boxers in Bingdian Zhoukan, a member of the China Youth Daily (Zhongguo
Qingnian Bao). Yuan, Weishi. ‘Xiandaihua Yu Lishi Jiaokeshu (Modernization and
History Textbooks)’. Zhongguo Qingnian Bao-Bingdian Zhoukan, 11 January 2006.
68. Xu, Yongyu, Zhu, Xueqing et al. ‘Guanyu Jiuyiyi’.
69. Ren, Buzhen. ‘Jingyie, Womeng Shi Beijing Ren (Tonight, We are Beijingers)’. Ren
Buzhen Wenxuan (Selected Works of Ren Buzhen), 12 September 2002:
[www.boxun.com/hero/renbm/39_1.shtml].
70. Xu, Yongyu, Zhu, Xueqing et al. ‘Guanyu Jiuyiyi’.
71. Ibid.
72. ‘Dai Qing Wei Jinsheng Bianlun PNTR (Dai Qing and Wei Jinsheng Debate on
PNTR)’. Xin Shiji (New Century), No.47, May 2000: [www.ncn.org/html/zwginfo/
0005b/47–44b.htm].
Notes 229
73. Interview with Wang Dan. Oxford: University of Oxford. 11 November 2001.
74. Zheng, Yongnian. ‘Minzuzhuyi Dui Kongbu Shijian De Pinqiong Fanying
(The Poor Response of the Nationalists to Terrorist Incident)’. HKEJ, 2 October
2001.
75. Wang, Dan. ‘Jingyie, Womeng Shi Meiguoren (Tonight, We are American)’.
Xinxinwen (New News), No.759: [www.new7.com.tw/weekly/old/759/759–088.
html].
76. ‘Taliban Weohe Buyuanyi Jiaochu Ladeng (Why Taliban was Unwilling to Hand
Over Bin Laden)’. BYD, 21 September 2001.
77. ‘Chinese Famous Youth’.
78. ‘US Expels Visiting Chinese Journalists after Reports They Applauded Terror
Strikes’. AFP, 17 September 2001.
79. ‘Jiuyiyi Shijian Shisi Min Zhongguo Jizhe Beizhuo Zhengxiang (The Truth about
the Expulsion of 14 Chinese Journalists during the 9/11 Incident)’. Xuchang Ribao
(Xuchang Daily), 31 January 2002.
80. Ibid.
81. Johnson, Paul. ‘21st Century Piracy: the Answer to Terrorism? Colonialism’. Wall
Street Journal, 6 October 2001.
82. ‘Shijiu Wei Zhongguo Xueche He Shehui Huodongjia Lianming Zhixing Huaerjie
Shibao (19 Chinese Intellectuals Jointly Signed A Letter to Wall Street Journal)’.
Renmin Chunqiu (People’s Age), No.19, 15 November 2001: [www.maostudy.org/
ldarticle.php3?article=2001–11/911_lmq1.txt].
83. Ibid.
84. Bao, Zunxing, Liu, Xiaobo et al. ‘Zhi Meiguo Zongtong He Meiguo Remmin De
Gonggaixin’.
85. Ibid.
86. Han, Deqiang. ‘Zhuangwei Shimao De Zhenzheng Yuanxiong (The Real
Murderers of the WTO Attack)’. Shibo Wang (Times Net), 15 September 2001:
[intermargins.net/Forum/2001%20July–Dec/911/c16.htm].
87. Ibid.
88. Ibid.
89. Chanda, Nayan. ‘September 11 in the Asian Mirror’. Yale-China Journal for
American Studies. Summer 2002, Vol.3, p.13.
90. Xu, Youyu. ‘The Debates Between Liberalism and the New Left’, p.11.
91. Zi, Zhongjun. ‘Cong Bianhua Zhong Bawo Daiguo Guanxi (Controlling Big Power
Relations through Change)’. CIR, March 2002, pp.3–5.
92. Ibid.
93. [1] Bao, Zunxing et al. ‘Zhi Meiguo Zongtong He Meiguo Remmin De
Gonggaixin’. [2] Xu, Yongyu, Zhu, Xueqin et al. ‘Guanyu Jiuyiyi Shijian’.
94. Wang, Ban. ‘Culture, Geopolitics, and Area Studies: In the Aftermath of September
11’. CP911.
95. Wang, Shaoguang. ‘Wenhua Lengzhan: Zhongyang Qingbaoju Kanbudao Di
Xuanchuan (Cultural Cold War: the Invisible Propaganda of the CIA)’. Dushu,
2002, No.5, re-circulated online: [www.cc.org.cn/old/wencui/020617200/
0206172012.htm].
96. [1] Gan, Yang. ‘Ziyou De Linian: Wusi Chuantong Zhi Jueshimian (The Ideal of
Liberty: Flaws of May Fourth Tradition)’. Dushu, No.5, 1989, pp.12–17. [2] Gan,
Yang. ‘Fan Minzhu De Ziyouzhuyi Haishi Minzhu De Ziyouzhuyi (Anti-Democratic
Liberalism or Pro-Democratic Liberalism?)’. Ershiyi Shiji, February 1997, p.5.
97. Gan, Yang. ‘Zou Xiansheng De Zhongguo Gushi (The China Story of Mr. Tsou)’. In
Tsou, Tang. Zhongguo Geming Zai Jiexi (A Reinterpretation of the Chinese Revolution),
2002. Preface: [64memo.com/disp.asp?Id=8031].
230
Notes
98. Gan, Yang. ‘Ziyouzhuyi: Guizu De Haishi Pingmin De (Liberalism: Nobles’ or
Ordinary People’s?)’. Dushu, January 1999, pp.85–94.
99. Ng, Margaret. ‘Rights Confined by Culture?’ pp.61–6.
100. Gan, Yang, ‘Ziyouzhuyi’, pp.85–94.
101. Li, Sheng. ‘Time to Think it Over: America after September 11’. Yale-China Journal
for American Studies, Summer 2002, Vol.3, p.26.
102. Ma, Dazheng. Guojia Liyi Gaoyu Yiqie: Xinjiang Wending Wenti De Guancha Yu Sikao
(National Interests Higher than Everything: Observation and Thoughts on the Stability
Question in Xinjiang). Xinjiang: Xinjiang Renmin Chubanshe, 2003, pp.205–11.
103. Zhang, Jingping. ‘Xingjiang Dongtu Kongbu Zhuyi Zaixian (The Revival of
Xinjiang ETIM Terrorists)’. Zhongguo Xinwen Zhoukan (China News Weekly)’.
16 November 2001 [news.sina.com.cn/c/2001-11-16/401277.html].
104. Yuan, Peng. ‘Jiuyiyi Shijian’, pp.17–23.
105. Lu, Qichang. ‘Zhongmei Guanxi Chuxian Pingwen Fazhan De Shidou (SinoAmerican Relations Shows a Trend of Stable Development)’. Zhongguo Wang,
10 February 2002. [www.china.org.cn/chinese/2002/Feb/107319.htm].
106. Xi Laiwang. ‘Cong PNTR Kan Meiduihua Zhengce (Looking at US China policy
Through PNTR)’. CIR. October 2000, pp.1–5.
107. Pang, Zhongying. ‘Zhongguo Jiaru Huojitixi Yu Xifang Ba Zhongguo Nalu Guoji
Tixi (China Joined the International System and the West Accepted China into
the International System)’. Renmin Wang (People’s Net), 1 May 2001 [www.
people.com.cn/GB/guoji/24/20010501/457183.html].
108. Ren, Wanding. ‘Guanyu Yongjiu Maoyi PNTR De Shengming (Statement on the
PNTR)’. BS, No.86, July 2000.
109. [1] Lu, Qichang. ‘Zhongmei Guanxi’. [2] Yuan, Peng. ‘Jiuyiyi Shijian’, pp.17–23; 63.
110. Xiao, Shu. ‘Zhongguo Bufen Xin Zuopai Renshi Xuanzi Yu Kongbu Fenzi
Zhanzai Yiqi (Some of the Chinese New Leftists Chose to Side with the
Terrorists)’. In Gong, Yang (ed), pp.374–5.
111. Zi, Zhongjun. ‘Cong Biaohua Zhong Bawo’, pp.3–5.
112. Chung, Chien-peng. ‘The Shanghai Co-Operation Organization’, pp.1004–5.
113. Yuan, Peng. ‘Jiuyiyi Shijian’, pp.17–23; 63.
114. Xu, Zhiyuan. Aiguo Wuzui (Innocent to be Patriotic). Hong Kong: TOM (Cup
Magazine) Publishing, 2005, p.49.
115. Lu, Qichang. ‘Zhongmei Guanxi’.
116. Zhu, Feng. ‘The Influence of the 9/11 Incident towards Sino-American Relations
and Our Responses’. Lecture at Peking University, 26 September 2001 [www.
yannan.cn/data/detail.php?id=2005].
117. Yu, Shuman. ‘Chuxi 9/11 Shijian Hou Meiguo Waijiao Zhengce De Tianzheng
(A Tentative Analysis of US Foreign Policy since 9/11)’. Guoji Zhanlue Yanjiu,
January 2002, p.25.
118. Jiang, Lingfei. ‘911 Shijian Dui Shijie Zhanlue Xingshi He Zhongguo Anquan
Huanjing Yingxiang (The Impact of 9/11 on World Strategic Situation and
China’s Security Environment)’. Heping Yu Fazhan (Peace and Development),
No.1, February 2002, pp.12–14.
119. Wang, Zaibang. ‘Shiji Shousui Guoji Xingshi Huigu Yu Sikao (Reflections on the
2001 International Situation)’. CIR, January 2002, pp.6–11.
120. Qin, Yaqing. ‘Guannian Tiaozhen Yu Guoji Hezuo (Idea Adjustment and
International Cooperation)’. CIR, March 2002, pp.6–8.
121. ‘Daguo Shifou Biran Zouxiang Chongtu (Are Big Nations Necessary to Going
into Confrontation)’. Conversation between John Mearsheimer and Qin Yaqing,
originally released on 12 December 2002. In Liu, Jiangyong, pp.15–18.
Notes 231
122. Hill, Jenny. ‘Chinese Reaction’.
123. Tanyong Youguan. ‘Guojia Kongbuzhuyi De Jiuyouziqu (National Terrorism has
Only Itself to Blame)’. SCDFA, 12 September 2001.
124. Jifeng Zhouyu. ‘Meiguoren Sideqisuo (American Victims Had Reasons to be
Dead)’. ZNDF, 3 November 2001.
125. The purpose of Xiao Shu was to use these responses to quote how new leftists
‘selected to side with the terrorists’ in the virtual community. Xiao Shu,
‘Zhongguo Bufen Xinzuopai’, pp.364–75.
126. Ibid, p.371.
127. Interview with Shen Min.
128. Wang, Zhaohui. ‘Young Chinese Look at America After September 11’. YaleChina Journal for American Studies. Summer 2002, Vol.3, p.15. The questionnaire
was distributed to second-year undergraduates of Jilin University. Of the 160
sophomores, 154 responded.
129. Wangji Xingfu. ‘Feichang Hao De Yipian Wenzhang (A Very Good Article)’.
ZNDF, 4 November 2001.
130. Yidaiba Nianjile, Yigeairen Ye Meiyou. ‘Jiuyiyi Zhounian Zagan: Yaoai Jiuai Za
Zijide Guojia (Random Thoughts during the Anniversary of the 9/11 Incident:
We Should Love Our Own Country)’. SCDFA, 12 September 2002.
131. Hill, Jenny. ‘Chinese Response’.
132. Chanda, Nayan. ‘September 11 in the Asian Mirror’, p.13.
133. Li, Sheng. ‘Time to Think it Over: America after September 11’, p.26.
134. Wang, Zhaohui. ‘Young Chinese Look at America’, p.17.
135. Informal conversation with a hawker in Beijing Haidianqu, 15 March 2002.
136. Huang, Jisu and Zhang, Guangtian, et al. ‘Shishiju Qiegawala Chuangzuo
Sixiang Shanshu (Discussion on the Ideas of Che Guevara)’. In Liu, Zhifeng (ed.).
Qiegewala: Fanxiang Yu Zhengming (Che Guevara: Noise and Reaction). Beijing:
Zhongguo Shehui Kexue Chubanshe, 2001, pp.97–102.
137. Ibid.
138. Huang, Jisu, Zhang, Guangtian et al. ‘Qiegawala Wutai Yanchu Juben (Script of
Che Guevara)’. In Liu, Zhifeng (ed.), pp.26–7.
139. Wang, Xiaodong. ‘Guanyu Lixiang Zhuyi De Jidian Duanxiang (Some Thoughts
about Idealism)’. In Wang, Sirui. ‘Jinri Zhongguo’, p.306.
140. Kuang, Xinnian. ‘Feng Yu Qi: Jiushi Niandai Di Yuedu (Wind and Flag: Studying
in the 90s)’. In Gong, Yang (ed.), pp.131–2.
141. Xiao, Gongqin. ‘Xinzuopai’, p.412.
142. Huang, Jisu, Zhang, Guangtian et al. ‘Gei Meiguo Zhuhua Dashi De Yaoqingxin
(Letter of Invitation to the US Embassy in China)’. In Liu, Zhifeng (ed.),
pp.107–8.
143. Leung, Kwok-hung. Speech in a movie seminar organized by Roundtable Hong
Kong Avant-Garde Policy Research Institute, November 2004.
144. Xiao, Shu. ‘Zhongguo Bufen Xinzuopai’, p.370.
145. Boyang Hu. ‘Wuweizhe Wudi: Daonian 911 Jieji Yingxiong (Those with No Fears
are Invincible – Mourning the 9/11 Hijacking Heroes)’. In Xiao, Shu, ‘Zhongguo
Bufen Xinzuopai’, pp.368–70.
146. Jin, Ze. Yingxiong Chongbai Yu Wenhua Xingtai (Hero-worship and Cultural
Transfiguration). Hong Kong: Commercial Press Publishing, 1991, pp.101–6.
147. Zhang, Zhenglong. Xuebai Xuehong: Guogong Dongbei Da Juezhan Lishi Zhenxiang
(Bloodshed in the Snow: The Truth about the KMT-CCP Duel in the Northeast). Hong
Kong: Dadi Chubanshe, 1991, p.397.
148. Foot, Rosemary. ‘Introduction’, p.2.
232
Notes
149. Wohenhutu. ‘Guojia Kongbuzhuyi He Minjian Kongbuzhuyi Yingdui Cishi Fuze
(National Terrorism and Civilian Terrorism Should be Held Responsible)’.
SCDFA, 12 September 2001.
150. Wang, Luoke. ‘Kongbu Zhuyi Ying Zao Jianze, Meiguo Zhengfu Yiegai Fansi
(Terrorism Should be Condemned: the American Government Should Also
Rethink Themselves)’. SCDFA, 12 September 2001.
151. Wang, Zhaohui. ‘Young Chinese Look at America’, p.17.
152. Le, Min. ‘Wo Renwei Kongbu Zhuyi Shi Feichang Hanhu De Guandian (I think
Terrorism is a very Vague Concept)’. In Xiao, Shu, ‘Zhongguo Bufen Xinzuopai’,
pp.365–70.
153. Ibid.
154. Xiao, Shu. ‘Zhongguo Bufen Xinzuopai’, p.368.
155. Ibid, pp.368; 372.
156. Jue, Zhan. ‘Wo Huaiyi Xinjing Fasheng De Yixilie Kongbushijian Yu Meiguo Youguan
(I Doubt the Recent Terrorism Attacks are Relevant to America)’. SCDFA,
4 November 2002.
157. Xiao, Shu. ‘Zhongguo Bufen Xinzuopai’, pp.368, 370.
158. Tanyong Youguan. ‘Guojia Kongbuzhuyi’.
159. Wu Chenzi. ‘Duiyu Meiguo Zainan Qing Lizhi Zhengshi Zhongguo Renmin De
Chunpu Ganqing (Please Face the Pure and Honest Sentiment of Chinese People
Regarding the American Disaster)’. SCDFA, 12 September 2001.
160. Jue, Zhan. ‘Wo Huaiyi Xinjing Fasheng De Yixilie Kongbushijian Yu Meiguo
Youguan’.
161. Jifeng Zhouyu. ‘Meiguoren Sideqisuo’.
162. Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997, pp.301–22.
163. Sheng, Banghe and He, Aiguo. ‘Bixu Zhengshi Wengming De Chongtu (We Must
Confront the Clash of Civilizations)’. Confucius 2000, 14 June 2004 [www.
confucius2000.com/poetry/bxzswmdctjtzghpjqdwjzl.htm].
164. Gan, Yang. ‘Cong ‘Minzu-Guojia’ Zouxiang ‘Wenming-Guojia’ (From NationState to Civilization-State)’. Eryishiji Jingjidaobao (21st Century Economic News),
30 December 2002.
165. ‘Wenming Yu Guoji Chongtu (Civilization and International Conflict)’.
Conversation between Jean-Luc Domenach, Remy Leveau and Yan Xuetong,
originally released on 11 April 2003. In Liu, Jiangyong (ed.), pp.81–7.
166. Zhen, Duo. ‘Wenmin Chongtu Lun De Baxuan Chizhi He Jilian (The Hegemonic
Essence and Tricks of the Theory of the Clash of Civilizations)’. SCDFA,
14 January 2003.
167. Zhang, Yang. ‘The September 11 Attacks, in a Chinese Student’s View’. YaleChina Journal of American Studies, Summer 2002, Vol.3, p.34.
168. Quanzhou Lisi. ‘Jingti! Zai Daji Kongbu Zhuyi De Qizhixia (Alert! Under the
Banner of Fighting Terrorism)’. SCDFA, 22 September 2001.
169. Youxia Awei. ‘Nianzhong Zhanwan: Jiuyiyi Daigei Women Shema? (What did
the 9/11 Incident Bring to the US?)’. SCDFA, 9 December 2001.
170. Qiao, Liang and Wong, Xiangsiu. Chaoxianzhan (War of Unlimited Boundaries).
1998.
171. Xu, Shuiliang. ‘Chaoxianzhan Pipan (Critique of ‘Chaoxianzhan’)’. Asia Demo
Net, 15 July 1999: [asiademo.org/1999/07/19990715d.htm].
172. Xiao, Shu. ‘Cong Lianbenshu Kan Zhongguo Jiduan Minzuzhuyi Yu
Kongbuzhuyi De Tianran Qingyuan Ji Xianshi Kunjing (A Look of the Natural
Notes 233
173.
174.
175.
176.
177.
178.
Connection and Realistic Dilemma between Chinese Extreme Nationalism and
Terrorism with Reference to Two Books)’. Yannan Xueshu, 2004:
[www.yannan.cn/data/detail.php?id=4938].
Fu, Ru. ‘Qiangbazhiguo, Jiangsizhizhou (Symptoms of the Death of a Strong
Power)’. SCDFA, 12 September 2001.
Zhenyoumei. ‘Yong Geming De Kongbuzhuyi Kangji Fangeming De
Kongbuzhuyi (Using Revolutionary Terrorism to Counter Counter-revolutionary
Terrorism)’. Xiao, Shu, ‘Zhonguo Bufen Xinzuopai’, pp.372–3.
Youxia Awei. ‘What did the 9/11 Incident Bring to the US?’
Laobenniu. ‘Meiguo De Weiji Yu Women Yingyou De Duice (America’s Crisis and
Our Necessary Response)’. SCDFA, 13 September 2001.
Wang, Zhaohui. ‘Young Chinese Look at America after 9/11’, p.18.
Wang, Zaohui. ‘Young Chinese Look at America’, p.16. Table 4.4 has difficulty in
reflecting the ideas of those believing 9/11 led to worse Sino-American relations
but not in seeing the ‘US suspecting China of the attack’.
5 Happy Division of Labour: The War in Iraq
(January 2002–May 2003)
1. ‘Yilake Chongjian Qinglai Zhongguo Huoban, Gaoguan Xuexi Xhongguo
Jingyan (Iraq Likes Chinese Partner for Reconstruction. High Officials Learn
from China Experience)’. Xinhua Net, 29 November 2004.
2. ‘Text on UN Security Council Resolution on Iraq’. US Department of State,
8 November 2002 [www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/15016.htm].
3. ‘Joint Statement by China, France and Russia Interpreting UN Security Council
Resolution 1441 (2002)’. 8 November 2002: [www.staff.city.ac.uk/p.willetts/iraq/
frrschst.htm].
4. ‘Jiang Zemin Yu Fa Zongtong Tong Tianhua, Zhongguo Zhichi Fadee Lianhe
Shengming (Jiang Zemin Calls French President, China Supports the Joint
Statement proposed by France, Germany and Russia)’. Zhongguo Xinwen Wang,
11 February 2003: [www.chinanews.com.cn/n/2003-02-11/26/271728.html].
5. ‘Statement of the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China’. PRC
Foreign Ministry, 20 March 2003.
6. [1] ‘Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Press Conference on 23 January 2003’. PRC
Foreign Ministry, 23 January 2003. [2] ‘Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on the Iraq
Question’. PRC Foreign Ministry, 31 January 2003.
7. ‘Waijiaobu: Zhongguo Jiang Yiju Guojifa Chuli Tong Yilake De Guanxi (Foreign
Ministry: China will Maintain its Relations with Iraq Based on International
Law)’. Zhongguo Ribao (China Daily), 10 April 2003.
8. Pei Minxin. ‘Meiyi Zhanzheng He Zhongmei Guanxi (The US-Iraqi War and
Sino-American Relations)’. BBC (Chinese), 26 March 2003.
9. ‘Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Press Conference on 4 March 2003’. PRC
Foreign Ministry, 7 March 2003.
10. ‘Editorial Hails Jiang’s US Visit, Trip to Mexico’. PDO, 30 October 2002.
11. ‘Meiguo Zhongmei Wenti Zhuanjia: Jiang Zemin Zhuxi Shi Bushi De Guike
(President Jiang Zemin is the Special Guest of President Bush)’. Zhongguo
Qingnian Bao, 17 October 2002.
12. Zhang, Weiguo. ‘Zhongnanhai: Yong Meiyi Zhanzheng Yangai SARS Yiqing
(Using the US-Iraqi War to Cover Up the Outbreak of SARS)’. TET, 5 April 2003.
234
Notes
13. ‘Zhonggong Zhongyang Dui Weisheng Bu Beijing Shi Hannan Sheng Zhuyao
Fuzhi Tongzhi Zhiwu Zuochu Tiaozheng (CCP Shifted Duties of Major Cadres in
the Ministry of Health, Beijing Municipality and Hainan Province)’. GMD,
21 April 2003.
14. ‘Beijing Fan Yizhan Youxing Jiuge Chongchong (Controversies in the Anti-Iraqi
War Demonstrations in Beijing)’. Voice of America Chinese News, 30 March 2003.
15. ‘Beida Shiwei Gai Fanzhan Xuanchuan Huodong (Peking University
Demonstration Converted to Anti-war Propaganda Campaign)’. Weiweipo,
30 March 2003.
16. [1] Li, Ning and Tong, Xiaoxi. ‘Women Weishenme Jueding Quxiao Zheci Shiwei
Youxing (Why We Decided to Call off this Demonstration)’. Zhongguo Fanzhan
Wang, 30 March 2003. In Feng, Jiansan (ed.). Zhanzheng Meiyou Fasheng (No Wars
Happened). Taibei: Taiwan Shehui Yanjiu Zazhishe, 2003, pp.123–5. [2] ‘Beijing Fan
Yizhan’.
17. Ibid.
18. ‘Commentary on US Start of War Against Iraq’. PDO, 20 March 2003.
19. Davis, Michael. ‘Discussion on Chinese Human Rights’. In Davis, Michael (ed.),
p.20.
20. ‘China Denounced Unilateralism, External Interference in its Internal Affairs’.
PDO, 7 March 2003.
21. ‘Zhangzheng Bushi Chulu, Heping Caishi Zhengtu (War is not an Exit, Peace is
the Right Way)’. GMD, 24 March 2003.
22. ‘Zhongguo Qian Zhu Yilake Dashi Tan Yilake Zhanaheng (Former Chinese
Ambassador in Iraq Talks on the War Against Iraq)’. Xinhua Agency, 27 March
2003.
23. ‘Wuli Bunen Cong Gengbeng Shang Jiejue Wenti (Using Force Cannot Solve
Problems Fundamentally)’. GMD, 21 March 2003.
24. ‘Chirac Warns Taiwan against Referendum’. PDO, 27 January 2004.
25. Hughes, Christopher. ‘Nationalism and Multilateralism in Chinese Foreign Policy:
Implications for Southeast Asia’. The Pacific Review, Vol.18, No.1, 2005, p.129.
26. ‘2002 Nian Meiguo De Renquan Jilu (US Human Rights Conditions Records)’. PRC
State Council News Office, 3 April 2003.
27. ‘China, Others Criticize US Report on Rights’. Washington Post, 4 March, 2003.
28. ‘Statement of the Foreign Ministry of the PRC’.
29. Chen, Tina and Churchill, David. ‘Neo-Liberal Civilization, the War on Terrorism,
and the Case of China’. CP911.
30. ‘Prisoners Abuse Scandal Sinks US Ship of Freedom, Democracy, Human Rights’.
PDO, 19 May 2004.
31. ‘Yizhanhou Shijie Geng Buan (The World is More Unsafe after the War in Iraq)’.
Conversation between Li Shaoxian, Wang Yusheng, Yin Zheng and Liu Jiangyong,
originally released on 26 March 2004. In Liu, Jiangyong (ed.), pp.243–4.
32. Wang, Yusheng. ‘Why Does the World Remain Unstable?’ Beijing Review,
16 January 2003, p.13.
33. Lau, Nai-keung. ‘Meiguo Ganyu Shilu (The American Intervention Story)’. HKEJ,
16 January 2004.
34. Interview with Lau Nai-keung. Hong Kong: Festival Walk Starbucks Café,
22 March 2004.
35. ‘Opposing War and Preserving Peace’. PDO, 21 March 2003.
36. ‘China-Kyrgyzstan Conduct Joint Anti-terrorist Maneuvering Exercises’. BBC,
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Notes 235
37. ‘Foreign Observers Attend Chinese War Games for the First Time’. PDO, 26 August
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38. Discussion with Bulet Sarsenbayev, Hotel Regent Almaty, 27 July 2005, Almaty,
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46. Translated version from Feng, Jiansan (ed). Zhanzheng Meiyou Fasheng, pp.138–41.
47. Ibid, pp.51–2.
48. Han, Dejiang, Zhang, Guangtian et al. ‘Fandui Meiguo Zhengfu Dui Yilake
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49. ‘Zhongguo Zuopai Xuezhe Fanzhan Qianming Qianhou (Chinese Leftist Scholars
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50. Ibid.
51. Interview with Li Roufou. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Baptist University,
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52. ‘Zhongguo Xuezhe Xiang Meishiguan Dijiao Fan Yizhan Qingyuanshu (Chinese
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53. ‘Beijing Fan Yizhan’.
54. ‘Zenyang Kandai Zhongguo Bufen Xuezhe De Fanzhang Shengming (How to View
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56. Ibid.
57. Jun, Hong. ‘Dui Deng Liqun Dao Luntan Fabiao Wenzhang De Yidian Ganxiang
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236
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Notes 237
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95. ‘Shijie Zenyan He Meiguo Xiangchu’, pp.46–8.
96. Ibid.
97. ‘Wenming Yu Guoji Chongtu’, pp.86–7.
98. Fan, Gong. ‘Jingtian Zashi Yilakeren (Today, We are Iraqis)’. BS, No.119, May 2003.
99. Zhao, Dagong. ‘Cong Sadamu Beibu Xiang Zhongguo Renmin Zouchu Mao
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100. Liu, Guokai. ‘Meiguo Jingjun Yilake’.
101. Han, Deqiang, Zhang, Guangtian et al. ‘Feidui Meiguo Zhengfu’.
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103. Guan, Yuqian. ‘Xinde Wenhua Lilian’, pp.186–7.
104. Ibid.
105. Yin, Zheng. ‘Shijie Zenyang He Meiguo Xiangchu (How can the World to Live
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106. Zhang, Guoqing and Ruan, Zongze. ‘Meiyi Kaizhan: Yige Shidai Jieshu Le (The
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238
107.
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121.
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Notes
25 March 2003: [www.people.com.cn/GB/guoji/209/10482/10489/20030325/
952603.html].
Zhu, Zengquan. Guanzhan Biji, pp.18–19.
‘Yizhanhou Shijie Geng Buan’, pp.241–7.
Tan, Zhong. ‘Cong Yelake Zhanzheng Kan Meiguo Zhanlue Yu Zhongguo
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‘Wang Xiaodong Jiu Meiyi Zhanzheng’.
[1] Yu, Jianhua. ‘ “Taoguang Yanghui” Yu “Yousuo Zuowei” De Bianzheng
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“taoguang yanghui” and “yousuo zuowei”: Chinese Diplomacy in the Iraqi
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Yang, Zhongxu and Feng, Yifei. ‘Heping Jueqi Zhiyin Zhongguo Weilai (The
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Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Zheng, Yongnian. ‘Dui Meiguo, Zhongguo Yaoyou Ziji Banben De Jiechu
Zhengce (China Should have its Own Version of a Policy of Rapprochement to
the US)’. HKET, 30 April 2002.
‘Bacheng Beijingren Fandui Meiguo Duiyi Dongwu (80 Per Cent of People in
Beijing Opposed the US Starting a War in Iraq)’. Diyishou (First Hand), No.555, 5
March 2003. The sample size was 404 residents in Beijing, aged 15–65.
Aichitang. ‘Shijie Luhe Miandui Meiguo Zhengfu De Zhangzheng Qiaozha (How the
World Faces the US Government’s Blackmail)’. SCDFA, 16 February 2003.
Feng, Jiansan (ed.), Zhanzheng Meiyou Fasheng, p.14.
Spires, Anthony. ‘Some Chinese See Positive Lessons in Iraqi “Torture Gate” ’.
YaleGlobal, 14 May 2004.
Interview with Li Roufou.
‘Zhongguo Xuezhe Xiang Mei Shiguan’.
‘Beijing Fan Yizhan’.
‘Beida Shiwei Gai Fanzhan Xuanchuan Huodong’.
Zhu, Pengpeng. ‘Ping Yilake De Daosa Xingdong (Comment on Iraq’s Action of
Protecting Saddam)’. SCDFA, 17 October 2002.
Fengzhi Zhuhuao. ‘Cong Wei Heping Jiejue Yilake Wenti De Yigei Zhuyi Tanqi (A
Discussion Starts on Peaceful Solution of the Iraqi Issue)’. SCDFA., 16 February
2003.
Notes 239
132. Renaijie. ‘Sidajiazu Yie Heng Fubai, Shibushi Yinggai Qingzhu Riben De
Qinglue (The Four Ruling Families in Republican China were also Very
Corrupt: Should we Celebrate the Japanese Invasion?)’. SCDFA, 15 December
2003.
133. Xiaochengshi Xiashuidao. ‘Yilake Bimian Zhanzheng De Zuijia Fangfa (The Best
Way of Avoiding War for Iraq)’. SCDFA, 6 February 2003.
134. ‘Zhongguo Sadamu Fansi Xiegei Sadamu De Yifengxin (A Letter to Saddam from
Saddam’s Fans in China)’. Chilewang, 25 October 2005: [www.chilema.cn/bbs/
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135. Zhen, Duo. ‘Meiguo Jinggong Yilake Jiang Hui Ba Shijie Tuojing Zhanzheng De
Shenyuan (America’s War Against Iraq will Drag the World Into the Abyss of
War)’. SCDFA, 18 January 2003.
136. Idleworm: Games – Gulf War 2: [www.idleworm.com/nws/2002/11/iraq2.shtml].
137. ‘Fangan Zhanzheng: Zhongguoren Meideshuo! (Dislike the War: The Chinese
Have their Say)’. Diyishou (First Hand), No.562, 4 April 2003. The sample size was
445 residents in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, aged 15–65.
138. Yu, Qiuyu. Qiannian Yitan (A Sigh for a Thousand Years). Beijing: Zuojia
Chubanshe, 2000, pp.213–58.
139. Mao, Zedong. Qinyuanchun Xue (Spring of Qinyuan: Snow). Released in 1936 in
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140. ‘Sa Damu (Saddam)’. Qinyuanchun Xue (Spring of Qinyuan: Blood) – Version 1:
[http://www.gcb.cn/gcb/gb/forum/showtopic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2&Forum_ID=41].
141. ‘Sa Damu (Saddam)’. Qinyuanchun Xue (Spring of Qinyuan: Blood) – Version 2:
[http://www.livejournal.com/users/hanson2010/124765.html].
142. ‘Fangan Zhanzheng: Zhongguoren Meideshuo!’.
143. ‘Bacheng Beijingren Fandui Meiguo Duiyi Dongwu’.
144. Feng, Qiong. ‘Meiyi Zhanzheng Zhong De Zhongfuo (China in US-Iraq War)’.
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145. Shangqiong Biluo. ‘Sadamu Xiaobushi Douzhi Yanyi Diyi, Er San Ju (Bush Versus
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146. Wang, Yiwei. ‘Bushi Fadong Dui Yilake Zhanzheng Yao Shixian Sida Lixiang
(Bush Wants to Achieve Four Ideals Through the Iraqi War)’. Zhonghua
Gongshang Shibao (China Industrial and Commercial Times), 26 March 2003.
147. ‘Bacheng Beijingren Fandui Meiguo Duiyi Dongwu’.
148. Aisuanle. ‘Dui Yilake Zhanzheng Hou De Meiguo (The US after the Iraqi War)’.
SCDFA, 18 January 2003.
149. Ibid.
150. Huashanjian. ‘Zhiyao Meiguo Gouxiang Dui Yilake De Diyiqiang,
Zhongoumei De Sanjiao Guoji Guanxi Jiusuan Xingcheng La (Triangular
International Relations Will be Formed if the Americans Start to Attack Iraq)’.
SCDFA, 4 March 2003.
151. [1] Confucius. Daxue Zhongyong. Fu, Yunlong and He, Zuokang (eds). Beijing:
Huayu Jiaoxue Chubanshe, 1996, pp.7–8. [2] Aisuanle. ‘Dui Yilake Zhanzheng’.
152. Fengzhi Zhuhuo. ‘Guanyu Mei Duiyi Dongwu De Kanfa (An Opinion on
America’s Use of Force Against Iraq’. SCDFA, 12 February 2003.
153. Wuolongfeng. ‘Meiguo De Xiayige Gongjimubiao – Zhanju Dongbeiya Ji Qi
Taiwan Haijia (America’s Next Target: Conquering Northeast Asia and the
Taiwan Strait)’. SCDFA, 19 March 2003.
240
Notes
154. Zhou, Bibo. ‘Yilake Luoru Meiguo Zhishou Jiushi Shijie Luoru Meiguo Zhishou
(Iraq Falling into America’s Hands is Equivalent to the World Falling into
America’s Hands)’. SCDFA, 30 October 2002.
155. Zhuanpai Naodai. ‘Yilake Weiji: Meiguo Zhengfu Xin Duiwai Zhengce De
Shajijinghou (Iraqi Crisis: ‘Kill the Chicken and Frighten the Monkey’ in US
Government’s new Foreign Policy)’. SCDFA, 8 March 2003.
156. Aisuanle. ‘Dui Yilake Zhanzheng’.
157. Yidian Shengyin. ‘Shi Shiyou Zhanzheng, Haishi Jiefang Zhanzheng (A War for
Oil or a War for Liberation?)’. SCDFA, 10 February 2003.
158. Ibid.
159. Shuxue. ‘Meiguo De Gongxingzhen Feichang Qiang De (America’s Psychological
War is Very Powerful)’. SCDFA, 19 March 2003.
160. Zhen, Duo. ‘Tamen Jiujing Jiang Gan Shema: Kan Meiyin Dui Yilake Jieshou
Lianheguo Jueyi Hou De Biaotai (What Exactly do They Want to Do: The US and
the UK’s Attitude after Iraq Accepted UN’s Resolution)’. SCDFA, 15 November
2002.
161. Shuxue. ‘Meiguo De Gongxingzhen’.
162. Fengzhi Zhuhuo. ‘Guanyu Mei Duiyi’.
163. Wuolongfeng. ‘Meiguo De Xiayige’.
164. Huang, Jie. ‘Disanci Shijie Dazhan Jijiang Kaishi (The World War Three will Soon
Begin)’. SCDFA, 18 March 2003.
165. Sikao De Wugu. ‘Baquan Zhiyi He Qiangquan Zhengzhi De Xinxingshi: Meiguo
De Xianfa Zhiren Zhanliu (A New Form of Hegemonism and Power Politics:
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166. Xiaoguo Guamin. ‘Meiguo Zhudao De Fankong Zhanzheng Yu Zhongguo
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SCDFA, 20 January 2003
167. Ibid.
168. Aisuanle. ‘Dui Yilake Zhanzheng’.
6 The Stabilizing Function of Chinese Nationalism:
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124. Phone Interview with Shen Min.
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246
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Baixing (Common People)
Banyue Tan (Biweekly Discussion)
Beijing Zhichun (Beijing Spring)
Boxun Xinwen Wangluo (Boxun News Network)
Dajiyuan Shibao (The Epoch Times)
Dangdai (Contemporary)
Diyishou (First Hand), Journal of Horizon Polling Company
Dushu (Reading)
Ershiyi Shiji (21st Century)
Eryishiji Jingjidaobao (21st Century Economic News)
Guangming Ribao (Guangming Daily)
—— Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying Commemorating Page
Falu Tushuguan (Law Library Online)
Guofang (Defence)
Guoji Guanxi Xueyuan Xuebao (International Relations Institute Journal)
Guoji Wenti Yanjiu (International Issues Study)
Heping Yu Fazhan (Peace and Development)
Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement Website
Hongwang (Red Net)
Huanjiu Zazhi (Global Magazine)
Idleworm: Games – Gulf War 2
Jiefang Ribao (Liberation Daily)
Jiefangjun Bao (PLA Daily)
Jinbao Yuekan (Mirror Monthly)
Kan Zhongguo (Secret China News)
Lianhe Bao (Taiwan United Daily News)
Lianhe Luntan (Singapore United Discussion Forum)
—— Kesuowo Weiji Luntan (Kosovo Crisis Discussion Forum)
Mingpao
Nanfang Wang (Southern Net)
Nanfang Zhoumo (Southern Weekend)
Qiangguo Luntan (Strong Country Discussion Forum)
—— Renmin Ribao Wangyou Zhisheng (People’s Daily Internet Users’ Voice)
Qiushi (Seeking for the Truth) [Hongqi (Red Flag)]
Bibliography 281
Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily)
Renmin Ribao Wangshang Ban (People’s Daily Online)
Takungpao (Hong Kong)
Tianya
Wang Wei Lishi Jinian Guan (Memorial Hall of Martyr Wang Wei)
Wenweipo (Hong Kong)
Xiandai Guoji Guanxi (Contemporary International Relations)
Xin Bao (Hong Kong Economic Journal)
Xinhua Net
Xinlangwang (New Wave Net)
Xinxinwen (New News)
Xingdao Ribao (Hong Kong Tsingtao Daily)
Xu Xinghu Zhu Ying Lishi Jinianguan (Online Memorial Hall of Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying)
Yannan Xueshu (Southern Swan Academic Web)
Yidian Luntan (Points of Suspicion Discussion Forum)
Zhanlue Yu Guanli (Strategy and Management)
Zhengming (Competition to Voice)
Zhongguo Baodao (China Report)
Zhongguo Daxuesheng (Chinese University Students)
Zhongguo Minjian Baodiao Lianhehui Wangye (China Federation for Defending the
Diaoyutai Islands Website)
Zhongguo Minjian Fanmei Lianmin (Civil Anti-American Coalition of China)
Zhongguo Pinglun (China Review)
Zhongguo Qingnian Bao (Chinese Youth Daily)
Zhongguo Shehui Kexue (China Social Science)
Zhongguo Wang (China Net)
Zhongguo Xinwen Zhoukan (China News Weekly)
Zhongguo Yanjiu (China Research)
Zhongguo Yu Shijie (China and the World)
Zhongguo Zhengzhixue (Chinese Political Science)
Zhonghua Aiguo Gongcheng Lianhehui Jiankuang (China Patriotic Project)
Zhonghua Gongshang Shibao (China Industrial and Commercial Times)
Zhongnan Luntan (Zhongnan Discussion Forum)
Index
9/11
case study summary 169–70
censorship 105
Chinese engagement 121–2
Chinese support for US 108
Chinese–US joint statement 104
commentators’ views of effects for
China 113
effect on diplomacy 112
expressive response of intellectuals
114–18
expressive response of party state
103–7
expressive response of public 124–9
ideological response of intellectuals
118–21
ideological response of party state
107–10
ideological response of public
129–32
instructions to media 104–5
Jiang Zemin 107–8
media coverage 111
nationalist discourse 134
non-liberal response 116–18
party state response to dissidents
104–5
SCDF 105
Sino-American relations 122
strategic response of intellectuals
121–4
strategic response of party state
110–13
strategic response of public 132–3
US aggression 123
Abdelal, Rawi 19
absolutism, of sovereignty 139–40
activism, economic and non-economic
121–2
Afghanistan 109
Afghanistan War see 9/11
aggressive nationalism 17
alliance, moral 152
anarchy 185
anti-governmental mission 61
anti-hegemonism 53
anti-terror coalition 103, 122
anti-terrorism105–6, 107–10
APEC summit, 2000 112
appeasement 40–4, 77–80
Asia Values 201
‘authentic’ nationalists 30–1
authoritarian liberalism 178–87, 199
Bao Zunxin 114–15, 118
barbarism 44–5
Belgrade bombing
allocation of blame 55
appeasement 40–4
Bill Clinton 39–40
case study summary 167–8
civic nationalism 46
compensation payments 40
conspiracy theories 64–6
demonstrations 49–52
domestic conspiracy 65–6
expressive response of intellectuals
49–52
expressive response of party state
39–44
expressive response of public 58–64
face-saving 39–40
ideological response of intellectuals
52–6
ideological response of party state
44–6
ideological response of public 64–6
Jiang Zemin 39–40, 42
martyrs 176
media coverage 52
polls of popular response 61, 64–6,
68–9
public demonstrations 41–2
revolutionary martyrs 43–4
rhetoric copied after spy plane
collision 81
seen as barbarism 44–5
strategic response of intellectuals
56–8
283
284
Index
Belgrade bombing – continued
strategic response of party state
47–9
strategic response of public
66–9
US apology 40
Berlin, Isaiah 17, 109, 120–1
bin Laden, Osama 124, 126–9, 176
Bing Jinfu 53
Blair, Tony 165
Blair Doctrine 38, 46, 49–50, 52–4, 58,
69
Blum, Samantha 45
Bluntschli, Johann Kaspar 14
Boao Forum Asia 186
Boxer Rebellion 60
boycotts 62–4, 177
Brenner, Lee 6
Bush, George W. 87, 112, 114–16
Cao Fumiao 54
case studies, selection of cases 22–3
case study summaries
9/11 169–70
Belgrade bombing 167–8
Iraq War 171–2
spy plane collision 168–9
censorship 34–5, 91, 92–3, 105
Central Military Commission 26
Centre for International Humanitarian
Law 150
Chang, Maria 2, 24, 177–8
Chen, Rosalie 65, 191
Chen, Tina 181
Chen Boda 57–8
Chen Zhimin 201
Chi Haotian 41
Chiang Kai-Shek 6
China Internet Network Information
Centre (CINIC) 33–4
China Society for Human Rights Study
148–9
China threat theory 154
Chinese Association of International
Law 150
Chinese Concept of Face 173–4
Chirac, Jacques 108
Christensen, Thomas 1, 5
Churchill, David 181
CINIC 33–4
citizens 32–6
civic nationalism
after Belgrade bombing 46
and Chinese culture 160–1
construction 179–80
construction after 9/11 130
construction around Iraq War 141
construction of values 190
definitions 17
humanitarianism and sovereignty
73–5
institutionalization 147–8
intellectuals 52
and realism 150
and sovereignty 108, 180
spy plane collision 86–7
and stability 199–202
United States 179–80
civil society 10–12
clash of civilizations theory 131–2,
157, 160
Clinton, Bill 1, 39–40, 65
Cohen, Benjamin 19–20
Cohen, Warren 60
Cold War, Sino-American relations 67
Colin Powell 104
comparative analysis, selection of cases
22–3
compensation, spy plane collision 76–7
comprehensive national power
competition 5
Confucianism 43
conspiracy theories 45–6, 64–6, 88,
141–2
spy plane collision 96
constructivist nationalism 185–7
Crazy English (documentary) 1, 202
credibility 173
Cui Zhiying 153
Cui Zhiyuan 29, 54, 148
cult of personality 43, 85
cultural comparative theory 29
cultural imperialism 20
cultural nationalism 20, 79–80, 176–7
cyber war 93–4
Dai Qing 85
de Bary, William 17
de Tocqueville, Alexis 200
Declaration of Opposition to the US
Government’s War Plan on Iraq
144–5
Index 285
deconstruction 16
defensive/accommodation realism 4–5,
47, 82, 111
defensive nationalism 78
delegative public opinion 188–9
demonstrations
anti-US 195
attitude of intellectuals 50–1
banned after spy plane collision
77–8
after Belgrade bombing 59–60
against Iraq War 138–9
models of 174–5
Deng Liqun 145
Deng Xiaoping 7, 39, 47–8
deviant case studies 22–3
dialogue, between social groups 173
dialogue, with US 112
Diaoyutai Islands 41, 188
diplomacy 90–1, 112, 173–4
diplomatic nationalism 19
discourse
nationalist 2, 69, 101, 134, 164,
187–90
online 197–8
post 9/11 113
public 197–8
as self interest 2
domestic conspiracy 65–6
Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement
(ETIM) 105–7, 109, 126, 176
economic activism 121–2
economic boycotts 177
economic nationalism 19–20
economic protectionism 63
economic sector, primary sources 26–7
economy 122, 177
Edelman, Murray 188
Engels, Friedrich 14
Essays on Taoguang Yanghui 153
ETIM see Eastern Turkistan Islamic
Movement (ETIM)
exclusions, in selection of sub-groups for
research 36
expressive layers, of nationalism
18–21
face-saving 173–4
Falun Gong 67–8, 108
fanatic nationalism 118, 194
feudalism 13–14
Fewsmith, Joseph 28
FGR Alliance 135, 136–7
Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence
17, 53
foco theory 157
Foot, Rosemary 1, 17, 74, 129, 186
foreign policy 7–9, 47, 110
Franco-German-Russian (FGR) Alliance
135, 136–7
Friedman, Edward 7
Fukuyama, Francis 6
game theory 8
Gan Yan 148
Gan Yang 29, 30, 51, 55, 120–1, 200
Gang of Four 29
Glaser, Charles 4, 47
global governance 124
globalization 140
Goldstein, Steven 6
governance 124, 143
Gray, John 28
Gries, Peter 50, 174
Guevara, Ernesto (Che) 127–8, 157,
176
Guiguzi nationalism
adoption 122
development 110
in global relations 132
internationalism 152
Iraq War 142–3
liberal interpretation 121
peaceful rise theory 183
post 9/11 113
strategy of collaboration 162
as transitional 151
Habermas, Jurgen 17, 200
Han Deqiang, 9/11 119
He Baogang 11–12
hegemony
activists 196
Chinese role 163
United States 44–6, 73, 96, 98–9,
111–12, 151, 178
hero worship 126–9
Hill, Jenny 125
Hobsbawn, Eric 20
Hofstadter, Richard 3–4
Hu Jintao 181, 186, 190
286
Index
Hu Ping 50, 88
Hu Shi 192
Huang, Ray 13
Huang Shuofeng 5
Hughes, Christopher 16, 198
human rights
attitude of intellectuals 54–6
China and US 140–1
globalization 180
hegemonization 53
institutionalization 148–9
and sovereignty 74–5, 109–10, 180
spy plane collision 74–5
after spy plane collision 86
US double standard 109
humanitarian debate, after spy plane
collision 86
humanitarian law 149
humanitarianism, United States 180
Huntington, Samuel 131–2, 160
Hurrell, Andrew 17
Hussein, Saddam 151–4, 156–9
Hwang, Kwang-kuo 174
icons 176
identity 165, 173
ideological layers, of nationalism
16–18
image, Chinese construction of 123
imperialism, United States 179
intellectuals
attitude to demonstrations 50–1
attitudes to Saddam Hussein 151–4
civic nationalism 52
criticism of Taoist nationalism 121
expressive response to 9/11 114–18
expressive response to Belgrade
bombing 49–52
expressive response to Iraq War
144–7
expressive response to spy plane
collision 83–5
human rights 54–6
ideological response to 9/11 118–21
ideological response to Belgrade
bombing 52–6
ideological response to Iraq War
147–51
ideological response to spy plane
collision 86–8
international relations 31–2
interpretation of Guiguzi nationalism
121
primary sources 32
as professional 146–7
as public figures 193–4
rejection of spy plane collision as
accident 86
response to 9/11 113–24
response to Belgrade bombing 49–58
response to Iraq War 143–54
response to spy plane collision 83–91
rivalry 69, 191–4
role and position in society 27–32
strategic response to 9/11 121–4
strategic response to Belgrade
bombing 56–8
strategic response to Iraq war 151–4
strategic response to spy plane
collision 88–91
interest groups 10–11, 188
international conspiracy 66
international law 74, 86, 149–50
international relations intellectuals (IRIs)
31–2, 50, 87–8 see also individual
names; intellectuals
internationalism 6–7, 161
Internet
attacks on US 93–4
campaigning 196–7
censorship 34–5, 92–4
expression of anti-US feeling 59
Iraq War 155–6
memorial to Belgrade martyrs 62
public commentary 195
public discourse 197–8
responses to 9/11 125
responses to spy plane collision 92–4
Taoist nationalism 97
views on terrorism 130–1
Iraq War
case study summary 171–2
Chinese emphasis on role of UN 137
conspiracy theories 141–2
demonstrations 138–9, 155–6
expressive response of intellectuals
144–7
expressive response of party state
136–9
expressive response of public 155–60
Index 287
Iraq War – continued
Guiguzi nationalism 142
human rights 140–1
ideological response of intellectuals
147–51
ideological response of party state
139–42
ideological response of public 160–1
Internet 155–6
media coverage 160
party state response 136–43
Sino-American relations 136–7
strategic response of intellectuals
151–4
strategic response of party state
110–13
strategic response of public 161–4
IRIs see international relations
intellectuals (IRIs)
irredentism 19, 177–8
isolationism, abandonment 112
Jervis, Robert 195
Ji Xianlin 53
Jiang Zemin
9/11 107–8
abandonment of isolationism 112
attitude to US 45
Belgrade bombing 39–40, 42
defensive/accommodation
realism 111
expressions of humanitarianism 74
farewell speech 111–12
foreign policy 110
Guiguzi nationalism 142, 183
response to 9/11 103
spy plane collision 73
spy plane collision apology 75
Taoist nationalism 47–9
Three Represents Theory 10, 25
vision for China 48
visit to US 137–8
Jin Guantao 13
Johnson, Chalmers 15
Johnson, Paul 117–18
journalists 32, 42–3, 116, 193
journals, as primary sources 26
karma 130–1
Kohn, Hans 16
Lagerkvist, Johan 197
Lampton, David 4, 72
Landau, Jacob 19
Lau Nai-keung 141
layers of nationalism
expressive 18–21
ideological 16–18
strategic 21
Lenin, Vladimir 6
Levy, Jack 4
Li Minqi 5
Li Xianyuan 84
Li Xiguang 86
Li Zhaoxing 41–2, 139
Li Zhisui 7
Liang Qichao 14
liberal nationalism 191–2
liberals see also intellectuals
attitude to demonstrations 51
definition 27–8
issues of debate with non-liberals
191–2
open letters 114–16
post 9/11 unity 116
Taoist nationalism 89–90
liberty
Berlin’s concept 109–10
human rights 120
Iraq 141, 148
role of state 180–1, 190, 199
and sovereignty 135–6
Lin Baohua 51–2
Ling Dequan 148
Liu Guokai 84
Liu Qingfeng 13
Liu Shih-Diing 198
Liu Xiaobo 90, 114–15, 146
Liu Xin 19
lobby groups 10–12
Lu Qichang 123
Mao Zedong 6–7, 9
martyr worship 62, 79–80, 85
martyrdom 110, 176–7
Marxism 6–7, 57–8, 119
Mearsheimer, John 3–4
Measures for Managing Internet
Information Services 34
media 76, 104–5, 111, 160, 163
methodology 21–3
288
Index
Metzger, Thomas 11
military sector 26, 80
Ministry of Commerce (MOC) 26–7
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, primary
sources 25
Mitter, Rana 20
moral alliance 152
moralism 178
Mosher, Steven 4
multilateralism 139–40, 149
national capability index 15
National Security Council 82
nationalism
aggressive 17
‘authentic’ 30–1
civic see under main heading
constructivist 185–7
cultural 20, 79–80, 176–7
defensive 78
definition 14–15
diplomatic 19
division of labour 69
economic 19–20
fanatic 118–19, 194
Guiguzi see under main heading
healthy 55
liberal 191–3
marginalization of unorthodoxy 189
offensive 66, 98–9
pan-Chinese 106
populist 21, 174–6, 190
primordial 17–18
professional 146–7
revival 15–16, 165
statist 18
strategic 181–7
Taoist see under main heading
territorial 19
nationalist discourse
9/11 134
developed by party state 164
party state 187–90
as self-interest 2, 69–70
Sino-American relations 187
spy plane collision 101
nationalist expression, as independent
variable 166, 173–4
nationalist processes 2
NATO 45
natural right theory 148
negative liberty see liberty
neo-authoritarians 29–30, 53–4
neo-Confucians 29
neo-conservatism 30, 181
neo-liberalism 5–6
netizens 33–4
new Cold War 67
new left 5, 29–30, 86
newspapers, as primary sources 25–6,
33
non-liberals see also intellectuals
definition 28–9
issues of debate with liberals 191–2
joint anti-war declaration 144–5
open letter to Wall Street Journal
117–18
planned anti-war demonstrations
145
Taoist nationalism 88–9
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) 45
offensive nationalism 66, 98–9
offensive realism 3–4, 56–7, 67, 90–1,
150–1
One Night American declaration 114,
126
opinion polls 33
Ozkirimli, Umut 16
pan-Chinese nationalism 106
Pang Zhongying 148
party state
appeasement after Belgrade bombing
40–4
attitude to demonstrations 42–3
attitude to demonstrations against
Iraq War 138–9
development of nationalist discourse
164
expressive response to 9/11 103–7
expressive response to Belgrade
bombing 39–44
expressive response to Iraq War
136–9
expressive response to spy plane
collision 75–80
hypocrisy over spy plane collision 88
ideological response to 9/11 107–10
Index 289
party state – continued
ideological response to Belgrade
bombing 44–7
ideological response to Iraq War
139–42
ideological response to spy plane
collision 72–5
nationalist discourse 187–90
re-entrenchment 189–90
relaxation 9–10
response to 9/11 103–13
response to Belgrade bombing
39–49
response to demonstrations 175
response to dissidents, post 9/11
104–7
response to Iraq War 136–43
response to spy plane collision 72–83
risk aversion 69–70, 142
strategic response to 9/11 110–13
strategic response to Belgrade
bombing 47–9
strategic response to Iraq war 110–13
strategic response to spy plane
collision 80–3
structure and position 24–7
view of US hegemony 73
party state, leaders, primary sources
25
patriotism 24, 202
peaceful rise theory 124, 154, 163,
181–7, 199
Peng Pai 200
Peoples’ Daily 25
Peoples’ Liberation Army 26
Permanent Normal Trade Relations
(PNTR) 122
pluralism 9, 10
PNTR (Permanent Normal Trade
Relations) 122
poetry 158
Points of Submission Discussion
Forum 84
politics 190, 194–5
politics of public diversity (PPD)
contributing groups 12–13
exclusions in research 36
lack of democracy 199
and nationalism 15, 21
polling 33
polls
effect of 9/11 on Sino-American
relations 133
limitations of method 69
methodological limitations 188
perceptions of Osama bin Laden
127
public attitudes to Iraq 157, 159
public attitudes to Iraq War 155
public attitudes to US 159
public response to 9/11 125–6, 130
public response to spy plane collision
99–100
responses to Belgrade bombing 61–2,
64–6, 68–9
Sino-American economic links 177
populist nationalism 21, 174–6, 190
positive liberty see liberty
PPD see politics of public diversity (PPD)
primary sources
campus community members 35–6
economic sector 26–7
identification 23–4
intellectuals 31
international relations
intellectuals(IRIs) 32
Internet 35
military sector 26
party state elite 25–6
primordial nationalism 17–18
processes, nationalist 2
professional nationalism 146–7
Project for the New American Century,
conspiracy 141–2
Propaganda Department 104
Prospect Theory 4
protectionism, economic 63
public
anti-governmental mission 61
attitude to Iraq 157
attitudes to Saddam Hussein 156–9
celebration of 9/11 124–5
defined 13
demonstrations 41–3, 59–60, 138–9,
155–6
expressive response to 9/11 124–9
expressive response to Belgrade
bombing 58–64
expressive response to Iraq War
155–60
290
Index
public – continued
expressive response to spy plane
collision 91–5
hero worship 126–9
ideological response to 9/11 129–32
ideological response to Belgrade
bombing 64–6
ideological response to Iraq War
160–1
ideological response to spy plane
collision 95–6
perceptions of US 65
protests following spy plane collision
91–2
rejection of liberal universalism 130
rejection of spy plane collision as
accident 91
response to 9/11 124–33
response to Belgrade bombing
58–69
response to Guiguzi nationalism
162
response to Iraq War 154–64
response to One Night Americans
126
rhetoric 68–9
social movement mission 60
strategic response to 9/11 132–3
strategic response to Belgrade
bombing 66–9
strategic response to Iraq war 161–4
strategic response to spy plane
collision 97–100
Taoist nationalism 68–9
understanding of responsible state
163–4
violent anti-US protest 60
public opinion 32–3, 188–9
Putnam, Robert 8
Pye, Lucian 200
Qin Hui 115, 192
Qin Yaqing 123–4, 142–3
race 200
rational offensive nationalism 162–3
realism 87–8, 150, 161, 178
relativism 130–1
Ren Bingqiang 18, 65
Ren Yanshen 50–1
research 3–7, 36–7
responsible state 163–4
‘return of the dragon’ viewpoint 2
Revolutionary Martyr Honouring Ordinance
44
revolutionary martyrs, Belgrade
bombing 42–3
Rice, Condoleezza 87, 107
righteousness 53
River Elegy (television series) 28
Ross, Robert 5, 8
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 198–9
Russia, response to Belgrade bombing
48–9
Said, Edward 20
SARS 138, 143, 154, 186
Sasser, James 60
SCDF 59, 92–5, 105, 124, 125, 155
Schwartz, Benjamin 6
separatism 105–8
separatist terrorism 121
severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
138, 143, 154, 186
Shambaugh, David 111
Sheng Hong 29, 200
Shi Hanbing, The US Vagina and the
Chinese Premature Ejaculation 84
Shi Xin 89
Sijin Cheng 6
Sino-American relations
Chinese concerns 123
conflicts, seen as war 100
cyber war 59
Iraq War 136–7
nationalist discourse 187
peaceful rise theory 184
popular views 133
post 9/11 122
research 3–7
Smith, Anthony 14
Snow, Philip 7
social contract 198–9
Social Darwinism 3–4
Social Groups Registration and
Management Ordinance 11
social movement mission 60
social stratification 9–10
South Asia, US military presence
123
Index 291
sovereignty
absolutism 139–40, 181
and anti-terrorism 107–10
attitude of neo-authoritarians 53–4
and civic nationalism 180
and human rights 52–3, 74–5,
109–10, 180
institutionalization 149–50
spy plane collision 73–5
after spy plane collision 86
spy plane collision
accident theory rejected by public 91
apology request 72
appeals to international law 74
appeasement 77–80
case study summary 168–9
censorship 91
compensation payments 76–7
conspiracy theories 88, 96
copying post-Belgrade rhetoric 81
cultural nationalism 79–80
defensive/accommodation realist
response 82
defensive nationalism 78
demonstrations banned 77–8
diplomacy 90–1
expressive response of intellectuals
83–5
expressive response of party state
75–80
expressive response of public 91–5
human rights 74–5, 86
humanitarian debate 86
hypocrisy of party state 88
ideological response of intellectuals
86–8
ideological response of party state
72–5
ideological response of public 95–6
intellectuals’ response 83–91
international law 86
interpreted as accident 75
Jiang Zemin 73
linked to US republicanism 87
martyrdom of Wang Wei 85
media responses 76
military rescue campaign 79
National Security Council Initiative
81
nationalist discourse 101
nationalist response of party state 72
offensive nationalism 98–9
offensive realism 90–1
party state demands of US 72
polls of public response 99–100
public protests 91–2
realist response 87–8
response of party state 72–83
responses on Internet 92–4
sovereignty 73–5, 86
strategic response of intellectuals
88–91
strategic response of party state 80–3
strategic response of public 97–100
Taoist nationalism 80–3
Taoist nationalist response 97–8
US apology 75–6
state theory 4–5
statist nationalism 18
strategic layers of nationalism 21
strategic nationalism 181–7
Strauss, Leo 148
Strong Country Discussion Forum 34–5
sub-groups, exclusions from research
36
Sutter, Robert 81–2
Taggart, Paul 18
Taiwan 179, 184
Tan Zhong 153
Tang Jiaxuan 104, 105, 108, 112, 201
taoguang yanghui
definition 47
demonstrations 175
economy 89
Iraq War 152–3
liberal criticism 90
peaceful rise theory 186
post 9/11 122
Taiwan 182, 184
Taoism 47
Taoist nationalism
as academic orthodoxy 56–7
challenges to 70, 181–2
challenges to US 185–6
definition 47–9
intellectual criricism 121
Iraq War 152–3
liberal revision 89–90
non-liberal revision 88–9
292
Index
Taoist nationalism – continued
public attitude 68–9
response to spy plane collision 97–8
spy plane collision 80–3
university students 68–9
weaknesses 182
territorial integrity 184
territorial nationalism 19
terrorism 108, 121, 130
three evils 179
Three People’s Principle 15, 17, 190–1
Three Represents Theory 10, 25
‘Three Stresses’ campaign 10
‘Three Worlds’ theory 6–7
time frame, for research 21
transparency 173
Treaty of Westphalia 14–15
Tsinghua University 50
two concepts of liberty 120–1
two level game 8
two-level negotiation 8, 100
two-level positive sum theory 3, 8–9
Unger, Jonathan 11–12
unholy trinity 108
unilateralism 95
unitarism, in foreign policy 7–9
United Kingdom, anti-terror laws 165
United Nations (UN)
authority 108
Chinese involvement 143
popular Chinese support 159, 160
Security Council Resolution 1441
136, 139
seen as weak 149
United States
apology for spy plane collision
75–6
challenges from Taoist nationalism
185–6
Chinese support after 9/11 108
civic nationalism 179–80
conspiracy theories 64–7
as constructed by China 163
cyber attacks 93–4
demonstrations against 59–60
dialogue with China 112
economic engagement with China
122
expulsion of Chinese journalists 116
hegemony 44–6, 73, 96, 98–9,
111–12, 151, 178
human rights 109, 140–1
humanitarianism 180
imperialism 149, 179
military presence in South Asia
123
National Security Council 82
neo-conservatism 181
party state demands after spy plane
collision 72
popular Chinese view 58, 65–6
post 9/11 aggression 123
products boycotted 62–4
reaction to spy plane collision 81–2
republicanism linked to spy plane
collision 87
seen as imperialist 120
seen as terrorist 131
use of Chinese media 163
violent protest against 60
website hacking 59
university students 35–6, 68–9, 156
values, Chinese 148, 201–2
Van Ness, Peter 7, 15
Vernet, Daniel 4
virtual community 33–5
Wall Street Journal 117–18
Wallerstein, Immanuel 4–5
Wang Dazhong 50
Wang Hui 20, 29–30, 31
Wang Shaoguang 7, 11, 29, 54
Wang Wei 79–80, 85, 94–5, 128–9,
176
Wang Xiaodong 30–1, 65, 146, 153,
193
Wang Yizhou 149
Wang Yusheng 141
Wang Zaibang 123
War of Unlimited Boundaries 132–3
websites, hacking 59
White, Gordon 10
Whiting, Allan 19
World Trade Organization, Chinese
membership 122
world-view, Sino-centric 147
Index 293
Xu Jilin 15
Xu Youyu 28, 115
Xu Zhiyuan 123
Yan Xuetong 52, 56–7, 150–1, 184
Yang Jiechi 82
Yang Shen 153
Yang Zhichu 86
Ye Fu 85
Yee, Albert 8–9, 100, 188–9
Yeltsin, Boris, Belgrade bombing 48–9
Yin Zheng 153
Yu Jianhua 153
Yu Jie 114–15, 146, 192
Yu Shuman 123
Yu Yingshih 7
Yuan Weishi 115
zero-sum assumption 9
Zha Daojiong 18
Zhang Tianwei 20
Zhao Suisheng 24, 78
Zhen Duo 98–9, 157
Zheng Bijian 154, 184
Zheng Yongnian 2
Zhong Qiming 57
Zhou Enlai 43
Zhou Yihuang 4
Zhu Bangzao 109,
111
Zhu Feng 123
Zhu Rongji 41, 78
Zhu Xueqin 55–6, 115
Zi Zhongjun 119
Zu Zhiguo 30

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