This is the personal website of Bill Hayton, writer on Asia. Click on the images (right) to learn more about my work.
Articles & Events
A selection of my articles, media contributions and speaking events.
An online talk on 10 November 2020 about the importance of Japan in the emergence and shaping of Chinese nationalism in the final decade of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth. I’ll be talking about the work of diplomat Huang Zunxian, journalist Liang Qichao and revolutionaries including Zhang Binglin and Sun […]
9 November 2020 It is a commonplace to talk about the ‘Han race’ as if it is self-evident fact. In this talk I will explain how the idea of a Han Race was constructed at the beginning of the twentieth century as a political strategy to support the arguments of revolutionary Chinese nationalism. I will […]
An online talk for the Contemporary China Centre at the Victoria University of Wellington. How many nations are there in China? Is there just one or are there many? What does the Chinese word for nation – ‘minzu’ actually mean? In this talk, I will trace the origins of the contemporary problems in Tibet and […]
An article for The Interpreter, the blog of the Lowy Institute (one of Australia’s best foreign affairs think tanks) looking at how the Chinese leadership’s attitude towards sovereignty gives us some clues about its ideas for reforms of ‘global governance’. I also make some connections between this modern focus on sovereignty and the way that […]
This article, published in the academic journal ‘Asian Affairs’, explores the origins of Chinese arguments for ‘historic rights’ in the South China Sea – rights that go beyond the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It finds them in the work of a single Taiwanese academic writing in the […]
An academic article explaining how China came to claim remote islands in the South China Sea during the period between 1907 and 1947. This is, so far as I can tell, the definitive account. It is a story of confusion and accident, mistranslation and poor map-making. I hope that it shows there is nothing ‘sacred’ […]
I will be speaking at the fifth annual South China Sea conference organised by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC on Tuesday 21 July. Many of the key voices in discussions about the South China Sea will be there – including Daniel Russel, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. […]
Too much writing about the history of the South China Sea disputes relies on a very small number of books and papers with very poor evidential bases. In this article I show how much of the conventional wisdom originates from a few Chinese newspaper articles published in 1933 and 1974 – times of crisis in […]
I will be giving talks in four Southeast Asia capitals in mid-February. More details to follow but I believe that anyone can attend. There should be an opportunity to buy the book at each event. The talks will be: Kuala Lumpur, MIMA – Tuesday 10 February Singapore, SIIA – Tuesday 10 February Jakarta, CSIS – Wednesday 11 […]