The Invention of China

The story of how China came to think of itself as China

This book shows how China’s present-day geopolitical problems—the fates of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, and the South China Sea—were born in the struggle to create a modern nation-state. A century ago, reformers and revolutionaries adopted foreign ideas to “invent’ a new vision of China. By asserting a particular, politicized version of the past the government bolstered its claim to a vast territory stretching from the Pacific to Central Asia.

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About the Book

With chapters on the emergence of ideas about a ‘Han Race’, national history, nationhood, language, and territory, the book shows how the Republic’s reworking of its past not only helped it to justify its right to rule a century ago—but continues to motivate and direct policy today.

Genre: Current Affairs
Tag: Recommended Books
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Year: 2020
ASIN: 9780300234824
ISBN: 9780300234824
“Immensely readable ... As China becomes increasingly nationalistic and aggressive, how Party leaders view their national identity and destiny grows ever more critical.”
– Orville Schell, Asia Society
“A remarkable tour de force. This prodigious, highly readable book enhances our understanding of the origins and possible future of China’s ethnic conflicts, territorial disputes, and great power aspirations.”
– Suisheng Zhao, University of Denver
“Masterful ... Conventional wisdom about the country may need rethinking.”
– Rana Mitter, Oxford University
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