Written by Oana Burcu.

The rise of Chinese nationalism and the potential effects on Chinese foreign policy behaviour have long been a concern, increasingly so since territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas have intensified in recent years. However, China’s neighbourhood has long been noted for its “strategic complexity” and China is not alone among its neighbours in seeking domestic and external advantages in nationalism. To some extent, Russia, Vietnam, Japan, Korea and others find  utility in nationalism – whether as a method of strengthening national identity, as a legitimising ideology for the leadership, as a means of pursuing national interests or even of claiming to defend the “existence of the nation”. A recurrent theme is the unsolved historical grievances which continue to be carefully remembered and constructed. However, nationalism is not only problematic for China and its neighbours, but also for the ethnic minorities within China. Ethnic conflicts, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet, force the central Government to balance a “harmonious and unitary” Chinese nationalism and a culturally ethnic diverse nationalism, while minimising economic inequalities among ethnic groups and the Han majority.

This week we have invited several experts to discuss the role of nationalism in China and the role of China in its neighbours nationalistic policies. The contributors are:

Brian J. McVeigh, Chinese and Japanese Nationalism: The Clash and Convergence of Ideologies

Claire Sutherland, Durham University, China in Vietnamese nationalism

Gi-Wook Shin, Stanford University, Challenges of taming nationalism in Northeast Asia

Gilbert Rozman, Princeton University, Chinese and Russian National Identity on the 70th Anniversary of WWII

Wenfang Tang, University of Iowa, Language policy and ethnic conflict in China

Image credit: CC by Daniel Oines/Flickr.