All posts filed under: China

Opium and National Humiliation: Another Commemoration

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China / World War II

On June 8, 1944, the German Embassy in Tokyo sent a report back to the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Ministry). Unlike so many other files dealing with foreign affairs, at this particular dispatch showed no signs of having encountered Ribbentrop’s blue pencil — the German foreign minister was notoriously narcissistic and had to see the full text of every article mentioning his name. The subject of the document was China’s Chiang Kai-shek.  In summer of 1944, […]

Deng Xiaoping as Cultural Conservative

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deng-cowboy-hat_via Georgetown University

Today is Deng Xiaoping’s birthday. He was born in 1904 in Guang’an, Sichuan, a city now receiving various and not entirely uncontroversial forms of capital as a result. Consequently, I am reminded of my desire at some point in 2015–16 to reread big chunks of of the Deng Xiaoping biography which Harvard University Press wisely agreed to publish in 2013, written by Ezra Vogel. Amid the chorus of praise and critique for Ezra Vogel’s epic, there has […]

On the ‘Cairo Declaration’ Fiasco

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China / Chinese communist party / Chinese nationalism / Cultural Politics / Sino-Japanese Relations / World War II

While the tendency of the CCP to insert itself at the main junctures of Chinese history in the 20th century is anything but new, there has been an increasing alignment with the earlier Republic of China that has been quite pronounced, I would argue, since at least 2005. For the past ten years, scholars have interpreted this (and the inclusion of ROC troops in various war museums) mainly as a means of increasing cross-Straits rapprochement and […]

Dandong Discourse: China-DPRK Trade Fair, and Rumblings in Xinchengqu

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Borderlands / China / North Korea / North Korean border region
Dandong Trade Fair Guanggao, July 2015

Historians have surely seen better days between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kim-centric Workers’ Party of [North] Korea, but business continues apace today in the borderland. The main item seen in the past few weeks (i.e., something “new” that hasn’t yet made it yet into our wonderful Anglophone discourse) is the subject of today’s post. And the news is that the China-DPRK Trade Fair and Culture/Tourism Expo will indeed be held this coming October, and is entering […]

Will China Disintegrate? A British Assessment in 1947

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China / Chinese communist party / Chinese nationalism / EU-East Asia relations
Liberation of Shanghai, 1949

On either side of an energizing North Korea public event I did this past Friday in London, I make two treks out to the UK’s National Archives in Kew Gardens. My goal was explore Foreign Office papers about the U.S. occupation of Japan with a focus on war crimes tribunals and Chinese public opinion, and the Korean War with a focus on atrocities in South Hwanghae province. In the coming weeks, I hope to share a […]

Regional Government and Political Integration in Southwest China, 1949-1954: A Review

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Borderlands / China / Chinese communist party / Tibet

Dorothy J. Solinger: Regional Government and Political Integration in Southwest China, 1949-1954: A Case Study. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977. Review by Li Wankun, University of Leeds In traditional Chinese histories, the Southwest has often been considered as the most independent area in China, labeled as “the land of barbarians”(manhuang zhidi / 蛮荒之地). Accordingly, the concept and boundaries of “the Southwest” (xinan/ 西南) has fluctuated greatly over time. Anchoring the region is the province […]

The Perils of Reporting on North Korean Workers in China

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China / Manchuria / North Korea / North Korean border region / Sino-North Korean relations / Yanbian
Sim Chi Yin, Le Monde

On the last day of the wondrous month of May, Brice Pedroletti, the Le Monde correspondent in China, was in the city of Tumen, along the northernmost point of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  With him was travelling a photographer from Singapore; their task was to travel down the isolated stretch of the Tumen River (which is the border between China and the DPRK) in search of details about the recent rash of border […]