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China's New Nationalism Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy

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Dragon Slayers and Panda Huggers

On 1 April 2001, an American EP-3 surveillance plane and a Chinese F-8 jet fighter collided over the South China Sea. The EP-3 made it safely to China's Hainan Island; the F-8 tore apart and crashed. Chinese pilot Wang Wei was killed. A few days later, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called an unusual late-night news conference. Spokesman Zhu Bangzao, his rage clearly visible, declared: "The United States should take full responsibility, make an apology to the Chinese government and people, and give us an explanation of its actions."1 Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and President Jiang Zemin soon reiterated this demand. Secretary of State Colin Powell initially responded with equal bluntness: "We have nothing to apologize for." Viewing the aggressiveness of the Chinese jet as the cause of the collision, many Americans did not feel responsible. As Senator Joseph Lieberman said on CNN's "Larry King Live," "When you play chicken, sometimes you get hurt."2

The impasse was broken after eleven days of intensive negotiations. American Ambassador Joseph Prueher gave a letter to Foreign Minister Tang: "Please convey to the Chinese people and to the family of pilot Wang Wei that we are very sorry for their loss. . . . We are very sorry the entering of China's airspace and the landing did not have verbal clearance." Having extracted an "apology" from Washington, Beijing released the twenty-four American servicemen being held on Hainan Island. In the Chinese view, Jiang, "diplomatic strategist extraordinaire," had won a major victory.3 The American spin was quite different. Powell denied that America had apologized, again asserting, "There is nothing to apologize for. To apologize would have suggested that we have done something wrong or accepted responsibility for having done something wrong. And we did not do anything wrong." The conservative media was not so restrained. The Weekly Standard declared the People's Republic to be "violent and primitive . . . a regime of hair-curling, systematic barbarity."4 A New Republic editorial asserted that "a non-Maoist tyranny in China is still a tyranny. . . . They are, in short, in transition from communism to fascism."5 Chinese nationalism, the National Review maintained, is "psychopathological."6

Is China out to settle old scores with the West, or is China seeking to incorporate itself peacefully into the world system? Is China, in other words, a cute panda or an evil dragon? Westerners hold both views. Foreign-policy makers, businesspeople, and academics frequently sing China's praises. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger paints a rosy picture of Chinese intentions. "China is no military colossus," Kissinger argues in the Los Angeles Times, and has "the best of intentions." China, Kissinger insists, can be counted on to pursue its "self-interest" in cooperation-high praise indeed from a proud practitioner of realpolitik.7 As China's economic reforms embraced the market, many in the West came to romanticize a business China that was thought to be capitalist, "just like us." In 1985, after six years of successful economic reforms in China, Time magazine even declared Deng Xiaoping "Man of the Year."8Western businesspeople have frequently served Beijing in exchange for access to China's consumers. Academic China watchers also tend to present a rosy picture of China, rarely speaking out on controversial issues such as human rights. Scholars like Andrew Nathan and Perry Link are the exceptions that prove the rule. Because they have spoken out against Chinese human rights violations, Chinese nationalists and government officials have subjected them to vicious personal attacks, and they have been denied visas to China. For example, Penn State's Liu Kang, one of the most virulent of China's anti-American nationalists, viciously attacks Link in his "A 'China Hand' Not Welcome in Beijing" section of the best-selling 1997 diatribe The Plot to Demonize China.9

Meanwhile, an odd alliance of politicians, celebrities, and journalists on the left and right join together in China bashing. On the left, a variety of politicians and actors have avowed a profound concern for Chinese human rights abuses and the fate of Tibet. Nancy Pelosi, congressional representative from northern California, feels so strongly about standing up for democratic values that she frequently joins conservatives in Congress to criticize China. Pelosi even has a special China human rights page on her Web site.10 Actors have joined the politicians. Living in affluent southern California, but enraptured by Tibetan spirituality, Hollywood celebrities like Richard Gere and Steven Seagal have turned to the Dalai Lama for spiritual guidance and depicted Beijing as a ruthless dictatorship.11 On the right, a "Blue Team" of conservative hawks has emerged on Capitol Hill to attack "panda huggers" and "Sinapologists." For example, William Triplett, coauthor of Year of the Rat and Red Dragon Rising, and a former staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argues that China is a rising power determined to challenge the United States. He maintains that China's "dictatorial regime" is suppressing "the Chinese people's yearning for freedom and democracy."12 To such dragon slayers, America must stand up for democracy, disciplining an evil and despotic China. The Western media often reinforces this message: journalists stationed in China, harassed by the Beijing authorities, frequently focus on the dark side of life in what they characterize as a land of tyranny.

Some Westerners have even argued both sides. After acquiring Hong Kong's Star TV in 1993, media mogul Rupurt Murdoch declared satellite television an "unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere." Beijing soon declared war on Murdoch's News Corporation, pronouncing satellite dishes illegal. Murdoch quickly surrendered, and has been kowtowing to Beijing ever since, first pulling BBC off of Star TV, and then canceling publication of the memoirs of the former British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten.13 More recently, Murdoch's son James has parroted Beijing's shrill critique of the Falun Gong spiritual movement as a "dangerous . . . cult."14

China, it seems, means very different things to different people. Western fears and fantasies about China reveal a great deal about the interests and ideals that shape the American political landscape. They do not, however, teach us much about the real China. Romanticizing and demonizing China, furthermore, dangerously distorts our understanding of Chinese foreign policies. The way that we talk about China influences the ways we interpret and respond to Chinese actions. And the way that we talk about China also influences the way that the Chinese (mis)understand us. Such trans-Pacific muddles help explain how the United States and China came to blows in Korea (1950-1953) and Vietnam (1965-1973). And a conflict over Taiwan remains a real possibility at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Our China policy debate must, therefore, see beyond such distortions to focus on the real China.

To understand Chinese nationalism, we must listen to the Chinese. This study, therefore, seeks to introduce Western readers to the views of China's new nationalists. Specifically, I focus on Chinese perceptions of China's two most important rivals: America and Japan.15 There is real need for such a study. Recent academic and journalistic accounts have done an admirable job of recounting the American perspective on the United States's relationship with China.16 But Chinese perceptions of this relationship are woefully neglected. This book, therefore, will introduce the rarely told Chinese side of the story. The neglected Chinese perspective on Japan and America is found in a wide assortment of Chinese materials expressing nationalist sentiments: movies, television shows, posters, cartoons, but particularly popular books and magazines published in mainland China since the early 1990s. Most of these materials were produced by a "fourth generation" of Chinese nationalists in their thirties. These young Chinese seek to distinguish themselves from their elders, and to make sense of their experiences in the "Liberal '80s."

Ironically, the "fourth generation" appears to find the new victimization narrative of Chinese suffering at the hands of Western imperialists appealing precisely because they, unlike older Chinese, have never been directly victimized. The first generation of revolutionaries endured the hardships of the anti-fascist and civil wars of the 1930s and 1940s. The second generation suffered during the Anti-Rightist Campaign and the Great Leap Forward of the late 1950s. And the third generation of Red Guards was sent down to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s. The fourth generation of PRC youth, by contrast, grew up with relative material prosperity under Deng Xiaoping and Reform in the 1980s and 1990s.17 In their 1997 psycho-autobiography The Spirit of the Fourth Generation, Song Qiang and several of his coauthors of the 1996 nationalist diatribes China Can Say No and China Can Still Say No fret over their generation's materialism: "cultural and spiritual fast food has taken over." They are envious of the third generation who, "proud of their hardships," can celebrate them at Cultural Revolution restaurants like Heitudi ("The Black Earth") in Beijing, nostalgically eating fried corn bread, recalling the good old, bad old days. They then ask, "Are we an unimportant generation?" In a section entitled "How Much Longer Must We be Silent?", they lament that "We in our thirties are without a shadow or a sound . . . it seems that we will perish in silence."18 Many of this generation, it seems, have a strong desire to make their mark. And they seek to do so through nationalism.

Many "fourth-generation" nationalists today have self-consciously defined themselves against the "Liberal '80s." Sociologist Karl Mannheim long ago argued that the formative events of youth mark each generation.19 Late-1980s experiences like the pro-Western "River Elegy" television sensation and Beijing Spring 1989 came at a pivotal time in the lives of Chinese nationalists now in their thirties. Today's nationalists frequently dismiss the 1980s as a period of dangerous "romanticism" and "radicalism"; they then depict themselves as "realistic" and "pragmatic" defenders of stability and order.20 During the "May 8th" nationalist protests of 1999, for instance, one group of students demonstrated with a painting of what might best be described as the "Demon of Liberty." During Beijing Spring a decade earlier, Chinese students became famous for their statue the "Goddess of Democracy." This self-conscious superimposition of America as demon over America as goddess tells us far more about changes in the worldview of Chinese youth since 1989 than it does about the United States.

These and other Chinese voices can help us with the thorny problem of just what exactly "Chinese nationalism" is. Because it is based upon analysis of European history, the definition that nationalism arises when nations seek to become states does not apply very well to China.21 The Western view of the nation as a uniquely modern institution is also problematic in the Chinese context. "China" has four millennia of documented history, and two millennia of centralized rule. Did it only become a "nation" in the twentieth century? Historian Prasenjit Duara has gone to great lengths to argue that premodern China's regions were linked to Beijing in a variety of ways, creating a widely shared notion of "China." Because premodern Chinese shared a common culture, he argues, they were the "first nation."22 Other historians disagree, arguing, for example, that local religious practices accentuated regional differences, undermining consciousness of a common "Chinese" identity.23

Confucianism presents a further problem to those who want to define Chinese nationalism. One group of scholars holds that Confucianism and nationalism are incompatible: Confucian universalism, which holds that all peoples can become Chinese if they adapt to a Sinocentric civilization, mitigates against the idea of a Chinese nationalism that defines itself in contradistinction to other nations.24 Other scholars, however, argue that "Confucian nationalism" is not an oxymoron: Confucianism allows for the reinforcement of cultural boundaries when barbarians do not accept Chinese values. The "universal" "all under heaven" (tianxia) can and often has become a closed political community.25 Historian Lei Yi of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing has used the phrase "'Sinocentric' cultural nationalism ['Huaxia zhongxin' wenhua minzu zhuyi]" to describe such views. The Confucian world was not "one big happy family" (tianxia yi jia), but extremely Sinocentric, involving a "fierce racism, rejection of other cultures, . . . and cultural superiority."26

Indeed, pride in the superiority of Confucian civilization is central to nationalism in China today. In 1994, Xiao Gongqing, an outspoken neoconservative intellectual, advocated the use of a nationalism derived from Confucianism to fill the ideological void opened by the collapse of communism.27 Popular nationalists frequently evince pride in China's Confucian civilization. The cover of a 1997 Beijing Youth Weekly, for instance, has "Chinese Defeat Kasparov!" splashed across a picture of the downcast grand master. Two of the six members of the IBM research group that programmed "Deep Blue," it turns out, were Chinese-Americans. "It was the genius of these two Chinese," one article asserts, "that allowed 'Deep Blue' to defeat Mr. Kasparov." Entitled "We Have the Best Brains," the article concludes that "we should be proud of the legacy of '5,000 years of civilization' that our ancestors have left for us."28 The Communist Party elite seems to concur. In 1995, for example, Vice Chair of the National People's Congress Tian Jiyun declared that "The IQs of the Chinese ethnicity, the descendants of the Yellow Emperor, are very high."29 Confucianism, it seems, does not "thin out" nationalism, but is instead the very basis of China's new nationalism.

This book avoids such controversies in taking a social psychological approach to nationalism. As Elie Kedourie noted long ago, nationalism "is very much a matter of one's self-view, of one's estimation of oneself and one's place in the world."30 Following social identity theorists, I loosely define national identity as that aspect of individuals' self-image that is tied to their nation, together with the value and emotional significance they attach to membership in the national community.31 "Nationalism" will refer to any behavior designed to restore, maintain, or advance public images of that national community.32

Because Chinese politics often dictates that "surface and reality differ" (biao li bu yi), the successful interpretation of Chinese materials is no easy task. China's emperors saw language as a tool of rule. Diction mattered. Two millennia ago, the Art of Writing demonstrated how language could be used to mold popular opinion. For instance, China's emperors commissioned literati to (re)write official dynastic histories to legitimate their rule. China's rulers could also be quite ruthless. Emperors from Qin Shihuang (ruled circa 1 B.C.E.) to Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (ruled 1736-1796 C. E.) are famous for burning books and suppressing free expression.33 Such actions forced China's literati to develop the art of "indirection." Historical allegory-especially critiques of the corrupt practices of past emperors-was and is one form of "indirection" used to chastise present-day politics.34 Western-style direct criticism, indeed, came to be seen as vulgar.

The reader of Chinese political materials is therefore challenged to listen to "the sound outside the strings" (xianwai zhi yin), relying on a deep immersion in the historical and cultural context of Chinese politics today. Identical events or words can have different meanings in different contexts. The reader must "listen to the sound of the gong" (luo gu ting yin). Is it rejoicing (a marriage), or mourning (a death)?35 It is striking how often the actual meaning of a diplomatic statement is the precise opposite of what is literally said. Descriptions of China as "inferior" and "great," for example, cannot be read literally, but must be understood in their historical and political contexts. When tributary missions came to pay obeisance, imperial officials referred to China as "our inferior nation" (biguo) and the tributaries as "your superior nation" (guiguo). They were so confident that China was the undisputed center of civilization (wenming) that they could afford the self-deprecation. By contrast, Chinese diplomats under the People's Republic have routinely referred to China as "great" (weida). These diametrically opposite choices of diction point to an insecurity-central to today's nationalism-about China's international status.

Understanding the diplomatic tendency to say the opposite of what is meant helps one interpret China's relationships with other nations. It was only after reading the phrase "Sino-Japanese friendship" literally hundreds of times in a Beijing library, for instance, that I came to realize that the phrase frequently conceals animosity. Authors irate about Japanese atrocities in China, Japanese "historical revisionism," or the "revival of Japanese militarism" nonetheless use the phrase in the conclusions of their articles and books. While it is possible to speak of feelings of both the love and hate that many Chinese have for America, it is decidedly not possible to speak about a genuine Chinese "friendship" for Japan.36 The Chinese viewed the Japanese as the paradigmatic "devils" (guizi) during World War II, and they continue to view them that way today.37

This kind of political interpretation means more than just reading many Chinese books and magazines. A person who wants to do it well must also be sensitive to his or her own cultural standpoint: who you are shapes both what you choose to look at, and how you interpret it. Being a white American male undoubtedly had a major influence on my research experience. As a Caucasian in China, I am seen as a "laowai," which means "foreigner" or even "Whitey."38 Skin color immediately creates a distance between Chinese and Caucasians. The presence of an American presented an opportunity for many Chinese to vent their feelings-positive or negative-about the United States; Sino-American relations is not a subject an American in Beijing can easily avoid. And foreign men are the object of many Chinese nationalists' anxiety: the recurring figure of China as a raped woman has recently reemerged in nationalist discourse, and many of its young male exponents are enraged by the very idea of white men intimately involved with Chinese women.39

As a white American male writing about Chinese nationalism, therefore, I am likely to be the object of a good deal of suspicion.40 (Indeed, University of Chicago sociologist Zhao Dingxin has repeatedly misrepresented my work.) In a 2002 China Quarterly he asserts, "Contrary to . . . Gries' argument that the [Belgrade] embassy bombing marked a long term negative shift in popular Chinese perceptions of America, th[is] study demonstrates that the anger expressed during the anti-U.S. demonstrations were [sic] more a momentary outrage." This is puzzling, given that in the 2001 China Journal piece that he cites, I draw on work in social psychology on "collective self-esteem" and "outgroup denigration" to explicitly argue: "Despite the ferocity of much of this nationalist rhetoric, it must be understood in the context of the transient threat that the Belgrade bombing represented to Chinese national self-esteem." Whether "momentary" or "transient," we are making the same point: much of the anti-American anger expressed during the protests was a product of the heat of the moment-not necessarily representative of more enduring attitudes. Zhao also criticizes my article as "not drawn from a representative sample"-despite the fact that I openly acknowledge in the piece that my sources are "not . . . representative." The fate of Geremie Barmé, another white male and one of the West's most incisive observers of the Chinese cultural scene, is instructive. In 1995 Barmé violated a taboo by publishing an article, "To Screw Foreigners Is Patriotic," that exposed the racist dimension of Chinese nationalism. Popular nationalist Wang Xiaodong, writing under the pseudonym Shi Zhong, quickly penned a highly critical riposte in which he labeled Barmé an "extremist"-and asserted that Western academics are incapable of "understanding China."41 I reject Wang's claim, as well as the position, advanced by other Chinese cultural nationalists and postcolonial theorists, that white males do not have the right to speak about China. Instead, I take comfort in the fact that Alexander de Tocqueville, a Frenchman with an outsider's perspective, produced one of the most astute analyses of American politics ever written, Democracy in America.42 Westerners can understand China, and should seek this understanding.43

They cannot, however, do so in isolation. Where possible, I supplement my own readings of Chinese texts with Chinese analyses of the same texts.44 Fortunately, the recent rise of popular nationalism has engendered extensive Chinese commentary. Numerous psychobiographies of the "fourth generation" of Chinese nationalists have been published.45 As noted above, the authors of China Can Say No and China Can Still Say No, which marked the emergence of popular nationalism in 1996, later published a very revealing psycho-autobiography, The Spirit of the Fourth Generation. This secondary Chinese literature on Chinese nationalism provides an invaluable source of primary material, against which I have verified and developed my own views.

Perhaps my greatest challenge, however, has been assessing how my Chinese sources relate to each other. Chinese, like Americans, project their fears and fantasies onto our bilateral relations. China has its own fair share of Kissingers and Tripletts-America lovers and America haters. The challenge, therefore, is to figure out how the views of extreme nationalists are accepted by mainstream Chinese.46 While nationalist views won headlines in 1996-97, they were likely accepted only by a small group of disaffected intellectuals. Following the 1999 American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and the 2001 spy plane collision over the South China Sea, however, the propagators of anti-American views are now speaking to a much broader Chinese audience. Meanwhile in America, two summer 2002 reports painted a dark picture of China's international activities. The Department of Defense's (DoD) Annual Report on the Military Power of the People's Republic of China focused on recent Chinese arms acquisitions and the threat they pose to Taiwan.47 The United StatesàÍChina Security Review Commission (USCC) then submitted its first annual report to the U.S. Congress, expressing concern that China's America policy is driven by a coherent set of expansionist goals. The report asserts, for instance, that "China is not a status quo country." Commissioner Arthur Waldron goes even further, asserting that China's "wide-ranging purpose" is to "exclude the U.S. from Asia" and "to threaten and coerce neighboring states."48

These developments do not bode well for twenty-first-century Sino-American relations. Words have consequences. Anti-American and anti-Chinese polemics are pernicious: they can easily spiral into mutual dehumanization and demonization, laying the foundation for violent conflict. Chinese and Americans who paint rosy pictures of the bilateral relationship are irresponsible; we should squarely confront the dangers inherent in a relationship devoid of mutual trust. But it is Chinese America bashers and American China bashers who are the most dangerous. This book, therefore, seeks to present a balanced view of China's new nationalism—one that both acknowledges its legitimate grievances and recognizes its potential dangers.


1. Eckholm, "China Faults the U. S." The dramatic facial expressions and tone of voice Zhu used to express his righteous indignation evoked Peking opera. Thus, his primary audience may have been the Chinese public, not the U.S. government. I thank Allen Whiting for this insight. Back

2.  Sanger, "Powell Sees No Need for Apology," and "Lieberman: China Played 'Aggressive Game of Aerial Chicken.'" Back

3. Lam, "Behind the Scenes." Back

4. Tell, "None Dare Call it Tyranny," Back

5. "It's Not Over." Back

6. Derbyshire, "Communist, Nationalist, and Dangerous." Back

7. Kissinger, "The Folly of Bullying Beijing" and "Storm Clouds Gathering." Back

8. Church, "Deng Xiaoping Leads Second Revolution." Back

9. Li Xiguang and Liu Kang, Yaomohua Zhongguo de beiho (Plot to Demonize China), pp. 142-47. Back

10. Pelosi's Web site is at (accessed 25 March 2003). Back

11. Schell, Virtual Tibet. Back

12. Kaiser and Mufson, "'Blue Team' Draws Hard Line on Beijing." Back

13. Patten was persona non grata in Beijing until he returned as a European Union High Commissioner, when his colonial past was forgiven. See Harmsen, "EU's Patten No Longer 'Thousand-Year' Sinner." My thanks to Peter Neville-Hadley for this intervention. Back

14. Evelyn Iritani, "News Corp. Heir Woos China." Back

15. That is not to say that sentiments directed against Britain, Russia, Korea, or other nations do not play a role in Chinese nationalism today. I choose anti-Japanese and anti-American views both because they are more prominent, and because they are more consequential: they have greater implications for the peace and stability of the twenty-first century. Random sampling of all cases of Chinese antiforeign in the mid-1990s, in any case, would create as many problems as it would resolve. On case selection biases, see, for example, Collier and Mahoney, "Insights and Pitfalls." Back

16. For three fine accounts of the U.S. perspective, see Lampton, Same Bed, Different Dreams; Mann, About Face; and Tyler, A Great Wall. Back

17. Note that this categorization of Chinese youth generations conflicts with the delineation of generations of political leadership. To distance himself from Mao, leader of the "First Generation," Deng declared himself leader of the "Second Generation," despite the fact that they both participated in the Long March and the War of Resistance. Hence Jiang is of the "Third Generation," and Hu Jintao leads the new "Fourth Generation" of technocratic leadership. See Li Cheng, China's Leaders. Back

18. Song Qiang et al., Disidairen de jingshen (Spirit of the Fourth Generation), pp. 206, 202. (Unless otherwise noted, all translations from the Chinese are my own.) Back

19. Mannheim, Essays on the Sociology of Knowledge. Maurice Halbwachs, father of social memory studies, has similarly argued that "autobiographical memories" of events personally experienced tend to be richer and more meaningful than "historical memories." See Halbwachs, The Collective Memory. Back

20. Xu Ben, "Contesting Memory." Back

21. See, for example, Gellner, Nations and Nationalism. John Fitzgerald, as we shall see in chapter 7, even suggests that twentieth-century China has undergone just the opposite process, with states vying to create nations. See John Fitzgerald, "Nationless State." Back

22. Duara cites William Skinner's work on regional systems, which demonstrates the extensive commercial and social networks that linked villages in imperial China. He also cites his and James Watson's essays on popular gods during the Qing Dynasty. Religious and kinship institutions, they argue, fostered a shared cosmology that linked the peasant to Beijing, creating a consciousness of a larger "China." Duara, "Deconstructing the Chinese Nation," p. 21. See Duara, "Superscribing Symbols," and Watson, "Standardizing the Gods." See also William Skinner, "Marketing and Social Structure in Rural China." Back

23. Mike Szonyi, for example, has challenged Duara and James Watson's separate contentions that popular gods served to unify China more than they accentuated regional differences. See Szonyi, "The Illusion of Standardizing the Gods." Back

24. See, for example, Metzger and Myers. "Chinese Nationalism and American Policy." Back

25. See, for instance, Duara, "Nationalists among Transnationals." Back

26. Lei Yi, "Xiandai de 'Huaxia zhongxinguan' yu 'minzu zhuyi' [Modern 'Sinocentrism' and 'Nationalism']," pp. 49-50. Back

27. Xiao Gongqing, "Cong minzuzhuyi zhong jiequ guojia ningjuli de xinziyuan [Deriving from Nationalism a New Resource that Congeals the State]," p. 21. Back

28. "Women you zui youxiu de rennao [We have the best brains]," p. 30. Back

29. Sautman, "Racial Nationalism and China's External Behavior," p. 79. Back

30. Kedourie, Nationalism, p. 141. Back

31. I thus follow Henri Tajfel, who defined social identity as "that part of an individual's self-concept which derives from his knowledge of his membership in a social group . . . together with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership." Tajfel, Human Groups and Social Categories, p. 255. Back

32. Like Liah Greenfeld, I use "nationalism" loosely as an "umbrella term" covering national identity/nationality, national consciousness, nations, and their ideologies. Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, p. 3. Back

33. See, for example, Wang Bin, Jinshu, wenziyu (Censorship and Imprisonment). Back

34. I owe the term "indirection" to a personal communication with Donald Munro, summer 2000. Back

35. Proverbs, incidentally, are particularly useful at revealing deeply rooted, if not always realized, ideals that form the basis for Chinese perspectives and behavior. Back

36. I thus agree with Allen Whiting's assessment in China Eyes Japan that negative images of Japan have thwarted China's interest in closer relations with its Asian neighbor. Back

37. Other foreigners can be "devils" too, but would require specification, as in "Western devils" (Yang guizi) or "American devils" (Meiguo guizi). Left unspecified, "devils" is assumed to be short for "Japanese devils" (Riben guizi). For an extended discussion, see the section entitled "How the Chinese Noun 'Devils' Came to Solely Signify the Japanese," in Jin Hui, Tongwen cangzang (Wailing at the Heavens), pp. 146-58. Back

38. I borrow this translation, which suggests the racial element of much of Chinese nationalist discourse, from Geremie Barmé. See In the Red, p. xiii. Back

39. For instance, Zhang Zangzang tells a fantastic story in the 1996 sensation China Can Say No about an American named "Mark." A womanizer who preyed upon innocent Chinese women, Mark is said to have prowled Chinese streets and campuses with condoms in his wallet: "His love is like spit, it flows so easily." See Song Qiang, Zhang Zangzang and Qiao Bian Zhongguo keyi shuobu (China Can Say No), p. 60. Zhang and other young male Chinese nationalists, furthermore, frequently generalize from such "anecdotes" to make racist remarks about all white males. Back

40. Zhao Dingxin, "An Angle on Nationalism," pp. 886- 87; Peter Hays Gries, "Tears of Rage," pp. 30- 39. Zhao's survey-research methodology takes replicability as its standard; my interpretive content-analysis approach takes validity as its standard. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses. For one thing, Zhao has a representative sample of a tiny population (students at three elite Beijing schools); I have a nonrepresentative sample, but it is national in scope and is not limited to students. (Although our arguments are similar, I believe that my method positions me to make the argument more persuasively. Utilizing a survey-research methodology, Zhao would need longitudinal data to make any claims about whether the outrage was "momentary" or not. But Zhao lacks such data, having performed surveys just once. My content-analysis approach, in contrast, allows me to interpret the language used by Chinese reacting to the bombing. Drawing on experimental findings in social psychology on collective self-esteem, I argue that by choosing to express an "outrage" or "indignation" (fennu, fenkai, qifen) tied to the notion of injustice, rather than more visceral forms of anger, like being "irritated" or "ticked off" (for example, shengqi), they were seeking to right a wrong-not expressing an enduring, blind anger. Back

41. See Shi Zhong (Wang Xiaodong), "Xifangren yanzhongde 'Zhongguo minzuzhuyi' ['Chinese Nationalism' in the Eyes of a Westerner]." For Barmé's parry, see In the Red, p. 369. Back

42. See de Tocqueville, Democracy in America. Back

43. As the University of California at Davis's Michelle Yeh has cogently argued, "cultural nationalism cannot be an effective critique of Orientalism because it replicates and perpetuates the latter epistemologically." That is, by essentializing difference within a dualistic framework of "East versus West" (Dong/Xi) or "China versus America" (Zhong/Mei), Chinese postcolonialism replicates Orientalism's view of the world. It also inverts it, by privileging mainland Chinese forms of knowledge as "experiential" or "intuitive." For example, the notion that Asians can understand Shakespeare, but that only Asians-not Westerners-can appreciate the Tang poetry of Tu Fu, has been labeled "reverse Orientalism" (Wixted, "Reverse Orientalism"). The voices of Caucasians like myself and émigré Chinese scholars like Yeh are thus muted by the hierarchy of power implicit within Chinese postcolonialism's Sinocentric "Cultural China" framework. See Yeh, "International Theory and the Transnational Critic," p. 328. Back

44. The synchronic methods of literary criticism, French cultural historian Roger Chartier has suggested, can be combined with a diachronic examination of "interpretive communities" of contemporary agents and their evolving interactions with those same texts over time. See Chartier, "Texts, Printing, Readings," pp. 157-58. Back

45. See, for example, Xiao Tong and Du Li, Longli (Dragon History). Back

46. Another challenge is posed by variations in regional and national identities. Most of my research, conducted in Beijing, the nation's capital, privileges national identity. I can say little about provincial identities or regional variations in Chinese identity. Edward Friedman has written extensively about regional differences and Chinese national identity in National Identity and Democratic Prospects. Back

47. Department of Defense, Annual Report. Viewable at Accessed 25 March 2003. Back

48. Waldron does not, however, disclose his sources revealing nefarious Chinese intent. Commissioners Kenneth Lewis and June Teufel Dreyer nonetheless concurred with Waldron's opinion. See U.S.-China Security Review Commission, Report to Congress. Viewable at Accessed 25 March 2003. Back