The Invention of China

Yale University Press

$150.00
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SKU:
9780300257816
Author:
Bill Hayton
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
2020-09-09
Format:
Paperback
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China's current leadership lays claim to a 5,000-year-old civilization, but "China" as a unified country and people, Bill Hayton argues, was created far more recently by a small group of intellectuals. In this compelling account, Hayton 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. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, 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. Ranging across history, nationhood, language, and territory, Hayton 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.