Cultural nationalism in the Xi Jinping era


Thu., 23 February 2023, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm AEDT

This is a hybrid event (in-person and online). REGISTRATIONS ESSENTIAL.

Cultural nationalism was an unofficial discourse when it began to gather force in the PRC in the late 1980s, but it has evolved into an official discourse since then. In the Xi Jinping era, it has been selectively incorporated into the CCP’s political ideology as never before, and cultural nationalists include not only scholars but also Party-state leaders. The game changer in this historic development is the Chinese Dream, which centres on, among other things, ‘the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation’, including a cultural renaissance. The latter does not simply mean the promotion of traditional beliefs, ideas, values and practices; it has also entailed broader Sinicisation of Marxism and deeper nationalisation of the Party and the state. As the CCP transforms itself from a class organisation to a national party and the PRC from a class-state to a nation-state, it is logical to make the nation instead of ‘the people’ (including four classes) the ‘masters of the country’ and to reconcile Marxism with cultural traditions. However, core Marxist doctrines are irreconcilable with ‘Chinese orientations’. What is presented as the Sinicisation of Marxism in the PRC is actually the hollowing out of Marxism. Instead of continuing to march forward towards communism, the CCP is going back to the past and reviving selected elements of China’s traditional value system, which it rejected between 1921 and the late 1980s.

Yingjie Guo is Professor in Chinese Studies. He received his BA and MA from Shanghai International Studies University and PhD from the University of Tasmania. Before joining the University of Sydney in 2014, he had taught at Shanghai International Studies University, the University of Tasmania, the University of New England, and the University of Technology, Sydney. His research focuses on cultural nationalism in contemporary China, Chinese cultural identities, and the discourse of class in the post-Mao era. His major publications include Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary China: Searching for National identity under Reform, Unequal China: Political Economy and Culture Politics (with Wanning Sun), Handbook of Class and Stratification in the People’s Republic of ChinaLocal Elites in Post-Mao China, Class and the Communist Party of China1921-1978: Revolution and Social Change (with Marc Blecher, David S. G. Goodman, Jean-Louis Rocca and Antony Saich), Class and the Communist Party of China, since 1978 – China in Reform (with Marc Blecher, David S. G. Goodman, Jean-Louis Rocca and Beibei Tang).The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the Australian Centre on China in the World at ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.