China, the country with rapid economic growth, has risen to become the second largest economy in the world. Through its remarkable achievements, China has increasingly gained the global prominence and played a significant role on the global stage. From its successful bid to hold Olympic Games to the massive military parade in Tiananmen Square, the rise of modern China has impressed the world with its growing economic power and military strength.
But the rise of China has also created a strong nationalism sentiment that China as a nation should be united to promote its great culture and strong economy and to enhance its global image. A strong nationalism value has been shared among the Chinese people from all walks of life – from the working class to the intellectuals, and from business people to the government officials. The sentiment has also been found in Chinese social media, as a flood of comments appear on WeChat praising China’s growing power.
“I am extremely thrilled, and enormously excited, when Beijing was selected again as the host city of the 2022 Olympic Games… I couldn’t sleep at night when the announcement was made!” One group member posted from Beijing.
In fact, China’s nationalism today has been driven by the profound national insecurity. Since Opium Wars, China had experienced a century of humiliations, as Chinese people were struggling with foreign invasions, domestic wars and poverty.
But a century later China has emerged as a major global power. In 2013, the president Xi, Jinping promoted a slogan to exploit nationalism: the China Dream. It encourages people to pursue its economic prosperity and national glory through collective efforts and strengthened military power.
“I’m inspired by Xi’s China Dream to build a stronger nation! Since the 19th Century, China has been lagging on the world stage, but now the sleeping dragon awakes, and the Sick Man of Asia is poised to take over the world!” says the post.
But I can hardly share this nationalism sentiment. Not because I don’t love my home country, but because I believe nationalism is evil, distorting the reality – and dangerous. Hitler was a German nationalist, and the Nazi Fascism that started World War II played on the German nationalism.
China’s strong growth from a weak developing nation to a stronger, more prosperous state has resulted in its more aggressive foreign policy. It has also led to the territorial disputes with its neighbouring countries – including Vietnam, and the Philippines. It is believed to have changed the power distribution among the East Asian countries and to pose a great threat to the region.
Today’s Chinese nationalism has led to hostile attitude towards the West and the US. Some scholars believe that Second Cold War has already emerged in the hearts of the American and Chinese people. China’s growing military power and the strong nationalism has been perceived by Americans as dangerous, aggressive and militaristic.
A growing nationalism sentiment towards US is also found among Chinese students, professionals and scholars, who tend to blame their every misfortune on Americans – from the air pollution and stock market crash in China to the recent migrant crisis in Syria.
“The West envies China’s growth. The US just wants to use any means to supress China!”
“If the US didn’t import cheap products from China, Chinese factories wouldn’t be forced to create air pollutions at the full throttle!” one post says.
“It was the US who created the wars in Syria, which led hundreds of thousands refugees to flee their country seeking shelters elsewhere!”
As one of the Chinese immigrant in Canada, I love my home country, its language and its people. But as China flexed its military muscle in its massive parade, and as the President Xi Jinping tries to reinforce China’s resurgent role in the world during its recent visit to the US, nationalism has grown into the mostly shared value in the Chinese society. But Chinese people should be wary about the growing sentiment of superiority and hostility and aggression towards other nations.
我们鼓励所有读者在我们的文章和博客上分享意见。We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. Visit the FAQ page for more information.