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CIC Victoria: Dr. Bill Hayton: The Invention of China
January 12, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am PST
Bill Hayton’s ‘The Invention of China’ is a provocative account that shows that “China” and its 5,000 years of unified history is a national myth, created far more recently by a small group of intellectuals and with a political agenda that persists to this day.
During his conversation with Jonathan Manthorpe, he will show 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, the talk will illustrate 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.