For years, China was excluded from the global international order. Now, it is seeking to claim a leading role in the United Nations and beyond. To understand where China is going in the next decade, it is vital to understand the impact of its wartime past. Today, WWII is constantly present in Chinese movies, TV shows, street art, popular writing, museums and social media. Wartime China is now presented as victor, not victim. Beijing is being positioned as a creator and protector of the international order that came out of the war—an order, China argues, that’s now under threat from the United States. China’s rediscovery of the war has become a platform for the new, assertive Chinese nationalism seen in Asia and the world beyond.
Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at Oxford University and the author of several books, most recently China’s Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism (2020), as well as Modern China: A Very Short Introduction, and China’s War with Japan, 1937-45: The Struggle for Survival. He presents and contributes regularly on television and radio, commenting on contemporary Chinese politics and society.
His reviews and essays have appeared in newspapers including the Financial Times, South China Morning Post, Foreign Affairs, and Prospect.
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