Many observers worry about the dangers that strong nationalist sentiments in China pose to China’s neighbors and to China itself. However, the concept of nationalism includes disparate elements: pride in the accomplishments of one’s country is different from enmity toward other states, in particular resentment toward other countries’ foreign policies. Survey data from China shoes that these two aspects of nationalism – pride in one’s country and acceptance of state-sponsored narratives of victimization in foreign affairs – are both distinct: the factors that influence patriotism are inconsistent with those related to resentment towards foreign countries. Our findings have two main implications: we need to disaggregate ideas about nationalism into their distinctive parts, and we need a more rigorous understanding of rising nationalism in China (and similar countries).
Bruce Dickson is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. He is currently examining the political consequences of economic reform in China, and in particular the relationship between private entrepreneurs and the Chinese Communist Party. Professor Dickson is the author of Wealth into Power: The Communist Party’s Embrace of China’s Private Sector (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Red Capitalists in China: The Party, Private Entrepreuneurs, and Prospects for Political Change (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and Democratization in China and Taiwan: The Adaptability of Leninist Parties (Oxford University Press, 1997). His articles have appeared in Asian Survey, China Quarterly, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Democracy, National Interest, and Political Science Quarterly. He is a frequent commentator on political developments in China and Taiwan and on U.S.-China relations, and has appeared on CNN, NPR, BBC, and VOA. He received his B.A. in political science and English literature, his M.A. in Chinese Studies, and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan.
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