Skip to main content
×
Home

The Political Geography of Nationalist Protest in China: Cities and the 2012 Anti-Japanese Protests*

  • Jeremy L. Wallace (a1) and Jessica Chen Weiss (a2)
Abstract
Abstract

Why do some Chinese cities take part in waves of nationalist protest but not others? Nationalist protest remains an important but understudied topic within the study of contentious politics in China, particularly at the subnational level. Relative to other protests, nationalist mobilization is more clustered in time and geographically widespread, uniting citizens in different cities against a common target. Although the literature has debated the degree of state-led and grassroots influence on Chinese nationalism, we argue that it is important to consider both the propensity of citizens to mobilize and local government fears of instability. Analysing an original dataset of 377 anti-Japanese protests across 208 of 287 Chinese prefectural cities, we find that both state-led patriotism and the availability of collective action resources were positively associated with nationalist protest, particularly “biographically available” populations of students and migrants. In addition, the government's role was not monolithically facilitative. Fears of social unrest shaped the local political opportunity structure, with anti-Japanese protests less likely in cities with larger populations of unemployed college graduates and ethnic minorities and more likely in cities with established leaders.

摘要

为何有的城市加入到民族主义抗议浪潮之中而有的城市却没有? 民族主义抗议, 特别是在地方层面上, 始终是一个在中国抗争性政治学领域重要却仍待探索的课题。与其他抗议相比, 民族主义的动员在时间上比较集中而在地域分布上也比较广泛, 将不同城市的公民朝着一个共同的目标联系起来。尽管现有文献已经对国家引导与民间力量对中国民族主义的影响程度进行过争论, 我们认为将公民的动员倾向与当地政府对不稳定的恐惧两者同时纳入考虑范围是很重要的。通过分析一组包含中国 287 个地级市中发生在 208 个市内的 377 次反日抗议的原创性数据, 我们发现国家引导下的爱国主义与集体行动资源的可利用性两者都与民族主义抗议呈正性关联, 特别是对于学生和流动人口等拥有比较充裕的时间的人群。此外, 政府的角色也不是一味的促进。对社会不安的忧虑塑造了当地的政治机会架构, 使得反日抗议在有很多未就业大学毕业生和少数民族人口的地方发生的可能性较小, 而在有地位巩固的领导者的城市发生的可能性较大。

Copyright
Corresponding author
Email: jcweiss@gmail.com(corresponding author).
Footnotes
Hide All
*

The authors would like to thank Lizzie Shan for her assistance with the data collection, two reviewers, Jean Oi, Andy Walder, Deborah Davis, Graeme Robertson, and audiences at Yale and Stanford for their comments and suggestions. All errors remain our own.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Cai Yongshun. 2008. “Power structure and regime resilience: contentious politics in China.” British Journal of Political Science 38(03), 411432.
Gries Peter Hays. 2004. China's New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Gries Peter Hays. 2005. “China's ‘new thinking on Japan’.” The China Quarterly 184, 831850.
He Yinan. 2007a. “History, Chinese nationalism and the emerging Sino–Japanese conflict.” Journal of Contemporary China 16(50), 124.
He Yinan. 2007b. “Remembering and forgetting the war: elite mythmaking, mass reaction, and Sino-Japanese relations, 1950–2006.” History & Memory 19(2), 4374.
Hurst William. 2006. “The city as the focus: the analysis of contemporary Chinese urban politics.” China Information 20, 457479.
Hurst William, and J. O'Brien Kevin. 2002. “China's contentious pensioners.” The China Quarterly 170, 345360.
Johnston Alastair Iain, and Stockmann Daniela. 2007. “Chinese attitudes toward the United States and Americans.” In Katzenstein Peter J. and Keohane Robert O. (eds.), Anti-Americanisms in World Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 157195.
Kuran Timur. 1991. “The East European revolution of 1989: is it surprising that we were surprised?The American Economic Review 81(2), 121–25.
Landry Pierre F. 2008. Decentralized Authoritarianism in China: The Communist Party's Control of Local Elites in the Post-Mao Eera. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Lorentzen Peter. 2013. “Regularizing rioting: permitting public protest in an authoritarian regime.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 8(2), 127158.
McAdam Doug. 1986. “Recruitment to high-risk activism: the case of the freedom summer.” American Journal of Sociology 92(1), 6490.
McAdam Doug, Tarrow Sidney G. and Tilly Charles. 2001. Dynamics of Contention. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Mitter Rana. 2000. “Behind the scenes at the museum: nationalism, history and memory in the Beijing War of Resistance Museum, 1987–1997.” The China Quarterly 161, 279293.
O'Brien Kevin J., and Stern Rachel E.. 2008. “Introduction: studying contention in contemporary China.” In J. O'Brien Kevin (ed.), Popular Protest in China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1125.
Reilly James. 2004. “China's history activists and the War of Resistance against Japan – history in the making.” Asian Survey 44(2), 276294.
Reilly James. 2012. Strong Society, Smart State: The Rise of Public Opinion in China's Japan Policy. New York: Columbia University Press.
Ross Robert S. 2011. “Chinese nationalism and its discontents.” National Interest 116, 4551.
Scott James. 1999. Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Seki Yasuharu, and Higa Kiyota. 2010. “Protests triggered by anger of China's young,” The Daily Yomiuri, 19 October.
Shimizu Yoshikazu. 2006. Chuugoku ga “han-nichi” o suteru hi (The Day China Abandons “Anti-Japan”). Tokyo: Kodansha Alpha Plus New Books.
Tanner Murray Scot. 2004. “China rethinks unrest.” The Washington Quarterly 27(3), 137156.
Tarrow Sidney G. 1998. Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tong James. 1998. “The 1989 democracy movement in China: a spatial analysis of city participation.” Asian Survey 38(3), 310327.
Wallace Jeremy. 2013. “Cities, redistribution, and authoritarian regime survival.” Journal of Politics 75(3), 632645.
Wallace Jeremy. 2014a. Cities and Stability: Urbanization, Redistribution, and Regime Survival in China. New York: Oxford University Press.
Wallace Jeremy. 2014b. “Juking the stats: authoritarian information problems in China.” British Journal of Political Science, FirstView, 114.
Wang Youjuan (ed.). 2008. Zhongguo chengshi tongji nianjian (China City Statistics Yearbook). Beijing: Chinese Statistics Press.
Wang Zheng. 2008. “National humiliation, history education, and the politics of historical memory.” International Studies Quarterly 52, 783806.
Wang Zheng. 2012. Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations. New York: Columbia University Press.
Weiss Jessica Chen. 2013. “Authoritarian signaling, mass audiences, and nationalist protest in China.” International Organization 67(01), 135.
Weiss Jessica Chen. 2014. Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China's Foreign Relations. New York: Oxford University Press.
Xu Bin, and Pu Xiaoyu. 2010. “Dynamic statism and memory politics: a case analysis of the Chinese war reparations movement.” The China Quarterly 201, 156175.
Zhang Xingji. 2002. “Lun Nanjing lunxian shiqi de Riben zhanling zhengce” (A discussion of Japan's occupation policy during the Nanjing occupation). Ribenxue luntan 2, 3640.
Zhao Dingxin. 1998. “Ecologies of social movements: student mobilization during the 1989 prodemocracy movement in Beijing.” American Journal of Sociology 103(6), 14931529.
Zhao Dingxin. 2003. “Nationalism and authoritarianism: student–government conflicts during the 1999 Beijing student protests after the Belgrade embassy bombing.” Asian Perspective 27(1), 534.
Zhao Suisheng. 2004. A Nation-state by Construction: Dynamics of Modern Chinese Nationalism: Stanford University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 26
Total number of PDF views: 424 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1278 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.