State-led Chinese nationalism: An analysis of primary school textbooks

Z. H.E.N.G. Hao, Hua Yu Sebastian Cherng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In contrast to the plenitude of studies which use speeches, newspaper articles and books in presenting the Chinese state’s crafting of nationalist narratives, there are few studies that use texts specifically designed for mass education. The authors conducted a content analysis of children’s textbooks published by the education arm of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to reveal the narratives used to bolster its nationalism. While some of the findings are consistent with existing theories, such as portrayals of China’s glorious history, claims to territory, forms of government, a foreign “other” as an enemy and economic development, key nuances emerge. The textbooks claim only Taiwan, but not other contentious areas such as Tibet, as part of China; the CPC government is described as a democracy much more than a communist state; the foreign “other” is not only an enemy, but also an endorser; and development refers not only to the country’s economic gains but also to an intimate sphere created around an urban and middle-class norm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-48
Number of pages22
JournalChina: An International Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics and Econometrics


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