Chinese nation-state building and citizenship


Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


This chapter discusses the Chinese state’s use of education to build a national community identity within its own state-building efforts, examining how the Communist Party of China (CPC) has adhered both to traditional Chinese cultural rules of good governance and to world-society cultural rules on the nation-state as a bounded community of citizens. Because of questions scholarly debate on the antiquity of China as a nation-state pose for understanding nation-state building, the chapter first specifies elements of a definition of the nation-state and evaluates them in light of pre-nineteenth century historical sources. It then employs them to analyze how the CPC from its earliest governance experiences adhered in its education policy documents to a traditional concept of governance while incorporating into this dimensions of the nation-state concept, diffusing integrated knowledge of both concepts. The analysis concludes that state- and nation-building through education was a gradual cumulative process. State attention first aimed to consolidate national identity in terms of revolutionary progress for the bounded community. Later, traditional community livelihood concerns coalesced with the promotion of collective effort in achieving collective economic goals. In the latest stage, attention built on these foundations to foster knowledge of citizens’ obligations, rights, popular sovereignty, and legality. Copyright © 2022 selection and editorial matter, Zhonghua Guo; individual chapters, the contributors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of Chinese citizenship
EditorsZhonghua GUO
Place of PublicationOxon
ISBN (Electronic)9781003225843
ISBN (Print)9781032126913
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


Fairbrother, G. P. (2021). Chinese nation-state building and citizenship. In Z. Guo (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of Chinese citizenship (pp. 337-350). Oxon: Routledge.


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