As Maoism recedes, and especially after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Beijing has increasingly turned to patriotic nationalism for its ideological inspiration and legitimation. Return of the Dragon begins with a discussion of the definitions, typologies, and theories of nationalism. The formation and development of the Chinese people are explored, including their myths of origins, early beginnings, the classical feudal period, and the enduring state and empire of the Middle Kingdom. The Opium War began the ?hundred years of humiliation? when dynastic China steadily deteriorated and eventually succumbed to the forces unleashed by imperialism. Western and Japanese imperialism also transformed the Chinese from a people into a nation. The ideas of early Chinese nationalists are explored, particularly those of Sun Yat-sen, whose thought stands in stark contrast to those of Mao, but shares significant similarities with the developmental nationalism of Deng Xiaoping.The last chapters of Return of the Dragon describe contemporary China's patriotic nationalism as it is represented in the writings of Chinese intellectuals, the youth, and the military. The portrait that emerges is a disquieting mix of narcissism and insecurity, wounded pride and resentment, a Darwinian worldview and an irredentist resolve to restore China to its former glory. The book concludes with an examination of the Chinese polity that remains authoritarian, as well as U.S. policy implications.
Maria H Chang