Why Young Chinese Aren’t Nationalistic

“Why Young Chinese Aren’t Nationalistic”, published at Eurasia Review on February 10, 2017

As Johnston’s numbers suggest, China’s youth are in fact noticeably less likely than their parents to answer yes to questions of patriotism and nationalism like, “I would prefer to be a citizen of China,” “China is a better country than most,” and “You should support your country even when it is wrong.”

This makes sense for multiple reasons: 1.) Everywhere, young people are more likely than older people to believe in liberal values, among them skepticism of ultra-patriotic attitudes. 2.) Chinese since Opening & Reform began in 1978 have much more access to Western media through tourism, more open media (compared with the Mao era), the internet, and a large number who studied abroad in the West. 3.) The young Chinese are also more distant from the defining struggles of China’s national narrative–the Sino-Japanese War and World War II (or the “World Anti-Fascist War,” as it is officially known in China), the Chinese Civil War, and the Korean War.

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