Unifying the nation: The changing role of Sino-japanese history in Hong Kong’s history textbooks

Paul Morris, Edward Vickers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


In 1997, Hong Kong returned to the sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as a ‘Special Administrative Region’ (SAR), governed under the maxim ‘one country - two systems’. But the China to which Hong Kong returned was no longer the Maoist dystopia from which many local residents, or their families, had fled in earlier decades; nor was it the liberalizing socialist society hailed by many observers during the 1980s. Several years previously, in the aftermath of the 1989 Student Movement and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had, in practice, abandoned socialism, embracing instead a form of state-led capitalism. Regime legitimacy was now harnessed above all to national economic performance. One of the many consequences of this shift was to narrow the ideological gulf between the governing authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing. Ever since 1945, Hong Kong’s colonial government had pinned its own legitimacy to its capacity to deliver consistently high levels of economic growth. Meanwhile, China’s communists now also sought to promote a vision of ‘traditional’ Chinese values, culture, and history far closer to the conservative version of ‘Chinese-ness’ long purveyed through schooling in Hong Kong. In terms of official discourse and political ideology, Hong Kong and the mainland were thus converging markedly even before the territory’s 1997 retrocession.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImagining Japan in Post-war East Asia
Subtitle of host publicationIdentity Politics, Schooling and Popular Culture
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781134684908
ISBN (Print)9780415713993
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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