Book discussion: ‘The Invention of China’ by Bill Hayton
8 February 2021 | 13:15 - 14:15
Please note: The starting time has changed from 12:15 to 13:15!
On February 8, the LeidenAsiaCentre hosts an online presentation of the latest book by Bill Hayton: The Invention of China. During this interactive event, Bill Hayton (BBC journalist and Associate Fellow at Chatham House) will present the main findings of his most recent work and will respond to questions by the online audience. The discussion will be moderated by LeidenAsiaCentre Director Florian Schneider. Registration is mandatory.
Friso Dubbelboer, fellow at the LeidenAsiaCentre, wrote a synopsis of The Invention of China, which you can read here.
Click here for more information and to order the book.
China’s current leadership lays claim to a 5,000-year-old civilization, but “China” as a unified country and people, Bill Hayton argues, was created far more recently by a small group of intellectuals. In this compelling account, Hayton shows how China’s present-day geopolitical problems—the fates of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, and the South China Sea—were born in the struggle to create a modern nation-state. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, reformers and revolutionaries adopted foreign ideas to “invent’ a new vision of China. By asserting a particular, politicized version of the past the government bolstered its claim to a vast territory stretching from the Pacific to Central Asia. Ranging across history, nationhood, language, and territory, Hayton shows how the Republic’s reworking of its past not only helped it to justify its right to rule a century ago—but continues to motivate and direct policy today.