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“2021 Taiwan Lectures on Taiwan Studies” Series — Fifty years of National Shame or Century of Humiliation? Resentment, Shame and Legitimacy in the Political History of Modern China  

NCL co-hosted the “Taiwan Lecture on Chinese Studies” series on December 8, 2021 with Australian National University and Australasian Taiwan Studies Association. It is our honor to invite Prof. John Fitzgerald to speech on “Fifty years of National Shame (國恥) or Century of Humiliation (百年恥辱)? Resentment, Shame and Legitimacy in the Political History of Modern China”. This was a hybrid lecture held at the University of Melbourne and online.

Prof. John Fitzgerald is the Emeritus Professor in the Centre for Social Impact at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. His research focuses on the history of nationalism, public administration, and philanthropy in China, and on the histories of the Chinese diaspora.

This talk proposes that “National Humiliation” and “Century of Humiliation” are contested terms. “National Humiliation” was a Nationalist (KMT) favorite, targeting Japanese occupying forces, while “Century of Humiliation” was used by the collaborationist Wang Jingwei regime to attack US-led allied forces and undermine the government of Chiang Kaishek. Similarly, the Communists used the term “Century of Humiliation” to attack Chiang Kaishek’s Nationalist forces on Taiwan for allying with the US. The term Century of Humiliation gained added currency in China after the 1989 popular uprisings and massacres which humiliated the Communist party in the eyes of the world. The party is particularly resentful of Taiwan’s thriving liberal democracy, which stands as a perpetual rebuke to authoritarian Communist party rule. Continuing use of the Century of Humiliation narrative signals a determination to mobilize popular support in China for the “recovery” of Taiwan.


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