The invention of China

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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 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. 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.