“Born to Defend”: Popular Chinese Anti-American Nationalism, 1940s–1990s

Chunmei DU (Presenter)

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


This paper examines popular Chinese anti-American nationalism from the late 1940s to the 1990s. Drawing from cartoons, films, school textbooks, newspaper reports, and official publications, I argue that in such movements sensitive sociocultural issues surrounding race and sex intertwined with political issues of national inequality and foreign imperialism. The late 1940s Anti-American Brutality Movement attracted a broad spectrum of Chinese supporters across socioeconomic, political, and geographical boundaries. Anti-American Chinese sentiments peaked during the Korean War and continued during the Cultural Revolution and into the reform era. Popular animosity towards America grew in the 1990s amidst the strengthening of economic and cultural ties between the two nations. Following the 1999 NATO bombing incident, student protesters stoned the U.S. embassy in Beijing and converted the Statue of Liberty into the “Demon of Liberty.” Consistent throughout is the persona of the Chinese victim, who suffers from American violence and fights for both personal and national dignity. This narrative invokes the strongest sentiments in the Chinese psyche and resurfaces during times of tension, when abstract concepts of national humiliation and sovereignty infringement become embodied by the slaughtering and suffering of innocent Chinese.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2024
EventAssociation for Asian Studies Annual Conference 2024 - Seattle, United States
Duration: 14 Mar 202417 Mar 2024


ConferenceAssociation for Asian Studies Annual Conference 2024
Abbreviated titleAAS2024
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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