Jeep Girls and American GIs: Gendered Nationalism in Post–World War II China

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Over a hundred thousand US servicemen were stationed in post–World War II China, resulting in the largest grassroots interactions in Sino-US history. Reexamining this unprecedented encounter in the context of American global military empire, this article investigates the sociocultural tensions caused by GIs’ sexual relations with Chinese women between 1945 and 1949. While conservatives maligned “Jeep girls” out of racial and sexual anxieties, liberals and self-identified Jeep girls invoked the language of modernity and patriotism. However, in the wake of the Peking Rape incident in 1946, the once diverse debate quickly ended as nationwide protests raged against American imperialism. In contrast with previous studies highlighting how Communist propaganda led to new anti-American sentiments, this research, by uncovering the complexities of Chinese women's experiences and their stories—which have been muffled or filtered through patriarchal agendas—foregrounds the key role of gendered nationalism in Sino-US relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-363
Number of pages23
JournalThe Journal of Asian Studies
Issue number2
Early online date7 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I want to thank Diana Lemberg, Y. T. Huang, Yinghong Cheng, David Cheng Chang, and the anonymous reviewers for their encouraging and thoughtful critiques that made this article possible. Generous feedback from colleagues at the two “Uneasy Allies: Sino-American Relations at the Grassroots, 1940–1949” workshops helped me improve the article. I am also grateful for the opportunities to present my research at the International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization at Fudan University, Xue-heng Institute for Advanced Studies at Nanjing University, Department of History at Renmin University, and Hong Kong Institute of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Hong Kong University. This research is supported by a scholar grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, a direct grant from Lingnan University, and a general research grant from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (13602120). 1

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 2022.


  • American soldiers
  • Chinese Jeep girls
  • Peking Rape case
  • anti-American sentiments
  • gendered nationalism
  • grassroots


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