Chinese Nationalism in Harmony with European Imperialism: Historical Representation at the Macau Museum

  • Kam-Yee Law


Museum enterprise is an integral part of modern states, using the past to construct the present, promoting nationalism and patriotic citizenship, and appealing to domestic as well as foreign visitors. Objects and images are carefully selected to foster a sense of historical and cultural consciousness among the people. Many antiques and relics that the state preserves may be of little humanistic significance, but are intended to create national unity and legitimate the current regime against other political rivals (Hamlish, 2000; Coombes, 1988; Kaplan, ed., 1994). History museums in contemporary China are no exception (Cohen, 2009; Vickers, 2007; Carroll, 2005; Denton, 2005; Steiner, 1995). As Kelvin C. K. Cheung argues in chapter 2, after losing the civil war, Chiang Kai-Shek made the Republic of China on Taiwan the guardian of Han Chinese civilization, and founded the National Palace Museum in Taipei to display a thousand years of unbroken Chinese history. In a similar fashion, the Communists on the Mainland created a network of museums to eradicate feudalism and implement revolutionary change. The Museum of the Chinese Revolution in Tiananmen Square adhered to the red line of Maoism from the 1950s to the 1970s, and the exhibitions changed as frequently as the dominant ideology (Hung, 2005).


Soft Power Chinese Leader Foreign Visitor CHINESE Nationalism Trade Cooperation 
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© Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, Lida V. Nedilsky, and Siu-Keung Cheung 2012

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  • Kam-Yee Law

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