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      Using the Past to Legitimise the Present: The Portrayal of Good Governance in Chinese History Textbooks

      1 , 2
      Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          This article examines how Chinese middle-school history textbooks are written as a means of legitimising the rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), by carefully utilising China's past. The authors identify (or perhaps “construct”) a sinified model of good governance in the textbooks that derives from the teachings of Confucius and Mencius, and the subsequent practises of certain revered Chinese emperors. This model is then applied to CCP leaders in the modern-era textbooks in order to cast them as diligently upholding a time-honoured Chinese tradition of legitimate rule. In a broader context, our analysis fits within the ongoing discussions about the continuing legacy of Confucianism in contemporary China and the CCP's efforts to locate itself within this as a way of fortifying its own legitimacy. We also note how some of the themes of good governance contained in the textbooks are closely linked to contemporary government policies and priorities, such as anti-corruption schemes and constitutionalism. The objective in so doing is to propagate the importance of these themes to a young audience.

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          Most cited references37

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          The Legitimation of Power

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            Legitimating Identities

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              National Humiliation, History Education, and the Politics of Historical Memory: Patriotic Education Campaign in China

              Zheng Wang (2008)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
                Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
                SAGE Publications
                1868-1026
                1868-4874
                January 2018
                March 13 2019
                January 2018
                : 47
                : 1
                : 41-69
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Cambridge.
                [2 ]University College London
                Article
                10.1177/186810261804700102
                610811b3-12c0-4ef5-951d-3b46c35db1cb
                © 2018

                http://journals.sagepub.com/page/policies/text-and-data-mining-license

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