China’s Guided Memory – SWP

In 2019, China commemorated several anniversaries of politically significant events in its recent history: the May Fourth Movement (100 years), the foundation of the People’s Republic of China (70 years), the Tibet Uprising (60 years), the beginning of the reform and opening policy (40 years), and the massacre on Tiananmen Square (30 years). How China officially commemorates these events – or does not – weighs heavily on the country’s domestic and foreign policy. The state-constructed interpretations of his­tory as a claim to power are directed not only at Chinese society, but also at foreign partners interacting with China, especially governments and companies. The conceal­ment of problematic events from the past is alarming, not least because it in­creases the danger that historical mistakes will be repeated.
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