"Shame on you!" : competing narratives of the nation in the Laoxikai Incident and the Tianjin anti-French campaign, 1916-1917
Date of Issue2012
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This article examines the anti-French campaign triggered by the Laoxikai incident — a dispute in 1916‐17 over lands bordering the French concession in Tianjin. The incident was a focal point for competing narratives of the nation, each drawing on traditions and inspirations that implied divergent futures for China. Constitutional monarchism, true monarchism, republicanism, and Christianity all played into the power struggles of the 1910s. This article also addresses the role of violent coercion in the incident, in which nationalism began to legitimate “punishment” of Chinese who continued working with the French. The nationalists felt shame on behalf of their nation, and through public humiliation they forced Chinese who appeared indifferent to the nation to share in the national shame. This development accelerated a trend of nationalistic violence and the discourse of “national humiliation”.
© 2012 Twentieth-Century China. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Twentieth-Century China, Twentieth-Century China. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1521538512Z.0000000002].