The politics of historiography in China: Contextualizing the Koguryo controversy

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This article contextualizes the emergence of the Chinese claim over the historical ownership of Koguryo in the politics of historiography in China. Contemporary Chinese historiography from which the Chinese state and populace draw core identities has never been fully fixed or stabilized. Regardless of the temporal distance from the present, Chinese pasts are continuously constructed and re-memorized based on contemporary sociopolitical needs. Compared to the pre-reform eras, broadened social spaces in China have made the Chinese Communist Party's monopoly over historiography untenable. In that sense, the future of East Asian regional order or Sino-Korean relations is highly unpredictable, if not unstable, due to the continuously changing Chinese national identity. With radical nationalization of China's imperial past, the next generation in China may favor actions to alter the status quo. National and state identities informed by "historical facts" are hardly negotiable or changeable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-58
Number of pages20
JournalAsian Perspective
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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