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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

08 November 2021
Red army veterans play a powerful role in Chinese state propaganda, all the more so in 2021, the CCP’s centenary year. By contrast, events to honour nationalist soldiers, who were the mainstay of China’s resistance against the Japanese in the 1940s, have to keep a lower profile.

As the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its 100th anniversary, new research (publicshed in the journal Memory Studies) gives voice to a long-suffering group of Second World War veterans and the volunteers determined to honour them. Since 2015, Cambridge anthropologist Zhenru Jacqueline Lin has been studying a passionate group of volunteers, many former Chinese soldiers themselves, who go to extraordinary lengths to care for and honour these nationalist (KMT) veterans in their final years. 

Lin’s research examines the creation of a shared soldier identity and the transfer of memories across generations and political affiliations. This, she argues, undermines the assumption, widespread in the West, that Chinese citizens are uniformly brainwashed to accept a CCP-approved version of the past.

Zhenru Jacqueline Lin was a doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies and St John’s College, Cambridge, supervised by Prof. Adam Yuet Chau, until May, 2021. In August, Dr Lin became a Research Assistant Professor at the Centre of China Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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