Contested Identities: Exploring the Cultural, Historical and Political Complexities of the “Three Chinas”

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Authors:
Qiao Li, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Malaysia
Ros Jennings, University of Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Email: [email protected]
Published: January 2016
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijas.2.1.02

Citation: Li, Q., & Jennings, R. (2016). Contested Identities: Exploring the Cultural, Historical and Political Complexities of the "Three Chinas". IAFOR Journal of Asian Studies, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijas.2.1.02


Abstract

When facing the political, historical and cultural complexities of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, problematic issues arise in relation to understanding the sorts of national/cultural identities that might be projected by them. With regard to these three Chinese language cinemas, a traditional national cinema approach focussing predominantly upon nation-state as a source of meaning would provide only a limited understanding of the meanings generated. This article, however, draws on what Benedict Anderson (1991) put forward as the theory of ‘Imagined Communities’ which assumes a large body of people regard themselves as members of a ‘nation’ (and here we interpret this term broadly and beyond understandings of geographical borders and political systems) through a variety of historical legacies, cultural memories and acts of consumption. In this article we hold the assumption that there is a shared cultural meaning (namely ‘Chineseness’) that extends across the three Chinese language cinemas and consider cultural affinity as greater than national and political boundaries.

Keywords

National cinema, Three Chinas, Chineseness, cultural affinity