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“Westernization” Vs. “Sinicization”: An Ineffaceable Paradox Within China's Modernization Process

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Chapter Summary

China's modernization can be divided into three phases: the modernization led by the Qing government from the mid 19th century until 1911; the modernization led by KMT from 1912 to 1948; and the modernization led by the CCP after 1949 and especially after the 1980s Reform and Opening. "Westernization" and "Sinicization" constitute an ineffaceable paradox within China's modernization process. This chapter examines the modernization of the Qing government. The conflict between Westernization and Sinicization more fully manifested during the Republican Era. The differentiation of Westernization from modernization and the definition of modernization as industrialization were crucial to Sinicization proponents. The chapter also examines the various manifestations of "Westernization" and "Americanization". Finally, the chapter looks at one example: in the 1920s and 30s, one popular view was that the ancient Chinese characters conflicted with the modern civilization and thus were one of the largest impediments to China's modernization.

Keywords: Americanization; China's modernization process; Chinese characters; industrialization; modern civilization; Qing government; Sinicization; Westernization



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