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Stars in the Nation’s Skies: The Ascent and Trajectory of the Chinese Aviation Celebrity in the Prewar Decade

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows the rise and fall of the aviation celebrity, which was just one out of many tools used to create such a community within the grand project and process of nation-building. While it argues that Liangyou's editors did consciously seek to create an imagined community that could be called a Chinese nation, it is undeniable that this was a task requiring deft diplomacy. Most prominently, in the years 1928 through 1933, Liangyou took aviators Zhang Huichang and Sun Tonggang on a flight of celebrity. These two men became beacons of hope to Chinese people everywhere - beacons that were, to a certain extent, shared communal property. The tales of Zhang Huichang and Sun Tonggang, and their respective trajectories of stardom in Liangyou in the period before World War II, indicate a changing relationship between celebrity and nation.

Keywords: Chinese nation; Liangyou; Sun Tonggang; World War II; Zhang Huichang



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