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Historical Memories and China”s Changing Views of East Asia

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The use (or misuse) of history for political purposes is not a Chinese specialty. Almost every country in the world does it.1 Even Americans, who are not known for their historical memories, will on occasions use historical arguments. Whenever they contemplate military intervention in a Third World country, an obsession leads them into debate whether it will become another Vietnam.2 The Japanese also use history for their political purposes, as discussed below. The list can go on. But nowhere is the use of history—both remembering and forgetting—more apparent than in current Chinese discussion about the Asia Pacific War with Japan and the status of Taiwan in the world today.


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