Humiliation Day is observed next on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024 (93 days from today).
If you ask any Chinese person where their nation stands in the future, the answer is clear: "The 21st century is the Chinese century." From a historical and diplomatic perspective, this answer also reveals many important aspects of how China itself views its prosperity, as well as how it will treat the rest of the world. And we will wonder where the arrogance and pride of the Chinese "return" come from? Part of this answer comes from historical education and how historical memory is used as a catalyst for new nationalism in China. One of these discourses is the century of humiliation, 1840-1945.
The origin of Humiliation Day
The memory of this national humiliation revolves around the theme of the "century of humiliation" (the centenary of national humiliation) of Chinese history, the century in which China was described as being invaded, divided by Western countries, forced to sign unequal treaties, build concessions, make concessions, take possession of various lands, conduct military interventions, and suppress resistance.
Some of these major milestones include the First Opium War (1840-1842) and the Second Opium War (1856-1860) waged by the British to open up China. A series of preferential customs and diplomatic treaties were later signed, including the British rule of Hong Kong for 150 years. Followed by Japan and 6 other European powers, respectively, occupying Macao, Guangzhou, Taiwan, Taiwan, Manchuria... In 1900, eight great powers entered Beijing to suppress the Peace Corps movement (1899-1901). ) burned Beijing and looted the palaces of the Qing Dynasty. Japan's crimes towards China are highlighted, including the occupation of Taiwan, the triggering of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) to plunder Korea, the invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the 1937 Nanjing Massacre and invaded expansion the whole of China (1937-1945).
The soul of this spirit is the slogan: "Normal shame" - don't forget the national shame. This slogan appeared in the early twentieth century and quickly became the main theme of nationalist movements. A Chinese government calendar published in 1928 mentioned at least 26 days of "national humiliation" and even suggested that one of these days be designated as a national day of remembrance (William Callahan 2006). Chiang Kai-shek and other nationalists also used the concept of national pride as a banner to rally popular movements against outside influence. This historical memory was then used to strengthen China's national consciousness following the political upheavals of the 1950s to 1989. These upheavals partly shook the power legitimacy of Zhongnanhai and they sought to consolidate their positions using political memories.
From believing itself to be at the center of civilization, China became dominated and humiliated by the Western world. One iconic image is said to be a sign banning Chinese people and dogs in Shanghai's Huangpu Park. However, this is a controversial historical detail surrounding the sign saying "No Dogs or Chinese Allowed": No Chinese people and dogs allowed. For decades, people repeated this story without solid evidence, even the leading professor of Chinese history at Harvard University, John K. Fairbank in his research (1986) also mentioned it to this detail.
How to celebrate Humiliation Day
It was Deng Xiaoping and his successors who put the "Century of National Shame" into the textbooks and made it the nucleus of modern Chinese nationalism, and more recently continued to develop into the "Chinese Dream". Country" by Xi Jinping. The socialism crisis of the 1980s and the Tiananmen incident clearly changed the way history was used to prop up the Chinese government, from a theory of class conflict to a theory of class conflict. national meaning. Use the memory of humiliation to create new China cohesion and seek new legitimacy for Beijing's power.
What is remarkable about this change in historical discourse is the shift away from focusing on the "glorious" history of the Mao era and instead on the history of the ruled, aggressor, and disgraceful at the hands of the people of outside forces. This new historical narrative vents all its condemnation on the West and seeks to engage young people in new movements to revive China, and to divert student interest in the 1980s democratization.
People erected memorials to "humiliating" events and massacres in Chinese history such as the Opium War Memorial in Guangzhou, and the memorial to the beginning of the Japanese military invasion China in 1931.
The historical approach to the tattooed days associated with the deep nationalistic spirit of the Chinese people has clearly made the Chinese youth today have a special view of the day of national humiliation. As well as a clear attitude towards outside powers.
ObservedHumiliation Day has been observed annually on January 3rd.
Monday, January 3rd, 2022
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024
Friday, January 3rd, 2025
Saturday, January 3rd, 2026