"Traitors to the Chinese race (hanjian)": Political and cultural campaigns against collaborators during the Sino-Japanese War of 1937--1945
Xia, Yun, 1982-
MetadataShow full item record
Xia, Yun, 1982-
This dissertation examines formal and popular campaigns against collaborators during the second Sino-Japanese war of 1937-1945, considering the role of these campaigns in the political struggles of the Nationalist (Guomindang) government, the interplay between discourses of law and morality, and the interactions of legal professionals, intellectuals, and commoners in the development of Chinese nationalism and anti-imperialism. During the Sino-Japanese war, the Japanese army occupied vast areas in China and sponsored puppet regimes at central and local levels in areas under its occupation. These regimes variously attracted, persuaded, or forced a large number of Chinese officials, intellectuals, and local elites to work in their administrations. The Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek, which was the central Chinese government since 1928, retreated to the inland city of Chongqing to organize resistance against Japan. The Nationalist government labeled collaborators as hanjian , "traitors to the Han." The word became widely used in legal regulations, popular literature, and newspapers and became the most derogatory and politically disastrous title possible for a Chinese citizen. Individuals designated hanjian were exposed to public humiliation, confiscation of land and property, and the threat of assassination. Chiang Kai-shek's government also called for the common people to expose hanjian . Most such accusations were then transformed into legal procedures. These accusations resulted in varying and often unfair sentences. Designed by the Nationalist government to harness the force of popular nationalism and to restore justice, the anti- hanjian campaigns instead inadvertently exposed the corruption and incompetence of the Nationalist government and damaged the post-war construction effort.