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The Richness of Financial Nationalism: The Case of China

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Financial nationalism has received little attention in the literature on Chinese nationalism. Nor has China been a focus of the emerging literature on comparative financial nationalism. This is surprising as financial matters were central to modern Chinese nationalism when it began to take shape in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, and financial nationalism remains influential in contemporary China, which has undoubtedly become a major actor in the international financial system today. Our exploration of Chinese financial nationalism seeks to begin to fill this gap in both sets of literature. This article examines three areas of concern shared by Chinese financial nationalists past and present: currency, foreign financial institutions in China, and international borrowing/lending. We find that, as China's position in the international power hierarchy has evolved, the nature of financial nationalism has changed, from a largely inward and defensive orientation to an increasingly outward orientation. Our study also reveals diverse strands of thinking among Chinese financial nationalists, both now and in the earlier historical era, according to whether they hold a zero-sum or positive-sum conception of international financial relations. The case of China shows the richness of financial nationalism and highlights the importance of a nuanced understanding of this phenomenon.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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