Chinese Heritage with European Characteristics: International and Domestic Dimensions of the China’s Cultural Heritage Politics


  • Joanna Wardęga Jagiellonian University in Kraków



China, Chinese culture, Chinese heritage, Chinese nationalism


The discussion on Chinese cultural heritage started to emerge as a result of inspiration coming from foreign travels of Chinese scholars-officials and as protective measures against looting of artifacts in the 19th and 20th centuries. The most spectacular robberies were carried out by Anglo-French forces in the Old Summer Palace (Yuanming Yuan) during the Second Opium War in 1860. That event became one of the cornerstones of the “century of humiliation” (bainian guochi) in the Chinese historical narrative. Even though the Communist Revolution classified historical sites as remnants of feudalism, today the Communist Party of China has assumed the role of a defender of the Chinese heritage. In contemporary China, its cultural heritage is a phenomenon of both domestic and international significance. The Chinese emphasize the antiquity of the Chinese nation, pointing to the origins of Chinese civilization as early as five thousand years ago. In contemporary China, recovering cultural treasures is important for the political legitimacy of a government and for erasing the national humiliation.


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Author Biography

Joanna Wardęga, Jagiellonian University in Kraków

PhD, Assistant Professor at the Institute of the Middle and Far East. She specializes in sociology of politics and anthropology of politics. In 2010, she defended her PhD thesis Faces of Chinese Nationalism. Rebuilding Nation in People’s Republic of China. She studied Chinese in the Shanghai University and Xiamen University. Her research interests include society transformations, Chinese national and social thought, and problems of tourism in East Asia.


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How to Cite

Wardęga, Joanna. 2021. “Chinese Heritage With European Characteristics: International and Domestic Dimensions of the China’s Cultural Heritage Politics”. Politeja 18 (4(73):7-28.