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Down with Traitors

Justice and Nationalism in Wartime China

Throughout the War of Resistance against Japan (1931–1945), the Chinese Nationalist government punished collaborators with harsh measures, labeling the enemies from within hanjian (literally, "traitors to the Han Chinese"). Trials of hanjian gained momentum during the postwar years, escalating the power struggle between Nationalists and Communists. Yun Xia examines the leaders of collaborationist regimes, who were perceived as threats to national security and public order, and other subgroups of hanjian—including economic, cultural, female, and Taiwanese hanjian. Built on previously unexamined code, edicts, and government correspondence, as well as accusation letters, petitions, newspapers, and popular literature, Down with Traitors reveals how the hanjian were punished in both legal and extralegal ways and how the anti-hanjian campaigns captured the national crisis, political struggle, roaring nationalism, and social tension of China's eventful decades from the 1930s through the 1950s.

About the Author

Yun Xia is assistant professor of history at Valparaiso University.


"Xia has done a good job of collecting primary sources and offering a persuasive analysis of a neglected topic. Her work should be deemed as a pioneering project, which enriches our comprehension of the complicated wartime situation and its impact upon postwar Chinese society. . . . This book, without a doubt, is a contribution to modern Chinese history. It could be adopted as a supplementary reading for Chinese and East Asian history courses."—China Review International: A Journal of Reviews of Scholarly Literature in Chinese Studies


"Yun Xia's perceptive study traces the legal definition and the political usages of the profoundly emotive word hanjian (traitor). She looks at the years of the Resistance War and shows the ways in which the designation was used as China's political world was increasingly polarized."—Diana Lary, author of The Chinese People at War and China's Civil War

"Deeply researched and intriguing. Yun Xia details the scope of the traitor trials, which dwarfed the war crime trials of the Japanese."—Barak Kushner, author of Men to Devils, Devils to Men: Japanese War Crimes and Chinese Justice

"Wartime collaboration breeds treason trials—but trials in turn create collaborators by defining and punishing them. This book, the first in English, reconstructs the tangled political and legal processes in China that singled out those charged with aiding the Japan during the war, and that went on to influence mass campaigns after 1949."—Timothy Brook, author of Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Chinese Elites in Wartime China

"Deftly etching the vast scope and human drama of the Chinese traitors, Yun Xia provides a fine contribution to the literature on anti-Japanese nationalism in China. The book has surprising resonance for scholars of mass campaigns in Maoist China and even has parallels to today's ongoing anti-corruption fervor, where categories of enemies are fluid and legal standards are in flux."—Adam Cathcart, lecturer in Chinese history, University of Leeds

9780295742854 : down-with-traitors-xia
$95.00 USD
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280 Pages
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