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1984 with Chinese Characteristics: How China Rewrites History

February 23, 2017 @ 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Thursday, February 23, 2017
1:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: First Floor Conference Center
1777 F St. NW
Washington, DC 20006

A hallmark of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’ is founded on principles of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” with the goal to build a culturally strong and prosperous China under the guidance of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). To achieve the ‘China Dream,’ it is essential for the Party to be a critical part of both China’s past and present to successfully usher China into the future. As such, the CCP has actively dominated the narrative of their history, which has politicized the very nature of the PRC’s struggles and successes. In order to maintain the CCP narrative, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party issued a communiqué in April 2013 known as Document No.9 titled, “Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere.” The document set out to criticize seven political threats including constitutionalism, civil society, historical nihilism, universal values, and the Western view of media. Overall, the document criticized these elements for attempting to undermine the legitimacy of the Party through the questioning of China’s version of events, and prohibited open discourse or any challenge to the CCP’s historical narrative in an effort to maintain the strict adherence to the Party line.

This conference will bring together an expert panel to address the costs and implications related to the CCP’s distortion of consequential moments in China’s past. Specifically, the event will address “Problems on the Periphery” and the impact of the CCP’s involvement in Tibet, Southeast Asia, and Korea. A second panel will discuss how the modern reform era of the 1980’s and onward resulted in a stronger and more defiant CCP today. The conference will also include a discussion on the CCP’s process of “restoration” and the consequences of Party history.


Edward Friedman

Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Miles Yu

Professor of East Asia and Military and Naval History

United States Naval Academy

Li Jianglin

Writer/Independent Researcher

Kelley Currie

Senior Fellow

The Project 2049 Institute

Moderator: Amy Chang

Former Staff Director

Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, House Foreign Affairs Committee

Robert Suettinger

Senior Advisor and Consultant

The Stimson Center

Cao Yaxue 

Founder and Editor

Moderator: Louisa Greve

Vice President, Asia, Middle East & North Africa Programs

National Endowment for Democracy


February 23, 2017
1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
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