Anti-Drug Crusades in Twentieth-Century China: Nationalism, History, and State-Building

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Central to China’s identity, drugs have been inextricably linked to every aspect of the country’s economy, polity, society, and culture since the early nineteenth century. This book is the first comprehensive study of anti-drug crusades in twentieth-century China. Zhou Yongming addresses the complexity of anti-drug campaigns by examining how modern Chinese nationalism and the needs of state building have shaped the ways in which these campaigns have been carried out. The author traces the important role that nationalism has played in all of China’s anti-drug crusades by providing the motivation, legitimacy, and emotional charge needed for Chinese authorities to take an anti-drug stance. Nationalism has provided a forum for fashioning mainstream anti-drug discourse, interpreting the history of the Opium Wars, and mobilizing the social elite and general public in the cause of drug suppression. Yet to avoid adopting nationalism as a universal concept, the author argues that its complexity and mutability can only be fully appreciated if its multiple forms and meanings in modern China are explored. At the same time, the author contends that anti-drug campaigns also are closely related to internal politics. He shows that both the Nationalists and the Communists used these campaigns to build state hegemony through mass crusades, nationwide mobilization, and the use of state violence. To achieve its goal, the state often adopted multiple interpretations of the nationalist anti-drug debate and then incorporated them into the state’s hidden agenda of conducting anti-drug campaigns. Drawing on previously unavailable archival sources and personal interviews, the author tells a rich story that will be valuable to Asia scholars and narcotics researchers alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Asian Studies
The first book-length study of opium suppression in twentieth century China. . . . The book presents much useful information on the topic.
American Ethnologist
Zhou is practically effective at showing how the circumstances leading to the Opium Wars and China's humiliating defeat have provided a leitmotif for all subsequent discourse concerning narcotics. Zhou does a convincing job of illustrating his main contention—that anti-drug disclosure and anti-drug activity are most fruitfully examined in their social, cultural, and political contexts. Many of his points are so well made that they beg for comparative studies that would allow scholars to see whether the explanatory tools that work so well for China apply in other settings. Drug researchers as well as anthropologists and students of China will find this book worth reading.
China Quarterly
This is a handy and informative book on an important aspect of 20th-century China.
China Journal
This is a useful and readable book. Succinctly and lucidly written, Anti-Drug Crusades in Twentieth-Century China tells an interesting story that will be welcomed by China scholars and all those interested in narcotics research.
Journal Of Asian Studies
The first book-length study of opium suppression in twentieth century China. . . . The book presents much useful information on the topic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847695973
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/23/1999
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Zhou Yongming is associate professor of anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Nationalism, Reform, and Anti-Opium Mobilization in Late Qing Chapter 3 Nationalism and the Anti-Drug Mobilization of the Shanghai Elite, 1924–1927 Chapter 4 Society Versus State: NAOA and Opium Policies of the Nationalists, 1927–1934 Chapter 5 The Six-Year Opium Suppression Plan and the New Life Movement Chapter 6 Nationalism, Identity, and State Building: Anti-Drug Crusades in the People’s Republic, 1949–1952 Chapter 7 Facing drugs Again: Anti-Drug Discourse in Contemporary China Chapter 8 A “Peoples War” without People: Anti-Drug Campaigns in the 1990s Chapter 9 Anti-Drug Campaigns and Ethnic Minorities in Southwestern China: 1950s and 1990s Chapter 10 Conclusions Chapter 11 Notes Chapter 12 Bibliography Chapter 13 Index Chapter 14 About the Author

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