From Empire to Republic: China's struggle with modernity?
Speaker(s): Isabel Hilton
Chair: Dr Robin Archer
Recorded on 21 January 2014 in Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.
In 1912 the last emperor of China abdicated, leaving behind a country that had doubled in size under the Qing Empire. The collapse of the Qing set in train more than a century of savage political conflict as the unwieldy former empire struggled to find a modern political form and establish its identity as a nation state.
More than 100 years later China still has fundamental questions to answer: what does it mean to be Chinese today? Who belongs and who does not? Can a national story be agreed that can bind together one fifth of humanity in a common identity? China is approaching a crossroads on the road to reform: which direction it chooses will affect the whole world.
Isabel Hilton is a journalist, founder and editor of Chinadialogue, and former editor in chief of openDemocracy. Her publications include The Search for the Panchen Lama. In 2009 she was awarded an OBE.