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Modern Chinese national identity and transportation

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Author: Liu, Haiyu
As an imported concept, ''nation'' is used ambiguously in Chinese context. Even in the communication strategy formulated by the government, there is always a mixing that includes ethnic groups and nation-states. This essay discusses ''nation'', ''state'', and ''nation-state'' separately yet together to figure out their relationship. Whether the nation is imaginary or an ideology, it is the people’s view of their national identity that matters. Understanding national identity is a key to complex questions of the “nation” because national identity not only exists in every member's mind within a nation, but also interacts with all kinds of social elements (eg. religion, geography). As a multidimensional concept, national identity includes languages, sentiments and symbolism in the field of education, communication and transportation. Following the demand of modern society, a series of new concepts rise in respond to the proper time and conditions. On the other hand, new-born technologies facilitate the development and spread of these notions, for instance, nation. In many nations, especially China, transportation plays a leading role in the age of reform. It is the technologies which provide the main impulse of the transportation. Meanwhile, transportation is also a universal carrier of national resolve. For instance, it is the railway system and the freeway network system that build the basis of political power and shape the structure of economic change in many countries. These elements show up in everyday life as the infrastructure or context and thus, exert a subtle but essential influence on national identity. In order to clarify the process of Chinese national evolution, then, transportation and national identity are proper entry points.
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