The last thirty years have seen enormous changes in the Chinese media, but some aspects remain as they were in the late 1970s. In particular there is still a view that “anti-Chinese forces” are constantly plotting to overthrow the Chinese government, and that all criticism of the government equals criticism of China itself. The official view of modern history still reinforces the victim mentality and the imperative need for China to remain unified. This is all that Chinese nationalism today is based on.
But if on the outside there seems a fixed and unalterable hardness here, from the inside there has been a process of withering and hollowing. Who now “believes” that China is a victim of the same kind as before; and will the angry nationalists who claim to do so, and who perform so passionately online, one day become a guiding force for China?
I don’t really think so. The reason is simple: their ideas are a result of party-led education and one-way inculcation of information. As soon as these people are able to gain access to different sources of information and see different points of view publicly debated, the basis of their ideas collapses.