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366. Reassessing Chinese Collaborationist Regimes under Japanese Wartime Occupation, 1938–1945

Sun, March 19, 10:45am to 12:45pm, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Floor: 2nd Floor, Simcoe

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel


This panel reassesses Chinese collaborationist "puppet" regimes under Japanese occupation. Studies have illuminated the multifacted experiences of wartime China that challenge analytical binaries of Chinese "resistance vs. collaboration." The historiographical focus, however, has centered on occupied Shanghai. Meanwhile, works on Japan's main collaborationist regime, Wang Jingwei's Nanjing government (1940–45), have emphasized the failure of Wang's administration to replace Chiang Kai-shek's Chongqing government as the legitimate Chinese Nationalist state.

The panel expands both the chronological and spatial frame of analysis for Chinese collaboration. First, the panel highlights the administrative continuities between the pre-war Chinese Nationalist government in Nanjing and Wang's wartime regime. Rather than dismiss Wang's administration as a "failure," David Serfass re-examines the political motivations of Wang's collaborationist personnel on their own terms. By analyzing the administrative practices of Wang's civil service system, Serfass shows how the regime modeled its state-building strategies on the pre-war Nanjing government and were not empty slogans of propaganda.

Second, the panel extends the geographical focus of collaboration to include South China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. Seiji Shirane examines the intermediary imperial roles of Taiwanese colonial subjects in South China's puppet governments centered in Xiamen. Shin Kawashima reveals the importance of another group of neglected collaborationist actors: the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia who channeled remittances to Wang Jingwei through the South China city of Shantou.

Brian Martin, who has written extensively on wartime China and issues of collaboration, will serve as discussant.

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