Internationalist Nationalism: The China-North Korea Borderland in the Post-WWII and Early Cold War Era

Spring 2023 GGR Recipient

Hao Chen (History)

This project studies the interaction between ethnopolitics in Yanbian, the ethnic Korean enclave in the China-North Korea borderland, and the international relationship between the two newly-emerged communist states. The post-1945 years witnessed Yanbian’s transformation from a contested frontier to an “autonomous region” of China. Using Chinese, Korean, Russian, and English archival sources, the project examines the love-hate interactions between the Chinese Communist Party, ethnic Koreans, and the North Korean state. By studying Yanbian Koreans’ role and position in the regional and international politics, it emphasizes the critical agency of the ethnic populace in negotiating Yanbian’s political status in the newly founded People’s Republic.