PODCAST | China, Tibet and the Colonial Question

Co-presented with Sydney Ideas and the China Studies Centre





China sees itself as a victim of imperialism and colonialism. Modern Chinese nationalism, including the one adopted and promoted by the Chinese Communist Party, is defined through this perspective. International scholarship on China often takes for granted this narrative of China as anti-imperialist.

Dibyesh Anand interrogates this narrative and argues that there is a fundamental disjuncture at the heart of the modern nation-state project in China. China is anti-imperialist in its foreign policy rhetoric while being the beneficiary and even practitioner, rather than victim, of imperialism and colonialism.

The modern nation-state of the People’s Republic of China is colonial in what it views as its periphery. Asymmetry of power relations and features of colonialism are present in China’s rule over Tibetans.
Focusing on Tibet and to an extent Xinjiang, Professor Anand argues for conceptualising and understanding China as a colonising power.



Associate Professor Dibyesh Anand is a Reader in International Relations, the Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations and Director, Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster in London. His research focus is on the emergence of China and India as major non-Western powers. He is especially interested in China’s public diplomacy and its relation with Tibet and India, and other countries in the Himalayan region, particularly Bhutan and Kashmir. He is also interested in issues concerning Islamophobia in India, majoritarian nationalism, the politics of security and representation and ethnic relations in Zanzibar.