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Networking Ideology: Translocal Anticommunism and the Restructuring of Philippine-Chinese Society in the 1950s

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, March 13, 2019. 04:30 PM - 07:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Humanities Center Boardroom
Workshop: 
Cold War In Asia: Culture, Technology, History
Meeting Description: 

This paper, the fourth of my dissertation's seven chapters, argues for an institutional, networked, and translocal understanding of the ideological uniformity that characterized Philippine-Chinese society from the mid-1950s onwards. Starting in 1954 with the establishment of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Shang Zong), Chinese leaders consolidated the social foundations of anticommunism in response to the Philippine government's mass arrests of suspected Chinese communists and its efforts to regulate Chinese education and trade. Community governance was henceforth concentrated in five institutions and in the hands of a small group of elites who defined its priorities. High among these priorities was propagating anticommunism, a potent centripetal force and worldview that united Filipinos, local Chinese, and the Taiwanese state. The paper first explains the establishment of the Federation and the restructuring of Chinese society in the mid-1950s. It then focuses on two institutions, Chiang Kai-shek High School (later, College) and the Philippine-Chinese Anti-Communist League. They helped propagate anticommunism, connect the Philippine Chinese to Nationalist China, and integrate Philippine-Chinese anticommunists into local and global networks of like-minded ideologues.

Chien-Wen Kung received his PhD in modern Chinese and international and global history from Columbia University in May 2018 and is currently a visiting assistant professor of East Asian history at the University of the Pacific. His research focuses on cultural, social, and political relations between China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia's Chinese communities in the context of decolonization, the Cold War, and Asian regionalism. His first book project explores the three-way relationship between the Republic of China, the Philippines, and the Philippine Chinese in opposition to Chinese communism. It argues for a Southeast Asian and diasporic understanding of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and for the centrality of the Cold War, the "long" Chinese Civil War, and national security concerns to the making of diasporic subjecthood.