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Governing the DeadMartyrs, Memorials, and Necrocitizenship in Modern China$
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Linh D. Vu

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781501756504

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501756504.001.0001

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Democratizing National Martyrdom

Democratizing National Martyrdom

Chapter:
(p.146) Chapter 5 Democratizing National Martyrdom
Source:
Governing the Dead
Author(s):

Linh D. Vu

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501756504.003.0006

This chapter looks at the martyr hagiographies submitted in response to a 1939 decree. It explains that the decree urged provinces to collect stories of people “who cursed the bandits and died by the sharp edge of the sword” (ma kou bi yu feng ren zhe). By democratizing martyrdom, the 1939 decree sought to transform civilian bodies into weapons, which by no means physically injured Japanese soldiers but managed to offend the invaders' fighting spirit. The chapter then discusses the democratization of martyrdom in the Republican era, and it then reveals two major developments in twentieth-century China: the militarization of civilian life and the civilianization of war. The chapter examines how the Nationalist government's war-dead compensation and commendation regulations advanced the process of militarization. It further explicates the civilianization of war, which is defined as the increasing presence of civilians not only as victims but also as supporters of and participants in conflicts between states.

Keywords:   1939 decree, martyrdom, democratization, Republican era, twentieth-century China, militarization, civilianization, war-dead commendation, war-dead compensation

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