China Talks 2018: What is a Chinese Person?



What is the concept of a person in Chinese culture? What makes a person “Chinese”? Rituals, filial piety and respect for the hierarchy are important to a person in the Confucian tradition. In Daoism, a person is one who is in tune with nature and a product of constant cultivation. If we follow such trajectories, a Chinese person is narrowly defined. Is the Yi healer living in the mountainous regions of Southwest China less Chinese than the ordinary villager performing ancestor worship in the walled villages in Hong Kong? Furthermore, the ethnic Chinese who live overseas make the category of a Chinese person go beyond citizenship. Therefore, it is necessary to see Chinese persons in the plural and celebrate the diversity of peoples and cultures we deem Chinese today.


Keping Wu
Keping Wu is the Associate Professor of Chinese Politics at the Department of China Studies at XJTLU. Previously she was assistant professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong and senior research fellow at National University of Singapore. Her current research focuses on issues of gender, religion and social memory in the urbanizing areas of Suzhou.


  • Topic: What is a Chinese Person?
  • Date: Wednesday 24 October
  • Time: 6:00 - 7:00 pm
  • Venue: University Museum (CB155)