Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

Zou Zuohua

Northeastern military commander Zou Zuohua 鄒作華 (1893-1973) gave a speech in November 1928. Zuo headed the Xing An Tunken Bureau, a military organization set up exclusively to head the tunken efforts. His own biography belies simple notions of national identity and territory. Like a number of warlords and leading military men of his generation, Zou was educated in Japan and graduated from the Imperial Japanese Military Academy in Kyoto (日本陆军士官学校). A native of Jilin in the Northeast, Zou would have been intensely aware of the complex and often conflicting military, political, and economic alliances in the region. In his speech, however, he provided a simple narrative: a tradition of tuntian that extended to the logistical difficulties of border defense during the Han dynasty, updated for the multi-ethnic Republic of Manchus, Mongolians, Hui, Tibetan, and Han. Zou’s speech provided in a nutshell the reigning logic of tunken efforts, what subsequent yearly reports issued by the Tunken Bureau expanded upon in some 300 pages of reports on the progress of the troops in reclaiming the area.

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