This chapter examines the discursive formation, features and strategies of identities in modern China, focusing on the notions of nation and politics. 1 It discusses the origins, development and functions of China’s multiple identities and how the circulation of identity discourse interacts with broader socio-political processes and shapes the understanding of Chinese identities amid China’s ascent as a major power. Identity is understood as being continually constructed and reproduced through discourse that mediates the relationships between social practice, institutions and values. The chapter argues that the historical legacy of the sharp break with the past in the early 20th century created an identity crisis, generating conflicting visions for the future and perennial political struggles to realize these visions. National and political identities have been at the heart of these visions and struggles as identity politics became the primary domain of the nation- and state-building project that constitutes the core of China’s quest for modernity. Seeking a moral high ground and political legitimacy, these visions and struggles are played out in the symbolic world of discourse, which is no less fierce than the physical world of politics.