今日中國人自稱「中華民族」，並以「中華」作為國名，是在追求建立民族國家的背景下形成的。任何民族國家的建構，都免不了一「再造神話」的過程，以進行歷史重釋和觀念重構。因此，所謂的「中華民族」、「中華人民共和國」和「中華民國」所涵攝的概念，其實都是在短時間為配合民族建構而被塑造的，本文即是以「中華」作為關鍵詞來進行考察此一過程。本文的兩個考察主軸是：一是中國民族認同包含非漢人的合理性，以及其具體內涵；二是中國民族認同從傳統過渡到近現代的脈絡。 Today both zhonghua minzu and zhonghua are commonly understood as historical concepts denoting the Chinese nation and state. Yet according to modernist theories of nationalism, the nation emerged only after its creation by nationalism. Therefore, the original meaning of zhonghua minzu, zhonghua renmin gongheguo (People's Republic of China) and zhonghua minguo (Republic of China) must have been reshaped during the process of state building in the Late Qing/Early Republic period. The aim of this essay is to analyze the original layers of meaning inherent in zhonghua and how they were selected and reinterpreted in that process. The two main points of focus are: first, how Chinese identity was constructed to include the so-called non-Han population, and second, how the history of the Chinese nation was imagined as a linear narrative from ancient to modern times.