Anyone else put off by the term “Chinese” used in reference to Taiwan and Taiwanese? I can only figure it’s proper use is when dealing with mandarin as English is spoken in many countries that are not England. I can’t stand hearing people talk about the “Chinese” as Taiwanese because it seems pretty wrong and ignorant of Taiwan’s history and situation. The Term Taiwanese is more respectful for most people in Taiwan can agree on a Taiwanese identity. The term “Chinese” is political. Yes, I have been on this rant before, but it is the case. ROC propaganda has made the term “Chinese” so common place it has become a real bad habbit. Grfrrrrrrrrr
well most Taiwanese that I talk to call themselves Chinese…so how is it more respectful to refer to them with a term they don’t use?
When I was in America, I used to be pretty put off by it… b/c I’m an American damnit! :fume:
Now that I’m here …
Chinese as in race not citizenship, get it? “Taiwanese” is not a race.
When we ask, “are you chinese?”… usually we are asking for the race and NOT citizenship.
There are chinese people everywhere, try asking a malaysian chinese and I am sure the answer will be “YES”.
IMHO, I will be pissed when someone tells me they are not Chinese but a taiwanese. It’s just so silly and ignorant to assume that only Chinese (race) exist in Taiwan and PR China.
[quote=“songzzz”]Chinese as in race not citizenship. Taiwanese is not a race.
When we say, “are you Chinese?”… we usually meant are you Chinese as in race and NOT asking if you are from PRC. [/quote]
In the US, I’d say yes. Not sure about here, how that kind of question is meant.
You sure about that? Race and nationality are very closely connected in which one is/can be the same or different. It’s a very grey (and sensitive) area.
I’ve met a lot of silly people based on your comment heh.
lsieh… I am born in Indonesia, both my parents are Chinese(race) from Taiwan. So what am I? an Indonesian? Indonesian-Taiwanese? Indonesian-Chinese? Which sounds better?
If someone were to ask me if I am Chinese, I’ll say YES. There are lots of Chinese in South East Asia, my sister’s singapore passport says “Chinese” under the column race.
[quote=“songzzz”]lsieh… I am born in Indonesia, both my parents are Chinese(race) from Taiwan. So what how am I? an Indonesian? Indonesian-Taiwanese? Indonesian-Chinese? Which sounds better?
If someone were to ask me if I am Chinese, I’ll say YES. There are lots of Chinese in South East Asia, my sister’s Singapore passport says “Chinese” under the column race.[/quote]
one’s identity is not so easily defined by words that by themselves are limited (and limiting) in nature. Identity words are categorical words, that have neat begin and ends, but one’s identity is amorphous.
Depending on how one asks the question I can answer a number of ways:
- I’m Malaysian Chinese
- I’m an American
- I’m a Chinese American
- I’m Chinese (racially and/or ethnically speaking)
- I’m an Americanized Chinese
- I’m an Asian American (For those not familiar with the American treatment of race and ethnicity, you may think “WTF?!” and I would concur, but it is what it is…)
Maybe I can be one really confused fellow :s
Well I have never walked up and asked someone what there politically correct designation was…if they express a preference then I will use that (if it comes up in conversation) but personally, I prefer given names…
“Hi Tom, this is Todd…nice to meet you…”
Chinese is NOT a “race”. Chinese is not an ethnicity. Chinese is a political designation to refer to the people of China. China is not a fixed entity with cultures and people entering and leaving. According to the PRC there are 56 ethnicities that make up the Chinese. According to the ROC 85% of the people on Taiwan are Chinese…excluding the aborigines. The term “Chinese” is often mis-used for the word “Han”. Han is an ethnic-cultrual group of central China that is recognized as the dominant group of China. The unique dynamic of Han to be more inclusive than exclusive has allowed people of other ethnicities to become Han. Han IS an ethnic designation, but it is more cultural. Traditionally, to become Han, you needed to adopt Han customs of filial piety, burial and taxation. It is through this dynamic the ancestors of modern Taiwanese became Han.
China is a modern concept that has never fixed its borders or terms of culture. In Taiwan, Taiwanese historically did NOT recognize themselves as “Chinese” because the concept was new in China. Taiwanese usually recognized themselves as residents from a region as that what China had always been…a collection of diverse culturo-ethnic regions united through a shared taxation to the emperor. The first united Taiwanese identity formed following the 1895 Republic of Taiwan.
The root of Taiwanese association as “Chinese” comes from the post-1945 education system which was designed to “nationalize” the Taiwanese and “make the Taiwanese Chinese citizens”. The repetition and propaganda from the GIO has intentionally ingrained the term into Taiwanese verbal culture.
With the progression of the mass recognition of a Taiwanese national identity more people, outside of Taipei, have assumed a Taiwanese national identity. By carelessly calling these people “Chinese” is no different than Taiwanese calling all white people Americans. The term “Taiwanese” is the more neutral term for it can be accepted by both Chinese Nationalists and Taiwanese Nationalists. A Chinese nationalist will accept the provincial association, the Taiwanese nationalist will accept the national association.
Doesn’t it sound strange when a Taiwanese says, " We Chinese…" and are speaking about Taiwanese culture? China has changed since 1895 and during the Qing government Taiwan was ruled as a special region with unique customs and laws to administer a frontier.
Taiwanese is Taiwanese.
My wife refers to herself as “Chinese”. If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me.
Also, the majority of people in Taiwan are “mixed” race, that is all “benshengren” are descended from centuries of interbreeding between Fujian immigrants and aborigines. Particularly in southern Taiwan, it’s very easy to see that most Taiwanese are racially distinct from mainland Chinese.
I don’t thing Western nonmenclature or paradigms of nationality really applies all that well to Asian ethnic groups. Imperial China was a superpower in the region and many people even after many many generations of living outside of China proper consider themselves Chinese abroad (Overseas Chinese).
Even subethnic groups within the Chinese group use ancient political/cultural grouping to identify themselves. For example Cantonese, Toishanese, Kejia, etc.
I guess you could try to go the route of Vietnam and erase all Chinese history in the country even request people to change their last name as a revolt against the PRC. But less radical method is just accept the fact there are Chinese people in Taiwan, and they make up the majority population in Taiwan.
[quote=“maowang”]Chinese is NOT a “race”. Chinese is not an ethnicity. Chinese is a political designation to refer to the people of China. China is not a fixed entity with cultures and people entering and leaving. According to the PRC there are 56 ethnicities that make up the Chinese. According to the ROC 85% of the people on Taiwan are Chinese…excluding the aborigines. … Doesn’t it sound strange when a Taiwanese says, " We Chinese…" and are speaking about Taiwanese culture? China has changed since 1895 and during the Qing government Taiwan was ruled as a special region with unique customs and laws to administer a frontier.
Taiwanese is Taiwanese.[/quote]
IF you want to put it that way… then my friends from Shanghai will have to call themselves Shanghainese, Peking = Pekingnese, Hunan = Hunanese, Canton = Cantonese, Fujian = Fujianese, Shandong = Shandongnese? and like you say … they are not Chinese?
So I am basically an Indonesian-Teochewnese? am I? You have no idea what you are talking about.
Chinese is a race. . All things beneath that is called dialect groups…
By the way, taiwanese is not even a dialect group. They are known as Fujianese, Fujiansians, Minams… whatever you want to call it… Taiwanese means people from Taiwan.
Picture this, A Caucasian just got to know an Indian-Singaporean…
Caucasian: “Hi are you Singaporean?”
Indian: “Yes, I am”
this sounds logical to you? Good. <<<<
Caucasian: “Hi are you Indian?”
Indian: “NO, I am a Singaporean”
Idiotic answer, isn’t it? Same applies to taiwanese <<<<
IMHO, heritage is the key. How many years have taiwan been taiwan? Have taiwan ever been a power nation like the Dutch? English? Germans? French? Portugese? Japanese? Russians? Have taiwan ever made a name for itself in sports, like what the Brazilians, Chileans, Argentinians did?
Maybe in another 500 years, Taiwanese can eventually become a race of its own.
That is a very disgusting answer!!! Time is not important. Maybe 500 years? Why 500? Why not 100 or 50 or 2? There was NO defined Chinese culture after the supposed 5000 years. The important point is a group identity. Taiwan is in a period of nation building right now. A Race? Sounds like 19th century thinking. Where do you draw the lines at race? At imagined borders made by map makers or by real divides in thinking of self and group identity. One and other…we and them.
So? One person can belong to many different groups. You might define yourself as American in one context, Chinese in another context, Taiwanese in another, and Asian in yet another. Groups do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive to exist.
Somehow, I doubt that. It’s something far more ingrained in the culture and history. The British colonised Hong Kong in 1841, and I don’t think they tried to indoctrinate the population with anything except British culture for over 150 years. However, if you had asked a Hong Kong person in 1991 (prior to the handover) if they were Chinese ‘jung gwok yun’ they would almost certainly still have said yes. However, they are very clear, even now that they are a part of China, that they ‘heung gong yun’ (Hong Kong people) and NOT ‘dai luk yun’ (Mainland Chinese).
HK situation may be more about how the British regarded the HK population. The Brits were never very PC and all “slanty eyed celestials” were Chinese. One vs. Other. I doubt there is a homing gene in Hua Ren drawing them home like the monarch butterfly.
The fact that many Taiwanese regard themselves as Chinese is certainly not due solely to the post 1945 RoC education system as Maowang would allege. This is a simple lie on his part to create a fiction of a indigenous Taiwanese identity that in actuality did not exist up until only the last two decades or so. A good example of the Chinese identity on Taiwan is clearly evidenced in Patricia Tsurumi’s work “Japanese colonial education in Taiwan 1895-1945”. It clearly details the resistance among Taiwanese elite to the early educational reforms instituted by the Japanese colonial administration. Taiwan’s educated population continued for years to instruct their children in the classical Chinese methodology up until it became painfully obvious that a modern non-scholastic education was required for them to maintain their privileged positions. Tsurumi’s work also touches the perceptions by the Taiwanese over political developements on the mainland as well as. In this regard, the Taiwanese certainly regarded themselves as Chinese and not exclusively “Taiwanese”. You can read the entire work on Jstor if you have academic access to the databse. That a Taiwanese identity exists now is not in question, the falsity lies in the fact that it is the Taiwanese identity that has been artificially created and that the Chinese identity is the native and up until only recently, the only one. If you want to know how recent it is, all you have to look back on is the Taiwanese response to the Tian’an’men incident. Popular sentiment, particularly among Taiwan’s student youth was one of democratic and Chinese solidarity in opposition to the perceived oppression by the CCP. It was NOT one of “oooh look at what those evil chicomms are doing to their own people, aren’t we glad we are Taiwanese and not Chinese”.
I don’t think it correct to say that Maowang is “lying” about this. He/she may be of the opinion that this is true.
In any event, if such an identity now exists… then it exists.
Do not mix Han and Chinese. They are different. resistence is resistence, but there is no evidence of a “Chinese” identity in pre 1945 Taiwan, only Han and non-han. Relationships were based on class rather than ethnicity. Read more Harrell, Brown, Lamley, Gramci. In conversations with John Shepherd, Melissa Brown and Chen Chiu Kun, we all concur “Chinese” is a political designation and that Han is the proper term. There is also some discussion over the term ethnic and sub-ethnic strife…but we won’t get into that. White people in Asia have often painted with very broad strokes.
Also read Hsiao A-Chiu about the development of Taiwanese nationalism. There is a great part about how the development of a Taiwanese identity over the past 20 years is not a false identity, but just as valid as the idea of 5000 years of a Chinese cultureand identity. My point is that “Taiwanese” is the more neutral term. Even the conservatives claim to be Taiwanese.