Removing the word China/Chinese from phrases/labels

So everyone probably had this discussion over the holiday


I agree with this change. Are there other times you do a similar thing?

I recently had a discussion with my Taiwanese friend and she mentioned there is a new movement to refer to the spoken language as mandrin and not as Chinese. I had never heard this before.

I got thinking, are there other instances? Maybe Taiwanese who came from China prefer to be called Han instead of from Chinese descent.

Curious to hear thoughts on this


I think Chinese New Year is fairly innocuous. Both work fine in my books. Nothing wrong with Chineseness, especially since much of Taiwan’s local culture is derived from a pre-revolutionary China.

I cringe whenever someone refers to China as the mainland. Mainland assumes political connection. Especially if they claim to be green. I encourage the Marco Model.


is this because Chinese includes many varieties? Mandarin is one of them?

No, she said it was political. She suggested i say mandrin because we’re not in China, and technically that’s the name of the language

Despite Mandarin referring to the language of the Mandarins, officials from Imperial China.

Does she want to call it 官話?

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how do you refer instead? Continental China?



But what if you want to not include Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan? If you just say China, you are leaving a lot up to the imagination. Of the people I know, I would say at least twenty percent refer to themselves as Chinese and Taiwan as part of China. That is skewed because I work in Tianmu but you still get my point. I feel that mainland China is a geographical term, not a political one.

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Why do I care what they think?

Fair enough, but if you were having a conversation with one of those people, wouldn’t you want to make sure they knew what you meant?

I don’t think mainland China is a political term. It is a geographical distinction between continental China and the islands that surround it. Political terms to refer to this region would be China PR, or Communist China.

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Well… That’s the thing. I’m just applying the language and logic we all use in our own countries towards our own countries in Taiwan. Taiwan for me is a country and it’s not even a question.

I feel my intonation is quite clear.

‘In China they…______’

Something to that extent.

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But it is political. Mainland China. Are we insular China? No. We’re Taiwan.

Is Taiwan part of Asia? Yes. I say that is in agreement. Is China in mainland Asia? I think we can agree on that too.

Vancouver Island, an island the size of Taiwan is in Canada, but not part of Mainland Canada.

Canada is a part of North America. Vancouver Island is outside Mainland North America, but still politically included as part of North America.

Greenland is part of North America, politically, but not part of both Canada or Mainland North America.

Alaska is not part of Canada, but a part of Mainland North America.

That’s what mainland means, the biggest and most important landmass of a political entity.

Despite Taiwan being an island itself, (in reality, what land ISN’T an island anyways?) The main island as some people call it, is the Mainland and Taiwanese sovereignty extends to other islands outside of Taiwan.

This is Mainland Australia. Notice there is no Tasmania.


Yes, much like Canada isAmerica.

China is a country, which is 100% political. So of course during times of opression and the threat of war it makes total sense to start using language to differentiate. China has been doing this in the opposite direction for many decades to try and play the psychological loyalty fame and have everyone call everything chinese.

We teach our kid Mandarin as well. Lunar new year. I slip up a lot out of habit, but try hard not to.

Given the politics and currwnt world, it absolutely makes sense to do this.


Good to hear.

My biggest slip up is usually calling local teachers the Chinese teacher.

Shouldn’t this be published in the Cancel Culture thread? That’s usually where silly political trivia belongs.

No. US politics can stay in US Politics.

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In Chinese using 大陸(mainland) to mean China is pretty neutral for me and hear it a lot with people over 30s in Taipei.

I had a 19 year old intern last year and she said nobody her age uses it anymore. If you do will be accused of loving China.

I think the anti-Chinafication (去中國化) is a tightrope. A lot of these symbolic battles are really divisive in Taiwan and political, have to weigh up the actual cost of fighting them. The most important thing is for people to be unified against the enemy on the other side of the strait. Is it really important if someone identifies as culturally Chinese or Taiwanese or the name of something


Isn’t “mainland” also the term the Taiwanese government uses? The Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area uses “Mainland Area”, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this or similar terms in other laws. I’ve also heard it from government representatives at NIA or MOL while applying for the gold card (some of my documents came from the country I was referring to as “China”, and they kept answering using “mainland” or “mainland area” - I remember finding it a bit odd).

I tend to avoid using “mainland” etc. personally, because I know some people have an issue with it (with a couple of exceptions like when editing stuff written by Chinese authors). Nonetheless, if it’s what both governments have decided to use it seems pointless for me to try to be at the vanguard of that revolution.

I did notice that most of my (youngish, Taiwanese) friends on social media were using the term “Chinese New Year” rather than “Lunar New Year” - I found that a bit surprising. And of course, people asking if we speak “Chinese” rather than “Mandarin”.

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I’ve been wondering about this … but which lunar new year? The Thai one, the Chinese one, the Muslim one? And I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting. To me “lunar new year” lacks clarity.

Like @Marco, I think “Chinese New Year” is innocuous, but it does lead to usual issues of how “Chinese” referring to a bunch of different things. I’m Canadian; I speak English; I’m Caucasian / white; I mostly cook North American food; most of my heritage is from the western or European tradition. For someone from China, all of those labels would probably be “Chinese”, and that’s … complicated. It’s one word carrying a bunch of different meanings.