Removing the word China/Chinese from phrases/labels

The Thai calendar is wacky. But I always found it nice going to the supermarket there and being able to buy food that would last 543 years into the future.

Right. When I was in Canada I went out of my way to say the language was mandarin. When I arrived here, most locals called it Chinese so I went with that. It’s interesting to hear these perspectives


When I lived in Shanghai, I was told not to use 大陸人 to refer to Chinese people, apparently they don’t like it.

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Yeah, I remember seeing that joke on Facebook a while back that the locals here don’t like the term “中華台北人” either. :sweat_smile:

I have a Hainan friend and he calls people from mainland 大陸人

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Growing up in the US I was always taught that there is no language called “Chinese,” and Chinese people speak Mandarin or Cantonese. I was surprised when I moved to Taiwan to find that everyone calls Mandarin “Chinese.”


I agree with Marco. I’ve had this argument countless times over the years, here and on social media. China is China, not the “Mainland”. When you call it that, you are implying that Taiwan is part of it. And I really don’t care about the Mandarin semantics.

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I have heard this as well.

in Mandarin, it is Continent against Island.

When KMT moved here, the land was their mainland to retake soon, so they maybe translated as Mainland?

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Isn’t that change similar as saying BCE and CE instead of BC and AD?
I mean, you may have a different word, but it wouldn’t change its meaning…

Continent who vs Island who? Do we call Japan, island?

No, because Japan isn’t an island? “Mainland Japan” appears to be used for the main five islands, though.

There’s also “Mainland Europe”, which is a geographical term that I don’t think implies a political connection between the British Isles, Iceland, etc. and the bulk of the continent. And “Greater China”, of course, which I believe aims to avoid stating a position on Taiwan’s political status but is also sometimes seen as controversial.

Anyway, if “China”/“Chinese” are to be avoided, I think the first step would be for the actual Taiwanese government and people to stop using these terms. I realize that’s problematic as it could be seen by China as a declaration of independence, but I’m not sure it’s especially important what words a bunch of foreigners on the Internet are using while Taiwan’s representatives, institutions, and people are still using terms related to China.

obviously, continent is PRC, and island is Taiwan aka ROC. If Taiwan were adjacent to continent, they wouldn’t refer PRC to 大陸.

Japan is islands, with a Mainisland, few big islands, and many small islands, as UK, NZ, Cuba etc. are islands. Definitely not continent.

It doesn’t work like that. Continental/Mainland vs Insular is only used when there is an-often political connection. Every land on this planet is an island.

The Japanese mainland is Honshu. There is no such word as mainisland. The biggest and most important land of a a political body, like a country or politically defined continent is the mainland. The Japanese mainland is Honshu where the population primarily resides and is the political centre of the country. The political and population centre of Taiwan is Taiwan. Therefore the island of Taiwan is the Taiwanese mainland in relation to Insular Taiwan, consisting of islands like Kinmen, Lienchiang, Penghu, Green and Orchid Islands.

Why doesn’t Japan call China the Mainland? Because Japan and China are not the same country.

This goes for Taiwan. China is a different country run by a different ruler with a different army and different laws.

Calling a place ‘mainland’ means that it is part of that place and Taiwan is not part of China.


they don’t call PRC Mainland. They call there 大陸. Mainland is just accepted as its English translation.

they don’t call the island mainland.

Honshu (本州, Honshū , pronounced [hoꜜɰ̃ɕɯː] (About this soundlisten); lit. “main island/main province”), historically called Hondo (本土, main island ), is the largest and most populous main island of Japan.[3][4

The term mainland Japan is used to distinguish the mainland from the remote islands. It is used when referring to the main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa.[

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Yes, calling it 大陸, be it continental or mainland, again, in proper English usage and definitions implies it’s the same country. Even if they omit the word China, the implication remains. If they were talking about Mainland Asia, then all of Russia, Vietnam, China, Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand would be included. Does Mainland include those countries? No. So again, it’s not referring to Mainland Asia.

It doesn’t matter what they call it. Standard English definition of Mainland means that there must be a connection to the population and/or political centre from an a politically-connected smaller and less signficant island. Calling Honshu the Japanese Mainland is correct by definition.

Again, I don’t think this logic holds, until you can convince Taiwanese people to stop using “China”/“Chinese” as a term relating to ethnicity as well as another country (the “Chinese” language, “Republic of China”, “China Airlines”, “traditional Chinese medicine”, “Chinese New Year”). Sometimes words can have different meanings in different contexts.

Very true. Most Taiwanese would agree they are ethnically Chinese, and their nationality, at least officially is Republic of China (Chinese).

All lands are islands.

Europe is a term that is made up by humans. It’s completely arbitrary and political. It is part of political geography. Since we decided that those countries make up Europe, those on the biggest and most populous landmass are part of the mainland, and states that are considered part of Europe but are disconnected by sea are insular. To the UK’s perspective, since the UK is part of Europe, the big landmass that is south of the UK is mainland Europe. To UK territories separated by sea, the Island of Britain with England, Wales and Scotland make up the Mainland of the UK as it’s the population and political centre.

Many people often use them out of habit, but still vehemently defend Taiwan as a country. I’m sure that Taiwanese MPs, cabinet ministers and the President and Vice President are absolutely itching to change all these silly KMT-imposed labels of decades long-gone and it is widely accepted and known that these labels and the defacto embassies we call trade offices are terms used under duress and not because Taiwanese think this is fine.

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It’s still called English in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and other commonwealth realms and members.

Names used under duress. You know what will happen if changed.

These are not political names.