中国 / 中华

Guayaba

Senior Member
US-English
大家好 :)

If I'm reading this news article correctly, there's a dispute between the use of "中华台北" and "中国台北". Forgive the ignorance, but literally translated, would "中华" mean "Chinese/China" and "中国" mean "China"? Why is there such a controversy over "Chinese Taibei" and "China Taibei"? And are those even the correct English translations for those terms?

Please try to explain in a neutral way in order to keep this a linguistic discussion and not a political one.

Thank you in advance for any help!
 
  • aaron792

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    This is an a little tricky question.
    Generally, 中华(zhon hua) has a broader meaning than 中国(zhon guo).
    中华 can be used to represent many objects that is relevant to China or Chinese culture and so on. For example, a person who was brought up in China but currently is a U.S. citizen is still regarded as "中华儿女" (zhong hua people).
    However 中国 is often used to denote something specifically belongs to current P.R.C like "Made in China (中国)", Chinese citizen (中国公民).
    Thus if a person has given up his Chinese citizenship, then you can not call him "中国公民" (Chinense citizen), while you can still call him "中华儿女" (I don't know how to express this term in specific English).

    In your news artical, if Taiwan is called "中华台北", it just means it is relevant and belongs to Chinese culture and not owned by P.R.C.
    While if you use "中国台北", it means Taiwan is regarded as a province governed by current P.R.C. just like "中国北京", "中国四川".
     

    samanthalee

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    "中华" refers to Chinese (ethnicity/culture/heritage)
    "中国" refers to Chinese (nationality/political entity)

    The official political name of Taiwan is Republic of China (中华民国). Hence technically speaking, Taiwan may also be called China. This is what the "One China policy" of the US government is all about, ie. China (People's Republic of China, PRC) is the "only China", Taiwan (Republic of China, ROC) is not "the other China".

    "中华台北" means Taipei of the Chinese heritage while
    "中国台北" means Taipei of China. The issue of "中国台北" is on the meaning of China 中国; does the "中国" here refer to "中华民国" (as it would have been pre-1949; pre-Communist China), or does it refer to "中华人民共和国" (an ambiguity that arose when the Communist Party took over the mainland and the pre-communist Chinese government went into exile in Taiwan and still rule Taiwan under the former name of China)?

    Today, almost nobody would use "中国" to refer to "中华民国". And therefore "中国台北" would almost certainly imply Taipei belongs to "中华人民共和国".

    "中华台北" on the other hand is a neutral term. Taipei of the Chinese heritage makes no reference to political entities and carries no implications.
     

    Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
    Hello,

    it seems that both 中国 (中國) and 中华 (中華) mean China. What is the difference between these words? Does it matter which one you use?

    Thank you for your help
     

    reer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hello,

    it seems that both 中国 (中國) and 中华 (中華) mean China. What is the difference between these words?
    中华/中華 zhōnghuá
    Yellow River Valley, where the Han nationality originated and flourished; (later) China

    中国/中國 zhōngguó
    Historically, the vast land (islands included) that live various peoples throughout the past thousands of years who speak regional languages. Most of them generally use Chinese Characters in writing and read literature in Chinese language. Regarded as a whole nation by peoples from other areas round the world.
    Now, 中华人民共和国/中華人民共和國(zhōnghuá rénmín gònghéguó), The People's Republic of China

    中华民族/中華民族 zhōnghuá mínzú
    Chinese nation, having 56 ethnic peoples (perhaps more).
    Does it matter which one you use
    It depends.
    华人/華人(huárén) mostly means foreign citizens of Chinese descent.
    中国人/中國人(zhōngguórén) mostly means Chinese citizens, sometimes also refers to both Chinese citizens and foreign citizens of Chinese descent.

    华 is often used to convey abstract sense, i.e. Chinese culture, tradition,etc.

    P.S. I am a Chinese citizen. I can not speak for people from Taiwan island or of their standard of these words, if any.
     
    Last edited:

    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    Well, do you prefer to say a territory belongs to "USA" or "America"?
    "America" is not the official name of the country, but a generic concept. It may include two big continents.
    By using "USA" you specifies the country, that is the difference.
     

    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    No, maybe my explanation is not good.
    I simply meant: for most countries and ethnic groups, there are terms and concepts which reflect and affect a lot how people see the status of the region and the people. They are mostly historical and political matters, we shouldn't be surprised.
    America, 中華 - more broad, ambiguous in concept
    USA, 中國 - more specific, clear in concept
    Another example (may be another bad example) is that, a person from Northern Ireland wouldn't want to be called "British", although "British" is translated as "UK citizen" in many languages.
     

    reer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I was not learned enough to understand your elaboration, even though you had done your best. I decided to visit the local library to brush up my rusty knowledge of history, mainly on that of the Continent of North America. As far as I read up till now, there popped up some questions/impressions:

    * What happened to American indigenous people?
    * Why many people call UK and USA a pair of cousins?
    * Why are there so many African-American people on that continent? And were their ancestors politely invited to immigrate there?
    * Who was the major labour force of the plantations on which the USA thrived in the earlier years of its official history which is at best of less than 400 years?

    * Why do I know that my earliest-recorded ancestors live on the same land where I live now (中华大地), by checking my extended family tree which is of about 1000 years?

    Conclusion: People, history/cultures/traditions and land are the main points that help us understand the relationship between 中华 and 中国. Your examples of America and USA are definitely out of the league. Please allow me say so. Let's leave UK alone as it is a cousin of USA.
     
    Last edited:

    theresagqp1986

    Member
    Mandarin
    This is the first time I heard of 中华台北, though I'm not surprised. Here's my simple explanation. It helps you to understand it if you know a little about the history of Modern China in 20C.

    Before the establishment of P.R.China in 1949, China was a democratic country known as 中华民国 (Republic of China). Kuo Min Tang (国民党) was defeated by the communist party and retreated to Taiwan before the establishment of P.R.China. So Taiwan has always been known as 中华民国 or ideally, part of 中华民国, up until now. Why 'part of 中华民国'? Because before Kuo Min Tang retreated to Taiwan and the establishment of P.R. China, Taiwan was a province of 中华民国. Kuo Min Tang wanted to fight back to the mainland of China and took over the state from the communist party, but they never did it.

    So when you refer to 台北 as 中华台北, you imply that the legitimate state is 中华民国, a democratic system, and Taiwan is part of this state; when you refer to 台北 as 中国台北, you imply that the legitimate state is P.R.China and Taiwan is part of this state. This is why in the mainland of China, we say 中国台湾, and in Taiwan as well as some other countries, they say 中华台北.
     

    reer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    This is why in the mainland of China, we say 中国台湾, and in Taiwan as well as some other countries, they say 中华台北.
    When I watched international table tennis matches live broadcast via P.R.C. national TV station, I always heard the voice-over introduce players from Taiwan as "xxx in 中华台北 team", i.e. “中华台北队的xxx”

    When I watched TV news reports about Taiwan via P.R.C national TV station, I always heard "大陆" and "台湾" mentioned. The news reporters simply skipped 中国, 中华, and 中华台北. Smart and honest.
     

    theresagqp1986

    Member
    Mandarin
    ^It is more complicated for reporting an international event, because we don't want to offend the Taiwan government and people.
    Also, I think the usage of either 中华台北 or 中国台北 implies that there is only one state, either Republic of China or P.R.China.
     
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