There are many factors that play into how Chinese and American people see their identities. Chinese people pride themselves on being a civilization with 5,000 years of history, and hence everyone who is born into a Chinese family, no matter the geographic location, is obliged to always identify him or herself as Chinese. Otherwise it’s a dishonor to the family and what have you.
On the other hand, other than the Native Americans, the U.S. is a country of immigrants, who left their home countries in hope of finding a better life in the states. They may retain the cultural heritage of their country of origin, but they and their descendants primarily identify themselves as Americans (e.g. Asian American, African American, European American, etc.). Continue reading “Chinese, Taiwanese, or Chinese Taiwanese?”
If you are able to read Chinese, the comment section of the Facebook picture above provides a selection of fairly common (and ongoing) arguments used for and against Taiwan-independence and a Taiwanese identity. Essentially the comic argues that Taiwanese culture is not synonymous to Chinese culture, even though past and current policies have long given preference to Chinese culture while suppressing cultures of other subgroups that make up of Taiwan’s population.
Somewhat related, The Upper Han by The Economist provides an interesting read on how Han people in China view ethnicity, nationality, and the Chinese identity. This attitude helps explain the attachment many in Taiwan still have towards “China” and their disdain towards de-sinicization and a separate Taiwanese identity and culture.
This question, along with “are Taiwanese people Chinese?”, is easy to ask, but takes a while to answer. Taiwan is an country of mostly immigrants. The original inhabitants of Formosa island today only accounts for less than 3% of the population. Similar to the United States, where while everyone is an American, most people can trace their ancestry to somewhere else. Here we use the word Taiwanese as a term for the nationality, i.e. people born and live in Taiwan and/or Taiwanese citizens. Much like trying to explain Taiwan’s political status, answering the question requires one to understand Taiwan’s history of immigration and population composition.
In the week since the call, the hundreds of articles written about and interviews given on the subject worldwide have largely focused on the mechanics of the call . . . [L]ittle effort was made to analyze why Taiwan’s first female president, in office since May 20 and brought to power in January via democratic instruments, was willing to place a call . . . Even less was said, with a few notable exceptions, about reactions in Taiwan, particularly its 23 million citizens, who far too often in the rare instances of international attention are denied, by omission rather than design, a voice of their own, as if all of them were little more than insentient subjects to the implacable waves of history or the dictates of decisionmakers in Washington and Beijing.
This article was written by a young Chinese netizen who travelled to Taiwan. Although its title is misleading and defeats the purpose of this blog, we definitely agree with many many things mentioned in the article. Judging from the reaction from Taiwanese netizens, many people share our views. Originally written in Simplified Chinese, here we provide the English translation and Traditional Chinese text.
Don’t come to Taiwan, Taiwan is not fun 不要來台灣，台灣不好玩
By 東尼控 / Chinese netizen
16:17 21 February 2012
Yuer wrote on her diary on the day of leaving Taiwan: “Taiwan, is not a place to be; but if you are already here, then don’t leave.” I cannot agree more.
Today I met a friend that comes from afar, many thousands kilometers afar, Hezhou came by plane.
The first time we saw each other, is like the first time I saw you [people of Taiwan], but I liked it. Kind, and natural.
Taiwan is not fun, especially if you are with a tour group.
Xiao Wongzhi’s father said, Taiwan is not fun. I feel the same way as well.
It’s not because I don’t love this place. I love it very much, but it’s not fun.
Taiwan is not a place for fun, it’s a place to “live”.