Mainland China

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Mainland China
Simplified Chinese中国大陆
Traditional Chinese中國大陸
Literal meaningContinental China
Alternative Chinese name
Simplified Chinese中国
Traditional Chinese中國
Literal meaningInland China

Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, is the geopolitical as well as geographical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It includes Hainan island and strictly speaking, politically, does not include the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, even though both are partially on the geographic mainland (continental landmass).

There are two terms in Chinese for "mainland":

  • Dàlù (大陆; 大陸), which means 'the continent', and
  • Nèidì (内地; 內地), literally 'inland' or 'inner land' in relation to Hong Kong and Macau.

In the PRC, the usage of the two terms is strictly speaking not interchangeable. To emphasize "equal footing" in Cross-Strait relations, the term must be used in PRC's official contexts with reference to Taiwan, with the PRC referring to itself as " mainland side" in relation to "Taiwan side"). But in PRC's relations with Hong Kong and Macau, the PRC government refers to itself as "the Central People's Government".

"Mainland area" is the complementary term to "free area of the Republic of China" used in the ROC Constitution.[1]

Background[edit]

In the 1930s, the region faced Japanese invasion.[2] By 1949, the Communist Party of China's (CPC) People's Liberation Army had largely defeated the Kuomintang (KMT)'s National Revolutionary Army in the Chinese Civil War on the mainland. This forced the Kuomintang to relocate the Government and institutions of the Republic of China to the relative safety of Taiwan, an island which was placed under the control of the Republic of China after the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II in 1945. With the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, the CPC-controlled government saw itself as the sole legitimate government of China,[3] competing with the claims of the Republic of China, whose authority is now limited to Taiwan and other islands. This has resulted in a situation in which two co-existing governments compete for international legitimacy and recognition as the "government of China".

The phrase "mainland China" emerged as a politically neutral term to refer to the area under control of the Communist Party of China, and later to the administration of the PRC itself. Until the late 1970s, both the PRC and ROC envisioned a military takeover of the other. During this time the ROC referred to the PRC government as "Communist Bandits" (共匪) while the PRC referred to the ROC as "Chiang Bandits" (蔣匪). Later, as a military solution became less feasible, the ROC referred to the PRC as "Communist China"" (中共). With the democratization of Taiwan in the 1990s, the phrase "mainland China" soon grew to mean not only the area under the control of the Communist Party of China, but also a more neutral means to refer to the People's Republic of China government; this usage remains prevalent by the KMT today.

Due to their status as colonies of foreign states during the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the phrase "mainland China" excludes Hong Kong and Macau.[4] Since the return of Hong Kong and Macau to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 and 1999, respectively, the two territories have retained their legal, political, and economic systems. The territories also have their distinct identities. Therefore, "mainland China" generally continues to exclude these territories, because of the "One country, two systems" policy adopted by the PRC central government towards the regions.[5] The term is also used in economic indicators, such as the IMD Competitiveness Report. International news media often use "China" to refer only to mainland China or the People's Republic of China.

Political use[edit]

Mainland China[edit]

In the People's Republic of China, the term 内地 ('inland') is often contrasted with the term 境外 ('outside the border') for things outside the mainland region. Examples include "Administration of Foreign-funded Banks" (中華人民共和國外資銀行管理條例) or the "Measures on Administration of Representative Offices of Foreign Insurance Institutions" (外國保險機構駐華代表機構管理辦法).[5]

Hainan is an offshore island, therefore geographically not part of the continental mainland. Nevertheless, politically it is common practice to consider it part of the mainland because its government, legal and political systems do not differ from the rest of the People's Republic within the geographical mainland. Nonetheless, Hainanese people still refer to the geographic mainland as "the mainland" and call its residents "mainlanders".[6]{{{1}}} In some coastal provinces such as Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangsu, people often call the area of non-coastal provinces in of mainland China as "Inland" (内地).

Hong Kong and Macau[edit]

Hong Kong and Macau are both sovereign territories of the People's Republic of China. However, due to the One Country Two Systems policy, the two regions maintain a high degree of autonomy, hence why they are considered not to be part of mainland China.

Geologically speaking, Hong Kong and Macau are both connected to mainland China in certain areas (e.g. the north of the New Territories). Additionally, the islands contained within Hong Kong (e.g. Hong Kong Island) and Macau are much closer to mainland China than Taiwan and Hainan, and are much smaller.

In Hong Kong and Macau, the terms "mainland China" and "mainlander" are frequently used for people from PRC-governed areas (i.e. not Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau). The Chinese term Neidi (內地), meaning the inland but still translated mainland in English, is commonly applied by SAR governments to represent non-SAR areas of PRC, including Hainan province and coastal regions of mainland China, such as "Constitutional and Mainland Affairs" (政制及內地事務局)[7] and Immigration Departments.[8] In the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (as well as the Mainland and Macau Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) the CPG also uses the Chinese characters 内地 "inner land", with the note that they refer to the "customs territory of China".[9]

Taiwan[edit]

Other terms[edit]

Other use of geography-related terms are also often used where neutrality is required.

Simplified
Chinese
Traditional
Chinese
Pinyin Jyutping Hokkien POJ Description
海峡两岸 海峽兩岸 Hǎixiá liǎng'àn Hoi2 haap6 loeng5 ngon6 Hái-kiap lióng-gān The physical shores on both sides of the straits, may be translated as "two shores".
两岸关系 兩岸關係 liǎng'àn guānxì loeng5 ngon6 gwaan1 hai6 lióng-gān koan-hē Reference to the Taiwan Strait (cross-Strait relations, literally "relations between the two sides/shores [of the Strait of Taiwan]").
两岸三地 兩岸三地 liǎng'àn sāndì loeng5 ngon6 saam1 dei6 lióng-gān sam-tè An extension of this is the phrase "two shores, three places", with "three places" meaning mainland China, Taiwan, and either Hong Kong or Macau.
两岸四地 兩岸四地 liǎng'àn sìdì loeng5 ngon6 sei3 dei6 lióng-gān sù-tè When referring to either Hong Kong or Macau, or "two shores, four places" when referring to both Hong Kong and Macau.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Additional Articles to the Republic of China Constitution, 6th Revision, 2000
  2. ^ "...imperial Japan launched its invasion of the Chinese mainland in the 1930s" The Two Koreas and the Great Powers, Cambridge University Press, 2006, page 43.
  3. ^ Jeshurun, Chandran, ed. (1993). China, India, Japan and the Security of Southeast Asia. Singapore: ISEAS. p. 146. ISBN 9813016612.
  4. ^ So, Alvin Y.; Lin, Nan; Poston, Dudley L., eds. (2001). The Chinese Triangle of mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong : comparative institutional analyses. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313308697.
  5. ^ a b LegCo. "Legislative council HK." Mainland Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Bill. Retrieved on 2008-03-10.
  6. ^ 海南人为什么喜欢叫外省人叫大陆人?. wenwen.sogou.com. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  7. ^ Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. "Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China." Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau. Retrieved on 2008-03-10.
  8. ^ Chinese version Archived 2009-11-27 at the Wayback Machine, English version Archived 2009-02-04 at the Wayback Machine, Statistics on Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (輸入內地人才計劃數據資料), Immigration Department (Hong Kong).
  9. ^ English Text Chinese text Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]