Chino Alpha
Does"mainland China" have the insinuation of "two Chinas"? I was told that if someone says "mainland China", he is insinuating that China is split into two countries. The politically correct way to say this is either "China's mainland" or "the mainland of China". Does that ring true to you? What do you make of it? Thank you.
Dec 6, 2016 4:33 PM
Answers · 8
As the other members have said, there is no political connotation to the concept of 'mainland China'. The description is a geophysical one - it refers the regions of China which are physically part of the continent. We use the same term for other parts of the world with no political overtones, either. For example, we say 'mainland Europe' to refer to the main land mass of the continent. This excludes, for example, Corsica (which is part of France), Sardinia and Sicily and other small islands (which are part of Italy) and the Balearic Islands (which are part of Spain). Sovereignty doesn't come in to it - these places aren't mainland Europe due to the simple fact that they are separated by water.
December 6, 2016
As soon as you use the term 'mainland,' (in whatever formulation) it implies that a country has various non-contiguous parts (parts not joined to it by land). I don't see the various formulations that you have mentioned above making any difference.
December 6, 2016
No, "Mainland China" doesn't imply the splitting of the country in two. It's perfectly fine to say it. Besides, "Mainland China" doesn't even include the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, and the sovereignty of those two regions is not questioned at all.
December 6, 2016
I understand the political implications, but growing up, mainland China simply meant "large continental China" as opposed to islands like Hong Kong or Taiwan. It's analogous to saying "continental United States" to mean the 48 states that are "clumped" together, which leaves out Alaska and Hawaii. It's not necessarily political, but it meant that different freight costs or delivery transit times applied.
December 6, 2016
1 - As everyone above said, when you're talking to most English speakers, it will probably not matter at all. Nearly no one will hear or infer political connotations; most people won't even notice the word at all. "Mainland" is a pretty common word - I've heard it used by people from Hawaii & Alaska to speak about the contiguous united states. I've even heard it used to distinguish between the island & non-island parts of my state. It's a geographic term. 2 - if people who write and grade a test tell you "If you do _______, you will get a bad grade," don't do that thing. If you were given this advice/information by someone official - then it really doesn't matter what we know, what matters is that the person giving the grade thinks it's politically incorrect and will mark you down for it.
December 7, 2016
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Chino Alpha
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Japanese
Learning Language
English, Japanese