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The only way for Greater China to stay great

Understand what is exactly meant by Greater China and why a clear distinction is relevant.


View from a tea house near the Houhai (后海) Lake in Bejing

一 Let's draw a line


First of all, I want to make clear that there is no distinct definition of the term Greater China. As the majority of people understands it today, in a mostly economic and cultural sense, Greater China refers to the geographic area of Mainland China (People’s Republic of China) plus its two special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macao), and finally Taiwan (Republic of China).


By expanding the area slightly, you can find further conceptions of the term Greater China. You might, for instance, include Singapore where more than three-quarters of the population is ethnic Chinese. Moreover, other Southeast Asian states such as Malaysia and Thailand could be added, which are the countries with the largest number of Overseas Chinese worldwide. Speaking of Overseas Chinese, you could even go as far as to neglect the geographic are, and say, Greater China is every spot on earth where ethnic Chinese are present, which would then also include parts of North America, Australia, and Europe.


However, for the understanding here, let’s stick with the definition from the first paragraph.

海外华人 - hǎiwài huárén – Overseas Chinese 大中华 - dà zhōnghuá – Greater China


二 The triangle must strike together

There are a lot of media headlines catching our attention constantly all dealing with relations among China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Theoretically, to fulfill the Greater China definition, there would be a fourth candidate called Macao, but its economic insignificance makes us paying very little attention to it.


Overall, there is no doubt that all of the three mentioned protagonists, no matter what size, significantly influence each other both positively and negatively. The one who believes that Hong Kong (3% of China’s GDP) and Taiwan (5% of China’s GDP) cannot impact China in several ways is fairly wrong.


Eventually, all of the three are heavily depending on each other, and needless to say, they need each other in good condition to stay strong themselves. This is why it is so essential that the “China, Hong Kong, Taiwan triangle” sticks together rather than weakening one another. Besides, they must focus and rely on their common grounds and values.


One of the most significant similarities is undoubtedly the Chinese language, which, apart from the minority groups, is spoken basically everywhere in Greater China. Other overlaps such as culture, economy, and mentality are by contrast a bit harder to put under a single roof. China is such a large-sized country that there are enormous differences between provinces. A person from Fujian will most likely rather identify himself with a person from Taiwan, and a person from Guangdong probably feels closer to most Hong Kongese than to citizens of other mainland provinces.


What I want to emphasize with this is that at the end it does not really matter who belongs to whom, but that all the countries, systems, regions, provinces (whatever you want to call them) treat each other respectfully and support one another to achieve common goals. These goals are first and foremost stability and economic growth and have been the main reasons that all of the three are doing quite well today.


If this success is supposed to continue, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan must find their own but also common ways for the future. I am not saying that this is an easy task. It requires constructive negotiations, peaceful resolutions, and smart people that represent what is best for overall prosperity of society.


中国- zhōngguó – China 香港- xiānggǎng – Hong Kong 台湾- táiwān – Taiwan

Do you agree with my view on Greater China or do you have different thoughts on the future of it? If so, let me know in the comments below.


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Stay curious,


Eric



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