By Beth Main
Taiwanese authorities have got their knickers in a twist over the term ‘inland’ (内地, nèidì), a term for mainland China already widely used in Hong Kong and Macau. The growing prevalence of the term within Taiwan, especially among young people, is supposedly undermining Taiwans position… under China.
If you look up at China from Taiwan, it kind of looms over the small island, fulfilling its usual tagline of 大陆 (dàlù, literally: big land). But the more fashionable term ‘inland’, currently being used by celebrities such as Jay Chou, carries the supposed added political implication that China is a homeland.
The ever mature Democratic Progressive Party is using this fad to attack President Ma Ying-jeou’s Beijing friendly government for sympathising with CCP unification propaganda.
The situation is further complicated by historical precedent. The Taiwanese used to use the term ‘inland’ to refer to Japan while the island was a Japanese colony between 1895 and 1947. Use of the term to refer to China can be seen to imply the same subservient relationship with the PRC as colonial Taiwan had with Imperial Japan.
Luckily since it is Taiwan, where you can’t lock people up for what they say (most of the time), no one is going to stop calling China ‘inland’ anytime soon.