Greater China

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Greater China
Simplified Chinese大中华
Traditional Chinese大中華

"Greater China" is the geographic area that shares commercial and cultural ties to the Han Chinese.[1][2][3] The area described by this informal term is not always entirely clear, but it normally encompasses mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.[4][5] Singapore is also regarded as part of the definition by some, although it is not as geographically close to mainland China as the rest of the states included, nor has it ever politically been a part of the Chinese nation.[6]


The map of "China" in the 1944 American propaganda film The Battle of China, distinguishing "China proper" from Manchuria, "Mongolia" (here Greater Mongolia including the present country, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Tuva), Sinkiang, and Tibet.

The term has been used for a long time, but with differing scope and connotations.

In the 1930s George Cressey used it to refer to the entire Chinese Empire, as opposed to China proper.[7] Usage by the United States on government maps in the 1940s as a political term included territories claimed by the Republic of China that were part of the previous empire, or geographically to refer to topographical features associated with China that may or may not have lain entirely within Chinese political borders.[7]

The concept began to appear again in Chinese-language sources in the late 1970s, referring the growing commercial ties between the mainland and Hong Kong, with the possibility of extending these to Taiwan, with perhaps the first such reference being in a Taiwanese journal Changqiao in 1979.[7]

The English term subsequently re-emerged in the 1980s to refer to the growing economic ties between the regions as well as the possibility of political unification.[7] It is not an institutionalized entity such as the EU or ASEAN. The concept is a generalization to group several markets seen to be closely linked economically and does not imply sovereignty.[8]

Political usage[edit]

The term is often used to avoid invoking sensitivities over the political status of Taiwan.[8] For some Asians, the term is a reminder of the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", a euphemism for the region controlled by Imperial Japan during the Second World War.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pact row could harm Greater China economic integration: ANZ". Focus Taiwan. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  2. ^ MTV Channels In Southeast Asia and Greater China To Exclusively Air The Youth Inaugural Ball Archived 2009-05-22 at the Wayback Machine - MTV Asia
  3. ^ June 1, 2008, Universal Music Group realigns presence in Greater China Archived 2017-12-14 at the Wayback Machine, Television Asia
  4. ^ "Apple overtakes Lenovo in China sales". Financial Times. 18 August 2011. Archived from the original on 27 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  5. ^ "《路透晚报》4月29日日间新闻摘要(大中华区)". 路透中文网 reuters.
  6. ^ William, Yat Wai Lo (2016). "The concept of greater China in higher education: adoptions, dynamics and implications". Comparative Education. 52: 26–43. doi:10.1080/03050068.2015.1125613.
  7. ^ a b c d Harding, Harry (December 1993). "The Concept of 'Greater China': Themes, Variations and Reservations". The China Quarterly (136, Special Issue: Greater China): 660.
  8. ^ a b Aretz, Tilman (2007). The greater China factbook. Taipei: Taiwan Elite Press. ISBN 978-986-7762-97-9. OCLC 264977502. Archived from the original on 2009-01-31.
  9. ^ Shambaugh, David (December 1993). "Introduction: The Emergence of 'Greater China'". The China Quarterly (136, Special Issue: Greater China): 654.