Explaining China, Part I: The Scope of This Series, Which Includes the PRC, the ROC, the Han, and Greater China

China and environs

I’m bringing a new topic to my blog. I’m going to attempt to explain things about China, the largest nation in which the Han (that’s the way to write, in English, the Chinese name for the Chinese people, as an ethnic group) form the majority, as well as the largest nation on Earth, by population. The map above comes from this website. If you’re wondering why, in the map above, Taiwan is the same color as the People’s Republic of China, this series of blog-posts is definitely for you. In a future post, I will deal with the historical reasons for the China/Taiwan puzzle, and the current state of that interesting situation. (“May you live in interesting times” is not a nice thing to say directly to any of the Han, by the way, no matter where they live. It is considered by many people to be part of an ancient Chinese curse, although the veracity of this claim is disputed — a topic for another post, later in this series.)

If you find China, Taiwan, puzzles in general, mysteries which are not fictional, history, current events, and/or the Han to be interesting topics, then this irregularly-published series of blog-posts is for you. If you aren’t interested in any of those topics, my assumption is that you wouldn’t have read this far, anyway. To those who miss the other topics about which I blog, don’t worry: posts in this series will not be the only topic I blog about, by any means, for the fact that I am interested in many things, and blog on many topics, is not going to change.

The People’s Republic of China is also known as mainland China, Red China, the PRC, Communist China, or simply “China.” The government of the PRC is often referred to simply as “Beijing,” the city which is the capital of the PRC. Taiwan, by contrast, is officially known as the Republic of China, or the ROC, or even, by some people, “Taiwan, China” (a term I tend not to use). The ROC’s government can be referred to as “Taipei,” the ROC’s capital, to distinguish it from the government in Beijing. My preferred way to refer to the nation-state which is actually under the control of the Beijing government is to call it the PRC, and I use ROC, often, to refer to the nation-state actually under the control of the Taipei government, which most people call Taiwan, a term I also use. When I only write “China,” I mean the PRC. I also use the term “Greater China,” which is explained below.

The Han are in the majority in both the PRC and the ROC, and these two regions are collectively known as “Greater China,” which sounds like, and in some ways actually is, one nation with two governments, since both governments claim to be the only legitimate government of the nation which is all of Greater China (and, yes, that is confusing, along with “China Proper” on the map above). All of these topics: the nations, governments, regions, and people, are mysteries for most people on Earth — and topics for future posts in this series.

I am not of the Han. I do not speak, read, nor write any variety of the Chinese language. Also, I have yet to visit any part of Greater China. By contrast, I am known as a teacher of both science and mathematics, as someone who does “math problems for fun” (as my blog’s heading-cartoon, which I did not write, puts it), as well as a blogger on many topics that have previously had little to do with China, until this post, from yesterday, which analyzed current events worldwide, starting with recent developments in China. I do not want anyone to think I just started studying China yesterday, for that would not be correct. I do feel that I owe anyone who has read this far an explanation for exactly one thing: why should anyone care what I have to say on these subjects? I will explain that in Part II of this ongoing series . . . and tackling the PRC/ROC puzzle will be coming later, as will other topics.

June 4, 1989: An Ugly Day in History


If you’re old enough, you remember this iconic image, from June 4, 1989 — twenty-six years ago today.

If you don’t know what happened 26 years ago in Tiananmen Square, here’s a link to Wikipedia’s article describing the vicious crackdown there, on peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Beijing, China, on June 4, 1989: twenty-six years ago today. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989

I was in college, as an undergraduate. So were many of the protesters. I watched the tanks roll in and murder them on live TV. This man, through an a amazing display of courage, held off a row of tanks alone, and unarmed, and delayed those tanks’ arrival at the massacre — but he couldn’t block every street to Tiananmen Square, and the Red Army was free to attack from any direction. This tense, but quiet, scene was not all I saw and heard those dark June days. When Deng Xiaoping gave the order, the Red Army came in, and took the college kids out. And thus, for decades, the hopeful light of freedom has dimmed almost to nothingness. People in college right now in China are quite likely not to even know about what happened in 1989. That’s forbidden information, so it isn’t freely shared, and much time has passed.

Think about that, please: “forbidden information.” The group that can hide the past can do anything they want in secret, and no one will ever know. That’s the position in which recline the decadent neo-“Communists” now in control of China. There, “to be rich is glorious,” as Deng rewrote Mao (who had rewritten Marx), and they fully intend to stretch the current period out for as long as they can.

China never gets in a hurry. Get things done, yes, but not on anyone else’s schedule.

Beijing still denies there was a large massacre in 1989, and still punishes anyone there who dares to discuss the topic, publicly, in any way that doesn’t “properly” defer to the regime. If you are ever in communication with anyone inside China, it’s important to avoid this topic — for the safety of that person, as well as his or her family.