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What I Discovered about Taiwanese and Chinese Nationalism

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWB chapter.

The historical background and current international relations between Taiwan and China have been the subject of much research and many discussions. I’d like to share my studying notes on Taiwanese and Chinese nationalism.

Taiwanese Nationalism
Taiwanese nationalism is based on Taiwan’s subject consciousness, and its pursuit is to maximize the interests of the Taiwanese nation. Taiwanese nationalism is a group formed by Taiwanese citizens who identify with Taiwanese values ​​(democracy, freedom, and multiculturalism), as aboriginal, Hokkien, Hakka, post-war immigrants, and new residents in Taiwan. They have a common national identity and a common national sentiment. Its representative figure is Wei Te-sheng, the director of the film, “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale.” He presents Taiwan’s subjectivity from the perspective of nationalism and colonial historical memory in his works.

Chinese Nationalism
Chinese nationalism is generally considered to have established Chinese cultural identity and Chinese consciousness during the Chiang Kai-shek (Chiang Chung-cheng) period, and this doctrine was brought to Taiwan by Chiang Kai-shek after the National Government of the Republic of China moved to Taiwan in 1949. Today’s Chinese nationalism was built after Chinese economic reform, and its government considers patriotic feelings as an ideology. Chinese nationalism has a strong Confucian culture and attaches great importance to Wu Lun (the five cardinal relationships) and family ethics. Taking the words from a site of nationalism in the Communist Party of China News, Chinese nationalism takes efforts to build harmony between national identity as its central thinking. It pursues the construction of a unified and diverse Chinese culture.

Physical Anthropology Notes
Nationalism is the concept and proposition that people combine into ethnic groups with a common history and experience, and it is also the race mentioned in physical anthropology. Physical Anthropology is a branch of anthropology that mainly focuses on the study of the human physiological structure, and through this research explores the variability of modern populations, such as differences in appearance or physical fitness between different races. In 1936, Oto Mori and Takeo Kanaseki gave lectures on physical anthropology at Taipei Imperial University after conducting research on the physiological structures of various ethnic groups in Taiwan, such as skin color, bone measurement, and hand and foot texture. Moreover, Liu Xian, a professor of anthropology at Fudan University in 1937, divided Chinese into three types: North China, Central China, and South China according to their physical characteristics. Above are my notes on exploring physical anthropology.

Due to Taiwan and China’s intricate historical backgrounds and other various factors, their nationalisms are so related yet different. I think this topic is important because we should study their commonalities and uniqueness. When we can fully comprehend the relationship between them, we can know why they are so close but distant.

Annie is majoring in Environmental Studies and Society, Ethics & Human Behavior at the University of Washington, Bothell. She is passionate about environmental justice, political science, anthropology, and postcolonialism. During her free time, she enjoys watching movies, getting lost in a book, and visiting museums.