What Does Using the Term *Mainland China* Imply for Taiwan?

February 1, 2020
The term “Mainland China” tacitly implies that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory.

Analysts and journalists frequently use the term “mainland” to refer to the PRC. The term appears in most writings about Taiwan, China, and cross-Strait relations. A search yields the following definition:

Mainland: A large continuous extent of land that includes the greater part of a country or territory, as opposed to offshore islands and detached territories.

This definition suggests that offshore islands serve as integral parts of the same territory as the “mainland.” Therefore, using the term when discussing Taiwan implies that the relationship between China and Taiwan involves the same territory. It suggests that the island of Taiwan is an extension of the Chinese mainland.

In fact, the PRC government mandates that journalists use “Taiwan” and “the Mainland as corresponding concepts. By continuing to use this terminology, writers reinforce the PRC’s view of Taiwan as an integral part of its territory.