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Friday, August 7, 2009

Overseas Taiwanese are Tai-chiao not Hua-chiao

Under the terminology of the English Wikipedia

The Chinese language has various terms equivalent to the English "Overseas Chinese".Huáqiáo or Hua-chiao (simplified Chinese: 华侨; traditional Chinese: 華僑) refers to Chinese citizens residing in countries other than China. Huáyì (simplified Chinese: 华裔; traditional Chinese: 華裔) refers to ethnic Chinese residing outside of China. [37] Another often-used term is 海外华人 (hǎiwài huárén), a more literal translation of Overseas Chinese; it is often used by the PRC government to refer to people of Chinese ethnicities who live outside the PRC, regardless of citizenship.

But let’s look at my comment and the response from the blog owner of this post, and her confirmation that she is indeed a Taiwan-born America-raised Taiwanese American.

Apparently, we had different opinions on how to define the word, 華僑hua-chiao. I thought the word (chiao) refer to a person living outside of his or her country whereas the young lady thought it refer to a person living in a country with different customs and traditions from her traditional heritage and ethnicity. So the different understanding between us had triggered my continuous research and discussions with my blogger friends in Taiwan.

I have searched a bit more on the meaning of this Chinese wordchiao, and have concluded that not only the Wikipedia’s definition above gives ample support to my assumption that the word chiao has to do with the country where you left behind and has no connotation to ethnicity. Therefore, a Taiwanese living in the US is a 在美台僑 (Tai-chiao in the States), and a Taiwanese living in Japan is a台僑 (Tai-chiao in Japan). The word (in) can be substituted by the word (live).

I say to people that I am a 台僑Tai-chiao because the word chiao refers to the status of being an expatriate of a country, not of an ethnic group. 華僑Hua-chiao means being an expatriate living away from China whereas 台僑Tai-chiao means being an expatriate living away from Taiwan. Overseas Taiwanese with no indigenous background can be 華裔Huáyì but cannot be called a 華僑Hua-chiao.

Other usage of the word chiao are, for example, the word僑胞chiao-bao refers to overseas compatriots living away from their original country of residence, and the word 僑居地chiao-ju-di refers to an overseas place where the expatriates now reside.

Because the word is a Chinese word, so we seldom hear people in Taiwan calling an American in Taiwan 美僑, they simply call an American living in Taiwan a 美國mei-kuo-ren in Mandarin or a bi-ko-lang in Taiwanese, but technically speaking an American living in Taiwan is a 在台美僑 (or台美僑), an American living in Japan is a在日美僑, and an American living in Europe is a 在歐美僑 regardless of his descent. So, my American friend in Taiwan concluded that if he was, say, an American with Italian descent, he would not identify himself as a 在台 (an Italian expatriate in Taiwan), but would identify himself as a在台美僑 (an American expatriate in Taiwan).

But the Chinese Wikipedia has strong influence from the ROC ’s version of Han-Chinese supremacy in its content, and defined the word 華僑Hua-chiao differently from the English Wikipedia, as per海外華人&variant=zh-tw:


§ 華僑,未加入外籍的移民,包括拿到居住國永久居民身份的人,稱之為「華僑」,仍保留本國公民身份,仍然受到本國法律及領事管轄和保護

§ 華人,加入外國國籍的移民被稱之為「華人」,法律身份已變為外國人,受居住國法律和政府的管轄



However, per the end of this link中華民族&variant=zh-tw, the Wikipedia editorial has this paragraph at the very bottom of the link:




Interesting reading on the side:

A side discovery about Ma’s fear of facing tough questions by foreign Taiwan experts during the presidential campaign.

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