Waishengren: Exploring Chinese Diaspora Nationalism in Taiwan

Wednesday, April 6, 2005
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Philippines Conference Room
  • Mau-kuei Chang

Waishengren (or mainlanders) make up about 12% of the current population in Taiwan. This is an artificial category referring to the Chinese people and their descendants who were originally from mainland China and who have been settling in Taiwan since 1945. The term can be literally translated to mean people from outside the (Taiwan) province.

Despite the diversity of social and economic backgrounds, the Waishengren have shown a strong and almost uniform tendency in opposing Taiwanese nationalism or Taiwan independence. They have shown a strong inclination in supporting a unified and strong China, though the Republic of China, not the People's Republic, is still the country that embodies their collective identity.

Dr. Chang will address the following questions: (1) why do the Waishengren act, or are perceived to act, as one "ethnic group" in Taiwan, given the differences?; (2) what were the main historical reasons for their nationalistic feelings?; (3) what are the features of Chinese diaspora nationalism in Taiwan?; (4) how does Waishengren nationalism differ from the Taiwanese and Chinese nationalism that is found in Southeast Asia?; (5) what is the general and theoretical meaning of diaspora nationalism?