|Chinese-speaking World/Sinophone World|
Greater China or the Greater China Region is a term used to refer to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. As a "phrase of the moment", the precise meaning is not entirely clear, and people may use it for only the commercial ties or only for the cultural actions. The term is not specifically political in usage; ties common between the geographical regions, for instance Chinese-language television, film and music entertainment is commonly attributed to be a cultural aspect of "Greater China". The term is also used with reference to economic development, such as Focus Taiwan reporting on "economic integration in the Greater China region".. The term Greater China is generally used for referring to the cultural and economic ties between the relevant territories, and is not intended to imply sovereignty.
The term Greater China sometimes includes additional countries. Singapore is sometimes included due to its predominantly Chinese majority population and its wealth of Chinese traditions and culture as well as its extensive commercial and educational connections with China.
The term was used at least as far back as the 1930s by George Cressey to refer to the entire Chinese Empire, as opposed to China proper. Usage by the United States on government maps in the 1940s as a political term included territories claimed by the Republic of China that were part of the previous empire, or geographically to refer to topographical features associated with China that may or may not have lain entirely within Chinese political borders. The concept began to appear again in Chinese-language sources in the late 1970s, referring the growing commercial ties between the mainland and Hong Kong, with the possibility of extending these to Taiwan, with perhaps the first such reference being in a Taiwanese journal Changqiao in 1979. The English term subsequently re-emerged in the 1980s to refer to the growing economic ties between the regions as well as the possibility of political unification. It is not an institutionalized entity such as the EU or ASEAN. The concept is a generalization to group several markets seen to be closely linked economically and does not imply sovereignty.
The term is often used to avoid invoking sensitivities over the political status of Taiwan. For some Asians, the term is a reminder of the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", a euphemism for the region controlled by the Japanese Empire during the Second World War.
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