I’ve never been to Macau, but I have visited Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and Spain.
What’s wrong with that sentence? Well, if you were publishing something in writing in China, you’d be in violation of the one-China policy.
The one-China policy is where politics meets publishing. It’s one of those odd rules in China that creeps up on foreigners that practically view Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate places from the mainland. Even those of us used to the one-China policy have trouble keeping it all straight because the visa requirements vary GREATLY from one countr…er…region to another.
It’s like this: if you want to stay in print in China — or print something there — you’ve got to tow the line.
Officially, according to the PRC government, there is only ONE China. It includes the “Taiwan region”, “Hong Kong SAR”, “Macau” and “Mainland China.” The whole term “China” needs to represent a social/geographic area — not a national/political entity.
Usually we don’t get into trouble when we speak or write about China. It’s Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau that makes everything tough.
Take the sentence I wrote at the beginning of this entry. There are two blatant issues with it — under the one-China policy:
- Spain. That’s a country…but under one-China policy, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are not. We can argue the politics of this, but if you want it to print in China, you can’t suggest these other entities are separate countries.
- China. I use the word “China” along with “Taiwan” and the rest. Remember, Taiwan et al is supposed to be a part of China, not separate.
How would you fix the sentence above to make it acceptable? Here’s one suggestion:
I’ve never been to the Macau SAR, but I have visited the Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan area, Mainland China, and Spain.
What if we avoided mentioning Spain? You could do this:
I’ve never been to Macau, but I have visited Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China.
You can get away without the unwieldy terminology of “SAR” for Macau/Hong Kong or “Taiwan area” here because “Mainland China” is used here. It doesn’t suggest any separation of the parts. It’s like referring to Alaska, Hawaii, and the continental US.
There’s a little more to the one-China policy — such as no-brainers like avoiding mentions of “Republic of China/ROC” or showing the ROC flag anywhere in China (duh!) — but you get the idea.
As for me, I’ve got to work on getting to Macau. Or was that the Macau SAR? Oh dear… 😉