He stated that the western interpretation of "barbarian" (yi-fan) as "foreign" and "foreign" is wrong because "barbarian" in Chinese originally means uncivilized people or tribes. He then said that the Chinese never used this word to describe the civilized peoples who were foreign, like India and Rome, thus this western translation/notion is a wrong one.
Now here's the second thing he said, it had to do with the Western notion of "China Proper":
He stated that: Westerners used this term to refer to Central China, but the Chinese consider their current territory as a whole. The Chinese perceived that everywhere in the world is the Emperor's (All under heaven). The Chinese dislike the term "China Proper" because it may be used to justify separation on foreign conquest"
He also compared how the US has the original 13 colonies, yet no one calls this place the "US proper". I didn't think that was such a good example to explain why the notion of China proper was wrong, but I won't get into that.
I don't understand where the controversy is? The area outlined as China proper is roughly the traditional cultural area of China and also encompass the original territories united under the First Emperor Qin Shi Huang. I suppose it's the word "proper" which some Chinese, especially the PRC, may find as insulting or divisive since it sort of implies that this is what the China's "proper" boundaries should be.
Once again though I think it all has to do with how people are perceiving the use of this word "China proper", where the Westerners imply it on a cultural basis and the angered Chinese may perceive it on a political basis or with a divisive motive (which is a fair assessment since the term originated from the west at a time when China was being divided up by Western powers).
Edited by JiG, 18 January 2008 - 01:05 AM.