fcharton, regardless of the british going out, invading, destroying, taking over; calling it colonising is merely a water-down word for the obvious because they don't want to consider themselves unreasonable suppressors that tried to impose their culture on others to wipe out native culture. Hitler and Nazi Germany did it and everyone is happy to label him without watering it down with the term colonisation but other europeans like the french in addition to the british as well as portguese stealing Aomen don't refer to this label but prefer the watered-down term. Bottom line is, they are those countries' people that invaded and if they settled, they are still considered and some were proud to consider themselves under their ruler. Similarly for Chinese people that used a peaceful method of migration instead of invading and massacring, they are also Chinese that migrated and settled.
I don't think 'colonisation' or "colonialism" is a water down word. Most westerners would consider it as pretty negative. Just to give an example, there was a very heated debate in France recently because one lawmaker had said "colonisation had some positive aspects" (ie not saying that it was all good, mind you, just saying that it brought a couple of good things,...). By the shocked reaction of the French public, I would say that "colonisation" is very close to an insult these days...
Using the term colonisation is not an attempt to paint these things in rosy colours, and many (if not most) westerners would agree with you that the suppression of native peoples was a bad thing. I believe it is more a technical term, to explain that
1- it usually concerned regions which were far from the colonising country, and were considered non/less-civilised by the colonising people (as opposed to the invasion of an equally developped neighbour)
2- as such, it meant that the colonisers would take over all the government of the said country, and have settlers (in varying numbers...)
3- it implied something different than annexion : colonies would not quite be part of the country
As such, I think colonisation is a bit different from both invasion/annexion of other states, and voluntary migration of individual people, and this is why I believe to comparison you make is not very valid.
Regardless of your experience, Chinese that were born in france due to migration, raised in france due to migration, speak more french than Chinese due to them migrating there and not having the environment for Chinese language are still Chinese that have migrated. No one considered me french when I was there and that was by native french and Chinese emigrants and Chinese born there. That's why it's Chinese are still Chinese no matter what
That you were not considered french while staying in france is no wonder. And yes, I agree that it does take some time for migrants to integrate in the adoptive society.
My impression is that we disagree because you view nationhood (being chinese in this case) as a "blood" question, whereas I see it as a cultural/intellectual thing. For you (please care to tell me if I misinterpret), being chinese means "having chinese blood" (ie some chinese in your family tree).
I basically have several issues with this vision:
1- what about half-bloods, people who are say 1/4th chinese? Are they chinese? Western? Both? An interesting question would be what about citizens of the PRC who have non-chinese blood in them, because they originated from people coming from other countries? These countries, following your example, would claim them as theirs, wouldn't they?
2- if this definition stands no matter how many generations have passed, aren't we all africans? to which extent can a number of southern chinese say, I am not chinese but vietnamese, or thai (some of them would certainly have a lot of origins in other south-asian countries ? etc...
3- while you are perfectly allowed to see it as you see it, how about the opinion of the migrants? Don't you think that one more or less "becomes" chinese, or french, or american, because he assimilates, integrates, and at some point decides that he is so?