For example, Chinese Taipei can be translated either as 中国台北 or 中华台北。Are 中国 and 中华 synonyms?

If there is any differnce between 中国 and 中华,how to reflect the difference in English translation?

  • Basically 中国 means PRC. 中华 means Chinese culture area(with specific usage). – Jacob Jan 17 '19 at 15:59
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    There is a huge difference, and in English translation it's necessarily connected to which context and audience you're writing for. It would help if you could supply which context you are translating (culture, music, cuisine, politics, economics, history?) – Michaelyus Jan 17 '19 at 16:54
  • @Michaelyus, for example, the Chinese Taipei team in the Olympic Games? – Zuriel Jan 17 '19 at 17:02
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    @Zuriel That would always be 中華臺北 as defined by itself, by the IOC, by the ROC, and currently also by the PRC. Between 1979 and 1989, the PRC used 中国台北 instead, but in 1989 the PRC's Olympic Committee and the ROC's Olympic Committee met in (then British) Hong Kong and signed a pact detailing the use of 中華臺北 / 中华台北. – Michaelyus Jan 17 '19 at 17:11
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    South Korea follows modern convention and uses 중화 타이베이 (Jung-hwa Taibei), whilst Japan uses an English transliteration in katakana script, チャイニーズタイペイ (Chainīzu Taipei). – Michaelyus Jan 17 '19 at 17:13

In Modern Chinese, 国 means a sovereign state, e.g. 中国, 英国, 美国, 德国, etc. In ancient times, 国 could also mean a non-sovereign state, e.g. 楚国, 齐国, 赵国, etc. Anyway, 国 emphasizes the government's control of a specific land.

As a result, 中国 can only refer to the sovereign state that is named China, while 中华 is more likely to refer to the ethnicity or nation that is named China.

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  • How about 我来自中国 vs 我来自中華, or 中国队 vs 中華队? – Zuriel Jan 17 '19 at 17:31
  • @Zuriel I think the former one is more common. 中华 is more likely to denotes to the Chinese culture, such as 中华民族 (Chinese nation), which may even include some people from Singapore and Malaysia. – Victor Jan 17 '19 at 17:34
  • see for example chinatimes.com/cn/realtimenews/20180821000043-260403 – Zuriel Jan 17 '19 at 17:37
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    @Zuriel Sometimes people say 中华队 as the abbreviation of 中华民国队 (the team from the Republic of China, i.e. Taiwan), in contrast to the team from the People's Republic of China, i.e. Mainland China. – Victor Jan 17 '19 at 17:42

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