Mainland China vs. Taiwan: Different Cultures, Different Countries - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1836 Words
Date:  2023-03-14


Mainland China is the region under the control of China with the exclusion of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. It's also known as the People's Republic of China. Taiwan is known as the Republic of China and has been governed independently from the rest of China since 1949. It's surprising how people do not differentiate between Mainland China and Taiwan even when they have different cultures. The indigenous people of Mainland China have vastly different cultures to Taiwan's aboriginal tribes. Taiwan culture has extensive patriarchal and patrilineal with family at the center of all the cultural activities. It is also conservational and greatly influenced by the Japanese culture and the aboriginal tribes. This paper focuses on discussing the cultural difference differences between Mainland China and Taiwan.

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Taiwan's Cultural Background

Taiwan's culture is both traditional and conventional with a Chinese origin. The colonization shaped the culture from the main Chinese traditions (Dupre, 2017). Qing Empire surrendered Taiwan to Japan, and during the Japanese rule, the Taiwanese culture started shifting from its local. Taiwan got to learn Japanese culture and language. However, they did not interfere with their religion. In the late 1940s, people in Taiwan started going back to their routine cultural activities. Their dominant religion involves a mixture of Buddhism and Taoism. The social ladder in the society was education where scholars were ranked the top, followed by peasants and workers. Soldiers advanced in their social status during the periods of war. Those victorious were ranked the highest. Today, Taiwanese Hokkien is the most used language in Taiwan.

Mainland China Cultural Background

Mainland China consists of 33 administrative divisions that fall under the federal government. Most components of the Chinese culture were instituted by the emperors (Xiong, 2018). There are several festivals celebrated in China, including the spring and the Dragon Boats Festivals. The main religion in the mainland is Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Essential elements of the republic's culture include music, architecture, and literature. The primary language is Mandarin. The most dominant ethnic group in mainland China involves the Han Chinese, who are about 91 percent. The current Mainland Chinese culture consists of the integration of old traditions and western civilization.

Cultural Differences Between Mainland China and Taiwan

There are several observable cultural differences between Mainland China and Taiwan. First, Taiwan and Mainland China have differences in traditional foods. Mainland China has spicy food, which mostly comprises of preserved meat (Xiong, 2018). However, Taiwan depends on fresh seafood, which is mostly fried. There is a lot of Japanese influence in the food culture of Taiwan, which is not in China. Pearl milk tea is also a popular drink in Taiwanese cuisine. The typical Taiwanese diet consists of rice, vegetables, poultry, and pork (Dupre, 2017). Both may have a dislike for each other's foods due to their differing preferences. For example, Taiwanese citizens hate eating beef.

Additionally, Taiwan had a patriarchal and patrilineal family structure. The aboriginal tribes in Taiwan had a tribal system (Dupre, 2017). However, they were influenced by Taiwan's modernization procedure, where the family's size reduced and became less cohesive. Mainland China, on the other hand, has maintained a traditional structure as the Japanese culture has not influenced them.

The media culture in Taiwan also differs from Mainland China. In the mainland, the media content is contained, whereas the Taiwanese media thrives and is the stronghold for the Mandarin Chinese pop music industry (Dupre, 2017). It is also the base for the production of the Chinese language media. In the 1980s, Taiwanese singer Teng was popular in Mainland China that the government prohibited her music to stop it from taking over. The rise of Taiwanese pop culture continues, but it faces problems in penetrating the Mainland Chinese markets because of the fear that it may influence a lot of people. Few Taiwanese films are allowed in China's markets as even the TV shows hosted by Taiwan are regarded as foreign in the mainland despite them using Mandarin.

Furthermore, there is a difference in vocabulary in the languages used in Taiwan and Mainland China. Taiwan uses the original form of written Chinese, which is complicated. The traditional character used in Taiwan keeps its original type used in the past two thousand years. Mainland China, however, uses simplified characters which were adopted in the 1950s by reducing the number of strokes that each character has (Xiong, 2018). The change was made literacy to increase among Mainland citizens. There is a difference in pronunciation words for both Mainland China and Taiwan. The most significant differences are in pronouncing the retroflex and the non-retroflex initials. There is also a difference between spoken Chinese in Taiwan and Mainland China. For example, tu dou in Mainland China means potato, whereas, in Taiwan, it means peanut.

In Mainland China, most men indulge in heavy drinking and smoking compared to Taiwan as a way of recreation. Most Chinese men love taking liquor. They also love smoking, even in restaurants and markets. However, in Taiwan, there is less drinking and smoking, where much of it only happens in the aboriginal villages (Weller, 2018). Also, mainland China has no strict rules on food preferences and allergies. People eat anything as picking foods is referred to as being picky and proud. Taiwan, on the other hand, is strict on people's preferences, allergies, and always accommodates people from different cultures and those who can't take their meals.

Besides, the Taiwanese have respect for one another, and they ensure that there is equality for men and women. The women are accorded leadership positions and are allowed to carry out any activities carried out by men (Weller, 2018). However, in mainland China, women do not have equal status as men. The females are regarded as inferior. They also have limited freedom compared to that of men. The Taiwanese women, on the other hand, have the same freedom as men and are treated similarly with the men.

Both Taiwan and Mainland China celebrate the Lantern Festival. The celebration is one of the customs that originated in China. However, Taiwan has unique ceremonies that are not celebrated in Mainland China. The aboriginal tribes in Taiwan celebrate the Ear Shooting Festival which is known as the mala-ta-ngia in the Austronesian group (Weller, 2018). The festival is associated with their hunting culture. The festival is held in late April and the beginning of May to showcase the men's skills in shooting the animals' ears. The Amis Festival is held to celebrate the bounty harvests and seek blessings. There is the Mgay Bari annual festival held by the Truku tribe. Historically, the event was held to offer sacrifices to the ancestors, but presently, the festival is organized as a celebration of the tribe's culture. Generally, all the aboriginal groups in Taiwan had their tribal festivals, which are different from mainland China where there are only indigenous groups.

Besides, there is religious freedom in Taiwan. Individuals are allowed to choose the religion they want to follow without restriction. On the other hand, in Mainland China, some religions are seen as a threat to the original religious beliefs. Religious followers, such as the Muslims are subject to oppression to make them denounce their knowledge (Weller, 2018). Christians have also gone through oppression to denounce their faith and follow Buddhism.

Currently, in China, many Muslims are locked up in camps to force them into deserting their religion and traditions for them to be set free. Taiwan, however, has a growing number of mosques and restaurants that attract Muslims (Weller, 2018). Religion is viewed as everyone's right to choose whether to follow or not without being coerced. People in Taiwan also have the right to criticize the government. However, in Mainland China, citizens do not have the democracy to criticize their government as it is viewed as a way to bring chaos.

The aboriginal culture influences Taiwan's culture. There are millet wine and harvest festivals that are held by various tribes to celebrate their harvests (Dupre, 2017). Foods are also served in all the ceremonial occasions as a sacrifice. On the other hand, Mainland China's culture was founded by the emperors without being influenced by different tribal groups. Taiwan is also more diverse compared to China due to immigration from other Asian countries. The dressings, architectural designs, and the building materials are also different as Taiwan copies the Japanese model. In mainland China, different social classes had different fashion trends and colors. The yellow color was reserved for the emperor.

Mainland China and the Taiwan cultures differ in that the Taiwan culture places more emphasis on politeness and harmony among people. People are formal when relating to each other (Weller, 2018). Individuals in Taiwan also observe self-discipline in public, and it is rare to find people arguing and fighting in public. Mainland China's citizens treat each other with relative respect. However, there is no much emphasis on the issue of respect and harmony, and people may treat and relate with each other in any manner they want.

Politically, Taiwan is a sovereign country, whereas the political system in Mainland China is controlled by Northern China. Since 1949, Taiwan has been governed by the Republic of China, and the Mainland has been governed by the People's Republic of China (Dupre, 2017). However, there is controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan as Mainland China wants to control the island. Both Taiwan and Mainland China are always ready to reunite to the motherland. Taiwan, therefore, remains to be an independent country with its government separate from Mainland China. It has its own rules and currency.

Mainland China and Taiwan have different clothing. For the Chinese, Hanfu was the most popular clothing (Xiong, 2018). It was however, changed to Qipao during the Manchu rule. They maintained the clothing for a long time. On the other hand, the key garment for Taiwan was changed to Kimono during the Japanese colonization. They copied it from the Japanese as they envied them despite the colonizers treating them brutally. The clothing changed as time passed.

Also, Chinese architectural design differs from that of Taiwan. Mainland China emphasizes on using wood for construction as opposed in the modern ways (Weller, 2018). The breadth was also given more emphasis than the height. The sitting arrangement in the inside of the house consisted of chairs. On the other hand, Taiwan had a different architecture as it was influenced by both Japanese and Chinese architectural design. Their buildings were elevated, and they used mats for their sitting arrangement. The rooms could also be changed to accommodate any purpose.

Despite Mainland China and Taiwan having different cultures, the similarities cannot be ignored. Most of Taiwan's population trace their origin in China, so it is evident that the two have some similar culture and traditions. Both have identical festivals such as the Dragon Boat Festival, Moon and Lantern Festival, and the Lunar New Year (Weller, 2018). Many cultures have been passed to generations. Moreover, despite the evolution of the Chinese language between the two, their language was initially similar to the same accent and vocabulary. Their traditional lifestyle is also identical. The two also share similar religious beliefs in Bu...

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