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    Chinese names


    Posts : 143
    Join date : 2010-09-23

    Chinese names

    Post  meodingu on Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:39 pm

    Chinese names

    The official name of China changed with each dynasty, the imperial governments referred to themselves as the Empire of the Great Qing, Empire of the Great Ming, etc. However, the common name remained as Zhōngguó (simplified Chinese: 中国; traditional Chinese: 中國, Mandarin pronunciation: [t͡ʂʊŋ˥˥ku̯ɔ˧˥]) through dynastic changes. This translates traditionally as "Middle Kingdom," or as "central country."

    The name Zhōngguó first appeared in the Classic of History (6th century BC), and was used to refer to the late Zhou Dynasty, as they believed that they were the "center of civilization,"[nb 2] while peoples in the four cardinals were called Eastern Yi, Southern Man, Western Rong and Northern Di respectively. Some texts imply that "Zhōngguó" was originally meant to refer to the capital of the sovereign, to differ from the capital of his vassals.[nb 3] The use of "Zhōngguó" implied a claim of political legitimacy, and "Zhōngguó" was often used by states who saw themselves as the sole legitimate successor to previous Chinese dynasties; for example, in the era of the Southern Song Dynasty, both the Jin Dynasty and the Southern Song state claimed to be "Zhōngguó."[nb 4]

    Zhōngguó came to official use as an abbreviation for the Republic of China (Zhonghua Minguo) after the government's establishment in 1912. Since the People's Republic of China, established in 1949, now controls the great majority of the area encompassed within the traditional concept of "China", the People's Republic is the political unit most commonly identified with the abbreviated name Zhōngguó, with the Republic of China nowadays known commonly as "Taiwan".[nb 5]

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