By: Jianli Yang – August 13, 2021

One summer day in 1998, not long after I came from China to UC Berkeley as a graduate student, I watched the Seoul Olympics on TV together with a few students from Taiwan. It was a women’s volleyball match between China and another county (I can’t remember which country anymore). Some of my Taiwanese schoolmates cheered on the Chinese team, shouting “Commies, go for it!” or “Go, mainland compatriots!”

Although we had grown up in two states that were politically and even militarily hostile toward each other—the People’s Republic of China (mainland China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan)—we culturally identified with each other and regarded ourselves as one people, or compatriots.

This is no longer the case today. The fissuring of this shared identity was clearly demonstrated by the cheers and jeers of Chinese and Taiwanese fans during the Tokyo Olympics, which ended recently….[Continue Reading]