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Chinese Regional Separatist Movements

Last modified: 2019-05-27 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: chinese regional separatist movements |
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Chinese Regional Separatist Movements - Overview

On 1 January 2019 there was a pro-democracy march in Hong Kong. In the photos of the event you can see a lot of separatist flags: Tibet, East Turkestan, South Mongolia (Inner Mongolian People's Party), Manchuria (Manchukuo), Taiwan (the green and white one with the map of the island), and the colonial ensign of Hong Kong. But alongside those were some separatist flags that were unfamiliar to me.
It would probably be safe to say that these movements are extremely marginal. I suspect the overwhelming majority of people in these regions would have no knowledge of any of these flags. Nevertheless they have been flown in the real world at least once.
Brendan, 3 February 2019

These flags are just a few of many designs which may be found online - the difference between these few and lots of the others being in these few being finally verified now. Most likely, they are used by people living outside the Chinese mainland; some of them might have had developed a separate cultural identity, due to not speaking Standard Chinese at all (I have no idea if it is really the case, but might be possible). In case of the flags' use in Hong Kong, they might have been actually used by local separatists, regardless of their actual origin, either to show their support for other separatisms (or "separatisms"), or to make the impression of being supported by those. Some of the flags, though, might have not been created by Chinese at all - some "country names" seem to have originated in non-Chinese languages (more about that below).
Tomislav Todorović, 4 February 2019


"Hokkien"/"Hokkienam" (Fujian province)

[Flag of Nanjing] image by Brendan, 3 February 2019

A horizontal bicolour, blue over white, with a yellow eight-pointed star in the top-left corner.
https://twitter.com/hokkienam/status/1082968275871354880
https://twitter.com/hokkienam/status/1076521066502057984
https://twitter.com/biopolymath/status/904182332730564608
Brendan, 3 February 2019

[Flag of Nanjing] image by Brendan, 3 February 2019

Another version online shows the star in the centre of the flag.
Brendan, 3 February 2019

Other flags also appear, and the "country" name is also spelled Hookkien.
Tomislav Todorović, 4 February 2019


"Cantonia" (Guangdong province)

[Flag of Cantonia (Guangdong province)] image by Brendan, 3 February 2019

A horizontal tricolour of light green, brown and light blue, with a red kapok flower outlined in white. This one's been on the Wikimedia Commons since 2014.
https://twitter.com/SKY40065499/status/1080075230456963072
https://twitter.com/CantoniaIP/status/970697119102255104 
Brendan, 3 February 2019

This "country" sometimes also includes Guangxi and Hainan, and even Guizhou and Yunnan. Other flag designs also appear.
Tomislav Todorović, 4 February 2019


"Bashulia"/"Basuria" (Sichuan province and Chongqing)

[Flag of Cantonia (Guangdong province)] image by Brendan, 3 February 2019

An American-looking flag, but with some kind of yellow sun emblem in the blue field. 
https://twitter.com/ChannelNewsAsia/status/1080053561927467008
https://twitter.com/6eLy0Tcw9940h6D/status/1050527458347425792
Brendan, 3 February 2019

[Flag of Cantonia (Guangdong province)] image by Brendan, 3 February 2019

Also saw a version with just the sun online.
Brendan, 3 February 2019

This name is derived from the names of two Warring States - Ba (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ba_(state)) which comprised the areas around present-day Chongqing, and Shu - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shu_(state) which held the areas around present-day Chengdu, the Sichuan province capital. However, variant Basuria sounds as if being invented by speakers of a language which has no l-sound, so it is replaced with r-sound - Japanese being the first to suggest itself, more reasons for it below.

The charges surrounding the sun are the "bird-dragons", an ancient Chinese decorative motif, also thought to have been a precursor of the Chinese phoenix.

Source: Vilets, Vilijam: Umetnost Kine
Belgrade: Narodna knjiga, 1974
Original title: William Willets: The Foundations of Chinese Art
(c) Penguin Books Ltd and Thames and Hudson Ltd
[no publishing date of the original work; finished in 1965, according to the author's introductory note]
Tomislav Todorović, 4 February 2019


Shanghai

[Flag of Cantonia (Guangdong province)] image by Brendan, 3 February 2019

A red saltire on white with a blue disc in the centre outlined in white. Clearly based the flag of the Shanghai International Settlement.
https://twitter.com/marsh_yuen/status/1038213482854932480
Brendan, 3 February 2019

This is the first time I found a Shanghai-ese separatist - or "separatist" - flag: more frequently, the area is presented as part of a larger would-be country, comprising all provinces between Shandong and Fujian. That "country" is called Goetsu, which is Japanese for Wuyue, a 10-th-century Chinese state: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuyue

The use of a Japanese word suggests that some of these "separatisms" are actually the idea of some Japanese or pro-Japanese wishful thinkers. Even more so given the use of the Manchukuo.
Tomislav Todorović, 4 February 2019