In the Name of Taiwan: The Bordering of Nation/State in China’s Haixi Economic Zone

Authors: Ling-I Chu*,
Topics: Political Geography, Cultural Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: border-ordering, border-othering, nation/state building, development, China, Taiwan, Haixi
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The study aims to explain the seemly inappropriate and inopportune spatial rationalities of “The Western Taiwan Straits Economic Zone (Haixi SEZ)” in Southeastern China. The SEZ was claimed to be the second hometown for Taiwanese where everyday life situations of cross-strait integration could be imagined and experienced. The act looked almost meaningless, however, because hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese people have made their livings in the Mainland China for decades. In contrast to seeing the SEZ as only the real estate speculation in the name of Taiwan, I proposes a double perspective-both seeing border like state and seeing state like border-to re-cognize Haixi. In performing the co-living hometown, Haixi has to transform itself to represent the “Taiwaneseness”. At the same time, some kind of “Chineseness” should also be discernible in the performance. Nevertheless, the spatial significance of border-othering in Haixi-seeing from Taiwan’s angle of view to identify itself-was undermining. The daily practices in Haixi would not be fully confined with the border-ordering of the state. Haixi is not only eager to be the interface between the Mainland and Taiwan but also elbowing to replace Taiwan as an intermediate of China to the world. In fact, China now no longer need Taiwan’s role in “bringing the world in”. On the contrary, since China is instead trying to guide Taiwanese youth through its “Chinese way to the world”, the nature of cross-strait relations seems to be redefined from the “space of borders” to the “history of progress”.

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