March 27

Cina, Tionghua, or Chinese? How do you call Indonesians of Chinese descent in Bahasa Indonesia?


Do you know the history behind the Indonesian word for Chinese?

How it has evolved from Tjina to Cina? From Tionghua to Chinese?

Do you know that Cina is also a derogatory term to belittle the Chinese?

Cina has long been used to identify Indonesian of Chinese descent. However, the word Cina is used in a mostly derogatory way for Chinese Indonesian and it is associated with mostly bad connotations.

The origins of the word Cina comes from a Japanese word that the Japanese used to address Chinese people during the second world war period. The transliteration of this word is later adopted in the Indonesian language to identify people of Chinese descent.

To cut a long story short, through the different volatile eras in Indonesia, and the word for Chinese has evolved significantly from Cina to Tionghua.

Tionghua is still used as an official address while the use of Cina is mostly discouraged and avoided.

Today, it is more politically correct and modern to call Indonesians of Chinese descent simply as Chinese.

Such is the power of language.

Read this article and you will be no longer be using Cina when referring to China or Chinese.


You may also like

Chinese Indonesians

Tips on Working-From-Home (WFH)

5 Reasons You Should Not Be Doing Your Own Translation

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}