华侨 (HuaQiao) vs. 华人 (HuaRen)

When I first arrived here in China, people would ask “where are you from?” or “你是哪国人?” And I’d respond, I’m from the States, 是美国的. Sometimes they were confused, how could an Asian-looking person be from the States? Other times they asked again, “Are you an overseas Chinese?” “华侨啊?” Sometimes they would use “huaqiao” and sometimes they would say “huaren”. I never thought about it, until a friend recently told me that there’s a difference between these two words. I thought that they meant the same thing.

To some Chinese huaqiao (华侨) and huaren (华人) have the same meaning and to some Chinese the two words have different meanings. I spoke with an older lady, the Ayi who helps clean our apartment. She understood that both huaqiao and huaren have the same meaning… a Chinese person who’s overseas. To those who understand two different meanings, one definition is “a person of Chinese decent who was born and raised overseas” (me) and the second definition being “a person of Chinese decent who was born in China and currently residing overseas” (my parents). I met someone else recently, who explained to me that every person of Chinese decent no matter which country they live or grow up is a “huaren”, but those who specifically claim a nationality other than Chinese are “huaqiao”.

Ok, so after all this discussion, I decided to  just look it up in the dictionary. It defines “huaren” as ethnically Chinese people. And “huaqiao” as a Chinese emigrant who still retains Chinese nationality. Now, to confuse things further, I recently heard one more term “HuaYi” (华裔), which refers to a person of Chinese decent with foreign citizenship. Phew. Glad to finally get that clarified. And now we all know. Huaren are all Chinese people versus Huaqiao who are Chinese emigrants with Chinese nationality and Huayi are foreign citizens of Chinese decent. :P

我刚来中国的时候,他们问“你是哪国人”?我就说“是美国的”。有的人不太明白,好像亚洲人怎么从美国来的呢?有时候他们问“华人啊”?他们问的时候用“华人”有时候他们用“华侨”。我没想过这两个词有不同的意思觉得是一样意思。

有的中国人觉得华侨和华人有一样的意思但有些中国人觉得这两个词有不同的意思。我问我的阿姨他说是一样意思,华人就是华侨是一个中国人住再外国。有些人觉得有两个意思:一个是好像我,一个中国人在外国出生江大,第二个意思好像我父母,是中国人再中国出生住在外国。我刚刚认识新朋友告诉我每个中国人不管住在什么地方都是‘华人’,但‘华侨’就是再中国出生的不过现在是别国家人。

后来我就看看词典。华人是每个中国人不管住在什么地方。华侨是中国人住在外国但也是中国国际人。然后我最近也听人用华裔,意思可能比较清楚是中国血统的蛙泳国人。我现在明白了!你们呢?明白了吗?你以前知道吗?

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