In this map of China, the light-coloured areas represent Mainland China, while yellow coloured area refers to Taiwan
. All islands except Hainan
and Taiwan too small to appear on this map.
Mainland China (, lit. "The Chinese Massive Landmass" or "Continental China") is an informal geographical term which is usually synonymous with the area currently administered by the People's Republic of China (PRC). It usually excludes the two Special Administrative Regions administered by the People's Republic of China: Hong Kong and Macau, which are governed under "One Country, Two Systems" and have a high degree of autonomy. It always excludes the area controlled by the Republic of China (ROC), namely Taiwan, Penghu, Quemoy, and Matsu islands. In contrast to the term China proper, the term usually also includes Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia.
Curiously, the term usually includes offshore islands administered by the PRC such as Hainan. The term Zhongguo dalu is commonly used on Taiwan because it is a neutral term and does not contain implications about the political status of Taiwan.
More recently, the term Zhongguo neidi (內地 "the inner regions of China") has become the most common term within Mainland China to refer to Mainland China, although the term is infrequently used outside of Mainland China.
In Taiwan, the term Mainlander can refer to wai sheng ren (外省人, literal meaning: "external province person(s)"), who are the people who emigrated to Taiwan from Mainland China near the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949; children of wai sheng ren, though born in Taiwan, can also be referred to as wai sheng ren. The term Mainlander can also refer to da lu ren (大陸人, literal meaning: "Mainland person(s)"), meaning the people who live on the Mainland now and the very small number of people who have emigrated from the Mainland to Taiwan recently.
Relations between Mainland China and Taiwan are typically known in Chinese as liang'an guanxi (兩岸關係), which literally means "relations between the two sides/seashores (of the Strait of Taiwan)" and is known in English as "cross-straits relations". The term liang'an (two shores) is often used when describing Mainland China and Taiwan collectively. Again these terms are commonly found because they are politically-neutral and do not contain implications about the nature of the relationship between Mainland China and Taiwan (see political status of Taiwan). When Hong Kong is involved, the term liang'an sandi (literally two shores, three places) is used.
The term is used more often since the transfers of sovereignty, to the People's Republic of China, of Hong Kong in 1997 and Macao in 1999. Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau have different customs and immigration control, passports, currencies, stamps, judiciary systems (courts of final appeal), public finance, extradition, etc.