|Literal meaning||Chinese traitor|
In Chinese culture, a hanjian (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: han-chien) is a derogatory and pejorative term for a race traitor to the Han Chinese state and, to a lesser extent, Han ethnicity. The word hanjian is distinct from the general word for traitor, which could be used for any race or country. As a Chinese term, it is a digraph of the Chinese characters for "Han" and "traitor". In addition, hanjian is a gendered term, indicated by the construction of this Chinese word. Han is the majority ethnic group in China; and Jian, in Chinese legal language, primarily referred to illicit sex. Implied by this term was a Han Chinese carrying on an illicit relationship with the enemy."Hanjian is often worded as "collaboration" in the West.
The term hanjian is one that emerged from a "conflation of political and ethnic identities, which was often blurred in the expression of Chinese nationalism." It was/is applied to individuals who are designated collaborators and by which were not all ethnically Han. The modern usage of the term stems from the Second Sino-Japanese War in which circumstances forced political figures in China to choose between resistance and collaboration. Nuance in understanding not just why some Chinese chose to cooperate with Japanese but as well as inquiring why cooperation made sense to people at that time has opened up hanjian into being an ambiguous term in modern history rather than the black and white one that it is so often used as.
There tend to be two types of hanjian, or collaborationists, when observing the era of the Sino-Japanese War: "the educated and intellectuals, who simply wanted to get power and wealth for themselves, and the poor and uneducated, whose poverty drove them to collaborate and whose ignorance saved them from even thinking they had to justify what they were doing." Due to this notion and the modern ambiguity of the term, each of these two categories had various motives with the majority being different but some overlapping.
Educated and intellectual Hanjian
Educated hanjian is often reserved for those who were either scholars or within government. The most infamous hanjian government in mainland China is Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China, often called the Wang Jingwei regime aptly named after its president Wang Jingwei. The Wang Jingwei regime sought to be the dominant governmental force in China and believed it could do so by collaborating and being submissive to Japan in what they deemed their "Peace Movement." Wang found resistance to his government when he visited cities, such as Shanghai, and "intellectuals who showed sympathy for Wang risked ostracism, if not death."
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the National Revolutionary Army was defeated in various battles by the Imperial Japanese Army. Chiang Kai-shek explained that hanjian espionage helped the Japanese and ordered CC Clique commander Chen Lifu to arrest the hanjians. 4,000 were arrested in Shanghai and 2,000 in Nanjing. Because martial law was enforced, formal trials were not necessary, and the condemned were executed swiftly, while thousands of men, women and children watched with evident approval.
Taiwanese soldiers who fought in the Japanese military against Chinese forces and the Allies are also considered to be hanjian. The Republic of China issued an important law in 1937:
The centerpiece of anti hanjian laws, "Regulations on Handling Hanjian Cases (chuli hanjian anjian tiaoli)," promulgated in August 1937, identified collaborators based on their wartime conduct and stipulated punishments regardless of their age, gender, or ethnicity. Popular anti-hanjian discourse, however, paid particular attention to "female collaborators" and deployed a highly gendered vocabulary to attack hanjian suspects of both sexes. Complementing the legal purge of collaborators, such literature brought extreme pressure on individuals targeted as hanjian and influenced how political crimes should be exposed and transposed onto other aspects of social life.
After the Sook Ching (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) or ethnic cleansing by mass murder of Chinese opposed to the Japanese occupation of Singapore and Malaya in February-March 1942, Tan Kah Kee, a prominent Chinese industrialist and philanthropist in Southeast Asia, proposed to the provisional Republic of China government to treat all Chinese who attempted to negotiate with the Japanese as hanjians. His proposal was adopted by the Second Legislative Yuan, and was praised by Chinese resistance fighters.
Popularly, most hanjian in Chinese films and drama series, skits, Hanjian are mostly the translators. Sometimes they are also called the er guizi (Chinese: , lit. second devils) or jia yang guizi (Chinese: ?, lit. fake foreign devils). For example, Chinese actor Chen Peisi's famous skit Zhujue yu Peijue (, lit. the main actor and the supportive actor), Chen is acting as the supportive actor who is in a film that the character is the translator leading the way for Japanese Imperial Army. The translator represents the Army officer to send a message to the Eighth Route Army officer whose actor would be Zhu Shimao that if he surrenders, the Japanese officer will have a great beautiful offer for him.