#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
Western Sinophobia and the Chinese New Year v.s. Lunar New Year debate

The Year of the Dragon has begun as of February 10, 2024. This is a 15-day Spring harvest celebration celebrated by many Asian cultures. The arrival of the new year brings forth week-long celebrations as well as the recurring argument of which is the proper term for the holiday, “Chinese New Year” or “Lunar New Year”. 

Language Barrier 


Every year this argument can be seen across all social media platforms, such as TikTok, Reddit, and X, formerly known as Twitter. There are multiple contributing factors in this discussion, one of which is the issue of the English language and translations. 

Many participants of this celebration state that this argument is only for Westerners because of the language translation. Mr Zhang, a Chinese TikTok content creator, states in a TikTok video, “I find saying Chinese New Year a little bit weird because in Chinese we say 新年快乐 which basically just means Happy New Year.” 

Another contributing factor is Sinophobia, which has risen in countries around the world since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sinophobia, not to be confused with xenophobia, is the fear or hatred of China and people of Chinese descent. Xenophobia refers to the dislike and prejudice against people from other countries. A Korean TikTok content creator named Phinajana, said in a TikTok video, “As for the debate on whether it’s Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year, this is very much an English language problem and a Sinophobia problem more than anything else.” 



The recent rise of sinophobia has been seen across the world and on social media. An article published by Human Rights Watch.org in May 2020 discussed the link between COVID-19-related anti-Asian hate crimes and the fault the U.S. government held. The article states, “Government leaders and senior officials in some instances have directly or indirectly encouraged hate crimes, racism, or xenophobia by using anti-Chinese rhetoric.” 

Sinophobic hate crimes and trends in the U.S. have led Chinese students to reconsider studying abroad in the U.S. According to Think China, a survey has shown that 18 in 150 Chinese students have changed their minds about wanting to study in the U.S.


Historical Roots 


America has a pattern of Sinophobia due to Chinese Communism, which links back to the Red Scare. The Red Scare was a time in history when Americans believed the United States government would be overthrown by Russian immigrants. 

Many Americans are Sinophobic, which can be seen in the TikTok congressional hearing of CEO Shou Zi Chew before the House of Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23, 2023. When asked by lawmakers if he was linked to the Chinese Communist Party and if China could gain access to American's private information. Mr Chew said he was born in Singapore and is not a Chinese citizen. 



Sinophobia has been seen online as trends from other Asian countries have gained popularity such as Korean pop, also known as K-pop and anime, which is Japanese animation. Chinese trends are labeled as Korean or Japanese. An example of this can be seen with the popular makeup style called “Douyin”. This Chinese makeup style is used to give off a youthful and doll-like appearance. This makeup style was labeled as a Korean beauty trend, which caused arguments across TikTok as many Chinese creators were offended by the Sinophobia. One content creator, Dr. Candise, a popular Chinese TikTok creator, said in a TikTok video, “Please stop rebranding everything nice from China as Japanese!”

Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in