Due to the fact that Western colonialism is largely oceanic and the fact that China has long been considered victim of Western colonialism, it is easy for us to overlook China’s internal colonization of various indigenous peoples and the critical role Chinese migrants played in the colonization of Taiwan and parts of Southeast Asia. With the rise of China, these phenomena are more and more worthy of our attention. Sinophone studies attends to the difference between the Chinese mode of colonization and other modes of colonization through a dialogue with at least the following three academic discourses. To begin with, Anglophone and Francophone postcolonial studies gives the false impression that only Western powers are capable of colonizing Asia. Furthermore, the casting of Chinese migration to Taiwan and Southeast Asia in terms of diaspora conceals its settler colonial character. Finally, terms like literature in Chinese and Chinese literature are problematic categories when it comes to literatures written in Sinitic languages. In fact, Sinophone is multilingual, polyphonic, and also poly-scriptic. I argue that Sinophone studies takes as its objects of study the Sinitic-language communities and cultures outside China as well as ethnic minority communities and cultures within China where Mandarin Chinese is adopted or imposed. It is because these linguistic communities are largely formed through three interrelated historical processes of continental colonialism, settler colonialism and (im)migration that the Sinophone is not a unifying category but a heterogeneous formation calibrated by the time and place specificities of each practice and articulation..
KEYWORDS: Sinophone studies, Sinophone literature, continental/oceanic colonialisms, settler colonialism, (im)migration