My Hong Kong friends and I used to patronize a barbershop, pompously named "Greater China" (Tai Chung Wah in Cantonese) in London's Chinatown, for the simple reason that it offered poor students perhaps the most affordable haircut in the British capital.

But shouldn't someone who salutes Dr Johnson for his disdain of patriotism and nationalism, calling them "the last refuge of scoundrels", shudder at the hegemonic-sounding phrase of "Greater China"?

And again, why should I?

After all, "Greater China" carries, politically, culturally and economically, different connotations, the multifaceted complexities of which are often overlooked even by its critics.

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